THO Game Calls Forums

The Art of Handcrafting Custom Game Calls => Custom Call Making Tutorials & Tips => Topic started by: aprilheadhunter on March 22, 2015, 11:45:18 PM

Title: Micarta tutorial
Post by: aprilheadhunter on March 22, 2015, 11:45:18 PM
I'm going to start with a disclaimer. 
These photos are from my 2nd attempt at making micarta and so far I am pleasantly surprised with how much smother it was this time around. 
Please, remember I'm not an expert.  :beer:

The materials I used were.
wax paper
masking tape
an old pair of jeans
fiberglass resin

I made a press from scrap lumber.  I don't remember how long it is but it's about 2.25" wide and deep.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_182735331_zpsezfdljif.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_182735331_zpsezfdljif.jpg.html)
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_182716503_zpstxf5caer.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_182716503_zpstxf5caer.jpg.html)

I also had a piece of corian from another project that I cut to 2.125" wide and used it as a guide while cutting the denim to size.  You will want the denim to be cut a little undersized so it will fit in the press easily.  You will have to work quickly and not having the denim undersized will slow you down and the resin could set up while your working.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_182755121_zpsxjo2u281.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_182755121_zpsxjo2u281.jpg.html)

I started by cutting the jeans off at the knee and then sliding the guide inside pant leg to cut along the seam.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_184211833_zpsvllvdsi1.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_184211833_zpsvllvdsi1.jpg.html)

After splitting the overlapped seam, you can pull the other seam apart, giving you two pieces.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_184346494_zpsdbzssjbq.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_184346494_zpsdbzssjbq.jpg.html)

Next I cut the denim so it was about 8.5" wide so I can use the guide to cut the individual pieces to the correct size
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_182840054_zpssrhjzyxx.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_182840054_zpssrhjzyxx.jpg.html)

After cutting them, I stacked them in the press they are taller than the sides of the press. 
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_185150357_zpsyeejgzes.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_185150357_zpsyeejgzes.jpg.html)

When you have enough material, remove it from the press and set it out of the way.
Now you have to put the wax paper and tape to work.

I laid the wax paper in the press, put some tape on each end of the paper and then used the corian guide to force the wax paper to the bottom of the press, then wrapped the tape from the ends of the paper around the bottom side of the press.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_190416313_zpsotpw6mk9.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_190416313_zpsotpw6mk9.jpg.html)

I did the same thing on the sides
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_190509219_zpswytpjpcz.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_190509219_zpswytpjpcz.jpg.html)
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_190519625_zpsowjudwny.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_190519625_zpsowjudwny.jpg.html)

Next I taped the excess that run over the top of each side of the press and tape it to the bottom so it stays out of the way.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_190537445_zpsitefqxcg.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_190537445_zpsitefqxcg.jpg.html)

Here are the types of resin I used.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_191031126_zpsjsnzdb7u.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_191031126_zpsjsnzdb7u.jpg.html)
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_191038595_zps0vswsgbu.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_191038595_zps0vswsgbu.jpg.html)

You will definitely want to put 2 layers of wax paper underneath everything so you keep everything resin free.  2 layers of gloves is also a good idea so if you need to take them off you won't have to try to put another pair back on when your hands are sweaty.

This time I put resin in 3 different bowls and only added the hardener to the bowls as I needed them.  The 1st time I had issues with resin hardening before I used it all.  I also kept the hardener handy with the cap off.
 (http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_191509827_zpso0opz6kf.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_191509827_zpso0opz6kf.jpg.html)
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_193759318_zpski3u6sbi.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_193759318_zpski3u6sbi.jpg.html)

I didn't get a photo when I started because I was flying solo.
Before you put any denim in the press you will need to put some resin in the bottom of the press and spread it around.  Then you will put your first layer of denim in the press, put about a half a tablespoon of resin on the denim and use your hands to spread it out, grab your next piece of denim and lay it on top of the 1st.  Keep repeating the process until you are out of cloth. 
When I say about a half a tablespoon, I'm guessing, you don't have enough time to measure, just dip your fingers in the bowl and wipe the resin on the denim.

When I was almost done the wife showed up and took a couple photos for me.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_193228433_zpsvgaqdvoy.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_193228433_zpsvgaqdvoy.jpg.html)
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_193221949_zpsfniztqrb.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_193221949_zpsfniztqrb.jpg.html)

When I had used all of the denim I cut the tape holding the wax paper free and folded it over the top so the top of the press doesn't stick when the resin cures.  Then I put the top of the press on and clamped it in place.
(http://i141.photobucket.com/albums/r48/kato_159/IMG_20150322_194006621_zps4gtzvpfv.jpg) (http://s141.photobucket.com/user/kato_159/media/IMG_20150322_194006621_zps4gtzvpfv.jpg.html)

A few other tips
Add about half of the instructed hardener.  This will give you more time to work before the resin hardens.
Use several clamps so you press the denim evenly.
Keep wax paper under the press because the resin will leak out.
Don't use anything you can't replace your first time.
Watch some videos on youtube  :bigup:
Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: VECtor Calls on March 23, 2015, 04:13:52 AM
Good stuff man!  How long do you keep it clamped up before it is ready to turn? 

What is the cost on your resins there, and how many blanks do you suppose you can get out of those size cans?

What are your material choice possibilities?  I know I have seen denim and canvas, is there a reason for that?
Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: aprilheadhunter on March 23, 2015, 11:46:59 PM
Good stuff man!  How long do you keep it clamped up before it is ready to turn? 

What is the cost on your resins there, and how many blanks do you suppose you can get out of those size cans?

What are your material choice possibilities?  I know I have seen denim and canvas, is there a reason for that?

How long you keep it clamped depends on how much hardener you use and the temperature.

The can of bondo was pretty small and pricey compared to the gallon can.  I'm sure if you shop around you can find fiberglass resin for less money than I spent.  The 1st time I wasted a lot of the resin because it hardened to fast.  This time I used 3 bowls and didn't waste any, so I'm thinking five or six, eight inch blanks from a gallon.

I watched a video on youtube and they used burlap and card stock.  The wife and I bought new bed sheets and the old ones are about to get the "utility knife shaped" axe.  I would guess that because denim and canvas are thicker then other materials they are easier to make micarta with because you can make you blank faster.

Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: dogcatcher on March 24, 2015, 01:38:33 AM
I found the cheapest auto body resin at a local auto paint supply house.  Here you have to buy a gallon, the gallon costs are about the same as if I buy 2 quarts at parts dealer like Auto Zone or O'Reilly's.  I also knew the owner was a hunter, so once I kind of traded out a few calls for a gallon. 

Marvin
Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: Lance Chapman on March 26, 2015, 10:52:21 AM
Good Stuff there Paul, thanks for putting that together.  W

I would also suggest looking into RAKA epoxy.  Its a 2 part that is used on Fiberglass boats, comes in fast and slow hardener.  You can order in various sizes and even get pumps to attach to the bottles for dispensing purposes and measuring. 

I dabbled around for a while (when I sucked at CA) in using epoxy finishing on a slow turning dowel, much like fly rods.  Davenport Custom Calls had some good info, and got started from him.

http://raka.com/index.html (http://raka.com/index.html)
Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: David @ Mad Duck Game Calls on April 01, 2015, 11:17:48 PM
All the pictures are gone, Paul!!!
Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: aprilheadhunter on April 02, 2015, 03:27:51 PM
I'm sorry guys.  I had a few :beer: the other day and thought it would be a good idea to clean up my Photobucket account. I'll make another tutorial this weekend.  :stickman1:
Title: Re: Micarta tutorial
Post by: aprilheadhunter on April 07, 2015, 09:11:22 PM
I made some micarta yesterday and had the wife take photos.  I'll work on sorting through them, it might take a few days because the wife got photo happy and took 90 pictures.