Kitchen Table Checkering

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Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by BE Mike on Sat Aug 04, 2012 8:55 am

I am seriously considering taking the plunge and checkering the front strap of my Springfield Armory Loaded. I use the frame for my Marvel Precision conversion. I've worked on my own guns for quite a few years, doing minor things, like trigger jobs, replacing parts, minor repairs and adjustments. I have detail stripped the frame of my 1911 many times. Many years ago, I built a 1911 from parts and it worked! My motivation is to save money and take on the project for the self-satisfaction.

If I decide to do this, I've decided to order the checkering guide from Brownells with a couple of the files (a checkering file and a medium 60 degree file). Anyone done this before? Would you do it again, if you had it to do over?

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by Larry Lang on Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:53 am

Best of luck on this project. I once made some 1911 grips. After 2 sets I decided to checker one. Checkering is like tattoos...permanent.

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by Bryan Coyle on Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:45 am

DIY guide ...
http://www.ontargetcgw.com/basefile/diy-check.htm
/B

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by DavidR on Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:56 am

Stippling is easier and just as effective, use a air powered chisel with a sharpened point, works fast too. just tape off what you dont want stippled with gorilla tape.

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by Rob Kovach on Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:14 pm

Joe Fobes checkered mine with a file and a jig. It looks great. I'd attach a photo but the guns are in the car for a match tomorrow.

He says that you will use up a file on stainless but on normal steel the files will last longer.

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by Steve B on Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:19 pm

Please post photos of your checkering job Mike. Wold love to see photos of stippling also.

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by Founder on Sat Aug 04, 2012 10:25 pm

I will provide you with my .02 on checkering. It sucks! Looks fabulous, works great and takes a weekend to do.
Put me out of commission for a few months a couple years ago, tendinitis developed from all the filing.

It is tedious and time consuming. The files are about $50 a pop for good ones a d you will destroy one doing a stainless gun. I have a carbon frame in the jig right now, it's been there for about a week. Just can't bring myself to get started on it!

I now order all my frames checkered, not sure how I ended up with the one in the jig right now? Maybe for a lower cost dedicated lower for a conversion?

Stippling is not near as effective in my opinion, at least I have not felt any that compared to 20 lpi checkering. Sharks tooth, that's a whole different story that stuff draws blood!

I think that was more than .02, sorry

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by BE Mike on Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:11 am

Joe Fobes wrote:I will provide you with my .02 on checkering. It sucks! Looks fabulous, works great and takes a weekend to do.
Put me out of commission for a few months a couple years ago, tendinitis developed from all the filing.

It is tedious and time consuming. The files are about $50 a pop for good ones a d you will destroy one doing a stainless gun. I have a carbon frame in the jig right now, it's been there for about a week. Just can't bring myself to get started on it!

I now order all my frames checkered, not sure how I ended up with the one in the jig right now? Maybe for a lower cost dedicated lower for a conversion?

Stippling is not near as effective in my opinion, at least I have not felt any that compared to 20 lpi checkering. Sharks tooth, that's a whole different story that stuff draws blood!

I think that was more than .02, sorry
Actually Joe, that is the exact kind of post I was looking for. I sure don't want to develop tendonitis and be out of commission for a long time. I might have to reconsider.

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by rob5r on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:02 am

I would try to find a piece of 1" round stock to practice on. I've heard that the radius is pretty close to the front strap of a 1911. Or I would try doing a main spring housing first. But I wouldn't do the front strap of a 1911 as your first project.

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

Post by Brassburnz on Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:07 pm

I've checkered four of my guns. For the first two, I used a 30 lpi checkering file. That drove my eyes crazy. For the last two I went to 20 lpi. It was a lot easier on my eyes.

Here is a pic of the tools I use to checker. I can't remember who makes the checkering jig, but I think it was from Al Marvel. It doesn't look like the Marvel jig available today from Midway and Brownell's. The file that looks like it has hooks on the end really works well for removing metal after you've got the lines laid out with the checkering file. You can put pressure right where you want it by pressing down in the curve. I don't remember what you call that type of file.

The rounded object is a 10X magnifying loupe that was left over from my days as a photo editor. I was going to buy a magnifier you can wear on your head, but this works out well. Just place it on the frontstrap and it is automatically in focus.
[img][/img]

This is a Rock Island Armory frame from Armscorp. The metal is softer than a Springfield or Colt, so it's actually a little easier to checker. It is a dedicated frame for my Marvel Unit 1. The points on the checkering are not that sharp and not that deep because I didn't want to chew up my hand.
[img][/img]

I also like the highest hold possible, so I undercut the trigger guard a little. I use a sanding drum and a Dremel tool. I would have ground away a little more material, but I was getting tired. I also relieve this area so it is lower than the checkering on the frontstrap.
[img][/img]

Here is a Springfield Armory frame that I didn't finish. I was getting tired so I just stopped working. I didn't need it for anything. I'll finish it later.
[img][/img]

Take your time. Don't over do it. Your fingers will tell you when it's time to rest. It usually takes me between 3 and 5 hours to complete a job. I usually work no longer than an hour a day. I can work faster, but then it is no fun at all. Let the files do the work. If they stop cutting, don't exert more force. Chances are the teeth are clogged up and you need to clean them with a file card. Good luck!

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Re: Kitchen Table Checkering

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