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Could someone please tell me, or link me to a pre-existing post explaining if there is any difference between linen and canvas micarta. 

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Micarta is made from a compress of cloth, or paper glued together with phenolic resin. 

In other words, linen micarta is made with stacked linen; canvas is made from canvas. I beleive linen has a finer grained look to it. Canvas will naturally be more course looking. 

Edit: welcome to the forum!

Edited by Zeb Camper

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To add to that, you can use Hessian, Cotton, and even (I guess some but not all) synthetic material.

Strangely enough I've never found good canvas to use, from the stuff I use I've learned the following:

Linen micarta is so far the nicest to work with.....behaves well for the lack of a better description.

The Cotton micarta tends to melt and smear at time like when using a Dremmel, I'm sure this is either the dye or some function of the cotton fibers and the resin. 

Wool cloth smells like burning hair when worked, but makes good grippy micarta

The way I see it the good properties of micarta are toughness, looks and grip when  wet.  I believe this is a function of the material fibers, the resin fills the gaps in-between but does not penetrate the natural fibers used in the material. 

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Personally I like using construction paper. You have a lot of control over the colors and stacking different colors the grinding through them make for a great effect. Once the handle shaping is done, a few minutes on a buffing wheel takes it to a nice shine that seals it, but it stays fairly grippy. Here's a few pics of some micarta handles I've done. 

il_570xN.1339286097_c6tw.jpg

il_570xN.1292037242_1itc.jpg

il_570xN.1259676555_cezv.jpg

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To translate hessian to American English, that's burlap.

Doug

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Just to add a point of clarity, micarta is a trade name for only one product, phenolic resin-empregnated cloth made by Westinghouse and originally used for electrical insulating properties in large switches and such.  They used brown canvas.  Later on they did produce the linen versions and both black and white paper versions, still using phenolic resin.  It's a little tougher than the epoxy-based kinds, but not so much that you'd notice on a knife handle.  

One of these days I want to try some with white and off-white heavy rag paper to see if it looks more like ivory...

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I tried paper once, brilliant definition of the layers, problem I had the (Polyester) resin was it didn't penetrate the paper all the way, and I got delamination while cutting out the scales.

Always wanted to try with very little hardner so it has time to soak, but I'll save that for the winter, in our heat the reaction is very quick....

12 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

Just to add a point of clarity, micarta is a trade name for only one product, phenolic resin-empregnated cloth made by Westinghouse and originally used for electrical insulating properties in large switches and such.  They used brown canvas.  Later on they did produce the linen versions and both black and white paper versions, still using phenolic resin.  It's a little tougher than the epoxy-based kinds, but not so much that you'd notice on a knife handle.  

One of these days I want to try some with white and off-white heavy rag paper to see if it looks more like ivory...

100% correct, and you'll note (on Youtube etc) knife companies no longer claim to have Micarta handles.........for the life of me can't remember the term they used.......

The ivory-look was my main reason for wanting to try paper, the wet colour of the paper as well as the resin will have an effect, needs some experimenting.

 

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I've never used any other resin than the bondo fiberglass stuff you buy at Walmart. I usually cut the hardner amount by a third or even half to slow the cure time. It soaks deep into the paper and I haven't had a delam yet. Usually takes about 24 hours for a full cure, but comes out hard as a rock. It does darken the paper slightly, but not too badly. 

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1 hour ago, Brian Myers said:

I've never used any other resin than the bondo fiberglass stuff you buy at Walmart. I usually cut the hardner amount by a third or even half to slow the cure time. It soaks deep into the paper and I haven't had a delam yet. Usually takes about 24 hours for a full cure, but comes out hard as a rock. It does darken the paper slightly, but not too badly. 

That’s the stuff I usually use- I’ve done blue jeans, camo, cotton fabric- tried synthetic but it doesn’t absorb the resin so it didn’t really shape and polish, just frayed. Also tried titanium ore- with less than ideal results.

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I think that natural materials work better with fiberglass resin. I've noted that some artificial materials actually start to break down a bit, which leads to a weaker scale. Just my two cents though. I've seen people have good results with paracord and fiberglass resin so maybe it's just me. 

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The synthetic material I used was like a canvas weaved with a synthetic thread, neon orange and neon green.

The resin penetrated nicely and I believe actually melted the material a bit.....lots of orange or green ooze when pressing.

Without question the strongest micarta I've made, but not pleasant to work.....it likes to burn and smear a bit making the final finish a pain.

Without any doubt Linen is my favourite so far, great to work and feels warmer than the others.

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the type ive been making is with cotton material and fibre glass resin with just a drop of so of hardener. takes a long time to cure, but comes out great. i used the "just throw a wack of it in a bag, pour in the resin then clamp the living daylights out of it" trick.

 

 

IMG_1547[1].JPG

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My whole knife making started because of micarta......couldn't afford micarta-handled knives, so I bought cheap knives and put micarta handles on them.

One thing led to another.....

As the first part of the process I bought cotton in every colour of the rainbow.....still have most of it left :D

Get Linen......you won't be sorry 

http://i64.tinypic.com/ok8ymr.jpg

xli2is.jpg

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Linen that I dyed black:

20180102_161019.jpg

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Early days.....Red Bull Denim.....don't believe it has anything to do with the energy drink....

16i5ts6.jpg

miklex.jpg

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Cotton.......customer request :ph34r:

6qji10.jpg

357fu5f.jpg

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Hessian/Burlap backed by black Cotton....and IIRC black tint mixed into the resin.

BTW, if&when you tint the resin, you need to use extra hardner.

ehkw21.jpg

Edited by Gerhard
forgot photo

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2 hours ago, Gerhard said:

BTW, if&when you tint the resin, you need to use extra hardner.

Boy and how! I attempted a black tint once, turned into the gummiest mess, like jello. It did eventually harden but man it was horrible until it did lol. I think my mistake was using an alcohol based liquid tint. Next time I'm going to try a powdered stain. 

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:D

Made jello more than once.......I use the (alu oxide I think?) powder they use to stain cement.

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