View Full Version : Metal checkering

May 19, 2011, 08:06 PM
I have never done any type of checkering but would like to know what tools are needed and the level of difficulty? Thanks.

May 19, 2011, 09:31 PM
Contact mr. Alex b. Hamilton @ 10-ring precision in san antonio, texas or john nowlin @ nowlin guns. They are both members of the american pistolsmith guild and can answer all your questions regarding metal checkering.

Tell alex that michael in sealy, texas said "howdy"


Hunter Customs
May 20, 2011, 09:20 AM
I have never done any type of checkering but would like to know what tools are needed and the level of difficulty? Thanks.

To do metal checkering by hand it will be best to have some type guide to lay out your lines.
You will also need some checkering files.

When doing the checkering on the front strap of a 1911 I prefer to do the vertical lines first and then the horizonal lines.

While laying out all your lines I recommend not cutting them to deep at first until all the lines are layed out.
I've heard some claim they like to use a little water on their files while cutting the lines, I always prefered to chalk my files.

I hope this helps, if you do enough checkering your hands and elbows will pay the price.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter

May 20, 2011, 07:00 PM
Tools needed are steel checkering files in whatever lines per inch you want to use. These are expensive.
These files cut a series of grooves in the steel, and when filed at a crossing angle make checkering.

You'll also need a triangular needle fire, a wire file "card" or brush to clean the files, some chalk to chalk the file to prevent chips from sticking in the file, a good light, a small adjustable vise, and a magnifier visor like the Opti-Visor in whatever focal length you like.

A guide device is nice, but it's only an aid to get the checkering started. It's no substitute for your skill in keeping things straight.

Level of difficulty is high because this is a pure hand and eye skill that takes time to learn and perfect.
The way to learn and develop the skill is to buy some steel 3/4" round bar stock to practice checkering the front of frames, and some small square bar stock to practice checkering areas like slide stops.

Buy the files and most other tools at Brownell's.

May 20, 2011, 09:58 PM
Thanks guys. I'm thinking of checkering the ENTIRE slide of a Walther SP22.

May 21, 2011, 03:41 AM
If you're checkering a large flat surface it would be better to use a milling machine .
On difficult locations a graver comes in handy in addition to the checkering files..
I find checkering front and backstraps very helpful in getting a firm grip. However my checkering is always 'flat top ' checkering. That is leave a flat top on the points . This still gives a very good gripping surface but is much easier on clothing with your carry gun.
Use 20 lpi or finer files. Sometimes the finer files ar better for certain guns .For example the front strap on a BHP is very thin in parts so mine was checkered finer than 20 lpi and only in the center of the frontstrap.

May 21, 2011, 06:58 AM
Thanks guys. I'm thinking of checkering the ENTIRE slide of a Walther SP22

I think you mean the aluminum housing. Just curious though why do you want to checker it? For looks? I don't know if it is even thick enough to checker by file.


May 21, 2011, 11:03 AM
Brownells has checkering files from 20-75 lpi ! For a gripping surface even the 40 lpi works in my experience .The depth there can be used on very thin material.
Again for a large flat surface a milling machine or some type of guide will make a much nicer job.

May 22, 2011, 12:02 AM
Yes teeroux, not actually a slide but a metal housing. i just hate the looks and texture of the current finish and think it would look kind of neat.