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Recently I acquired a 2009 Dan Wesson Heritage Razor Back on this site. It is in great shape with just a few small scratches and I like the gun but don't like the smooth front strap. I could have sent it off to a real gunsmith, and waited a while for it to be returned; but I like to do things myself.

So I purchased a 30 lpi checkering file, found a very good pictorial how-to online, built up my courage and started in. Now I have a much better understanding of why gunsmiths get two or three hundred dollars for this job, but I'm liking the result --and I did it myself.

EDIT: the link I used, which gave me the courage to practice checkering on a $1000+ gun can be found at:
www.m1911.org/checkering.htm
This is an excellent guide, with very clear and detailed pictures.

I have about 8 hours into it including time to high-cut the radius behind the trigger guard, and still have another hour or two to clean it up. Then I will spend some more time with a file improving the fit of the grip safety, and to cut 40 lpi serrations on the rear of the slide; then I'll post more pictures.

Now I just have to decide whether to leave it stainless, or send it off to make it black; I'm leaning toward black. All in all a good project, and I found out that anyone can checker a 1911 with a little time and patience.

EDIT: Finished the job this morning, media blasted it and re-assembled it along with the cocobolo grips that I finished a couple of days ago. Time for a couple of pictures of the finished product. I'm very pleased with the results. :) It was a great pistol before; now it's even better.
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Last Edited:

asiparks

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holy crap ! I was almost afraid to click on the link, but that looks extremely well executed, beautiful job !!!
 
holy crap ! I was almost afraid to click on the link, but that looks extremely well executed, beautiful job !!!

MAAAAAN. EXACTLY what I was gonna say-- Hooo-leeeee-craaap! Mister, that is great looking work. Patience pays off, yeah? Ha, I want to give it a go now, though I think mine would come out a liiiiitle more um.... abstract:s0114:
Ah what the heck, mine's a GSG 1911 in .22lr, so even if I 'Picasso-ize' it, no great loss.

30 lpi is incredible itself, but doing 40 lpi on the rear of the slide-- you're a braver man than I :s0155:
 
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Didn't I see that 1 over on the 1911 forum? :)
I have the same Heritage and that would be one of the first things I would have done if I were to have ANYTHING done. Great 1911. :s0155:
Dave
 
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For those that asked, attached is a pic of the high-cut to the trigger guard. Polished in prep for media blasting, but I still have some clean up and pointing to do to the borders of the checkering. I don't have a before pic handy, but the original radius of 0.50" or more has been reduced to about 0.25".

My admiration for the 'smiths that do this professionally has increased many fold by doing this, and next time I will probably just send it away with a bag of gold and let an expert do it. However, I have enjoyed my experience, I managed not to "bubba" an expensive gun, and I learned a lot.:)

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Very nice. I have been thinking on getting started on mine. I think your work looks perfect. At any cost, you can not beat the feeling of doing it yourself. And the pride of saying you did it yourself when people ask, "who did that great checkering job for you."
 
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