DIY vulcanized fiber spacers are a way to create for yourself some elements that you put on the knife yourself.
It is more a personal satisfaction than a necessity given the low cost of these elements that you put on the knife
If you read the blog you know how I like by personal choice to make me many tools and materials by myself.
I am a fan of DIY (acronym for Do It Yourself, equivalent of italian DIY)
What I propose is a way to make vulcanized fiber spacers in different colors alone and with little equipment.
Vulcanized fiber is a laminate composed only of cellulose.
The material is hard, durable (in the original: resilient), horn-like, lighter than aluminum, harder than leather, and stiffer than most thermoplastics.
A layer of vulcanized fiber lamination is used to strengthen the sheets of wood used in skis, skateboards, support beams and as a sub-laminate in thin wood veneers.
Now it is also used in cutlery as an aesthetic because it is a material that:
- it does not compress much,
- glue adheres to it well,
- you can sand,
- has good dimensional stability,
- it does not crack or divide or shrink.
So it is a material compatible with all the cutting and grinding operations you do when building a knife handle:
- does not break under UV light,
- withstands reasonable levels of heat,
- does not react to chemical agents that can damage a knife handle during use,
- it is completely water resistant,
- available in various colors
- you find it of different thicknesses
Today there are also plastic material but the aesthetic effect is less warm and with different characteristics.
Personally I prefer those in vulcanized fiber!
The first part is the shopping list and the second part is how to use the grocery with the recipe to make vulcanized fiber DO IT Yourself.
- Quality colored cardboard (red, green, blue, white, yellow, black, pink, etc.)
- Two-component resin
- Latex gloves and protective mask
- 2 plates made of thick aluminum or wood or other material
- Hydraulic press or other method (carpenter’s clamps/miscellaneous clamps/etc.) to press resin-filled sheets
- Sheets of baking paper
Ps. Always put two gloves so that when you are done with the resin you take off the first glove and under you already have the clean one!
Now repeat the operation until you reach the thickness you want to get.
Now close with the resin layer at the top and close with parchment paper.
Wrap everything with baking paper to prevent the pressed resin from escaping by going to dirty tablets and press, etc.
Ps. You do the same thing when you do micarta
Put between two wooden or aluminum tablets and close well with clamps / or if you have a hydraulic press even better.
Pss. If you put a lot of sheets you have made a plate of micarta.
I only use epoxy resin, but they tell me that polyester can also be fine (I have never tried).
ATTENTION! The original one has a different process!
The industrial production of vulcanized fiber
Making industrially vulcanized fiber is a process.
Vulcanized fiber is composed of layers of paper.
Over 99% of the finished product is made of cellulose, so the vulcanized fiber, although not made of paper, is almost entirely of paper. There are no glues, resins or binders in vulcanized fiber.
The number of layers of base paper depends on the thickness of the vulcanized fiber that is produced.
Refer to the diagram below as we proceed with the explanation.
Production of vulcanized fibers
In the laminator, layers of paper pass through a bath of zinc chloride, which is an acid.
Zinc chloride bath makes the surfaces of the individual fibers, which form the paper, rubbery and sticky.
These rubbery layers of paper are then pressed together.
Gelatinous fibers create both a stronger bond within each layer of paper and a stronger bond between the paper layers.
They come together to form vulcanized fiber, a chemically pure product with unparalleled physical and electrical properties and a unique bond strength.
Once the layers are joined, the vulcanized fiber enters the leaching tanks. In this process, zinc chloride is gradually released from the fiber in a series of water baths.
These water baths have gradually decreasing concentrations of zinc chloride in them.
After the fiber has finished its path through the leaching tanks, it has only a trace of zinc chloride (typically less than 0.1%).
The fiber then passes through the drying section.
In this process, the fiber passes over a series of large heated rolls that dry the fiber to its final moisture content.
Next, the fiber is calendered. The calendar is a pair of rollers that significantly compress the fiber, making it smoother and denser.
After the calendar, the fiber is wrapped in master rolls or cut into flat sheets.
Fiber that is turned into master rolls can also be cut into narrow tolerance coils, at virtually any width, but that process is carried out after the fact, not as part of the overall manufacturing process.
The volcanic fiber, produced by this process, is almost completely pure cellulose, devoid of glues, resins or artificial binders.
In addition to trace elements, it contains completely natural components.
Vulcanized fiber spacers are elements that cost relatively little, about three euros per sheet in different colors.
Ps. The resin does not cost little so sometimes it is better to take them already made.
I say this because making vulcanized fiber spacers is more for personal satisfaction than a necessity.
Consider that then the original production of vulcanized fiber is an industrial process, your artisan product is not the same thing.
My advice is not to waste too much time making the materials if in any case the time you have available for this passion is not very much.
These are choices but they must be evaluated.
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