The Complete Online Guide to Knifemaking, MAKING MICARTA
Micarta is commonly used to describe a composite material that is saturated in resin and then clamped or pressed to squeeze out any excess resin while drying. Micarta is often crafted from layers of colored paper or fabric. A simple wood press can be made which utilizes shop clamps to create the needed pressure. The saturated fabric is wrapped in parchment paper which will not stick to the finished product. Be careful when clamping the press together. Excess resin will run out of each end. We usually set up our micarta press on a board over a garbage can. It allows for easy clamping and excess material to then drip directly into the can preventing a messy cleanup. It is important that the press clamps flat. Otherwise, the finished product will be of uneven thickness. The end result is a durable scale material that is comprised of multiple layers of paper or material. When shaping and sanding micarta into knife scales the colored layers are exposed which results in some very interesting Damascus like lines.
We have created a series of short how-to video which details the process of making a variety of different micarta knife scales (links above).
Check out our Knife making tools, huge assortment of topic specific how-to knife making videos, our Complete Online Guide Knife Making and our New Book Introduction to Knifemaking by Dan Berg and Jason Northgard.