A gripping weekend

Now that I have the bandsaw, there was little reason to not try to make some 1911 grips. The grips on both my Para and my Colt Delta Elite are wrap around plastic (the Para has a Crimson Trace), so I had to make some ‘guesses’ as to how things should work. I started off with some walnut, which I happen to have a few scale-sized blanks laying around.

They ended up a bit thin as 1/4” is nominal, I ended up… under that. Still, for my very first attempt, this was a raging success! The chisel work to get the clearance for the plunger tube simply could not get any better, even if cut by a machine.

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With that success, I decided to go a bit more exotic. I had a bunch of scrap wood given to me from Virgil from Virgil Guitars. I had some zebrawood, black & white ebony, as well as regular, black ebony and thought that, paired with some maple, would look awesome.


I glued up the boards and while I waited for the glue to dry, I went ahead & started on the zebrawood grips. After a couple of false starts, I decided to make templates to make the entire process repeatable with better accuracy. It took a few tries to get the templates right, but eventually I did.


While cutting out the plunger tube gap with a chisel, I ended up splitting the grips. However, a little wood glue and a bunch of clamping later & you can’t even see where it was. I’m not done with the zebrawood grips, but when I am, I’ll post pictures.

Then it came time to make the awesome grips. I planed down the glue up and before I even cut the scales, I knew this was going to be epic. And it was.

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Epic, but not perfect. Power tools take off a lot of wood, even ebony which is hard as a rock. I cut the edges too close on the left grip so there’s a gap between the back of the wood and the back of the grip. Still, visually these are striking and I could easily recreate these.

Still need to finish sanding & then sealing these. I need to look at a glossier finish as all the oils & poly’s I have right now are low sheen. Also, I need to do a better job drilling the holes. I do them by hand using Forstner bits and really need a drill press or a hand drill to countersink the screw heads. I tried doing it on the zebrawood with a power drill, and ended up with unusable grips. It requires a bit more finesse, so practice, practice, practice.

If anyone has any old grips they can send me, that might help as well. Unfortunately, my only grips for 1911s are not standard (wraparound plastics) so I’m guessing on a bunch of stuff.

Give me another month or so and I’ll be ready to put these kinds of things up for sale. Checkering is not in the pipeline because I don’t have the gear for it, nor do I think I could do it cost effectively. However, inlays are something I want to look into & eventually do since I’ll be doing that on my guitar in the future.

What do you think so far?

posted by Robb Allen @ 7/13/2016 4:18:47 PM | Feedback (17)
Weekend warrior

T’was a busy weekend for me.

First – we had some built-in cabinetry in the bedroom that suffered damage that required the entire thing be pulled out. Sucked, because it filled in a lot of space & was useful, but it was unsalvageable and had to go. Unfortunately, behind the unit (which spanned 2 walls & a corner) was unfinished – no baseboards and most of the wiring was nothing more than a hole punched through the wall.

I had to repair the holes in the wall from the unit and put up new baseboard and quarter round. Of course, the quarter round that was available was not the same size as the existing stuff already down, so I had a lot of sanding to do to match the ends where they met. Hopefully, after they’re painted, the transition to the original size will be even less noticeable.

Second, I needed to get up in the attic to fix some of the wiring that was left hanging behind the unit. I figured while I was up there, I might as well rewire the 2 ceiling fans in the room (yes, the master bedroom is so large that 2 fans are needed). They were both powered by a single switch, meaning you got both the light & fan at the same time. I wanted 2 switches so that I could turn on the lights separately from the fan. This meant crawling up into the attic for a few hours.

It was at least 120°. And the humidity was expressed using scientific notation.

Because of the heat, and the fact I was wearing a respirator to stop the fiberglass from getting in my lungs, and the fact I couldn’t sit nor stand & was crouching the entire time, it wasn’t the most pleasant hour & a half of my life. But I did get all the wiring done, new switches installed, and the ceiling fans wired up correctly.

Almost correctly.

Looks like I spliced the hot feed too far forward. You can turn on the fans by themselves. Then the lights by themselves. But kill the fans and the lights go out too.


Not a problem. I spliced the ‘hot’ leads where I thought the feed was going into the switch, it must have been a wire leading out instead. Easy to change, I just need to get back up there which ain’t no easy task. I have to rearrange the cable lines anyway, so I had to get back in there anyway.

I also did pool maintenance,  some bug-spraying,  and cleared out my Honey-Do list with aplomb.

I’m not complaining. I enjoy work. I like labor. Reminds me that, should this country fall completely apart, I’m not incapable of doing things with my hands. Sore? Tired? Yes, but  I’d rather be sore & tired than unable to do even the easiest of manual labor.

posted by Robb Allen @ 7/5/2016 11:23:01 AM | Feedback (2)
Want to know why I refuse to fly?

Because if this were me, there would be dead TSA agents.

Just the thought of some low-IQ motherf&*(#er trying to cop a feel on my daughters is enough to refuse to fly as it is, to see them beat a child would see me lose it.

The TSA is a disgrace to the United States of America. It’s mere existence is a blight. I personally feel every TSA employee is a traitor, deserving of scorn & shunning by society until it’s impossible to find anyone willing to work there.

Those involved in this instance deserve jail at the very least.

But they won’t.

People will still fly. They’ll put up with it because [insert any excuse here]. Hundreds of people will get groped inappropriately, not for any benefit of security, but because it gives some high school dropout a thrill. I watched these cretins who couldn’t get a job mopping up a McDonald’s pull a severely disabled child out of a wheelchair to swab him down. I’ve watched as they repeatedly pulled women over for “extra inspection” clearly based on the crime of being bathykolpian.

And now we allow them to beat bloody partially disabled teenage girls.

posted by Robb Allen @ 7/2/2016 10:36:43 AM | Feedback (8)
Into a crowded field

I might not blog that much any more which is sad because with my woodworking, I’ve had a lot to talk about. One thing I’m trying to do though is get tools. I’m purchasing a band saw probably on Friday because I seem to need it more than a drill press. Many times, a band saw would make short work of things I’ve been doing with a jigsaw by hand (and be less destructive since there’s support under the blade).

Once I get the band saw, I’m thinking about making a few 1911 pistol grips for myself. I’d be willing to make them for you all if you’re interested. I know there’s already a bajillion people out there who make them already, so it’s not like I’m going to be doing something unique, but part of my learning is working on smaller items – jewelry boxes, pistol grips, pencils, etc. Yes, I’m going to make some pencils out of exotic woods. Because I can.

Anyone interested in 1911 grips? I’d really like to do crazy woods like black - white ebony, snake wood, or maybe Lignum Vitae so that you get a workout just lifting the pistol.

posted by Robb Allen @ 6/28/2016 10:46:51 AM | Feedback (13)
Wanting gays to protect themselves is… homophobic?

Sean Carana sent me this the other day

Wallace Sterling <wsterlin@tampabay.rr.com>
Your groups negative response to the request by the St. Pete Police Chief to leave weapons home during the St. Pete Pride Festival is: misguided, homophobic, un-American and...crazy.  SHAME.

Let me get this straight.

We want everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, to be able to defend themselves with the best tools available with no interference from the state. This view is both shameful… and homophobic? The Second Amendment being quite the American thing is un-American?

Black is white. Up is down. Cheech is Chong.

posted by Robb Allen @ 6/28/2016 10:42:02 AM | Feedback (0)