Disclaimer: This tutorial is for entertainment purposes only. The author and/or publisher will not be liable for any use or misuse of this information. Use appropriate PPE, read and understand all product labeling and regard safety warnings. Micarta Micarta is a brand of synthetic board made from resin and fabric. The original micarta was made by Westinghouse over 100 years ago as an electrical insulator. The product is made of a thin flat material such as paper or fabric that is saturated with a resin and layered to form a laminate. When the resin hardens, the result is a super durable reinforced material. Micarta can be used for tough, water resistant knife handles and that is why we, as knifemakers, are interested in it. Although most of us use the word Micarta loosely, technically it is a brand name. Micarta, BG10, Dymondwood are all materials from a similar genre, but the common theme to all of these products is: layers and resin. The DIY Method The following is how I made some laminate. I warn you in advance, this may not necessarily be the best way. 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. Resin 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 colourless is ideal, but expect some tint, pink, blue, brown in the end product if you are using automotive grade resin. In my example, I'll be using Rust Check brand polyester resin. It's about $17 for a US quart or 946ml for us Canucks. You will be able to see its colour here. Hardener The 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. Fabric The fabric acts as reinforcement. Similar to fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fibre, our fabric will bind the resin into a sturdy mechanical structure. I am using 100% cotton bandanas I bought at a surplus store. The colours 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 coloured layer, chopping up random coloured pieces if fabric e.g. brown, green, grey and black to make camoflauge effect. Coloured 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 Process The process is basically 90% preparation and 10 percent getting it done. Supplies 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 sticks Scissors Tape 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. Rags Optionally: Food wrap Optionally: Stapler SAFETY Respirator (organic vapours 'OV' filter) Safety glasses Nitrile gloves Ventilation MSDS for product: http://www.rustcheck.com/media/djcatalog/Rust Check- Polyester Resin - Part No 1993.pdf You'll always want to open up the doors and windows and make a bench top from old scrap wood or something. This stuff drips and then becomes rock hard, so DO NOT DO THIS IN YOUR KITCHEN! Cutting Fabric Cut your fabric into pieces of a consistent size. I am making 4 scales and will use fabric that is 4" x 11". I cut all the pieces roughly the same size with the scissors. For me, 4" x 11" will make 4 pieces approximately 2" x 5-1/2". Allows some room for error when cutting and if the pressed edges are not perfectly straight. My real finished dimensions are to be 1 1/2" x 5". Make a stack of the material at least 3/8" thick. Prepare the Press Line the press, MDF or what-have-you with waxed paper. If you tape this down it will stay in place. Packing or masking tape will work just fine. In my little press, I wrapped the waxed paper around like I was wrapping a present. Respirator time. For 4 scales, I am using 4 oz (118ml) of resin and 12x4 drops of hardener in a 500 ml plastic cup. Using a wooden stick, tongue depressor, paint stirrer etc. work the hardener into the resin for at least 30 seconds. Mix all the way through, down to the bottom of the cup and around the sides. Don't scrimp here. You've got at least 10 minutes to work with it. Note the colour of the resin before the hardener is applied.