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Anyone ever try making their own grip panels?

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I'm thinking about giving it a go, 1911 panels don't look like they would be too difficult for a woodworking amatuer (since they're relatively flat all around). Has anyone ever tried this on their own??? If so how long did it take for you to decide this was more than you thought it would be? Any tips or hints? I would also like to put in some medallions and would REALLY appreciate any tips with that one. I'm not too concerned with checkering (seems like it would cover up the beautiful grain of burled Walnut or Thuya)

The main reason for this is that nice panels are very pricey ($50-$80) and I've found several exotic woodshops that will sell samples of their wood in sizes that are more than adequate for about $10.00 or so. Plus I don't see too many nice burled grips floating around.


Also, if this is the incorrect forum...please feel free to move as needed.