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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering buying a forsner bit to add medallions to some checkered grips but have a question..

When adding medallions to checkered grips, does a forsner bit cut clean -- meaning, does it not tend to chip the checkering?

thanks,
Ray
 

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Forstner bits are the best way to go. Use a drill press if at ALL possible. It's dang near impossible to keep things straight and true with a hand drill.
On the Forstner bits, they will cut a clean, flat bottom hole (except for the guide dimple) even if they are the cheap Chinese made variety. These will be good if you only plan on doing a couple of holes. If you plan on doing more than that, it's well worth the extra few $$$ to get a good quality brand that will stay sharp and cut clean holes for MUCH longer.
Hope this helps a little bit.
Good luck!
Sarge

Forgot to answer the specific checkering chipping problem - You should be fine IF you go slow and don't use a lot of pressure or a "jerky" hand on the lowering lever. Smooth and slow will save the checkering from chipping. ;)
 

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Kid Ray, if you are only going to do a couple of sets you may want to contact Randy to install them for you since Forstner bits cost more than regular drill bits. He's set up to do it. Here's the link.

http://www.1911-grips.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks Guys...

Tigercat200, yep, I just bought a set from Randy, checkered, that he is installing medallions in for me. Got me to thinkin about several nice sets I have, which I would like to have medallions installed. So You know how us DIY types are... :)

I may give it a try.

---
Ray
 

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Here is a very cheap source for individual Forstner bits by mail:

http://routerbitworld.com/

I bought a 10mm one from them for less than $6 shipped a year or two ago. That was the correct size for S&W medallions and I did a few. I think Colt's may be a different size. Drill press is very nice to use but a hand drill can work if you go very slow and are careful. Don't forget a pilot hole to help you out.

NFK - Even a hand drill would be preferable to a Dremel tool as the added weight will provide stability as you cut. I would not attempt it with a Dremel unless you are a talented engraver or such!

A pilot hole will also help to stabilize the bit and preserve the edge of the checkering.
 

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Good quality forstner bits should cut a nice clean recess, even with checkering. If it were me, I'd put masking tape over the whole thing, just as an extra hedge.

Robert
 

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Irwin makes a very nice Forstner bit at a reasonable price.
L.
 

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Home Deput sells Forstner bits pretty nicely priced.. I purchased a complete set for some home projects. I don't think they were very much money...
 

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NFK - Even a hand drill would be preferable to a Dremel tool as the added weight will provide stability as you cut. I would not attempt it with a Dremel unless you are a talented engraver or such!

A pilot hole will also help to stabilize the bit and preserve the edge of the checkering.
That sounds like good advice. I did pick up a Forstner bit at Home Depot for $7 which seems reasonable. Now I am going to work on my steady hand skills.
 

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Excellent.

What was the correct size for the Colt medallions? BTW, where did you get the medallions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
colt medallions are 33/64ths, at least that's the bit size.
that's right, 33/64", but I could not find one, used 1/2" instead. 1/2" is 1/64" too small but some careful "reaming" with a sanding drum on a dremel and the medallions will drop right in.

Kamerer, these medallions came from another set of grips but I have ordered some from Ajax:

http://www.ajaxgrips.com/ajax/ajax?set=29

thanks Sarge, followed your advice and it worked just like you said!

---
Joe
 

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The medallions I have are nowhere near 1/2" (33/64). According to posts on the S&W Forum the correct measurement is 13/32 which is what I find on my set. Home Depot sells a 3/8 Forstner bit for $7. That would give you a hole that is 1/32 undersized. Careful sanding with a Dremel or by hand might do the trick, for a skilled craftsman.
 

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S&W medallions are indeed 13/32.
Yes, that's what I've experienced in the past. 10mm will also work for S&W if you can't find 13/32. They are about the same dia.

NFK - sounds like you have S&W medallions. They mount very differently from Colt.
 

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Yes, that's what I've experienced in the past. 10mm will also work for S&W if you can't find 13/32. They are about the same dia.

NFK - sounds like you have S&W medallions. They mount very differently from Colt.
Kamerer,
Can you explain what you mean when you say the S&W medallions mount very differently? I have the grips, I have the medallions, I have the Forstner bit and I am looking for the most information that will allow me to start the project with the hope of it coming out right. What is giving me pause is that the grips are curved i.e. walnut combat finger groove grips. The point at which the medallions will be placed has a slight curve. The medallions are flat. What I envision is the medallions either sitting high or below the grip surface. Any suggestions?
NFK

 

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The "very different" part of my comment was more about the factory installation. The old-school S&W ones are mounted with studs going into large metal washers, then swaged to them. Colt ones were just swaged to the grip itself. Looks like you have some Ahrend's target grips there?

To us putting them in on our own, it's not so different between the two. The way I've done S&W ones is this:

1) Flip the grip over and locate the center of "locating circle" at the top of the grip - this would be the center of the metal washer on old style (pre 1990) S&W grip. Or, on aftermarket molded or cut wood grips, it's the center of the circle that the upper 1/2 circle is on that is used to "located" the grip up into the frame cut.

2) Start a small diameter pilot hole at that spot, going through to the grip surface, trying to keep it straight and perpendicular relative to the grip in the vertical plane (e.g., if the grip were sitting on it's butt, perpendicular to that).

3) take the bit out of the drill, and insert it through the hole you drilled. Stand the grips up vertically and see if it's relatively centered on that locating circle and perpendicular. If so, skip the next step.

4) If it's not, eyeball how far off it is and mark on the grip surface where it should have come out. Re-drill the hole starting there and aiming for the center of that locating hole.

5) Now that you have a locating hole on the grip surface, chuck up the forstner bit and start drilling. Go very slowly. Stop and insert the grip medallion to see how far it is setting and how even fore/aft since the surface is curved.

6) Drill in small increments until you just get the hole deep enough to seat the fore/aft edges (9 o'clock/3 o'clock) of the circle of the medallion. The top/bottom (12 o'clock/six o'clock) of the medallion will be slightly beneath the grip surface because of the curve on the grip. This is normal, and you won't really notice it in practical use.

7) Use the adhesive of you choice to cement them in. Contact cement works great. Don't use "Gorilla Glue" as it will bubble up and push the medallion out. You can either now enlarge your pilot hole to accept the stud on the back S&W Medallion, or just grind or clip it off and put the Medallions in without it. It's there to attach to the steel washer, which you aren't using so the stud is of no use to you.

8) Now, it appears to me you need to carefully eyeball that the hole resulting from starting on that locating circle will still be inside the shoulder of your grips. It appears that speed-loader cut out is more agressive than stock grips and you may need to move it down or back slightly.

It is not hard if you go slow and don't over drill. Drill straight and don't wiggle the drill bit or you'll make a slightly oval and oversize hole. A drill press keeps the drill bit stable, but unfortunately I could not get the grip aligned and locked in our drill press at the correct attitude. So I free-handed it with a hand drill. It worked fine.

I hope that helps. Here's a set I did in this manner. They are located exactly where they would be on stock S&W grips so they look as "authentic" as possible. But since your grips have a cut-out, make sure you dont get too close to that.

 
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