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Old 12-24-2012, 12:36 PM
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Orion Orion is offline
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Homebrew Micarta: Maximum thickness of plies?

Hi KNers,
Thanks for the great site and sharing of expertise. I need to make my own Micarta as it seems the best way to get the 3/4" blank thickness I need. When using the fiberglass resin, what is the max thickness that will work? I would like to avoid having to seal the scales, so I am thinking that 5 @ 1/8 and several at 1/16 or 1/32 as the top layers would work. Perhaps I will need to seal the scales anyway, as I have not worked in Micarta yet, only solid wood and superglue finish.
Any thoughts gratefully appreciated,
Orion
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:49 PM
jdale jdale is offline
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You can make any thicknesses you want, ive made scales as thin as 1/8" to blocks that are 1.75" thick.
If all the fabric is saturated with resin and it is well compressed while it cures you wont need to seal the scales with anything. If there are a few bubbles in the final handle shape fill them with super glue and re buff .
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Old 12-24-2012, 08:51 PM
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Thanks. I am thinking of using walnut or ash strips. Would 1/8th" plies be too thick? Orion.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:49 PM
jdale jdale is offline
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I guess i misunderstood your original post. I thought you were wanting to make denim micarta. I have not made any wood laminate handles yet but i have seen many tutorials on it and i dont recall any finish put on the scales after completion. But im sure someone on here has made some already and will chime in soon
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:32 AM
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AUBE AUBE is offline
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The main limiting factor in how thick you can go with fabric composite is the hardening ratio. Polyester resin cures through an exothermic reaction...if it generates too much heat it can ruin the composite and even catch on fire. Thats why casting resin uses a very slow cure. You can adjust this by altering the catalyst and hardener. The exact amount depends on your resin, your climate, and desired thickness.

But you are talking about wood, which is not a Micarta/fabric composite, its a wood laminate. Your main problem will be penetration of the resin into the wood. This is usually done under vacuum and very high pressure. You more than likely won't get good penetration by just doing a hand layup. So basically you will probably end up with wood pieces glued together, but not a very deep penetration of the resin into the wood....unless you have a pressure/vacuum setup. If you want to try it then the thinner the wood, the better. The thinner the resin the better. The drier the wood the better. The softer the wood the better (cork absorbs much faster than ebony, etc).


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Old 12-25-2012, 05:11 PM
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Thanks everybody. I may pay to get some pressurized. It seems pretty good to get a about 50 scales-worth done for $100. Thanks for the great feedback. Orion.
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Old 09-22-2013, 06:01 PM
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PsychoDawg PsychoDawg is offline
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I make my own mycarta occasionally. Twenty four layers of canvas (cut 1.5x12") makes for a pretty stout piece. The thing that I like is the versatility that can be added on the home made stuff. I made one batch and placed dried pinto beans on top of the waxed paper before pressing. The dents make a really cool faux burl effect when it sets up. Hmmmm, maybe some brown/black/natural in random layers with the bean treatment might be cool....
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