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

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by DIY_guy, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    So you want to make your own shotgun or rifle butt plate in the style, shape and color you want rather than what’s 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 DIY’r 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 DIY’r that loves to pass along DIY tips.

    I’ll 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 I’m 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 ½ by 4 ½ so that I can get a matched set of handle scales.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    I let them set for 24 hours even though the container said it would be cured in 2 ½ .

    After prying the blocks apart.

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    After sawing off the excess.

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

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

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    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.

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    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. I’m 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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    I used another Chicago Cutlery blade.

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

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    How about Burlap and green T-shirt?

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    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.
     
  2. Ez2b

    Ez2b New Member

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    Awesome post thanks for sharing

    One
    Big
    ***
    Mistake
    America
     

  3. mountainman13

    mountainman13 New Member

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    Mycarta

    better judged by twelve than carried by six.
     
  4. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Yourcarta, but this is micarta. ;)
     
  5. ndfi78

    ndfi78 New Member

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    That is pretty damn cool!
     
  6. cotex

    cotex New Member

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    Eye opener, very cool!

    Tex


    Sent from my iPhone using Firearms Talk
     
  7. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, DIY_guy........................
     
  8. KG7IL

    KG7IL Well-Known Member

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  9. onelonegunman

    onelonegunman New Member

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    Cool! Very cool! A lot of work, but cool! Very cool!

    John
     
  10. dteed4094

    dteed4094 New Member

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    I'm thinking this process would make a beaute of a laminate rifle stock. I will no doubt try this on something of a smaller scale, but it certainly rouses the imagination.
     
  11. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    That’s why I posted it. It will no doubt spawn all manner of offshoots of creativity. The sky really is the limit and reachable by everybody that has access to a hardware store.
     
  12. purehavoc

    purehavoc New Member

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    DIY guy , do you dye the cloth what ever color you like ? I have a couple of OKC Knives that have Micarta scales but they are ugly as sin . would like to do a black / hunter green laminate type color , Really like the gunny sack look also
     
  13. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    You dont have to dye anyting, just find fabric in the colors you like. Some will darken with the application of the resin. White becomes off whit/yellowish. The only medium that really holds it colors is construction paper. Its one of my favorites.
     
  14. 1turkeyhunter

    1turkeyhunter New Member

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    I really think that would make one hell of a set of grips for my 1911! Awesome post, thanks!!
     
  15. dteed4094

    dteed4094 New Member

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    I can see this as a way to add a cheek rest or pistol grip to a rifle by incorporating high density foam in your clamping process or in a layer by layer process. Maybe even a good way to repair broken or cracked furniture. Mold it as you would a kydex holster. Endless possibilities!!!
     
  16. JDallas5

    JDallas5 New Member

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    Very cool thanks for post


    More prepared than most. Less prepared than many.
     
  17. ams556

    ams556 New Member

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    DIY_Guy

    Any recommendations for a starting point for ar style pistol grips, forward grips?
     
  18. DIY_guy

    DIY_guy New Member

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    Make a big block and then mill/router/saw out where needed and then saw to shape and sand. Its like working with very hard wood. Do you have a picture of what it is you hope to make. That might help.
     
  19. JWagner

    JWagner New Member

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    Did you find that the resin you used put off a strong odor after it cured? My past experience using polyester resins and fiberglass on cars left a long lasting aroma. More recently I worked in a shop that did fiberglass work for small drones for military use. They used epoxy resin on their fiberglass jobs. It has no aroma during or after curing. I built some parts for my car and was quite pleased that there is no aroma. That was a nice and useful posting. Thanks for posting it.