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Thread: G10 vs Micarta

  1. #1
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    G10 vs Micarta


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    What's the difference between Micarta and G-10? Are they not both a form of fiberglass/epoxies? What are the characteristics that differentiate between the two of them? If I have two identicle blades, each with one of these two types of scales, how would I tell the difference?

    Then there are different types of micara, correct? How does one tell the difference between paper micarta and linen?

  2. #2
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    G10 is a fibreglass/epoxy composite, micarta, as your last sentence says, uses paper or some kind of cloth instead (usually linen or canvas). If you can see some sort of pattern, you may be able to differentiate then, but truth be told, it's more of an acquired feel for me.

  3. #3
    What's sold as G-10 is almost always fiberglass (or similar synthetic fiber)/epoxy laminate. What's sold as micarta is usually paper or natural fiber/epoxy laminate. Theoretically, it can be very hard to tell the difference. In practice, micarta is often machined to curvy contours showing the laminations. G-10 is more typically left flat in the way it's pre fabricated. Paper micarta can sometimes be distinguished from fabric by a more uniform texture, as opposed to the fabric based micarta often made specifically with particular color schemes in mind, and usually visible woven fibers.

  4. #4
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    Me? I don't really distinguish between the two. My opinion is that paper micarta and what is called G-10 have such similar tactile properties that it's more or less irrelevant to me what the manufacturer calls it.

  5. #5
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    Here is what a knife manufacturer says about it in a very recent thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Glesser View Post
    G-10 offers a few advantages over micarta:

    It is stronger. (tensile strength per thickness).
    It offers more texture (peel-ply)
    It is more stable. (we've had micarta shrink depending on humidity).

    Micarta has a nicer "feel" (I think it feels "softer" in my opinion).
    Micarta has paper, linen and canvas variants.
    Micarta has more colors available, but for some reason, not many are being made these days.

    We're planning on canvas micarta for the 'Temperance2. (brown)
    We are using micarta on the Goddard and Viele collaborations. (white ivory for the first runs)

    sal

  6. #6
    I don't know all the Tech stuff on G-10 or Micarta but I am able to put up some Photos to show the Visual differences... I tossed in some Carbon Fiber since in my opinion it's in the same catogory... CF is also my Fav!!! We have a FBM with Micarta Scales a Blackton Custom with Micarta (25Yrs Old) a Custom Buck 110 with Carbon Fiber a Custom Buck 112 w/white G-10 a Buck 888 w/G-10 and a Buck 500 with Micarta...Hope it is of some use? If not it was a great morning for Pictures anyway!!!





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    Nice info, thanks.

  8. #8
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    I find mircata a bit more grippy in the knives I have compared to G10, however, I also recognize this is partly in how the g10 was machined. It is more smooth than my mircata knives. Another aspect of cloth mircata that is interesting is it is somewhat coursely finished is that the small bits of cloth fibre at the outside will absorb water and swell a bit when wet. This has the effect of raising the surface as small dimples and increases grip quite a bit when wet and/or soapy. This is a really cool feature of cloth mircata I think.

    I agree with the comments that G10 feels harder. Although both G10 and mircata seem like bullet proof handles to me. I couldn't ever forsee damaging the handle of either material for a knife in extreme uses. I like the blaze orange g10 variety for its visibility.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho Jarhead View Post
    What's the difference between Micarta and G-10? Are they not both a form of fiberglass/epoxies? What are the characteristics that differentiate between the two of them? If I have two identicle blades, each with one of these two types of scales, how would I tell the difference?

    Then there are different types of micara, correct? How does one tell the difference between paper micarta and linen?
    G10 is always layers of glass cloth impregnated with epoxy.

    Micarta is layers of reinforcement impregnated with resin. It can vary in the exact identity of both the reinforcement and the resin, but the reinforcement is usually not glass cloth.

    For knife handles, you will find more variation between how various folks have surface-finished the materials than in the materials themselves, although linen micarta is capable of having a rougher surface than paper micarta.

  10. #10
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    I know that Sal said that micarta has more colour options, but doesn't G10 have more colours because the glass is coloured and not just the resin?

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    According to some, G-10 is less absorbent of solvents, particularly gasoline (if for some reason that's of concern to you).

    I've had micarta handles of varrying texture, from glass-smooth, polished paper and linen, to a very "grippy", rough-textured canvas.

    On all the folders I've owned with G-10 scales, the texture has always been made rough for better grip as well as efficiency of manufacture (I'm assuming). I really like what makers like Daryll Ralph, Zero Tolerance and Kershaw are doing with the sculpted handles; it's an awesome look that also "bites" into the skin of your hand.

    The G-10 scales on my Rob Patton/Kasper Grande are smooth, almost polished. They have a tacky kind of feel, very similar to how ivory handles become when they're wet with sweat or blood. The layering and glass fibers are visible, which makes for an eye-catching look.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by babakanoosh45 View Post
    I don't know all the Tech stuff on G-10 or Micarta but I am able to put up some Photos to show the Visual differences... I tossed in some Carbon Fiber since in my opinion it's in the same catogory... CF is also my Fav!!! We have a FBM with Micarta Scales a Blackton Custom with Micarta (25Yrs Old) a Custom Buck 110 with Carbon Fiber a Custom Buck 112 w/white G-10 a Buck 888 w/G-10 and a Buck 500 with Micarta...Hope it is of some use? If not it was a great morning for Pictures anyway!!!




    babakanoosh, if you happen to be looking for an heir I would be happy to volunteer!

    I'm still a little confused, but its starting to make a little more sense. I was talking to a guy at work about it last night and carbon fiber came into that conversation. Glad to see it here too!

  13. #13
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    G-10 + Micarta; Mini-Rukus FTW!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith_H View Post
    I know that Sal said that micarta has more colour options, but doesn't G10 have more colours because the glass is coloured and not just the resin?
    The layers of micarta material can also be colored. In fact, I've seen different colors in different layers, which can make for some great visuals, if done properly.

    Another consideration to add to the confusion is the stuff that people say is micarta but isn't technically micarta. It is still a resin and a layered material but not technically micarta. I remember seeing some do-it-yourselfers over in another subforum showing a "micarta" he made from old blue jeans of different shades. It looked great.

  15. #15
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    Micarta was used as an electrical insulator with decent mechanical strength - for supporting large switches, etc. It would stand mechanical stresses that ceramics wouldn't. G10 was initially developed as an improvement over the early bakelite printed circuit board material, which could actually burn. G10 was found in industrial and military - then computer electronics - while bakelite was initially used in consumer electronics. The G10 circuit board material had a greenish translucent appearance, while bakelite was opaque and light brown. Micarta was brown to black.

    Stainz

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenheretic View Post
    ...Another consideration to add to the confusion is the stuff that people say is micarta but isn't technically micarta. It is still a resin and a layered material but not technically micarta. I remember seeing some do-it-yourselfers over in another subforum showing a "micarta" he made from old blue jeans of different shades. It looked great.
    Meeee!!! I am one of those guys and making your own handle material is very satisfying. The results are great no matter what colors you use. So far I have been messing with blue, green and white canvas.

    I agree with those who say that micarta seems grippier than G10. It also depends on how polished it is. 100grit gives you a very grippy feeling while polishing it up to 800 grit doesn't.
    Mikel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikel_24 View Post
    Meeee!!! I am one of those guys and making your own handle material is very satisfying.
    Have you posted any pics; I'd love to see it.

  18. #18
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    In previous threads on this subject, people have pointed out that it's the resin/glue itself that makes a difference rather than the fibers used.

    ie, one company's G10 resin could be very different from another's, and similarly for Micarta. Therefore (so I am told) it is difficult to really compare them on anything other than a qualitative basis.

    Can't contribute beyond that since I've never had a chance to handle micarta.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zenheretic View Post
    Have you posted any pics; I'd love to see it.
    The only pictures I have so far of finished pseudo-micarta are the ones from my first knife HERE and some from a set of handles I made for my RAT-7 HERE

    I am working in a few more proyects with green/white canvas micarta right now and I will post a few pictures ASAP.

    Mikel

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikel_24 View Post
    The only pictures I have so far of finished pseudo-micarta are the ones from my first knife HERE and some from a set of handles I made for my RAT-7 HERE

    I am working in a few more proyects with green/white canvas micarta right now and I will post a few pictures ASAP.

    Mikel
    Bumping this up for Mikel's link to his Work-In-Progress.
    This is one of the best tutorial/pictorials you will see that incorporates imaginative problem solving.

    Wish he was my neighbor, I'd be over there all the time learning and borrowing tools...

    Great work and thanks for sharing it.

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