Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics)
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Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics)


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Old 02-19-2014, 05:03 PM   #1
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Default Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics)

So you want to make your own shotgun or rifle butt plate in the style, shape and color you want rather than whats available on the market. Or you want to make your own custom pistol grip side plates or your own compound bow grip or a custom knife handle, musical instrument parts and all of these in the color, texture, patterns and style of your design and liking. Well buddy have I got a deal for you.

As my handle states, Im a DIYr that loves making stuff rather than buying it and I like doing it with limited or modest tools and with things found around the house and hardware store.

I am custom knife maker, bow maker, hard leather worker (sheaths and holsters) soft leather worker (mitten, moccasin) custom butcher/sausage maker, gun restorer, etc. Im a shadetree DIYr that loves to pass along DIY tips.

Ill show you the steps used in making your own plastic parts (as mentioned above) for some knives I made but it takes very little imagination to apply these tips to pistol grips, butt plates, bow handles, etc. The sky is really the limit. Lets begin.

For knife handles this is known as layered micarta and can be done with cloth, fabrics, papers, wood (very, very thin wood) or any medium that will absorb the binder/resin.

Lets say you want to make a part for your knife, bow, gun, etc out of an old pants/shirt, feed sack, paper, carbon fiber, fiberglass, ect because the color or texture appeals to you. Lets begin.

In this case I want a black handle and red handle spacers so Im making it out of an old pair of black dress pants that had a busted zipper and an old red T-shirt. I cut squares that were 4 by 4 so that I can get a matched set of handle scales.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

This is messy work and I wear rubber gloves that quickly were covered in resin so not many pics were taken during the actual assembly of layers. I got the resin and hardener from Walmart but it can be found at hardware stores or DIY big box stores.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

I used a plastic bin to coat each square and a squeegee (old credit card or hotel room key card) to spread and saturate the cloth.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

I would be clamping the stack between two wood slabs. I cut apart a large Ziploc bag and taped it to the blocks to keep them from sticking to the fabric squares.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

16 layers thick. Notice how the Ziploc bag material is no longer smooth and tightly stretch over the block. This stuff gets really hot. I could not hold the mixing container due to the heat.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Then I clamped them together as tightly as I could. I also made a set of thinner pieces out of a red T-shirt. I will use them for spacers. They are only 2 layers thick.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

I let them set for 24 hours even though the container said it would be cured in 2 .

After prying the blocks apart.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

After sawing off the excess.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

All that pressure did a good job of making a very solid and heavy chunk of resin impregnated cloth.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Here are the scales and spacers I cut for the knife.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

I took a piece of scrap and rounded and polished it to see what the surface would look like without applying any kind of finish. I polished it on a flannel buffing wheel with Tripoli compound. It even looks a little like carbon fiber.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Since this is just an example of how this process works, I am using one of the Chicago Cutlery factory 2nds I have on hand. Im not sure what about them makes them 2nds but they sell them at a good price. This is just a basic kitchen knife and perfect for this sort of explanation.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

I used brass pins and my regular slow cure epoxy to attach the handle parts. I used a belt sander and palm sander to shape. I went from 50 grit to 400 grit sandpaper and then 000 steel wool and finally the flannel buffing wheel. Here is the finished handle made from a pair of pants and an old T-shirt.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Interesting patterns can be made by using different colored cloth layers.

I thought I would give denim a try. And a few other colors of cloth as well as construction paper.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

I used another Chicago Cutlery blade.

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

10 layers of green construction paper. This stuff has great potential and comes in a wide variety of colors (and is cheap)

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

How about Burlap and green T-shirt?

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects

Are you coming up with ideas? Is the local goodwill store filled with an endless supply of cheap medium in a variety of colors and textures for your next project??

The cured micarta works like very hard wood and basic woodworking tools are all that is needed. It can be drilled and tapped and does not require a finish coat although more gloss can be had by applying a super glue finish or any of the spray on coatings.

I hope this sparks your creative side. Enjoy.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:12 PM   #2
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Awesome post thanks for sharing

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Old 02-19-2014, 05:18 PM   #3
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Mycarta

better judged by twelve than carried by six.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:22 PM   #4
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Yourcarta, but this is micarta.
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:22 PM   #5
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Very nice....
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:29 PM   #6
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That is pretty damn cool!
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:40 PM   #7
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Eye opener, very cool!

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Old 02-19-2014, 11:36 PM   #8
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Thanks, DIY_guy........................
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:01 AM   #9
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Next time you find some cholla cactus dried up, give some of that a try.

Pictures shamelessly linked from
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1031305-Prickly-Pear-Cactus-for-knife-handles
Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects
Making your own plastic grips/handles/butt plates (w pics) - DIY Projects
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Old 02-20-2014, 03:38 AM   #10
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Cool! Very cool! A lot of work, but cool! Very cool!

John
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