Ballistics by the inch

Get a grip. Or make one.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about finishing a Liegi Derringer kit, then doing the laser work to customize the grips. It turned out well enough, so I decided to finish and laser a second kit, to use as a door prize for a black powder workshop I’m doing at the annual meeting of the Liberal Gun Club this fall in Las Vegas.

All went well until the time came to mount the grip to the receiver. The top mounting screw went in fine, after drilling a pilot hole. But the bottom one broke loose as I was tightening it. I took the top screw back out so I could see what the problem was. This is what I saw:

Almost looks like a tiny wooden shoe from this angle, doesn’t it?

See right there in the center? That’s where the screw broke loose, knocking out the adjacent piece of wood. Just a fluke of the grain on this piece of wood.

There are several ways you can repair a problem like this. You can use a longer screw. You can fill in the broken material with a good wood epoxy, then remount the screw. You can change the hardware to relocate the screw. There are probably other good, simple solutions, but I’m not a wood-worker.

So of course I figured that I’d do the most difficult thing: carve a replacement grip out of another piece of walnut.

See, we had to take down a big walnut in our yard some years back. Most of the big pieces of good wood went to friends who are skilled wood-workers. The rest became firewood. We still have some of the firewood, so I picked out a piece and chopped it roughly to size:

That’s a funny-lookin’ grip.

Next, I spent a couple of hours with a drill, a heavy wood rasp, and a Dremel, and got the new grip down to an approximate form:

Roughed out.

Then it was a matter of more detailed carving, to get closer to the shape of the original grip, and to make room for the hardware of the receiver:

Still a little bulky …

I had decided to make this grip a little more robust than the original, since I didn’t trust my skills to not over-do it and make a fragile grip. But I didn’t want it TOO big:

Pleased to meet you.

Once I was satisfied with the shape of the grip, it was time to laser the design into the sides. To get the designs positioned properly, I used some reference tape:

I did the laser work, then stained the grip and polished it slightly. Assembly went just fine, and the mounting screws set without a problem. Here’s the finished product:

I’m pretty happy with the finished product, and hope whomever wins it will enjoy shooting it.

Jim Downey

August 4, 2022 - Posted by | Anecdotes, black powder | , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] [The entire post about this project can be found here.] […]

    Pingback by Get a grip. Or make one. | Communion Of Dreams | August 4, 2022 | Reply


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