Yeah, a lot of people laugh when you mention that you use Skate Board Tape on the front strap of your 1911. But checkering is expensive even machine checkering. And those Wilson Combat checkered front strap panels are a good idea but poorly executed. They are ridged sheet metal that is sharp so they tend to cut the skin and scratch the gun while fitting and installing them. Plus they dent easily. Not an ideal solution.
I've used skate board tap on the front straps of my Kimbers for years. But I wasn't wholly satisfied with it which is why I went with the Wilson checkered panels. But they left a bit to be desired. But they did give me an idea.
Before the traditional method of using skate board tape was to adhere it directly to the front strap. The disadvantages to this are that it usually has to be replaced any time solvent got under the adhesive the tape had to be replaced. This is always a messy job. Plus it has to be replaced after it wears down a bit. Then the idea came to me, removable panels of skate board tape.
So I did a little measuring and pondering and came up with panels of SBT stuck to Aluminum foil! They are sandwiched between the grip panels which hold them secure. They come off when you clean the gun and they are easily made so they can be replaced easily. Here's how to make and install them.
cut 2 panels of skate board tape 1-3/8" x 2-3/8" and adhere to 2 pieces of aluminum foil then trim the foil flush with the SBT panels.
To fit them to the grip frame remove the right grip panel and loosen the left. Slide the SBT panel under the left grip panel until the edge is flush with the opening in the frame while holding the frame with the palm and fingers of the left hand.
Now tighten the screws on the left panel. Next wrap the rest of the SBT panel around the grip, pushing it tight with the fingers of the left hand, replace the right grip panel and secure the panel to the frame. You're done.
The finished product looks and feels great.