Micarta + gasoline + match = a comfortable handle ?

Cliff Stamp

Oct 5, 1998
I have heard the odd time that Micarta will absorb gasoline and thus will burn for an extended period of time as opposed to G10. Yesterday I experimented with Allen Blades MEUK in this regard.

I first just tried a match. This did nothing but blacken a spot which cleaned off with a scotchbrite pad. I then soaked it in gas for about 15 minutes, walked outside and tried to light it. The gas had evaporated by the time I had walked out of the basement.

Finally I just poured gas on the handle and lit it. I then reached for my stopwatch to see how long it would burn. By the time I picked up the timer the flame was out. So much for that.

The only thing this did to the handle was leave it nice and warm. It was about -20 with wind chill and so I went outside for awhile and did some light work. The heated handle was actually very nice to hold. That would make an interesting commercial for cold weather use.

GASOLINE, MATCHES lighting a knife handle on fire. WE have to get you some more knives to test, it sounds like your suffering from boredom.

P.J. Turner Knife Mfg, Inc.
Uluchet, What's an Uluchet? Find out at...

Thanks Cliff, I love to see myths that have been promugated by the self-serving finally debunked. Frankly I was a little surprised to see that Micarta held up with such impunity. It would be interesting to see how G-10 fares, since epoxy generally melts at around 250F.

Jerry Hossom
yikes!!!!!!!!!!! cliff, have you been inside all winter...is it still dark there all day long....be careful dude!!!!!! i agree with gaknife, the epoxy will let go pretty easy if you arent careful...when i screw up a handle (dont like the way it looks, whatever) i gring it mostly off and then take my propane torch to it, the epoxy starts on fire it a not too distant future. after about 30 secs i can peel it off with a screw driver. wd40 burns great too, once i reached for my water bottle squirter to cool down a knife i was soldering the guard on and i picked up the wd40 squirt bottle instead, flaming knife...boy was i surprised!


Which Micarta was it? Paper or linen? My guess is that the linen version could soak up more gasoline.

COOL!!!!! Cliff your my kind of Knife tester!!,,,Yep Good ole Micarta is just fine for a Handle,,,,i have had a chunk in Grimy
quench water bucket water for weeks with no Problems at all,to the Micarta or the Acra glass bond!! Isnt De-bunking Myths fun!!

by the way in responce to the post here the material i favor the best is Black Canvas Micarta/phenolic. Although the other Flavors are fine too.

Thanks Cliff for the Review on the Talonite,
GREAT JOB!! i think for small Utility knives
under normal cutting it should be fine,, heavy use even i would be more confident with Steel Blades.

Regards, Allen
Nice test, it lends itself to a catchy post heading. I am curious how diesel would perform, it would not evaporate as fast. Probably make a real mess. Speaking of Micarta handles - Cliff, have you recieved your RCM from Newt yet? I am anxiously awaiting your opinion as I have been trying a lot of machetes lately and am considering the RCM myself.
PJ, as Tom noted its the wonderful weather.

Marion, yes it pretty much doesn't burn at all. I have been very pleased with the grip so far I will be doing some impaired grip work soon.

Jerry, I considered the heat effecting the bond but after some initial experimentation I concluded that no significant amount of heat was going to penetrate the slabs as the Micarta seemed to be a very poor conductor. I was a little concerned about effecting the structure of the blade by exposing it to open flame and so held the knife vertical and only had the bottom 3/4's of it on fire.

Tom can you break the bond by just torching the handle without grinding? I tried to pull the handle off the MEUK after it was on fire but could not. But then again as I could hold onto it I didn't figure I would be able to.

Allen, I would agree and am leaning towards Micarta over G10 currently for retention purposes mainly. It seems to be as functionally durable and more ergonomic.

David, I'll see if I can't get some. As for the RCM, no sign of it yet.


Cliff, I wasn't referring to gasoline or heat affecting the bonding of the Micarta to the steel. I was discussing the composition of G-10, which is fiberglass, an epoxy-bonded structure.

Personally I think Micarta is the best, for a host of reasons.

Jerry Hossom
cliff-if theres not a soldered on guard on the knife, yes, you can have at it with a propane torch and it will pop off. however, if theres a low temp solder job on it, i usually grind most of the handle off, down to about 1/8" or so, and then go at it with the torch, so as not to get the guard hot.


Jerry, yes, degredation of the material was something I was interested in. Specific to the Micarta it didn't seem to do anything. I could not even note a difference in surface texture after I cleaned it. I have some G10 handles now but can't compare directly as unfortunately they don't enclose the tang and thus I would be exposing it to open flame. I will do some point contacts and see if they react differently.

Cliff, I don't use G-10 or I would send you some for testing. You might want to ask someone who does to send you a small slab of it so you can test its mechanical integrity at high temperatures and when exposed to various solvents. Actually, since fiberglass is pretty generic, there may be standard texts that offer that information.

Jerry Hossom
Koval and other knifemaker suppliers have all kinds of handle materials in small pieces that aren't too expensive ... if you want to try setting them on fire and soaking them in solvents that's the way to go, better than ruining knives.

I mention Koval in particular because the Koval catalog has great color pictures of all their handle materials, but for testing purposes I suppose you won't be buying for appearance anyway.... www.kmg.org/kovalknives

If you really want to duplicate Hilton Yam's tests you'll have to shoot them, too ... IIRC he used .45ACP hardball....

-Cougar :{)

LMFAO!! i always loved the "SHoot the handle my knives can take it" thing, the only problem is that in real life i would think that if your Knife handle is taking Rounds,i would imagine so is your BODY!....LoL

Actually G-1o/g-11 will out perform Micarta in this respect,,but to what advantage or Need?

But in Real world use Micarta does have a few advantages over G-10 in the Warmth,Grip arenas when wet and cold

my .02

I CAN TELL you guys one thing, fiberglass does NOT burn, back in 77 my surfboard shop burned to the ground and the only thing that was left from all the surfboards that were piled in the shop was the fiberglass...in nice little rows right where the surfboards used to be....and let me tell you the fire was HOT>>>>>>>drums of resin, acetone, and the whole floor was hardened resin about one foot thick. radical fire.


Join us next week when we dump a custom Busse in a bucket of acid, sink an Original Randell No' 14 in the ocean for two weeks, and send a Damascus Bowie to outer space.

Yes - this is the kind of testing we need.

Who cares about cutting ability? Give us tough handles!!

I have no doubt that G10 is more impact and wear resistant than Micarta as I have seen Micarta damaged by stresses that have not harmed G10. However I don't think this difference leads to a functional advantage because the durability of Micarta is high anyway. There are a few cases such as if the knife doesn't have an exended tang and you are hammering with the butt on hard objects. G10 may be a stronger insulator as well.

Blilious :

Join us next week when we dump a custom Busse in a bucket of acid

Damm, I was trying to keep that as a surprise.

Cougar, thanks for the link, I'll check it out.