Making Rose Micarta

Making Rose Micarta

In this project, Peter revisited the art of making micarta, but this time, with a twist.  Instead of impregnating pieces of paper with resin, he replaced the paper with rose petals.

Before exposing the petals with resin, they first must have all of their moisture removed. There are undoubtedly different ways to go about this, but what is the easiest/fastest? A Microwave Flower Press of course! Now knowing that microwavable rose petal presses exist and that Peter found them is further proof that Peter’s search history is likely a cornucopia of wondrous delights!!

Equipped with the flower press, Peter carefully places the petals inside of the plastic press and proceeds to microwave them in stages, gradually drawing out the moisture until he is left with super delicate tissue paper-like petals. 

Peter then fashions the latest in mold and tamper technology using PVC plumbing bits from a local hardware store.  Then begins the process of building up the layers of rose micarta, alternating with Total Boat High Performance Resin and petals.  Every so often, the stack is compressed down to allow for more and more layers to be added. 

After some time in the pressure pot to eliminate air bubbles, the casting is complete! 

Removing the casting from the PVC mold is pretty straightforward using a bandsaw and some additional encouragement from some hand tools.  Upon further inspection, Peter decided the casting might benefit from some additional resin to help further fill in any cavities that might remain.

Finally, it was time for the lathe.  The Axminster Chuck worked perfectly to hold the casting in place.  Peter then bored out the center of the piece in order to hopefully work it into a ring.  Once the general ring shape was obtained, it was simply sawed away from the rest.

While continuing to shape the ring, Peter discovered that the material was much more fragile than he first thought, and several cracks began to emerge.  Nothing a bunch of CA glue cannot fix!  Half the challenge when making a new thing, is how to fix the new thing when it breaks!  

The final step in the process was to break out the famous MicroMesh sanding pads to give it a final polish!

Be sure to checkout the fill build process in the video below!

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