I think I would try to run the grain of whatever wood you select with the longest part of the grip. Perhaps you can find some wood with an unusual grain that will be stronger than a straight grained wood. Years ago I found some really nice wood on crates that came with new motorcycles from Japan. I have no idea what it was but it sure did made nice grips for a single action. You need something relatively hard and dense to start with. Hope that helps...........
Catch, if the wood you found on the crates was a brownish wood, darker than typical oak, etc, it may well have been mahogany. Kubota tractor shipping crates had some very nice mahogany on them back 15 years or so.
You want the grain to run vertical but straight with the angle of the grip, and you also want the growth rings to run along the width of the grip, not the thickness, its kinda hard to describe what I'm talking about. Also when making the grips start with a piece that is thick enough to make both grips from, split that piece down the center to form the two grip halves then put the sides that were on the outside against the frame, that way the grain on both halves of your grip are almost identical.
More or less up the backstrap. I say more or less because if it's a light recoiling gun, then it is a lot less critical. On my .500 JRH, I found a piece where it not only went up the backstrap, but curved in right at the top of the frame
Now that is what I call perfect!
It is probably a good idea to bed the top of the grips to the frame with a thin smear of clear epoxy. That will help ensure they don't get battered under recoil.
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