I had a tough time finding some that would look right and I was torn between smooth walnut or more traditional civilian grips. I was also on a budget. Fortunately, I was able to find some used grips online at Sarco, Inc.
How to Clean Old Wooden Grips for a Revolver
When they arrived, they were pretty dirty and left brown marks on my hands. So, I searched the internet for advice on how to restore them. There were plenty of videos featuring men with garages working with a variety of compounds to get the grips into shape. I didn't have the budget or dedicated space to do that kind of project. So, I used plenty of Dawn dishwashing soap, warm water, an old toothbrush and some elbow grease. The grips cleaned up in no time. I did a couple of cleaning sessions, rinsed them thoroughly and let them dry overnight in front of a fan. Then I used some acetone nail polish remover to remove some silver numerals that had been painted onto the bottom of grips by some former institutional owner. Then I soaked them with Dawn again and hit again with the toothbrush and put them in front of a fan for another evening.
|Smith & Wesson K-frame Grips Drying After Cleaning|
How To Refinish Wooden Revolver Grips with Tru-Oil
There are a number of ways to refinish revolver grips. Serious hobbyists do some excellent work with linseed oil. However, since my grips were going on a cosmetically challenged shooter grade revolver and since I was on a tight budget, I opted to use Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish. Some folks do an awesome job and achieve a fine sheen with this product, but I just wanted to apply a couple of coats and stop while I was ahead.
Here are the steps I used:
- I created a work area with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
- I applied the oil with a rag (left over material from some new khaki pants that had recently been hemmed).
- I applied the oil in the direction of the grain of the wood.
- I used another old toothbrush to work the oil down into the checkered areas of each grip.
- I immediately wiped off excess Tru-Oil with my rag.
- I set the newly oiled grips on top of a plastic shoe box to dry.
- After 2 or 3 hours, I applied a second coat of Tru-Oil.
- Again, I set the newly oiled grips on top of a plastic shoe box to dry.
|Smith & Wesson K Frame Grips Drying After Tru-Oil was applied.|
My Old Smith & Wesson Revolver's New LookHere are a couple of photos of my old Smith & Wesson British Service Revolver sporting it's spiffy new old grips. I think these grips give me a better grip on the firearm, have the appropriate vintage look, match the aging metal work, and look pretty darned good.
The wooden grips definitely fill the hand much better. I like the extra purchase provided by the checkering as opposed to the smooth faux pearl grips.
Observations on Tru-Oil Gun Stock FinishI'll let the serious woodworkers debate the merits of Tru-Oil versus other finishes. I'll just say that Tru-Oil was easy to apply, didn't require a dedicated garage space, and didn't stink up the apartment.
Applying Tru-Oil. I used a rag to apply Tru-Oil to my grips. Since some of the Tru-Oil seeped through the material, I also got some on my fingertips. I found that for a small project, it was fairly easy to clean my hands using Dawn. But, some of the internet gurus recommended using gloves and I think I would go that route for a larger project.
Using a Toothbrush with Tru-Oil. I also tried applying Tru-Oil directly to the checkering by dunking a toothbrush in the bottle. That made a mess as the brush comes out with way to much oil and drips all over the grips. Fortunately, the rag was handy and it was easy to wipe away the excess oil. The toothbrush was handy for getting the oil down into the checkering. I just don't recommend dunking it into the oil.
Tru-Oil Smell. My wife can pick up on the faintest of scents and she said she noticed it. However, it didn't linger, we didn't have to run fans, and we didn't have to leave the apartment. Compared with many other gun oiling and cleaning products, Tru-Oil wasn't objectionable. Amazon sells it in various sizes and you can also get it at retailers like Walmart.
Overall, I'm really happy with my little project and I found Tru-Oil convenient and easy to work with on my pistol grips.