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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Here are a few shots of my first attempt at grips. I shaped them, sanded, wetsanded and wetsanded and discovered they were too smooth for my taste, so I had them checkered by Sherry at Sherry's Checkering.

I practiced by making 3 sets from some cheap poplar which turned out good, but ugly. After the 3 practice sets I was ready for some pretty wood so I searched the net and found a guy with some Lace Sheoak from Australia I fell in love with. I started with bookend slabs 2"X6"X3/8".

I can't seem to get the photos to work so here is the link:

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&postid=765256#post765256
 

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Those look nice! Well done. I really like that wood.
 

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nice work, i am tempted to try that sometime. i have a nic block of curly birch that looks beautyful with a good finish.
 

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Look out Scott!

I remember when Sensing posted a thread just like this...
 

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Yeah, they look great. Love the wood.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
isaidme said:
Very Nice indeedy!What finish was used on these if you dont mind me asking?
Before checkering they were finished by sanding to a 600 grit finish. Then I wet sanded using 600 grit paper and a mixture of 1 part satin finish Formby's Tung oil to 4 parts mineral spirits. After a slurry was built up during each sand I would wipe the slurry acros the grain. This fills the grain and makes the surface mirror smooth. Drying between sandings was 2 full days and I did this 7 times. I did such a good job they ended up too slick and I sent them off to be checkered.

After checkering the checkered area was lightly brushed with the tung oil/mineral spirits mixture to reseal this area.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Scooter .45 said:
Those are awesome! Bet you've already gotten emails from people wanting to buy a set just like them :cool:
Thanks Scott, I appreciate you saying so. And yes, I have had a few offers, but I'm not quiting my day job!! Those inquiring get a bit of sticker shock when they find out what the checkering costs. Hand checkering is quite expensive. But there is no comparison between an artist hand checkering and machine checkering.

I could do the smooth finished grips for a reasonable price...but add the checkering and I would have to sell them for a good bit over $100, just to make a few bucks an hour for my labor.

I'm sure I am preaching to the choir on this.
 

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Yep, you are indeed preaching to the choir! Would you mind saying what Sherry charged for your checkering? I'll go out on a limb and say it's worth whatever she charged. It is a lost art and unlike many things, checkering is every bit as difficult as you might expect. Having taught myself checkering, I rate it up there with accomplishments like getting a pilot's liscense or passing the bar exam or graduating medical school. Not that I truly "learned" the craft. I taught myself the basics and it will take years to build to the skills of a person like Sherry (assume your talking about Sherry Abraham?). I at least try to keep my checkering prices low enough to be competitive with other 1911 grips on the market, while managing to squeak a little profit out of it too.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Scooter .45 said:
Would you mind saying what Sherry charged for your checkering?
$70

Having taught myself checkering, I rate it up there with accomplishments like getting a pilot's liscense or passing the bar exam or graduating medical school. Not that I truly "learned" the craft. I taught myself the basics and it will take years to build to the skills of a person like Sherry (assume your talking about Sherry Abraham
I would love to learn. How did you get started? What tools do I need to start?

Yes, I am talking about Sherry Abraham. She states on her website she checkers something everyday to stay on top of here game.
 

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I bought the little $5 booklet on checkering and a Dem Bart 16 lpi checkering set from Brownells, had around $50 in the set including shipping. Was very slow scratching each individual groove, took me 6-8 hours to do one set of grips that way. Even so, did half dozen or so sets that way.

Next, decided to go feet first into some power equipment because it seemed 4 out of 5 grip orders wanted checkering. I got a Foredom motor (like a big industrial Dremel) with flex shaft for about $200, and found a handpiece w/accesories on ebay for about $500 (sells new for $650 approx.).

The power equip was ALOT faster, but was very easy to screw up a good set of grips and required more skill than I'd expected. The instructions all seemed targeted toward folks who already knew what they were doing. The equip paid for itself inside a month. That was nice :D

Right now with a good caffiene buzz I can full checker a set of 1911 grips in less than an hour and a half. Most times though, I take my time, try to do a nice job and have about 2 hrs in it. Double diamond takes longer.

Here's the handpiece I use: Doiron D-3 (BTW, price shown doesn't include blade and adapter...there's always something extra ya know)

Ok, need to shut up, I'm blabbing too much :biglaugh: If you decide to get into it, I'll try to answer whatever questions you might have, just ask.
 
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