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G10 vs Micarta

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Idaho Jarhead, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. Idaho Jarhead

    Idaho Jarhead

    Nov 2, 2007
    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? :confused: :eek:
  2. Th232


    Oct 16, 2006
    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. shecky


    May 3, 2006
    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. chuckschilling

    chuckschilling Banned BANNED

    Jan 30, 2003
    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. zenheretic


    Oct 29, 2005
    Here is what a knife manufacturer says about it in a very recent thread:

  6. babakanoosh45


    Oct 6, 2006
    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!!!

  7. Shaolin


    Apr 25, 2008
    Nice info, thanks.
  8. kgd


    Feb 28, 2007
    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. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    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. Keith_H


    Jul 20, 2007
    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?
  11. H2H907


    Dec 30, 2007
    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. Idaho Jarhead

    Idaho Jarhead

    Nov 2, 2007
    babakanoosh, if you happen to be looking for an heir I would be happy to volunteer! :eek:

    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. Cotton26


    Jul 16, 2007
    G-10 + Micarta; Mini-Rukus FTW!
  14. zenheretic


    Oct 29, 2005
    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. :eek: 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. Stainz


    Jun 24, 2007
    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.

  16. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    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.
  17. zenheretic


    Oct 29, 2005
    Have you posted any pics; I'd love to see it.
  18. Kazeryu


    Nov 7, 2005
    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. Mikel_24


    Sep 19, 2007
    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.

  20. ADD


    Apr 29, 2006
    Bumping this up for Mikel's link to his Work-In-Progress. :thumbup:
    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...:p

    Great work and thanks for sharing it.

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