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Discussion Starter #1
My process for finishing grips is kindof cool technology that many have never seen, so I thought I'd shoot a video of it. I know most here want checkered, or natural wood which I totally get, but this is just a different flavor - not advocating high gloss. Sometimes your baby needs formal wear, and this is a cool way to do it.

20 years ago I used to be coatings chemist with 100% solids radiation cured coatings, which was rare then, but now is a bit more common, especially amongst guitar builders. Grips are the perfect shape for these coatings using a dip process. If the finish is thin enough, it looks cool right after curing, but I prefer Cabot level quality, so I "flatten" the finish on my 1200 grit diamond lap prior to buffing.

The addicting part of UV is that you can apply 15 to 25 mils of coating, let gravity take it glass flat, cure inside of a minute, and you're DONE. Coating not look right? Sands to powder after 45 second cure time, then recoat. Each coat nearly welds into previous, and buffs evenly, even if wet sanding into previos coats.

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What are the benefits of this coating?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Speed and quality. Gripmakers can benefit, since its the fastest method of applying a quality coating, if you are going for high gloss. But it really isn't worth it if you only laying down one coat on dozens of sets in a spray booth. Its really only beneficial if you don't want to load your spray gun every time, and if one coat is fine for your grips. 100% solids UV is like epoxy, and can fill voids in burly woods or mammoth tooth within minutes rather than days of individual filling/curing cycles.

Then there is the glass flat surface quality. Can't get that as quickly with solvent based, low solids coatings (pic below show the uniform "glass" flatness).
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Sorry, I should have been more exacting in my question.

What are the benefits to the *owner* of having such a coating? Hardness and durability? I ask that as I have several 1911s w/ wood grips on them and they are getting scratched from carrying them on-duty.
 

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That is really neat! I have so many grips where the maker’s original finish did not hold up worth a darn . Are you considering offering this service to grip makers or people like me that cannot get the original finish back?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What are the benefits to the *owner* of having such a coating? Hardness and durability? I ask that as I have several 1911s w/ wood grips on them and they are getting scratched from carrying them on-duty.
In truth, UV coatings are about the same in durability / scratch resistance as other coatings. The real advantage is thickness of film can be much much higher because its 100% solids, and you can apply 30 mils in five minutes rather than four to six mils every four hours. So wear-through will be better with thicker film build. Down side is that if you drop the grips or gun, that thickness can shatter like glass.

Best grips for wear would be acrylic impregnated (stabilized) wood, without a coating, which is what many custom gripmakers use. Its so hard, that you don't need a coating. Same with my carbon fiber - I often make grips without this UV coating. I only use it for the miles deep look you get.

That is really neat! I have so many grips where the maker’s original finish did not hold up worth a darn . Are you considering offering this service to grip makers or people like me that cannot get the original finish back?
That's an interesting thought. Likely not - too busy making gemstone composites for guitars, knifemakers, etc. But I'd be happy to train someone and direct them to best suppliers of coatings and UV curing lights. In all honesty, automotive urethane or post catylized hard varnishes are easiest to refurbish old grips. UV is for production.
 
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