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Plastic scales

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by Workingsloth777, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Workingsloth777

    Workingsloth777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2019
    So I have been carrying my Benchmade Bugout for more than a year and I love it, except the plastic scales are starting to annoy me. Considering getting custom scales. So my question is.... Do plastic scales bug you enough to not buy a nice knife (like the bugout) with them? Also what is your favorite scale/handle material?

  2. Bdein14


    Apr 11, 2019
    I personally don’t mind them. I know they are real flexible and you can make them touch each other but they way I typically hold my knife that doesn’t bother me. I’ve only seen custom titanium scales for the bugout and I like the original scales why more than titanium because they’re way too slippery. I prefer Micarta over anything just because it gives more grip when wet but still love g10 and frn
  3. Reitwagen


    Mar 2, 2009
    Replacing an injection molded plastic handle with micarta or G-10 doesn't appeal to me. Synthetic handles are great for their functionality and durability. I'm just as happy with plastic as much as any other man-made material. Now a nice wood or bone handle will make me stop and take a second look, but that's another kettle of fish.
  4. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    I have zero issue with the scales that came with the Bugout.

    They're lightweight, grippy, and so far I can't break them.

    Oh, I see the concern posted here and there about "squeezing the scales together" and all. That concern isn't mine.

    But if the scales are "starting to annoy you", then there are other options out there for you to try.
    colin.p likes this.
  5. Workingsloth777

    Workingsloth777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2019
    I have no issues with it functionally in fact functionally they are perfect. It's just the feel of plastic doesn't feel as nice (to me) as g-10 or cf. I know this may seem really picky but it's just how I am with my knives. :)
  6. arrowhd

    arrowhd Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2011
    I've had this same issue with the Mini Grip. Bought a set of AWT scales and loved the way they looked. Fit and finish was perfect. Really fancied it up. It totally changed the feel when being used though. For me the best option was the factory scales. Wouldn't mind trying a G10 set but dobt it would make the experience of using the knife any better. I really like micarta though....
  7. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    The worst handles for me are smooth metal . No grip traction and cold .

    Some of my old favorites have FRN or similar handles . They work fine .
  8. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    I like plastic handles due to the fact that various textures can easily be incorporated and molded into the design.

    I'd probably used them on my customs occasionally if I had an injection molding machine.
  9. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    Bugout scales are made from Grivory, very tough stuff, resistant to practically everything, light, and ideally suited to that particular design IMHO.
    colin.p and danbot like this.
  10. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Nothing wrong with plastic scales. They make a knife light, and sometimes that’s just what you need.

    IMO, they can make some otherwise great knives feel “chintzy”. If that’s the case for you, just get some custom scales.
  11. dannyp

    dannyp Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 25, 2007
    I like plastic scales and they have a lot of positive benefits. They are extremely lightweight while being durable. It's easy for manufacturers to add texturing in the design process. They can be made in a wide variety of colors. One of my favorite things is that they are economical, so you can get an upgraded steel without paying the price for a higher end knife.

    I don't think I could pick a favorite handle material. I like them all for different reasons, but metal handles are definitely my least favorite.
    DocJD likes this.
  12. Kaizen1

    Kaizen1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    FRN isn't my first choice, but it's not an immediate deal breaker for me. There are traits on various handle materials that I'm not a fan of, but that's often a result of the way the material is implemented into the handles. Some off the top of my head:
    • FRN: When it's so flexible that the handle doesn't feel stable. Can feel cheap. On the Benchmade Griptilian, it makes the knife weirdly loud when opening.
    • Steel/ Other metals: When there isn't any skeletonization, resulting in extra weight. When it's too slick
    • G-10: When it's texturized too aggressively or made too slick
    • CF: When it's too slick
    FRN and steel are the least appealing to me, but again, not deal breakers.
  13. DocJD


    Jan 29, 2016
    My most recent plastic handle is actually a one piece integral design to be both stronger and need no fasteners to aid in corrosion resistance . H-1 Spyderhawk .

  14. GIRLYmann


    Nov 7, 2005
    Plastic scales?? Well, they need less much care i suppose and much cheaper to own too.
    The feel of it depends largely on how the handle is designed. More texturing and ergos would be a large turn on.
    A much as i like the look of natural stag horn or bone, faux plastic ones can look pretty cheap and ugly. I guess it boils down to how the plastic scales are moulded with the right amount of details and color.
    Besides, i figure there is no escaping the use of plastic like in SAKs or moras :)
    If it don't feel or look right,.put it down and move on!
  15. Velitrius

    Velitrius Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 3, 2000
    And you are completely justified in how you are with your knives, and really any product you consume!

    It is great that the knife community has folks who are ready, willing and able to supply us with upgrades, options, modifications and such.

    That way, we can grab hold of an "almost great" piece, and make it just what we want in a knife.

    Oh, and if I were to grab a different set of scales for my Bugout, they'd be those carbon fiber beauties I've seen around.
    Lapedog and Workingsloth777 like this.
  16. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    You want to be a bit more specific with the question. The term "Plastic handles" includes handles made of thermoset plastics such as G10 and "micarta" and not just thermoplastics like FRN. Valox, Grivory etc.

    The Benchmade Bugout has handles made of "Grivory", a trade name used by "EMS-CHEMIE HOLDING AG"
    It's not Nylon, but is similar chemically. According to the manufacturer Grivory has improved mechanical properties. They should know. They make and sell both Grivory and "Grilamid", which is their trade name for "Nylon".

    Grivory, like many thermoplastics can be obtained in several grades. Some are fiber reinforced. Some are not. The percentage of fiber reinforcement will have an effect on the performance of the material. Higher fiber content improves dimensional stability. According to their web site, Benchmade uses a grade with 50% fiber content. That is very high for a thermoplastic.

    You also need to take into consideration that most of the time, the perceived properties of the handle material are more dependent on how the handle is designed or processed than they are on the material itself.
    ♦ Slipperiness is a function of surface texture. That's mostly due to the mold design, rather than the material in and of itself. But the grade of material used can enter into it.
    ♦ Tendency to flex often depends on whether the handles are reinforced or if they are thick enough that they don't need reinforcement.

    So it is difficult to answer a general question such as, "do you like knives with plastic handles?"

    I don't mind thermoplastic handles if they are well designed with the correct grade of polymer, the correct surface roughness, and the correct thickness or reinforcement.
    I have knives with FRN handles that are not reinforced, that don't flex, and which are not slippery. I have others that are reinforced with steel liners. They don't flex either. I also have some knives with thermoplastic handles that are poorly designed. They don't see much pocket time.

    I would buy a $120-ish knife with thermoplastic handles. I might return it if I felt they were poorly designed.
  17. Lapedog

    Lapedog Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    I didn’t even want to try the plastic scales so my Benchmade Bugout is being fitted with CF scales right now. The b-out has almost no steel liners so cf will be a great ridged material for this knife.

    I have also seen really nice aftermarket Ti scales for the bugout.
  18. Workingsloth777

    Workingsloth777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2019
    Yes I should have been a bit more specific. I'm no expert when I comes to the different kinds of plastics out there, so thx for the info.
  19. miso2

    miso2 Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 19, 2014
    I am fine with composite handles (fiber and plastic) including FRN, G10, micarta, and carbon fiber, especially when they come with metal liners.
  20. Workingsloth777

    Workingsloth777 Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 10, 2019
    I agree, I think that's what I'll do too. Whose fitting them for you?

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