September 24, 2010
The "custom" moniker is applied to way too many decidedly not-custom products these days. But the shooting industry still has a number of skilled craftsmen who turn out one-of-a-kind products of the type and quality worthy of the "custom" name. One such artisan is Ed Strange of Wicked Grips (www.wickedgrips.com).
Strange works with mediums such as rare woods and Damascus steel to make his one-of-a-kind grips. Intricate inlays of faux ivory, gemstones, and precious metals further serve to give his grips a unique appearance. The set he made for me is a fine example of the type of custom grips Wicked produces.
The grips were hand made out of a beautiful black/gray box elder burl wood and sculpted over the course of many hours of sanding with progressively finer sandpaper. Strange's in-house artist sketched the inlay for Wicked Grips' pet logo, a devil with a top hat.
A mold was created from the inlay, and the company's silversmith cast the pieces in pure silver. Ed then fit and inset the pieces and added a black enamel outline to add contrast. Once the inlays were set, the grips were hand-sanded again before the final fitting.
The result is really something. Whether or not Ed's creations are your cup of tea, there is no denying the quality and craftsmanship that go into them.