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    Micarta source

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    kiltedcelt
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    Micarta source

    Post by kiltedcelt on Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:27 am

    I'm hoping Geezer or Lightly will read this and chime in. I'm getting close to actually starting work on my two crossbows. At this point, only one will have heavy amounts of overlay. If you remember my previous posts, I will be duplicating this bow:



    The other bow I will be duplicating will look something like this (minus the composite prod - for obvious reasons):



    So, I don't quite need as much material for overlays/inlays as I previously thought. One bow will be heavily covered the other will have minimal overlays. I priced out bone and had thought it would be the cheapest material. However, while laying out the first bow yesterday (the one with the overlays top and bottom), it became clear that buying prepared bone scales was NOT going to be cheap. in fact it was likely to cost over $100 to just do the overlays on the more elaborate bow by itself. I priced out some thin (1/16") micarta sheet from a billiards supply place and it was WAY cheaper - about $30 or so for a 12"x12" sheet which would be enough to do the top and bottom. I was also informed by them when I called to ask some questions that you can in fact heat the micarta or some other products they care in hot water then press it to the curve you need. It will cool off and hold its shape, which will allow me to do the curves that are present around the lock area on the upper of the two bows. Unfortunately, the micarta they sell is only ivory colored, and a very yellowed ivory color at that. Most of my research at this point indicates that overlays and inlays were composed of bone and not ivory as I had previously thought. This supplier has another product called Juma which looks very much like bone and they sell it in a 1'x2' sheet with a thickness of 5mm (slightly over 3/16"). That's a bit too thick for what I need but it's not much more expensive than buying two 1'x1' micarta sheets. Still, the Juma is too thick. So, I really think the micarta will give the look I need and should be able to be worked to a certain extent to get it to do what I want in this application. Now, the question is, where do I buy bone-white micarta sheets in a size and thickness for this project?
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    Pavise
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    Re: Micarta source

    Post by Pavise on Wed Mar 24, 2010 11:39 am

    Hi kiltedcelt,

    If you Google "Scrimshaw" you will find links to folks who use bone and ivory substitutes for their art. And undoubtedly you will find Micarta etc., suppliers within those results too. Sorry I don't have any particular URLs for you now, but I'm sure you will easily find some, along with some valuable how-to information as well.

    Pavise
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    kiltedcelt
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    Re: Micarta source

    Post by kiltedcelt on Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:51 pm

    I may have solved my own problem with finding a suitable source. Turns out if you Google "scrimshaw" and micarta you turn up a number of sites as Pavise had suggested. That led me to a site that sells alternative ivory where you can get a 3mm sheet 17"x21" for $110. Kind of expensive, but clearly more than enough material in one sheet to do these two bows and probably a few more. What's more, in talking with one of the guys at the company he said that their product exhibits a real grain structure just like real ivory, comes in an off-white bone/ivory color and not the typical yellow-brown ivory color that I've seen with most of the ivory micarta I've been looking at. Furthermore, he assured me that this product is fully able to be heat to be bent and curved using heat. I could easily take sections and heat them in hot water or with a heat gun and he said as long as you could hold or clamp it into place it would hold the shape it'd be clamped to as it cooled. Also, it can be easily adhered using epoxy and can be engraved, carved, etc. just like bone or ivory. I think this is going to be the ticket. Here's the link to their site:

    http://www.masecraftsupply.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=MU&Category_Code=ALTIVB

    Here's a link to a subsidiary of theirs that sold off last year. That company, based in the UK sells the same product and has a gallery page showing some of the products made using the alternative ivory.

    http://www.ivoryalternative.com/pages/gallery.html

    Looks like it'll pass just fine for bone/ivory and the color is just right.
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    Pavise
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    Re: Micarta source

    Post by Pavise on Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:14 pm

    Glad you found what you're looking for kiltedcelt.

    Please let us all know how it works out and then we won't have to start from scratch again.

    Pavise
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    Geezer
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    ivory substitutes

    Post by Geezer on Thu Mar 25, 2010 8:16 am

    Geezer here: Well durn, boyz, it looks like all the conversation about ivory/bone substitutes is producing plenty of possibilities that I haven't considered. Guess I'd better start experimenting.
    As far as micarta is concerned, I haven't ever tried boiling and shaping the stuff. When cold, it'll bend a bit in one direction, but fractures when subjected to compound curves, like shaping over the side of a stock for lockplates. I'll try heating up some today to see what happens.... though I don't hold a lot of hope. Another abiding problem with micarta is it's non-gluability. Even after you've roughed up the surface, it doesn't like to stick to anything. I have found urethane glues, like 'Gorilla' glue, work tolerably well, though Gorilla Glue in particular, tends to get brittle after a few years. That's why I generally reinforce my glue-bonds with little brass escutcheon pins (no 18's, about half an inch long)
    Maybe I can get Lightly interested in running some experiments in shaping micarta today... or maybe not. She's been working on a project with beeswax, to waterproof the binding or 'bridle' cords. busy-busy. If we get anything useful, I'll post something. Geezer
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    Lightly
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    Re: Micarta source

    Post by Lightly on Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:19 pm

    Kiltedcelt,

    I LOVE that second bow! And seriously want to make one, too? mind if I try at some point?
    We make some very similar, but this one is a bit more intricate with the inlay than we make (for spec bows, that, is, 'general' bows that we make to sell online or at events..)
    Basilisk bought one that I made that was a spec bow, and looked somewhat like this one. Good luck! We will have to experiment with micarta.. Love experimenting...
    Will let you all know what comes of that..

    Take care!
    Lightly.
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    kiltedcelt
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    Re: Micarta source

    Post by kiltedcelt on Mon Mar 29, 2010 10:38 pm

    Geezer/Lightly,

    Any word on those micarta experiments? I'm curious as to what you found out, but I'm still going with the ivory substitute. After talking with the guy at the company it really sounds like the best material for this application. And Lightly - as for the second bow - (the one with the composite prod), I would say if you want to try making one, go for it. I'd be interested to compare notes after the fact and see how you overcame any design difficulties. That bow has a combination of horn and bone overlays. If you look closely the horn covers the area of the socket. I think since this bow narrows so drastically right after the roller nut that it will need to have the socket drilled from the side and then covered with the horn lock plates. I can get the horn from the same supplier that sells the ivory substitute. Heck, I think they even sell large horn, like water buffalo which I could use if I eventually get around to trying to build a composite prod.
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    micarta bending

    Post by Geezer on Wed Mar 31, 2010 7:12 am

    Geezer here: Lightly spent much of Monday experimenting with Micarta (some 1/4 inch plate and some 1/8 inch)by heating it dry in the oven (300 degrees) or boiling in water for various lengths of time and then trying to shape it over various forms. The results were not encouraging. We did manage to get the thinner stuff to hold a curved shape after bending it over a form, but couldn't get it to accept the sort of compound shape you would want for lockplates on a rounded stock. We'll probably try again by boiling a bit of micarta in mineral-oil rather than water, but don't expect any real improvement.
    At this point, I consider micarta useful for flat of slightly curved surfaces, like bolt-tracks and inlays around trigger-pins, but it looks like compound curves are beyond the ability of the material to adapt. After all, the stuff is mostly made of paper and glue, or in some cases, linen cloth and glue. There may simply be no place for the molecular structure to slip, the way metals do.
    If we get any better results out of mineral oil, I'll post them here. Geezer.
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    Re: Micarta source

    Post by kiltedcelt on Thu Apr 01, 2010 10:33 pm

    Geezer,

    Thanks for trying. I didn't hold high hopes for micarta, giving what I know of its properties. I think this ivory substitute material is going to be the ticket. After all the guy I talked to said it could be heat formed by immersion in hot water so it will likely do what I need. I'll keep everyone posted when I get started in on the bows.

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