Micarta is a composite made from layers of various materials and held together by a plastic resin. The materials can be nearly anything, including cloth, paper, fiberglass or carbon fiber.
nd of synthetic board made from phenolic resin and fabric. Most Do-It-Yourselfers will use a readily available polyester resin (automotive type) and some selected fabrics to make their own micarta. This process is fairly easy, but messy and definitely stinky. If you've ever known someone that was building a boat or doing body work on a car, you know that smell.
Polyester Resin is available in such brands as Bondo (3M), Rust Check
and a dozen more names. There are two parts to the product: a resin and a
hardener. The resin will be in a can and the hardener will be in a
small plastic tube. If you want to try this, be sure to by resin, not
body filler. Clear and collarless is ideal, but expect some tint, pink,
blue, brown in the end product if you are using automotive grade resin.
HardenerThe typical hardener that comes in resin kits is a super-toxic chemical combination known as Methyl Ethyl Keytone Peroxide. That's a mouthful, but you never want to get this nasty stuff in your mouth. It's an explosive to boot, so read the product labeling very carefully. The hardener will chemically react with the base resin and solidify into a hard material, much like how epoxy works.
The fabric acts as reinforcement. Similar to fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber, our fabric will bind the resin into a sturdy mechanical structure. I am using 100% cotton bandanas I bought at a surplus store. The colors and prints are accessory only. Any fabric that can hold the resin on a microscopic level will work.
Really cool patterns can be made by alternating colored layer, chopping up random colors e.g. brown, green and black to make camo effect.
Colored paper can be used and I don't see why straw, leaves or moss couldn't be used as long as these are fully dried before use.
The ProcessThe process is basically 90% preparation and 10 percent getting it done.
- Polyester resin kit - 1 quart will do about 18 or more 1/4" thick knife scales
- Plastic cup, say 500ml to 1 litre. Flat bottomed is better for mixing.
- Stir stick
- Waxed paper
- Fabric of your choice - (size of fabric depends on how much, how thick, what layers etc.)
- Two pieces of very flat wood to make a press. Scrapped MDF shelving. I have made a simple mold out of this stuff to help keep the shape.
- Clamps, 4 to 6 depending on the size of your press.
- Respirator (organic vapours 'OV' filter)
- Safety glasses
- Nitrile gloves