General Info About What You Are Ordering...
- Tombstone Gun Grip Kits are blocks, blanks, or generic shapes that YOU fit to your gun, saving money and getting the fit precisely right. Most are almost-finished grip kits that need the final edge sanding or other easily-done work to make them fit perfectly to your gun.
This is something that is not possible without the gun in hand. I do NOT accept firearms for fitting.
Tombstone kits save you money, provide you with stronger material than the factory does, and make it possible to get as good a fit
as possible, and offer blanks to make grips for guns that are discontinued, or not popular enough for
mass production. I can make any of the listed blanks/blocks/generic shape in any of the listed colors, translucent affects to your order as specified on the option listings.
- Grips that need spacers or raised portions
can have them added as separate items that you fit to the gun frame and epoxy glue to the back of the grip.
Grips that need relief cuts will require the use a little rotary bit tool (Dremel, for instance)
to fit your gun. I offer many small spacer blocks and shapes that you can use instead of getting a larger block.
- The grips are made of high strength polyurethane resin epoxy. The description is for the COLOR, not the material.
They are NOT made of actual walnut, ebony, pearl, ivory, gold, or amber.
I do not have time to carve grips to order. The shape and size is what you see listed. I can mix special
colors and effects, however, for one of a kind combinations of grip model, color, and medallions. The combinations are astronomical.
I do NOT hand carve each grip. That is the job of a gunsmith or stockmaker, and the cost for this labor will far exceed the Tombstone grip kit prices. I don't custom checker, scrimshaw, or carve initials and can't make a grip larger than the listed specs (you or I can easily make it smaller).
When you send a pattern or tracing, I can usually reshape to match a larger grip to it so you can just do the final exact fit to your gun. I have all I can do filling orders as described! Sometimes I get 2-3 months behind just handling all of those orders, so I cannot imagine spending two days on a single custom carved grip! There are skilled wood-carvers who will do that for you, in a different price range. Tombstone has a specific place in the world of gun grips, filling a certain range of needs, but I don't try to push that outside my defined market. (An auto-body painter probably wouldn't be the best cosmetic surgeon, and vice versa!)
- I make the polyurethane in small lots for each block/blank/generic shape. It is a high temperature, high strength material which does not fade,
warp, melt, crack, burn, or chip with moderately hot temperatures, as do
factory injection-molded thermoplastics or natural wood grips.
It is just a tad amusing when someone mentions "plastic grips" as if all plastic was the same. Factory or mass produced grips use a quick-melt, quick-set thermoplastic to get the injection molding speed needed to keep the cost per part down. Thermo-setting polymers will melt again if you get them hot.
The polyurethane resin that I make is also a polymer, just like a prime rib and pasture grass are both a kind of food. But you would not order a plate of grass, and the cow wouldn't order the prime rib, even if they are both food. Likewise, thermosetting plastic is a world away from epoxy resins like polyurethane, and even polyurethane itself has hundreds of variations in strength, appearance, heat resistance and other parameters.
When we think of "cheap plastic" we are normally thinking of everyday items molded from a thermosetting polymer in high speed ejection molding machines. The ingredients that I use to make the polyurethane epoxy resin for grips costs more per pound than prime rib.
A single gallon of the combined materials, which include a platinum catylist and various other expensive materials, would pay for hundreds of thermoplastic "factory" grips. It is certainly not "cheap" but in this application, it saves labor.
I can spend several days making the silicone mold for your particular grip, and then use that mold dozens of times to create exact copies of the shape, but with custom mixed polymer for the desired appearance and color. Each copy takes about an hour and a half to completely mix, de-gas in a vacuum chamber, mold, cure, and heat treat, but that beats hand carving each one!
The mold lasts several dozen casts, and then I have to build another, but then I have the model or core already made and saved. Making another mold takes about half as long the second time. So you see, for a certain range of pricing and for making limited numbers of one-off grips with custom color to your order, this production method is perfect. Outside of that, it isn't. That's why I have some restrictions on what I can offer affordably.
- Items are what you see listed and shown, except for color:
- Examine the picture, description and dimensions carefully BEFORE you order!
- Compare to your gun.
- If it obviously is the wrong size, don't order that one! It won't change when you get it.
- If I don't show the size you want, I don't have it yet.
- The materials are sold with the understanding that YOU have the necessary knowledge and skill to sand, and polish them, and to make the needed relief cuts and alignment holes, etc. They are an aide to stock makers, pistol smiths, gunsmiths in general, and hobbyists who want to make their own but would like more options and a better starting point with less wasted material. Also the universal screw kits are convenient.
You may need to do some routing or drill a pin alignment hole in the back of the grip to exactly match your gun,
depending on the model. If a grip uses screws that thread into the frame of the gun,
rather than passing through and matching a press-fit nut in the other grip, you will need to use the screws that came
with your gun (or buy new ones from Brownells or Numrich, etc. if they have been lost), except for a few listed special screws that I have in stock for certain models of guns.
I only have the screw mount kits you see listed under the hardware category. I do not have factory original screws to sell other than the few modern replacements that I list for certain guns.
If you order a solid color option, such as pink or blue grips, and ALSO order a pearl or other translucent color option,
then the second option is the one I will assume you meant. Don't order both solid and translucent colors for the same item!
Leave the "solid" color at
ivory, or select the "use pearl" option, if you select a translucent effect on the next drop-down menu.
Ordering both solid and pearl at the same time for the same grip makes no sense. It is one thing or the other.
Can't have a four-man trio or a married bachelor or ... well, you get it.
A translucent opaque grip is the same contradiction in terms.
Some grips are too small for the larger size medallions. If you order a medallion too large for a
certain grip, it may stick up on the sides in one plane. Usually a small grip will work with a 5/8-in or smaller medallion.
I do NOT install customer-provided medallions in your grips, nor do I install medallions you buy from me into your grips. I do not work on customer-provided existing
Why not? Well, if I lose, break, or ding up your item, then what? I can't make another one appear out of thin air.
I really don't have time to take the risk, and you really don't want to take it, either!
I don't make exceptions. Been there, done that,
learned the lesson!
If you send an appropriate size and round shape of medallion that you obtain elsewhere, I will be glad to install it for you in a grip you order from me, no charge! It is too expensive to license trademark Colt, S&W, Ruger, etc., brand OEM medallions, and it is illegal for me to make and install counterfeit copies of trademark medallions. (I know, others do it... let them fight the corporate attorneys over intellectual property infringements. I'm too busy making grips.)
So what this means is I do NOT offer Colt, S&W, Ruger, etc., medallions period, end of story. If you want to buy some, real or counterfeit, and mail them to me to install in grips I am making for you, then I am glad to do that.
It is not illegal for me to install customer-provided medallions in grips made for the same customer. I just can't sell grips with trademark medallions that I make, commission, or buy without paying license fees to the trademark owning company. And I'd rather keep the prices reasonable for the grips than have to recover that kind of cost each year.
Here's a tip: to obtain OEM medallions, look for beat up used grips on the auction sites. Often you can get a set of poor looking grips with nice factory medallions in them for less than you pay for just the legal medallions! I can remove them if you send the grips, and install them in a set that I make for you.
Again, no charge for that (just for the grips and shipping). Email me first, though, so I can find out if the particular medallion is suitable to fit the grip you are ordering. Some non-round medallions take too much hand fitting and inletting, and some may be too large for the particular location or grip you ordered.
If you want some special medallion, it doesn't hurt to ask. I normally just have what you see listed on my webstore.
But sometimes I
can find a special one for you. I once made a set of 1911 grips for a Special Forces Instructor in hot pink with "Hello, Kitty!"(tm) ear rings as medallions! His girl friend gave them to him as a joke, but he thought it was great fun to carry them and dare anyone to say anything about it! He could outshoot them with his "weak" hand to prove you can't judge a book by its cover and make a point. And I had fun making them, too. Proves if you can walk the walk, who cares what someone thinks about your choice of grips? -Or anything else...
Medallions come from many sources, some manufactured to my order and some that exist for other purposes that I buy and stock.
As such they have different sorts of backs for mounting. Some have screw stud backs, others are flat, and some may have
pins or other kinds of mountings. There is no choice of the kind of back: each medallion is made the way it is.
Don't order a medallion with a flat back and ask me to make it with a screw stud back -- can't do it.
All of them can be mounted in a round hole, but the screw stud type use a smaller hole to clear the stud.
Five-minute epoxy is generally used to mount all of them, regardless.
The TIME for delivery is not a fixed number of days or weeks or months. It is an average based on how many orders I have and how much time I may have to do them in a given period. I try to get the grips done as soon as I can but I do get buried alive with orders sometimes. I'm not an assembly line and I make each grip to order for color and medallions, etc.
I cannot tell you which of my blanks might fit your Belgian copy of a Browning 1908, or your Spanish Eibar copy of a 1911 Colt or which set of 1873 grips fits any given brand of Colt clone...there is just too much variation even in the same model and brand from one lot to another. You can just measure your gun frame and make sure that the blank you order is large enough in all directions to cut out a grip of that size. Or order a semi-finished kit that is at least that large in all directions so you can sand the edges a little and get a perfect fit.
Or make a pattern out of 3 x 5 index card and send it to me. That's always best. (Don't try to improve on the material and send me a sheet metal or plastic or onion skin or some other "better" stuff.) The best is a 3 x 5 index card cut out to fit on your gun like a grip. Period. Nothing better. I do this every day and I've seen everything from printing plates to roofing material to a cardboard box as the pattern, and none are as useful as a 3 x 5 index card or identical material.
One enterprising fellow actually went to the great trouble and expense of making a 3-D printed model of the grip he wanted and spent a small fortune mailing it to me registered in a padded box. Really? If you can do that, just make your own grip! All I did was take a 3 x 5 index card and lay the beautifully made model on it, trace around it with a pencil, cut out the tracing, and use that pattern to hold up to various similar grips until I found the one that completely covered the outline. Same thing I would have done if he'd just dropped a tracing or cut-out pattern in an envelope and mailed it to me.
He spent more making and shipping that model than the price of the grip. But strangely enough, he was perfectly happy when he got the grip and didn't even want the model back! Go figure, right?
My point is, please just do the easy thing and drop a cut-out piece of 3 x 5 index card (same thing as people call a "recipe card") in the mail to me. Don't try to improve on that. There is nothing better for this purpose. A regular 1st class envelope is fine, no expensive padded express mail is needed. I can unfold a tracing on 3 x 5 index card just fine and it will still work.
The thickness of the grips is adjustable, by you, simply by securing a piece of sandpaper on a flat board and rubbing the grip back against it. Grips may be adjusted so that one is thicker, which is sometimes highly desirable to fill the palm and allow the fingertips to more easily grasp the other side. Some grips are made with the right side thicker than the left, for right handed shooters. You can do that easily.
The finish of the grips can be left with a faint matte effect or polished to a high sheen, as you wish. The material is easily filed, sanded (I like to use a rotary oscillating sander but a drum sander in a hand held Dremel tool works pretty well). Buffing wheels work ok if you don't hold on one spot too long and "burn" it.
Instructions are available on the main page of this website, by clicking the appropriate button, and printed instructions are sent with the grips, explaining how to fit and finish them. It is assumed that you will have read the "PLEASE READ BEFORE ORDERING" information BEFORE you buy any product here, so you KNOW what to expect and will NOT order, for instance, a single generic shape when you actually need both a left and a right panel, or expect a generic single action blank to fit exactly on every single action revolver made. You have to measure, and compare, to make sure you get a large enough blank or generic shape to allow for fitting.
The blocks, blanks, and generic shapes are cast in molds. The molds don't respond to commands to suddenly change pattern or shape. All I can do is send what you order, by the listed specs for that model. If you add lots of notes to make it thicker, thinner, longer, etc., I can't do anything about that except suggest you order a different model that is large enough.
Black (ebony) grips can be sanded and fitted like any others, but if you buff them with a little black shoe wax when you are done, and buff firmly enough to warm the wax and drive it into the little surface lines and pores, it will restore the shiny black color in the areas where you have sanded.
Pearl effects are made using a clear polyurethane liquid to which atomized pearl powder is added. Other shades of pearl may have ground 24k gold dust, silver or titanium or copper powder, ground sea shell (nacre), and other materials to give the desired effect. The translucent effects shimmer and show depth and figure on a smooth surface grip, but may be obscured by carving or checkering. Just be aware of this. It isn't a "defect" but a fact of physics.
You get a more dull look peering through a checkered surface into a translucent material. Likewise, these are NOT made by injection molding a thermosetting plastic, but by pouring a mixture that sets up hard in a few seconds and is then cured in a furnace for an hour or so. So they will NOT be as "slick" as a cheap plastic toy on the surface. They have actual tiny air bubbles entrained that reflect light and give the desired effect. You can polish and buff them to a high gloss if you like.
The material is easy to sand, drill, carve, scrimshaw, saw and otherwise shape with the same tools you might use for wood. But it has no grain and does not tend to misdirect your tool bit, or split and chip like wood, bone, real ivory or pearl. It is not "brittle" but is tough and heat resistant to about 400-degrees F. It will be come softer with heat and then harden up again, but it doesn't tend to warp, curl, fade and check like the natural materials it simulates, or like factory grips. However, you can melt spots on it from high speed sanding or buffing. Go easy on the power equipment. Light pressure and gentle movement works best. Take your time and get it right.
Delivery time depends on the backlog of orders already waiting, the things I have to do other than make blanks, and health issues. I am not a young person, and I make grips on the weekends as an enjoyable hobby, not as a full time business. I only have so many hours a week to make grips, and each week a great many new orders come flooding in.
Average delivery time may take 30-45 days, except during peak order periods when it can take longer. I try to get your order done within a week to 10 days if at all possible.
I don't mind at all if you email and ask when I'll be shipping. Although if you do it every day, I might start saying "Not a second later than when it's done and picked up by the postman." instead of making a guess if the local forest fire evacuation will be over in 9 days or 10, or if I'll get over the flu by Thursday or Friday, or if the power outage that has been going on for two days might go on for three. There is usually a reason the package isn't already in the mail, other than just being lazy! (Well, I won't rule that out entirely...)
Sometimes folks email to say "It has been 45 days! Where are is my order??". Well, if you have not received them yet, they are probably in the queue behind a few others that came in first, and I have not had time to finish them yet. BUT I am always happy to check and make sure I have the order, that it isn't holding because the bank card was declined and I didn't get a response about it. Those are the other reasons an order might take longer than average.
But please, if you think that "30-45 days average time" means "exactly 30 days deadline", look up the definition of "average"! I have no clue exactly how many hours it will take to finish the hundreds of jobs already in the pending file before your order was received or whether something else may come up that slows down the work... or conversely, whether a lot of prior orders will be quick, easy jobs that get done far ahead of average and move yours up the list considerably.
All I can say is what the typical, average delivery has been recently, not what it will be in the future. My crystal ball isn't working that well. Please don't upset yourself with unrealistic expectations: if delivery time is a life and death issue for you, refrain from ordering and risking your life on the possibility that the order may take longer! It's a grip, not a pace maker...
I do the best I can, and I want to ship just as much as you, maybe more so. Just have a LOT to make, constantly have more coming in and plenty of clients who have been waiting much longer than the one whose order just came in!
I don't like to leave undeposited checks sitting around, but there's no problem sending a refund if I have not sent the grips yet. If you would like to cancel an order, please tell me asap and there will be no problem. Don't file a claim or start a dispute or act like I'm a crook trying to keep your money...I'm not, and I have more than enough to do without trying to hold onto an order you don't want me to make! It doesn't happen often, but just tell me. I'll take care of it.
If you need it sooner, check the "Specials" page for available items -- or order them sooner! I can't do anything about "rush orders". I am one person, doing all I can to finish the orders as soon as possible. It wouldn't be fair to take special payment to put one customer ahead of another.
Almost everyone wants their order yesterday and believes it is urgent, for a birthday gift, a retiring general, the President of a gun company or a bribe to get their cousin out of a third-world country lock-up! I wouldn't put someone who whines more ahead of YOUR order, so please don't ask me to put yours ahead of another person's older order.
Sometimes you may receive an order far ahead of the average delivery time. This usually happens when I made an extra blank that happens to match your order, or when someone else cancelled or didn't pay after I got it made. It is not something I can plan. But it's a nice surprise when it happens.
Every grip kit, blank, or block listed on the websore is built to order for the color and pearl effects you select. They are NOT stock items except for those listed in the "specials" category. I make any blank in any of the colors listed. In that respect, every order is custom.
The concept behind Tombstone Grip Kits is to make it possible for you to create hard-to-find grips, in one-off combinations of colors and medallions, from very high strength, heat-resistant, high performance polymers that are superior to injection molded, mass-produced thermosetting plastic grips, but to hold the cost down by letting YOU do the fit and finish.
It is not to custom carve, checker, engrave, or otherwise do the work that a stockmaker or gunsmith might do for you, at much greater time and cost. Reasonable cost is the goal.
I do NOT do custom checkering, carve hand-built grips of wood or other natural materials, or do other things that require a great deal of hand labor. There are two reasons.
First, it would run the price much higher per order.
Second, it would use more time than I have available.
Bottom line: I offer exactly what you see listed. If it isn't listed, I don't have it yet. I add more all the time, but each one I add costs me between $250 and $350 dollars for the model, the mold making, testing, possible remaking, until I have a working mold. If you want a one-off shape I do not have, let me know what it is and I will keep track of what people are asking for. When I get enough "wish you made it" requests for a certain standard shape and pattern, I'll make a mold if I can.
You can pay by check, money order, Visa or Mastercard, or PayPal. Of course, I prefer money orders but please use whatever is convenient. You can pay "on line" securely, on the web store.
If you have a problem, email me right away. I may be on the road or unable to respond for a day or two sometimes, but most of the time I will answer within 24 hours. DO NOT START A PAYPAL DISPUTE as your first reaction. DO NOT CALL YOUR BANK to protest a card charge as your first reaction. Those things are expensive, time consuming, and unnecessary.
If you just contact me first, we can solve anything easily without a lot of time or trouble. I try to explain EVERY POSSIBLE issue that people might mistakenly think are errors when they are not, right here, right now. Any actual or perceived problems I will handle quickly and fairly if given the opportunity.
It is always best to place your order on the webstore. If you send me an email order, it may get "spammed" out or lost in the thousand or more emails received every single day. I answer the ones that need answers, but I have a hard time keeping track of what they said a week later, when a letter comes and says "as per my email" instead of telling me the details again.
I get a LOT of letters, too. If they refer to an order number, assigned by the webstore as an invoice that is emailed to you when you order, I can track it down fairly easily. If the letter just says you want to modify the color to aged ivory and not a lot else, I am lost. I have to spend a long time trying to track down your name and address in emails, earlier letters, on line, etc., and I might not find it. PLEASE ORDER ON THE WEBSTORE! It makes your order go faster with less chance of problems.
If you indicate you are sending a check or money order on the webstore, I will print off your order and hold it to match to your letter with the payment. PLEASE write the order or invoice number (same thing) either on the check or in the paper you send with the check. That is what sorts and locates all orders quickly.
If you order from the USA but indicate International Shipping, I will let you know that you will have overpaid and will issue a refund for the difference. You don't have to worry about that sort of error as I will catch it and fix it for you.
All orders assume that the size of blank or grip kit panels can be within customary and reasonable tolerance. If an order is received and it is not at least as large as the listing says, it may be returned with 10 days of receipt for any similar value item desired or a larger version of the same blank. If no larger version is available, and no other item is desired, refund will be made for price of the item itself. Otherwise, return shipping of the replacement to you will be prepaid by Tombstone.
All orders are guaranteed to be at least the dimensions listed on the webstore, if you don't send a tracing to match. If the item is at least the size listed, the color and type you ordered, then it is what you ordered and is not returnable. Time and material have been spent to custom build it to your order, based on your checking the box which said you would be responsible for measuring your gun and comparing to the listed specs.
If the item you receive is SMALLER than the dimensions listed, or is a different catalog number (mold number) from the one you ordered, then Tombstone is responsible and will replace or refund at your option, on return. I warranty what I can control. I cannot control whether or not you measure and compare. But my own errors are my responsibility to fix.
If you send a tracing, the grip kit I send should be that size or slightly larger so you can fit it by sanding. You want it a little larger if possible to allow for slight errors in tracing size. If it is smaller than your tracing it's my fault and I'll replace it for you. But if your tracing is NOT the size of your gun frame, that's YOUR fault and I couldn't have done anything else but match your tracing. By "match" I mean the same shape and at least as large if not slightly larger. Tracings still have some tolerances. You want some extra if I have a mold that is larger. It's easier to sand "down" than to sand "UP"!
Original shipping cost is not refundable. Warranty refunds are for the cost of the grip. If this is not satisfactory please do not order.
All blanks/blocks/generic shapes are made from high strength, high temperature polyurethane resin. They are not made of wood, ivory or any other materials. The high end polymer used to make Tombstone Grips is much stronger than ivory, pearl, factory thermo-plastic (which is melted, formed, and cooled to hold shape, and can be melted or warped by heat again).
Tombstone grips can be carved, sanded, drilled, scrimshawed, sawed, filed, and polished with less chance of chipping, cracking, and splitting than most other grip materials. There is no actual "grain" in the grip material. It can handle up to 400-degrees F. without melting, which is far higher than your car's dashboard on a summer day. The difference between factory thermoplastic grips and Tombstone polyurethane resin grips is dramatic as far as strength, wear and heat resistance.
Plastic is a term that covers a very wide range of substances and materials. "Cheap" plastic usually means something mass produced using a thermosetting (melt and freeze) material. Exothermic two-part epoxy poymers do not "melt" again. They are formed by mixing two chemical substances to create a reaction that changes the liquids to a solid within a few seconds, releasing heat in the process. The material changes color depending on the additional fillers put into it, so that it can simulate wood, ivory, ebony, amber, or any color of the rainbow. It is far from "cheap" plastic, costing over $130 a gallon.
Please mail checks to:
Tombstone Gun Grips
PO Box 2171
White City, OR 97503 USA
Mail checks however you wish, but generally a regular 1st class envelope is fine. Usually it isn't any major benefit to spend money on registered mail, priority envelopes, etc. However, if you do mail a check PLEASE write your order number somewhere on it or on a note with it. It's tough to keep track of thousands of orders, letters, checks, etc., without the order number, and it is very easy if you provide it.
I strongly encourage you to place all orders through the website, www.TombstoneGrips.com, rather than by mail, email, fax, etc. The reason is that they are much easier to find, print, keep track of, find in the future, and sometimes even just to read compared to a letter. Also, if you order on the webstore, you will SEE and READ (hopefully) information like this. Then you won't be ordering things that can't be done or that I don't do. If you fill out the on-line order, then there is much less chance of misunderstanding what you want, and almost no chance of the order getting lost (they do go missing when sent by mail, email, or fax, sometimes).
If you do need to place an order by mail, please include ALL necessary information in the letter and don't refer to a prior correspondence as the sole way for me to find the information. I probably filed, lost, or erased it by the time your letter arrived! In other words, give me your mailing address, the model you want, the color, and whether or not you also entered an order on line so I don't duplicate it.
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