What will shipping cost? How do you ship?
All items ship free within the United States. I ship USPS Priority Mail. Contact me by email for international shipping options.
Remember that this is not my day job, so I will not ship same-day. If you place your order before 10PM Eastern Time, I will most likely mail it the next business day. I will personally email you your tracking number upon shipping your order.
What is your return policy?
I will offer a full refund if you are not satisfied with my grips.
Just send me an email letting me know you'd like to return the grips. I will even cover return shipping.
Please note that if you have modified the grips I cannot accept them in return.
How should I install the grips on my pistol?
The grips should be a snug (but not forced) fit into your pistol's frame even before installing the grip screws.
Do NOT overtighten the grip screws. If wood grips are under strain, they are likely to crack from the shock of recoil. This particularly applies to designs where only a single screw secures the grip panel -- just because these are the ones where it is most tempting to really torque that screw down to keep them snug. Tighten no more than 1/4 turn past the point that the bottom of the screw head touches the wood. If you have trouble with the screws backing out, try using a drop of blue loctite to keep them in place.
My grip panels fit, but there is a little play in them. What should I do?
Please contact me to return the grips.
Some grip panels, like those for the Astra Cub, attach with only one grip screw. The only thing that keeps them from rotating around the axis of that screw is the plug shape on the back, which fits into a corresponding cutout in the frame.
When I fit these grips to my test pistol, I require that they have no play whatsoever. With the screws in place and not overtightened, it should not be possible to rotate either side's grip panel perceptibly at all. So this is the result you should expect.
However, guns made prior to the widespread use of CNC machining can vary significantly in their dimensions. Therefore it is possible that the grips that fit my pistol perfectly are loose on yours. In this case I recommend returning them as the play in the grips will always bother you.
My grip panels don't fit. What should I do?
You must choose between returning them or fitting them to your pistol's frame yourself.
I recommend figuring out why they don't fit. If it is due to the plug shape on the back, you can trim it with a metal file, rasp, or even nail file. It shouldn't require much material removal, so work slow and check fit often.
Otherwise, it is almost certainly best to return them.
Do you test the grips under recoil?
I test the first couple pairs I make to check to see if they hold up or need to be made thicker and sturdier.
Usually my goal is to match the factory grip thickness which can be difficult to do in wood. Most wood grips are made thicker than plastic grips because it's simply a less durable material. However, often the factory plastic grips leave a needlessly generous allowance around working parts like a trigger bar or disconnector, and I can leave more wood in those spaces to keep the grips strong.
After that initial design validation, I do not test each pair I sell as it would take far too much time and ammunition cost. However, I do offer a full refund if your grips break under recoil.
How are the grips made and finished?
The primary shape of the grips is cut on a CNC router. I do all the CAD/CAM for this myself using factory grips and a pistol frame to check dimensions. It generally takes a couple iterations of producing grips that don't quite fit perfectly before I am happy with the design for a new model.
I then sand the grips by hand up to 1000 grit.
Next I go back to the CNC router to add checkering. For anybody getting into CNC checkering I have the following tips which I found from experimentation.
- Use a sharp 90 degree engraving bit. I used to use V-groove router bits and they worked reasonably well in very hard woods, but anything soft or with an open grain could sometimes end up fuzzy. The best V-groove bit I found was the Whiteside 1500, but I have stopped using it and now use only engraving bits. An engraving bit has one cutting face and comes to a point that is slightly off-center. Because it is off-center it is able to cut as it spins. A V-groove bit comes to a point exactly in the center, where there is no surface cutting speed, so it essentially drags its point through the wood. The groove will have nice walls but be fuzzy at the bottom of the trough.
- Cut all the lines in the same direction, i.e. if you cut one line southwest to northeast, don't cut another one northeast to southwest. It is faster to have the machine go back and forth, starting the next line where the previous one ended, but it produces inconsistent-looking results.
- Assuming the grain of the wood runs vertically like |, and you have a clockwise-rotating bit, the lines that go like / will give you a lot more trouble than the ones going like \. Use a lower feed rate on these lines and you will get much less fuzz.
- You can cut all the / lines and then clean up the fuzz by hand by brushing the grips with a toothbrush or bronze bristle brush in parallel with the lines. The lines going the other way will not add a significant amount of fuzz.
Finally I finish with Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil. This takes about a week, applying one coat of finish every evening.