People often ask how I started making grips so here is how it all started:
I purchased a used 4” S&W 624 at a local gun shop. The gun was in good condition, but it had one problem which I’m sure many of you can relate to. It came with one of the ugliest set of aftermarket grips I have ever laid eyes on. I just couldn’t bare it, so I sanded them down and gave them a nice glossy refinish. They looked much better, but the walnut was still really plain and I knew I needed something more appealing.
Smith & Wesson factory grips where out of the question for me since I already knew I didn’t like the rounded 2×4 feel of them. I decided a set of Ebony smooth target grips would look really sharp on this handgun. After much research, I could only find one custom grip maker who was making Ebony grips. I wasn’t able to contact him directly, but I did get ahold of an outfit that stocked and sold his product. After several attempts, they couldn’t tell me what a set would cost and how long it would take. I got frustrated, threw up my hands, and said “forget it; I’ll make a set myself!”
My Dad was a master machinist by trade and owned his own shop so that’s pretty much where I grew up. I also did quite well in woodworking and metalworking courses in high school so I wasn’t afraid of the task. I got some cocobolo from a local lumber dealer and used that to make my first practice set of grips. I enjoyed carving the wood and watching the figure of the wood emerge so much that I felt like I was hooked. I bought a block of Macassar Ebony next. I didn’t have a band saw so I actually ripped it with a hand saw; that was fun! My first two sets were decent, but I needed to improve the shape and profile so I kept working on my design. Once I got my design just right, my target accuracy went up. I was showing my creations to fellow members of the S&W forum and it became clear early on that people where interested in other options than what was commercially available.
On the Smith & Wesson forum my handle is Kurac; some people call my grips kuracs or kurac’s. I made grips for a while as a hobby, but had at least one full time job to pay the bills. Finally at the end of 2012 I pulled the plug on working for other people and jumped into making grips full time. Now I am making grips for S&W N-frame square butt revolvers, S&W N-frame round to square conversion grips, S&W K/l-frame square butt grips, Colt Python smooth target grips and 1911 grips in a couple of styles. I am currently working in designing an N-round finger grooved combat grip based on the original Smith & Wesson design but with some of my improvements. My goal is to add one new style of grips per month. Please let us know what you are interested in!
I am only making grips out of wood at this time. I try to get the nicest wood that I can. Most of it is purchased in small quantities because that’s how highly figured wood occurs. I am constantly searching for the next nice piece.