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Bacon Micarta? [Nov. 3rd, 2011|07:31 pm]
Doug Ayen
I can't decide if this is stupid or brilliant. Bacon micarta.

Micarta is layers of material, such as paper, fiberglass, fabrics (denim is popular) or other suitable substrate, laminated with epoxy or other binder. The result, when cured, is durable, waterproof, and hard, even if the original material was squishy or delicate.

Cook the bacon until it looks right, vacuum out the residual moisture (as in put it in a vacuum chamber and hook up a vacuum pump for a few hours, I've got the setup, might as well use it), pressure-saturate with water-clear epoxy, press in a mold and cure. It might smell a bit like bacon and plastic for a while, but once the surface volatiles boil off, the fats should polymerize over time and exposure to the cured epoxy and it's catalyst, and the result should be a very stable block of plasticized bacon.

I think a bacon micarta handle might look really neat as a handle for a chef's knife or pizza wheel. Now, who makes the prettiest looking bacon?

[User Picture]From: infinitehotel
2011-11-04 01:54 am (UTC)
Fantastic. Do you actually have to cook it? I could see something like prosciutto (with that really startling white/pink boundary) working beautifully, but you'd lose it with the heating...

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[User Picture]From: blackanvil
2011-11-04 02:54 am (UTC)
For a first attempt, I wanted to cook it -- it removes hindrances to adhesion such as water and fat, while increasing surface roughness for a better hold, but at a cost of contrast. Besides, the local market doesn't carry prosciutto and I didn't feel like driving the 10 minutes to one that does.

This helps set up a best case scenario, though if it fails due to adhesion I'll try using commercial degreaser on it after cooking, and see if that does the trick.

For non-cooked products like raw bacon and prosciutto, I'd probably eschew the epoxy for something more penetrative -- a slow-cure water-thin penetrating style wood hardener (Minwax makes one, other formulations are available commercially, I've got two different ones in inventory right now) might be able to diffuse through thin fatty and possibly moist material. I'd worry about color bleeding, but that's what experiments are for. It would take a while to set up, but once it's set it's like solid wood.
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