Resin Casting Resources for Chef Knife Handles

Resin casting involves a lot of trial and error, end every material that you cast to is different. We'll be keeping track of useful resources and our own experiences here.

Polyurethane Resin

Alumilite - Clear for woodturning - This is harder than the standard alumilite formulas, and was designed specifically for wood working, pen blanks, knife handles
  • Clear - This is the most commonly used resin for pen turning and knife handles. The cure time is 7 minutes, which doesn't give a whole lot of working time. You have to move quickly if you want to degass in a vacuum chamber before going to a pressure pot. The main reason that I degass is to get the alumilite sucked into every little crack and crevice.

  • Clear Slow - NOTE: After thinking that clear slow would be the answer to my desire for extended cure time, I bought some and tried it. All my attempts at casting with this failed due to bubbles and foaming. I was told by Curtis at Turntex that this is an issue with high humidity and or moisture in the airlines. I moved to a better air conditioned space with lower humidity and installed a moisture removal system on my air lines. Nothing made a difference. Considering that the Clear regular continues to work well under the same conditions, I'm convinced this is a bad batch of Clear Slow. I've also spoken with other makers who live in much dryer areas of the country (essentially 0% relative humidity) and have experienced the same foaming or bubbling issues with Alumilite Clear regular.

    I've found that the standard clear doesn't give much time for mixing colors and degassing in vacuum for features that require the removal of trapped air. Clear Slow has almost twice the open pot time (12 min) and will allow for more time to degass before putting in the pressure pot. https://www.turntex.com/product/casting-with-alumilite/alumilite-clear-slow8-lb-kit-detail

Epoxy Resin

  • Liquid Diamonds - I had high hopes for this resin due to the long pot time. Yes it achieves crystal clear finish with no bubbles and allows for a lot longer working time for complex parts, but it never became as hard as Alumilite. Alumilite will not dent if you press your fingernail or other objects in it, yet it is not brittle. Even weeks after curing, Liquid Diamonds is still soft enough to dent with my fingernail.

  • West Systems 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener - Bubble-Free Casting in Knotholes and Cracks

To be continuously updated...

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