Years ago I worked with, became close friends with and became more or less a protege or second son to the guy pictured above. While spending every day around him for years I heard a lot of good stories and anyone that knows much about me knows I like a good story and I’m a near endless supply of my own.
The fella above is named Brady and Brady is an accomplished BR shooter, a SOF vet of the Vietnam war and a general all around accomplished shooter and collector. He had recently remarried in the late 70s or early 80s and him and his new bride had recently bought a new home they had moved into.
Brady always a competitions shooter was always fiddling with his guns as we are all want to do and decided he wanted to make a set of over sized competition wood grips for the small bore pistol matches he was shooting in. After following the directions and copying the design of some knowledgeable wood working guy he followed, he had himself some oversized palm filling grips he was proud of.
The problem was now he had let the wood set and dry out for some amount of time before he could apply the coating and finish of the type he wanted according to the expert. This just wasn’t going to do at all as younger Brady apparently had the patience of a 4 year old.
After reading and researching he kept coming up short on any method to speed things up. He finally called the wood stock making expert and asked for advice on any possible way to hurry it up. The guy told him that the only way he knew of was to soak the grips in formaldehyde for about 2 weeks and that would remove all the natural moisture from the grips that would otherwise screw with the intended finish. Brady is one of those guys who knows everyone and one of those people was a mortician. He was able to get himself enough to fill a mason jar big enough for the grips to fit in.
When he first filled the jar up with the grips he did it outside on a cold windy day and didn’t think much of it as there wasn’t any thing to notice. This came back to bite him. The two weeks passed slow for Brady and he was dying to get those grips out and see how they turned out. Finally on an extremely cold winter day with a foot of snow on the ground, Brady brought them inside and took the jar into the bathroom to open. I will quote Brady on what happened next.
“As soon as a cracked the the seal on that jar and the fumes got out every hole I had started pouring with snot, tears and vomit” He dropped the jar into the bathtub making it worse.. “I ran through the house and was headed for the front door and about the time I passed my wife she said ” whats wrong…” and then the chemical fumes hit her.” Both of them then spent the next out ” right beside each other on the porch hanging over the banister puking our guts out.”
The undiluted chemical fumes and smell migrated all through the new house and soaked into the new furniture and curtains and towels, clothes you name it. After a night Brady said he managed to run inside and open all the windows and doors to let it air out. The furniture and clothes and curtains all had to be taken down and burned. All of it recently purchased after the newly married couple had just barely settled down in their new place. “She was right pissed, hell she nearly divorced me over that!”
The grips did turn out well and I saw the result myself and after all those years since. I got to admit they looked and felt great. If you liked this I have many more stories about Brady and my time with him.