knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

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Stay Sharp
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knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#1 Post by Stay Sharp » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:06 am

I made my first knife in 1982. I like to try new stuff (I bore easily) I decided to try my hand at a homemade resin knife handle. This is commonly done with carbon fiber and fiberglass but I've also seen it done with denim so I thought I would give it a try. I've seen others do this with some pretty interesting results. I want a black handle and red handle so I’m making it out of an old pair of black dress pant that had a busted zipper and an old red T-shirt. I cut squares that were 4 ½ by 4 ½ so that I can get a matched set of handle scales.

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This was messy work and I wore rubber gloves that quickly were covered in resin so not many pics were taken during the actual assembly of layers. I got the resin and hardener from Walmart.

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I used a plastic bin to coat each square and a squeegee to spread and saturate the cloth.

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I would be clamping the stack between two wood slabs. I cut apart a large Ziploc bag and taped it to the blocks to keep them from sticking to the fabric squares.

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16 layers thick. Notice how the Ziploc bag material is no longer smooth and tightly stretch over the block. This stuff gets really hot. I could not hold the mixing container due to the heat.

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Then I clamped them together as tightly as I could. I also made a set of thinner pieces out of a red T-shirt. I will use them for spacers. They are only 2 layers thick.

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I let them set for 24 hours even though the container said it would be cured in 2 ½ .

After prying the blocks apart.

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After sawing off the excess.

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All that pressure did a good job of making a very solid and heavy chunk of resin impregnated cloth.

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Here are the scales and spacers I cut for the knife.

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I took a piece of scrap and rounded and polished it to see what the surface would look like without applying any kind of finish. I polished it on a flannel buffing wheel with Tripoli compound. It even looks a little like carbon fiber.

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Since this is just an experiment , I am using one of the Chicago Cutlery factory 2nds I have on hand. I’m not sure what about them makes them 2nds but they sell them at a good price. This is just a basic kitchen knife and perfect for this sort of practice.

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I used brass pins and my regular slow cure epoxy to attach the handle parts. I used a belt sander and palm sander to shape. I went from 50 grit to 400 grit sandpaper and then 000 steel wool and finally the flannel buffing wheel. Here is the finished handle made from a pair of pants and an old T-shirt.

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Interesting patterns can be made by using different colored cloth layers. I plan to make another using blue jeans and some other colored fabric that my wife wont miss.

This method has applications beyond knife making and could be employed for making such things as side plate grips for your bow or hand gun, guitar fingerboards and bridges or any number of things.
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Stay Sharp
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#2 Post by Stay Sharp » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:07 am

I thought I would give denim a try. And a few other colors of cloth as well as construction paper.

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I used another Chicago Cutlery blade.

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10 layers of green construction paper. This stuff has some potential and comes in a wide variety of colors (and is cheap)

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Now in Burlap and green T-shirt.

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Captainkirk
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#3 Post by Captainkirk » Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:29 am

You are quite the creative individual!
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Carpdaddy
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#4 Post by Carpdaddy » Thu Oct 22, 2015 3:09 pm

That's cool, you should get bored more!

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Graps
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#5 Post by Graps » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:08 pm

That's neat . I've just bought paper micarta to make knife handles .
Thanks for sharing .
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Dan
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#6 Post by Dan » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:52 pm

Those handles are turning out really well. I have a knife that needs a handle and might have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

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White Falcon
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#7 Post by White Falcon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:01 am

Nice!!

Mohawk
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#8 Post by Mohawk » Sat Aug 12, 2017 4:00 pm

That's cool! I had no idea that process could even happen!

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Shadowhntr
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Re: knife handles from odd materials (Homemade Micarta)

#9 Post by Shadowhntr » Thu Aug 17, 2017 7:31 pm

Very neat Ron! I love the burlap!
The element of surprise can never be replaced by persistence.

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