Saturday, April 14, 2018

Micarta

Micarta is a composite material typically made up of fabric or paper , bound together with two part resin like polyester or epoxy . The material was invented around 1910 and is used  mostly as electrical insulators and aircraft or marine pulleys . I have been tempted to experiment with it for a while .
Not half bad for a first try .
Started with a cheap three dollar knife from Wallyworld . The scales are cheap hollow plastic though the rest of it is not half bad . It could be improved by replacing the scales .
 So, some cheap burlap from an Indian rice sack .
Once layered up in epoxy  . . .
. . . and cured it results in something like this .
The basic idea is to lay up some pieces of the fabric on plastic or wax paper . . . .
. . . and using some polyester resin  . . .
. . . mixed to the right proportions of ten drops of catalyst to one ounce of polyester resin . . .
. . . you layer up the fabric with the resin . 
Once you have as many layers as you figure you want for your finished thickness , you wrap it up in your plastic sheet, and clamp it together for a couple hours between a couple pieces of wood .
And a couple hours later the results once trimmed on the table saw .
Experimented with a few other pieces of fabric remnants we had . . .
and even just some resin mixed with some of that paint flake used for finishing cement floors .
The possibilities are endless .
Final results here require a bit more sanding but it all makes for a much more solid and comfortable grip .

8 comments:

  1. We sold a LOT of micarta slabs when I worked at the gun shop.

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    1. I have never seen it sold as flat stock around here, But then I never went looking for it either. Mostly seen it in pulleys for sailboats and aircraft controls.

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  2. That knife looks really good. Not many people today even try to improve on products of any kind. You've got a good imagination to think up a project like that.

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    1. It was just a mater of curiosity. I had seen other folks playing with the material and figured I'd give it a try just for yucks. The knife is really just a cheap Chinese made knife, but I won't shed any tears when I loose it or damage it. I normally remove the clip on my knives as they tend to chew up the edge of the pocket preferring to carry them inside my pocket. The new scales make it much lighter and way less boxy. It is much slimmer now so it rides in the pocket much better. As you can see I bought a second one to give it another try. I also have a couple other knives I will also try and make new handles for but I figured I'd start with an inexpensive one in case I messed it up on the first go around.

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  3. I love seeing little projects like that. Always nice to see someone actually making something in the real world instead of the digital world.

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    1. Glad you found it interesting. Every now and then I get curious enough about something like this to get me motivated to do something about it. Got some notions about making some furniture out of the stuff for an AR build.

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