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Discussion Starter #1
Anybody have any experience repairing hard rubber / Gutta Percha grips?

I bought this old 32 HE and the left grip is badly cracked from having had the screw severely over tightened.

Unfortunately, it appears to have been left this way for a LONG time, and the grip material is too hard to simply squeeze the crack closed.

How would I go about heating the material enough to make it more pliable / flexible so that I can squeeze the crack closed to repair it with some glue or epoxy - without the surface getting so soft that it is easily marred?

The things I've considered are immersion in hot water, hair dryer / heat gun, remove the escutcheon and heat it in a microwave.

Anybody experienced this kind of repair who can make some suggestions and share some techniques?
LeftGripCrack.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Well I figured out a way to repair them based on some advice received elsewhere.
I wrapped a couple of rubber bands around the cracked section to put tension in it.
Then I dropped them in a cup of very hot water for a few minutes to soften up the rubber.
When they softened up the rubber bands squeezed the crack closed,
I took them out and let them cool down.
When they were cooled down I took the rubber bands off, pried the crack open a little and let some superglue "wick" into the crack and then put some clamps on them to hold the crack closed while the glue set.
I noticed at that point the they had warped a bit and wouldn't lay flat anymore.
So after letting the glue set up a couple of days I dropped them in a cup of hot water again to soften them back up and clamped them down on a flat surface until they were cooled.
VOILA' nice and flat and no more crack.
I then used the edge of a sharp knife to scrape away the excess glue and shave down the slight uneveness at the crack.
They don't look perfect, but good enough for the condition of the rest of the gun.
I'll probably end up using something to fill in the remaining surface crack, maybe do a little sanding, and then recutting the checkering lines to improve the appearance even further.

Before
LeftGripCrack.jpg

...and After
RepairedGrip.jpg
 

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Not hard rubber (which I expect is completely different), I've had good experience repairing Bakelite grips (on P.38 pistols) using a very thin, slow setting formulation of Epoxy.

If it's thin enough, it will wick into the existing crack and actually fill it. Using rubber bands to pressure the crack together helps while it sits several days to set to it's designed hardness.

This is especially effective on cracks visible inside the grip that have not yet completely become visible on the outside of the grip.

The Epoxy can also be used to build up areas that have been worn away or chipped away internally on the trip.
 

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I've seen articles in Gun Digest gunsmithing books as well as a gunsmithing journal I subscribe to, that outlined repairs using epoxy mixed with black pigment to do repair and or reconstruction of broken corners quite successfully.

I just found scanned copies of them, but I also just discovered that the files sizes exceeds the size that I can attach to an email, even when zipped.

If you're interested I'll try to figure something out.
 
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