G10 vs Micarta Grinding and Finishing

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by David Mary, May 15, 2020.

  1. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    Here's what I don't understand. If Micarta is resin and canvas (or paper, or linen, etc), and G10 is resin and fiberglass, then shouldn't G10 be more wear resistant, and harder to machine? And if so, why is it I invariably find that G10 is super easy to file, drill, grind and sand, whereas micarta of any kind always seem to be triple the work?
     
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  2. Joshua Fisher

    Joshua Fisher KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    321
    Mar 27, 2018
    My guess is the type of resin used, true micarta uses phenolic resin which is very tough and g-10 if I’m not mistaken uses epoxy or fiberglass resin which is easier to sand, but funny enough I find g-10 to be harder on saw blades but much easier to sand and I think it’s just because of the fiberglass, it doesn’t like wood cutting blades.
     
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  3. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    The g-10 is harder, where the micarta is made of materials that shred, rather than abrade cleanly.
     
  4. Joshua Fisher

    Joshua Fisher KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    321
    Mar 27, 2018
    I don’t think it’s shredding so much as phenolic resin is more abrasion resistant, both products use a cloth material to form the layers so both would be liable to shred without the resins to hold them in place, polyester or fiberglass resin is harder but can also be more brittle, the fiberglass cloth helps strengthen it and reduce chipping or breaking while the phenolic resin in micarta is softer making it tougher in the sense of it’s harder to break and wears better, if you made some homemade micarta with polyester resin it would behave much more like g10, with resins harder doesn’t always equal better. It’s like if you took a piece of glass and a piece of rubber mat and scored the material with a knife, the glass would very clearly scratch and create a weak point that it could then easily break, the rubber mat would not cut well because the material gives more, you would need to apply a lot more pressure to make a noticeable cut.
     
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  5. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I’ve made homemade “micarta” and fibreglass or carbon fibre blocks. The cloth or paper are harder to sand regardless of whether I used both epoxy and polyester resin. It’s much like trying to sand denim versus hardwood.
     
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  6. Joshua Fisher

    Joshua Fisher KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    321
    Mar 27, 2018
    In my experience normal epoxy resin and polyester resin feel about the same, phenolic resin is completely different and isn’t really available to most consumers, That’s why you can’t make actual micarta at home is that unless you know someone who works in a commercial factory that can get phenolic resin you can’t really duplicate it. In my opinion I haven’t really noticed any difficulties in the cloth material sanding, when you made micarta at home did you use a press or just a clamp? I think that could have an effect I don’t think a clamp is enough, I think you need a very large press to get enough force to compact the cloth. All I know is I’ve worked with a lot of resins and can definitely tell the difference in how some of them sand. I still think that’s the biggest difference in how professionally made micarta or g10 works is the type of resin, with the exception that the glass in the g-10 kills wood blades
     
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  7. Natlek

    Natlek

    Jun 9, 2015
    I have used only once G10 , orange one .I buy it from knife store ......That thing have very little glass fiber inside . That why it is easy to grind. I have REAL industrial composite /G-10/ with fiberglass......It is more heavy and that thing will dull dril bits one first hole .
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2020
  8. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    328
    Jun 15, 2012
    Watch out for cheap Chinese G10 with 99% epoxy.
     
  9. Natlek

    Natlek

    Jun 9, 2015
    I bought mine from a respectable store in Germany....but who knows
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    328
    Jun 15, 2012
    I like that lanyard solution, nice work. Orange g10 is one of my favourites.
    You are also in Europe, so have a look at Volnik(.pl) in Poland. Marcin who runs the place is a nice guy, I bought some sheets of g10 from him last year, good quality, prices and shipping. The stuff in my last chef is from him:
    [​IMG]

    You can also check out Matkniv in Czech Republic, they are official distributors of Ultrex/Norplex G10 and micarta in Europe. I plan on trying them in the near future.
     
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  11. TheEdge01

    TheEdge01

    Apr 3, 2015
    That’s almost identical to my experience with G10. I tried cutting some relatively thin textured G10 with a jig saw and ruined two blades before getting both scales cut out.
     
  12. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    Angle grinder cut off wheels. Cut G10 all day.
     
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  13. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I put one in a tile cutting saw, and that helps with the dust, and I don’t have to ruin my bandsaw or table saw blades.
     
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  14. David Mary

    David Mary KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2015
    It's micarta that I have a problem with. It wants to burn and smoke if I don't use the right technique with the grinder. I have to touch, release, touch release, because if I just press and power through the cut (like I can with G10) it creates a cloud of smoke that stings the eyes. I really need to find some googles, these safety glasses aren't cutting it.
     
  15. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    328
    Jun 15, 2012
    I rough grind micarta with 60 grit AO, and yeah it gets hot quick. One has to watch not to burn the material. Belts like they are free etc etc.
    I cut micarta and g10 with the bandsaw I use for steel. Usually 18 tpi, to much work to change blades to a lower tpi but that sure is faster. Also for straight long cuts I use my mitre saw with a medium fine tooth blade.
    Works well.
     
  16. Natlek

    Natlek

    Jun 9, 2015
    Which grit belt and speed you use ? I have one 40 grit zirconia belt which I use only on micarta and wood .I never notice any problem with micarta ....with around 10 m/s belt speed .
     
  17. Scaniaman

    Scaniaman

    328
    Jun 15, 2012
    This is an interesting idea. Is it the normal cut off wheels for steel that you are using? Do they hold up in the wet?
    [​IMG]
    This seems compact and nice at 355x340 mm, runs wet.


     
  18. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013
    I just started using it last month. The cutoff wheels seem to hold up fine. I got the saw on sale for $59 at Princess Auto, the Canadian version of Harbour Freight.
     
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  19. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    I keep a G10-ruined bandsaw blade around for cutting more G10.
     
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  20. Willie71

    Willie71 Warren J. Krywko. Part Time Knifemaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 23, 2013

    I grind micarta with a 36 grit zirconia belt. Anything else just loads up and burns. Then I clean up with Japanese rasps. I’d I could get 36g AO belts, I would use them, but they only go to 80grit with my local supplier.
     
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