In the early 1990s, a longtime dream was accomplished when I received a pair of 6-week-old Malamute pups. My 2-year-old grandson named them Red and Wolf. They grew to be beautiful dogs, excellent with kids, and totally protective of Diamond Dot. Wherever she was, there they were. They never barked, however they would howl at certain sounds such as sirens, and when my friend Ron Elerich, the Kilted Preacher, would come to the house and practice his bagpipes, Red and Wolf would sing along. They were the joy of my life and when they finally passed it left an empty hole. For years afterwards, I would still look for them in the morning or expect them to be waiting when I drove home. That feeling has never totally passed. I spoke of these wonderful dogs in the December 2010 Campfire Tales.
Several years after they had passed and their cremated remains were in special boxes sitting above my desk, I found something to create lasting memory for myself and my family of Red and Wolf. I discovered a gentleman in Istanbul, Cenk Gultekin, whose company, Handmade Grips specialized in custom grips. Cenk had spent 2 years in the Tri-Cities area improving his English and at the time discovered just how devoted we Americans were to our firearms. His traditional family art had been inlaying the swords of nobles and warriors and he extended this to knives, pistol boxes, and finally grips. In 2009 he began to do exactly what I was looking for, namely inlaying photos in a wood grip. A special chemical was applied and then covered with a protective layer of enamel. The result was a picture frame made of bronze.
This was it! A real way to make Red and Wolf a lasting family memory. I chose 1911 grips, emailed pictures of my two wonderful dogs to Handmade Grips and my 1911 grips came back with Red on the right panel and Wolf on the left panel. These are installed on a favored .38 Super and now every time I shoot this semi-automatic .38 I think of them, and more importantly my grandson Brian who is now in his mid-20s will inherit “Red and Wolf” after I am gone.
Since that time, Cenk has greatly expanded his business investing in high quality CNC machines and laser fiber cutting machinery which results in creating many more grips for American shooters. However there was one minor thing that needed to be changed. As Cenk says: “All people from States have bought our grips to have their names or logos by silver or bronze you know even if they don’t like the oriental looking fibers. So I have decided to make new grips without fibers, also not using varnish (was used for keeping fibers inside and life shortening long-term use) and also giving more choices than walnut, like rosewood, white or shiny black plexiglass. We can also make it many different patterns on grip surface as dragon skin, checkering as well as inlaying silver logos and words on. In addition to that we have lowered our price from $225 to $150 USD and delivery time is shorter.”
Handmade Grips is a place to find a really personalized design, or logos or words made of silver inlay. You’re only limited by imagination. My latest pair of Handmade Grips are walnut inlaid with silver stars and fitted to my Ruger SR 1911 Commander in 9mm. They are stunning looking and really enhance this long traditional American designed semi-automatic pistol. Cenk can also make silver grips, virtually anything doable the customer is looking for. Pictured are my original Red and Wolf grips, the silver starred panels on my Ruger 9mm, and a patriotic grip inlaid with “We The People” in silver. Cenk’s grips are the easiest way I know to personalize a favorite handgun.