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Old 01-20-2013, 07:06 AM
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Ivory / Bone Grips Preservation

If you own a favorite 1911 or even an other model handgun, eventually you may wish to upgrade your grips to a nice natural material like ivory or bone, stag, etc.

Currently the cost of legal ivory has gotten very expensive, about like buying another gun. However, bone on the other hand is actually pretty cheap by comparison if you shop carefully. Although I do not buy on eBay, I do check prices there and see white bone grips for $24-25.

I decided to buy 3 sets of 1911 white bone grips direct from the maker in Vietnam, although it felt weird to me to do so. However, in my mind, if General Hal Moore can go back and shake hands, well I guess I can buy grips.

If you have not read any of Moore's books suggest you do so. He is one of the most influential leaders in our military history, he literally wrote the manual on leadership and training in the new military. One of Moore's students at West Point was Schwarzkopf and Moore was his personal hero.

My intent in buying the bone was to have it laser engraved which involves in the process filling the cuts with India ink, with a wipe off. I became concerned, before I started the process, that the bone delivered to me could be porous and not properly preserved. I did not want to have the ink migrate past the cuts. Plus I did not want the cuts to reject the ink either.

I had previously gone to Boone Trading Company's site on line and read their recommendations for preserving ivory and bone. Boone specializes in ivory, bone, stag, etc grips. Boone recommends that you simmer the grips submerged in mineral oil for a number of hours until the grips quit bubbling. The bubbles indicate replacement of air and moisture by the oil. This replacement is supposed to stabilize the grips from moisture changes and heat induced alteration such as expansion and contraction.

I decided to test my three sets of grips, as I recall well that most items from Asia usually lack something in the process of manufacture. Sure enough, as soon as the oil got hot, the grips started actually foaming. The grips at the start of the process were white as snow and after 7 hours at a 2 setting on an electric stove, had turned a beautiful ivory color with grain, looking very, very similar to ivory.

Boone recommends that such grips be coated with a neutral shoe polish. So, after taking the grips out, drying them off with paper towels, I applied a generous coat of the shoe polish wax on the outside surface while the grips were still hot. I left the underside uncoated as I also read warnings about sealing the grips up completely preventing the grips from "breathing."

By the way, the grips from Vietnam were of Water buffalo bone and have brass compression rings inserted to help prevent cracking from over tightening. That idea seems sound and adds a bit of pizzazz to the look.

I make note of this process to give all a heads up, to be sure you preserve your grips, if you order these, because I doubt that any of the products have been properly preserved, especially if they arrive in a snow white condition.
Ed
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Last edited by Rapier; 01-20-2013 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 04-16-2013, 03:07 PM
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This is the look of the finished product on my carry gun.
Ed
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File Type: jpg Ed's Para Ord Custom LDA Left.jpg (77.9 KB, 289 views)
File Type: jpg Ed's Para Ord Custom LDA Right.jpg (78.3 KB, 272 views)
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The three Rs: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:31 PM
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6.5s4ever 6.5s4ever is offline
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WoW! Ed,
Those look great! I have a Para P-12 stainless I use for a carry gun
on the job and those would look great on it. I will have to look into
bone for a grip material. What did the engraving logos etc cost you, and
who did the work?
Regards 6.5
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:33 PM
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The work was done by Infinate Lasers LLC in Destin, FL. Drew, the owner, is a gun guy and a retired EOD Master Sgt. I think he gets $40 if I recall correctly.
This is my son's grips for his 2245 Lite, that I built for him, he was a PJ NCO before he became a CRO.
Ed
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File Type: jpg J's 2245 grips.jpg (122.3 KB, 314 views)
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The three Rs: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

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