View Full Version : How to cut "grasping grooves"

Harry Bonar
February 13, 2005, 06:24 PM
Dear Shooters:
I will try to get together pictures and instructions on how to make the fixture to mill grasping grooves on our 1911 slides and clones, of course.
Right now I will try to send some pictures but will have to get the instructions and dimensions added. Don't try from these pictures to mill the grooves. All they will show you is the basic set up.
The fixture isn't hard to make but is necessary because the 1911 slides
have a taper to them from bottom of rails to top of about .030 along their length. I use aluminum for it of about .850 thick and the width of mine is 1.140.
I'll try the pictiures now and [romise to get back with the measurements, groove spacing, depth and all that. Terrible pictures - my apology; will tryt to do better!! :eek:

February 13, 2005, 09:26 PM
Remember to cut them the right way - I saw a photo of a Remington M51 which had the grooves cut in the wrong direction by the factory !!! :D

February 15, 2005, 02:11 AM
I see, to get that "serrated" effect of the grasping grooves you run the end mill at and angle. Nifty noodles. I'll be looking forward to more details, as my "unicorn" project is a totally homebuilt 1911 made from a rough Caspian frame and slide... or as rough as Caspian can make it, anyway.

Dave Sample
February 15, 2005, 01:55 PM
We view Caspian Parts as raw material. It is up to the builder to make them nice.

Harry Bonar
February 21, 2005, 12:18 PM
My posts for measurements are on my posts on 2/16/05 at 13:59 and 17:27 hrs.
This works really great for me and I designed this for NOVAKS 45 Shop. The "spacing" is there as well; also on one post you use the same fixture to do restoration of rear Colt grasping grooves if you have one all fouled up, or, to cut on a slide that has none!
You'll have to go to those posts to get the measurements in case you've not already figured it out yourselves!
It is FOOLPROOF! I wondered how to get the slide secure, (not up in the air) horizontally; NOVAKS used to try with the slide verticle in a KURT vise until I figured this out.
In fitting an ED BROWN or other beavertail that has a .250 radius, I've got a foolproof method for doing this with a rotary table if you have one. If you'd like to have that info. I'll gladly give it on the SMITHY forum; but I don't want to be a nusiance! :) You can get a real professional fit with no wobble with this method in a mill! Not an EXPERT fit; an EXPERT is this: - an "EX" is a has been, and a "SPURT" is a drip under pressure. :eek:

February 23, 2005, 01:55 AM
Hey Hairy ;-)

I was thinking of cutting that .250" beavertail radius by putting a pin through the grip safety's pivot area of the frame and putting the center of the pin .250" from the end mill and rotating. Am I on the right track?

Harry Bonar
April 12, 2005, 07:40 PM
Dear Smith:
That ought to work just like a rotary table - leave a little there for final file fitting.
Harry B. :)

Dave Sample
April 13, 2005, 11:23 AM
Don Williams at The Action Works has a nifty jig for the .250 cut for a beaver tail grip safety. If he has the part, he can come pretty close. Sure beats that Big Bastard File that I did so many with. I use a machinist now every chance I get because time is running out for me.
I am doing something different than grasping grooves or front serrations. I am doing it this way.




This treatment is light years ahead of grooves. It is very easy to grab and very sticky

April 13, 2005, 12:30 PM
Mr. Sample, Is that checkering on the front and rear? How deep did you do the checkering? Correct me if I am wrong please, the top looks different from the sides. What did you use to create the sqaures with?

Dave Sample
April 13, 2005, 11:31 PM
The checkering front and rear is 25LPI and the strip down the middle is inverted 75 LPI with the points going in, instead of out. Interesting concept, huh?

N.M. Edmands
April 13, 2005, 11:47 PM
:) I really like that inverted checkering on top Dave. Would conventional checkering create reflection problems? It looks to the untrained eye, that your " inversion" would probably mute reflection. Nice work!

April 14, 2005, 12:43 AM
Thanks for the info Mr Sample. I really like the inverted checkering. Very intersting idea for sure.

April 14, 2005, 09:14 AM
Okay, I'll bite. How does one cut inverted checkering?

Was it all done with a punch?

Dave Sample
April 14, 2005, 12:38 PM
We kept it a secret for a few years, Handy, but everyone at the Shot Show who asked got an honest answer. It is done by a machining process called EDM. Since I am now retired and do not care what the others know, and makes no difference if you don't have the man that can do it. This is the slide treatment we will use for the new GSP EX 1911 Online Class of 2005. It is also the treatment we used in the EAGLE 2 "Short Sword" and Deans Shortsword 01.


Here is a pair to draw to! I have never been a "Me Too Guy."

April 14, 2005, 03:28 PM
I had realized EDM could be used for something like that, but I had thought you had done the work. Thanks, Dave.

Harry Bonar
April 14, 2005, 03:44 PM
Dear Dave:
Hey! That looks really great! You could patent that; I've seen several of your guns on the forum - they are really neat!
Harry B.

Dave Sample
April 15, 2005, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the kind words about the slide treatment I have developed. I thought I was a genius when I did the first one many years ago by hand. Then I saw a picture of a 1908 semi-auto some years later with the checkering on the slide. There really is nothing new under the sun. The Red Eye Special, my good old single stack steel gun, has 30 LPI checkering all the way around the back of the slide that I did about 13 years ago. It was a time consuming P.I. T. A. I had so much time tied up in that 38 Super that I could never sell it and break even.
This EDM treatment is expensive, it adds about $180.00 to the cost of the slide. Each pair of checkered squares is about what we would pay for grasping grooves ($40.00) , but when I add the strip down the middle, it doubles. It is so neat that I do not mind the extra expense to end up with such a fine handling gun. We had a lot of folks at the Shot Show handle Dean's SS01 and there were no negative comments at all. It is an effective way to grip the slide and works great on any size slide. The inverted checkering down the middle is a dull mat black after it is blued and non reflective in any light. It also points up nice for a quick and dirty sight picture.


The gun on the right is the final result of the proto-type on the left.


A view from the top of SS01.

Harry Bonar
April 16, 2005, 07:40 PM
Hey! Dave!
Look good; there isn't much of anything better looking that a well turned out 1911! (except maybe Brownie my Australian shepherd) :D

Dave Sample
April 17, 2005, 01:00 PM
I have Queensland Heeler here that lives with me, Harry! Me have good taste in Dawgs and Guns!


The Wicked Fellina!

April 18, 2005, 12:30 PM
Hi Dave - nice work!

I believe that at least one model of the old Colt/Browning 1903 38 ACP had checkering instead of serrations, and located forward rather than at the hind end. Nothing new under the sun, as you noted. :)

Dave Sample
April 18, 2005, 12:52 PM
That is what I saw the picture of years later after I had hand checkered the front of a 40 Short and Weak Custom Caspian that I built for my own amazement. I put a red trigger in it from Kings and got it to run with the then new round, but like the .380 Magnums, I just never could find that Magic Load like we could find for the 45 ACP. I traded it off for something that I can't remember or Stan sold it at a Gunshow and I can't remember if I got money for it. The checkering on the front of that slide will never be forgotten though. It was a hard job of work. There are very few people that would like the "new way" of doing things like the checkering I showed you since most 1911 work is the SOS DD. Also, you can buy a factory gun with all the extra goodies on it now, so taking a plain Jane 1911 and trying to make something of it is almost a Lost Art. Pistolsmiths that did all the work by hand are mostly out of business or dead now. The new guys are machinists.


This is a proto-type Mock Up of the new look for the GSP.

April 19, 2005, 08:20 AM
although this one has serrations, I have seen a similar model with checkering, IIRC.

http://www.loni.hr/browning/colt1900/colt1900.jpg :cool:

Bill Z
April 19, 2005, 09:27 AM
I'd like to see that one you mentioned a couple of times with the checkering, I don't believe I have ever seen one with it. Are you sure about the checkering?

April 19, 2005, 09:53 AM
Bill Z: I'd like to show you a picture but I haven't seen one in years. Sometimes, I'm not even sure I know my own name. Brain fade, you know. :o

Dave Sample
April 19, 2005, 10:11 AM
That picture is interesting because it has FRONT grasping grooves! I think the picture we are looking for is in a Coffee Table book about all of the Colt Pistols ever produced, including proto-types. It was a great idea then, and still is. Serrations are cheaper to machine and I have done front grasping grooves with a 20 LPI checkering file. They did not look too bad, either.

Harry Bonar
April 19, 2005, 09:08 PM
Dear Dave:
There is nothing more loyal than a good dog; there was a time in my life after my son Joe Bonar of NOVAKS was killed Aug 24, 03, when my lazy 95# australian shepherd seemed like my only friend and confidant.
Dogs get to know you (few church goers do, or care) and Brownie and I are as tight as we can be; he's 9 years old now and I can't bear to think of something happening to him. My son Joe had an airdale (OLD PHIL) - he was hit by car and Joe had to put him down - we have a little shrine in the field Joe built for him - dogs are special and I know your dog is too. It's a shame people can't at least act like dogs!
Your checkering is very nice, Joe could do it but I've never had the guts to try it! Good work Dave and I hope when time catches up with us both our dogs will share our gravesight - love you Dave!
Harry B.

Jammer Six
April 19, 2005, 09:31 PM
Bill, inverted checkering is no further away than your mailbox!


Dave Sample
April 19, 2005, 11:22 PM
You are absolultely right about Dawgs, Harry. Fellina is a little over four now. I picked her out after another little girl died at the hands of a careless driver. I watched her get hit, ran to pick her up and she bit right through my left thumb while I was trying to help her. I got her to the Vet and then went to VA to take care of the bite. She took three weeks to die and the morning she died on the operating table was one of the worst in my life. The Vet Bill was $2200.00 but I would have paid a lot more to save her. Saturday I went to the Humane Society and picked out this dawg and picked her up on my 69th birthday! She is with me every minute and every morning her head is on my pillow waiting to start another day in Paradise. I don't know why we give our hearts to a dawg to tear, but we do. They just don't last long enough to suit me. I fifgure it's about a 5 dawg lifetime Harry. We are Blessed!

Bill Z
April 20, 2005, 03:21 PM
Jammer Six Bill, inverted checkering is no further away than your mailbox!

Pony up with the info Jammer, I'm not sure who, how, or how much. Can you give me the details on that? What has been your experience with this type of checkering or the process, or the people who do it? I would really like to hear your success rate and reasons behind it, or find out if you are trolling. :rolleyes:

Dean Taylor
April 20, 2005, 04:06 PM
Slide checkering either standard type or reverse is easier to grasp than grasping grooves/seratioms for my hands thus I used it on my SS01. I first saw reverse checkering when I visited Dave's shop 3 years ago. As has been posted it is expensive to have done.

Jammer please educate me about your experience with reverse checkering. Do you do it yourself? Have you done it to Titanium received? How did it turn out?

[email protected]

Jammer Six
April 21, 2005, 02:34 AM
I'm flattered, guys.

Really. :D

Bill Z
April 21, 2005, 08:26 AM
Jammer Six I'm flattered, guys.

May I ask, over what? I'm just lookoing for some info I thought you could expound on based on your post, I guess it's your little secret.

July 1, 2005, 01:40 PM
Attached is a (pi$spo0r) picture of a 1902 Model Colt 38 ACP with the forward checkering I mentioned up above.

I know this is old but some of you will probably be interested. Picture courtesy of Wildalaska.


Dave Sample
July 1, 2005, 09:06 PM
Well here is mine, courstesy of Dave Sample aka: Captain Eagle.