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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 12/13/2005 9:55:45 AM EDT
I'd like to checker the frontstrap on a few of my 1911's. I know for sure that one thing I will need is a checkering file, and probably a jig to help keep the lines straight. What other files/tools will I need? From the research I've done, it seems like I need a particular file to start the top of the border, but which file is correct? How about for blending the top of the checkering to the frame, can a dremel and sanding bit be used? Finally, I believe I need a seperate file for pointing up the diamonds themselves, but which one? I've seen the 60 degree bent file on brownells, but I've also read that it's best to use a 3-square flat file.

Thanks
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 10:53:11 AM EDT
I strongly recommend a credit card, a telephone and the number to a smith thats done it before.


Nothing completely ruins the appeal of a 1911 more than a botched checkering job.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 11:32:24 AM EDT
Thanks.

However, I'm tired of waiting for months to get work done. Plus, I want the satisfaction of doing this myself.

On this particular pistol, I've already added a new grip safety, blended a magwell and thumb safety. I'm not proclaiming to be a artist, but it doesn't look very bad. Since this gun will be a shooter, and not a safe queen, I'm not overly concerned about a few stray lines in the checkering.

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 11:47:42 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 5:26:13 AM EDT by hobbs5624]
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Link Posted: 12/13/2005 12:27:41 PM EDT
Thanks John.

I searched the Brownells sight, and the only 60 degree file I could find was single sided. I'm assuming this is the one you use, correct?

As for jigs, I've heard good things about the Marvel jig. Supposedly, it follows the contour of the frame so that you can do all your vertical and horizontal lines with it. Sounds neat.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 3:37:25 PM EDT
+1

I strongly recommend a credit card, a telephone and the number to a smith thats done it before.


Nothing completely ruins the appeal of a 1911 more than a botched checkering job.


Checkering is not something I recommend as a DIY job. There is a reason smith's charge a pretty penny for it.

If you do botch it, send it to George Smith at EGW. He or his guys will do the equivalent of a face transplant and you'll never be able to tell.



Link Posted: 12/13/2005 3:48:57 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
I strongly recommend a credit card, a telephone and the number to a smith thats done it before.


Nothing completely ruins the appeal of a 1911 more than a botched checkering job.



Eh. Obviously you weren't at the right gunshow to see the Colt Commercial, otherwise a very beautiful gun, with DIVOTS cut into the front with a drill press, for traction. Fucking heathens.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 3:59:59 PM EDT
Isn't that how Chuck Rogers and Dick Heinie do it?

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 4:02:18 PM EDT
This is the jig I'm thinking of:

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 4:10:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
I strongly recommend a credit card, a telephone and the number to a smith thats done it before.

Nothing completely ruins the appeal of a 1911 more than a botched checkering job.



I'm inclinded to think along these lines.

If you must try it yourself, start with a 1911 with no intrinsic appeal, like a Rock Island. Then, if your first job is bad, no one will be able to tell the difference.

Link Posted: 12/13/2005 4:34:46 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Joe_Blacke:
Isn't that how Chuck Rogers and Dick Heinie do it?




Sure, they do scallops and golfballs. The heathen did DIVOTS that went all the way through the front strap and didnt line up.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 4:40:48 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 7:00:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/13/2005 7:01:23 PM EDT by dfariswheel]
I've done quite a bit of steel checkering, and here's my advice:

First, DO NOT think that any guide device is going to help that much.
Hand checkering is HAND CHECKERING.
It's strictly a learned skill, and practice makes for good work.
Guides are nice as AIDS, but they aren't crutches.

Buy some chalk and chalk the files. This prevent chips from sticking and scarring the work.

Buy a wire brush to "scrub" the fresh cut checkering. This will help clean it up and will slightly dull the too-sharp new checkering.

BEST ADVICE: Buy some 3/4" steel pipe or bar stock and practice on THAT.
This is a lot more available and replaceable than an actual gun.

Start out by practicing on some mild steel flat pieces.
This will give you the "feel" and allow you to figure out how to keep the depth and evenness equal.

Buy an Opti-Visor magnifier in your choice of focal length.
Buy a good, bright bench light. You can't do good work if you can't see.

Buy some cold blue and Q-tips or some machinist's lay-out fluid. It's easier to see the work if you darken the new checkered areas to check for proper depth and evenness.

Don't checker quite as deep and finished as you might think at first.
You take the checkering about 99% down, then finish-point and even it up with the 3-square file.
Then, to finish evening everything up, make a LIGHT one stroke pass over the surface, moving the file over ONE line at a time.

Practice A LOT, before tackling a good gun. Scrap metal and old gun parts are your friend.
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 7:03:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 5:26:25 AM EDT by hobbs5624]
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Link Posted: 12/13/2005 9:00:55 PM EDT
dfariswheel & hobbs are right on with their advice. Couple of additional thoughts: take your time until you get the feel for it. Takes several hours to do a good job. Very important - don't rub your eyes, or you'll end up at the eye doc having the metal flakes picked out (yes, that is the voice of experience). Good luck. JD
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 4:35:01 AM EDT
Gentlemen,

Thank you very much.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 10:22:47 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 5:26:33 AM EDT by hobbs5624]
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Link Posted: 12/14/2005 10:49:30 AM EDT
Thanks, John. I appreciate the advice, and the offer. I'm not expecting anything spectacular from my first attempt, but at least I'm going to learn something. I figure if I screw it up, I'll just file it down a bit, and cover it with grip tape.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:05:13 PM EDT
Here's an old thread I had responded to in regards to practicing checkering on scrap rolled steel pieces. I have links to a lot of pics on what is involved. Probably better ways to do it, but it worked for me.
www.1911forum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65692
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 5:20:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/9/2006 5:26:42 AM EDT by hobbs5624]
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Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:31:19 PM EDT
Well, the files got here today. In a fit of stupidity, I decided to go ahead and start checking a frontstrap, rather than practice on a piece of scrap. I would have saved myself a ton of headaches if I would have practiced beforehand.

In total, I spent just under 8 hours on this today. All I got done was the first pass of the verticals and horizontal lines. I still need to go over them again with the checkering file, and then finish up with the 3-square.

God, my hands hurt.






Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:57:02 PM EDT
Congrats on not screwing the pooch!
Link Posted: 12/20/2005 7:57:35 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Combat_Jack:
Sure, they do scallops and golfballs. The heathen did DIVOTS that went all the way through the front strap and didnt line up.



Oh my sweet God, I think I'm going to be sick.
Link Posted: 12/21/2005 10:59:54 PM EDT
I know my thumbs got blisted pretty good everytime I do it!!
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