G10 and Micarta are popular materials in knife handles, and they both make excellent knife handles, most knife makers use them interchangeably in their knives series. However, they have specific qualities and characteristics which set them aside. In the next section, we will look into the different aspects of these materials to help you choose the best one for your knife handles.
G10 vs. Micarta: Which is better for knife handles
When purchasing a knife, choosing one with the best handle material for your needs is crucial. To decide which knife handle material is better for your needs between G-10 and Micarta, it is essential to look into the key details of each material.
What is G10 ?
G10 is part of the composite family created from fiberglass and resin. The material is formed using compression and heat. Fiberglass cloth is stacked in layers and soaked in epoxy resin. Once ready, it is compressed on extreme pressure and laminated in high heat to form a fiberglass material known as G10. This material is very versatile and ranks among the most durable glass laminate materials on the market.
Is G10 handle water resistant?
G10 is water-resistant but not waterproof. However, it does not allow water to penetrate the handles easily because of the materials used and the construction process. In wet conditions, a Micarta handle will provide a better grip while G10 will always provide a better grip in dry conditions.
Is G10 handle durable?
G10 handles depict high levels of strength and durability. This material will serve you for a long time in both dry and wet conditions. For this reason, G10 is suitable for making knife handles to be used in wet applications. G10 can also maintain a very thin point through significant impact testing.
Also, G10 has a hardness of 110 on the Rockwell hardness M scale.
What is Micarta?
Like G10, Micarta is made of resin and composite material, making it part of the composite family. It is also constructed following the compression and lamination process. However, it is built using canvas, linen, burlap, or carbon fiber rather than glass. The laminate layers are soaked in phenolic resin and compressed with extreme heat and high pressure to form the hard material known as Micarta.
It is worth noting that the name Micarta actually takeovers the name of the company that makes these types of thermosets resin and substrate materials i.e. Norplex Micarta.
Is Micarta handle water-resistant?
Micarta can let it water and other liquids because the ingredients that form the laminate material can have openings in the areas where the resin did not fill up correctly or on the edges. Also, the outer material of Micarta is soft and can quickly get scratches and dents, allowing water to penetrate.
Is Micarta handle durable?
Micarta handles are durable and hard therefore serve you for a long period. The ingredients used in this material can vary, but mostly they use linen and canvas. A Micarta handle will not chip or break easily no matter the application. The Rockwell hardness M of Micarta made from linen is 105, which is lesser than the hardness of G10 by 5.
What is the difference between G10 handle and Micarta handle?
The base ingredient of the G10 handle is glass fiber, while Micarta is made with different ingredients, including canvas, linen, paper, or burlap. G10 layers are bound by epoxy resins while Micarta layers are bound with phenolic resins, a kind of tough plastic that super hardens as it dries.
In terms of appearance, both materials deliver a sleek finish, but Micarta offers more designs and colors. The variations of the materials used to make Micarta allow it to create a rugged but stylish look. It has a more natural look, It should not be constantly exposed to oil and grease or other penetrative elements as this will cause it to develop a patina.
On the other hand, G10 gives a smoother finish and does not need extra care to maintain its looks. G10 will also maintain its original look for a long period while Micarta can easily darken over time if not well maintained.
Is G10 handle heavier than Micarta?
The weight difference between G10 and Micarta is almost unnoticeable. Most knife buyers do not notice the weight difference, but G10 is heavier than Micarta. Unless you are very keen on weight, the weight difference between the materials cannot be a solid factor when deciding between the two.
G10 Wet Grip vs Micarta
It is worth noting that in wet conditions a Micarta handle will provide better grip while G10 will always provide better grip in dry conditions. The G10 grip can be improved by texturing the epoxy surface to give it that extra bit of grip. You could try adding some checkering or ridges, depending on what you prefer!
G10 handle advantages
- Harder than Micarta.
- Brighter and does not take patina after a long time.
- It is light weight.
- Easy to polish.
- Offers more brighter colors.
Micarta handle advantages
- Offers better grip in wet conditions.
- Warmer to the touch in cold conditions.
- Develops patina over time which can be a great thing to some knife users.
- Offers more subtle colors.
- Cheaper than G10.
Is G10 Better Than Micarta?
Yes! G10 offers excellent strength, durability, is more resistant to water, and requires minimal maintenance. On the other hand, Micarta is made of more natural ingredients, offers numerous subtle color options and designs, and is more affordable.
However, it provides lower durability and is less resistant to water. Although expensive, G10 stands out because of its strength, durability, and water resistance over micarta and other scales like Grivory and FRN
I like to keep things simple, I have knives with both G10 and Micarta handles, but the tradeoff between the durability of the materials makes them equally as appealing in my opinion.
Both handle materials can take a beating without showing any signs of wear or damage. Your choice between the two depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. You will not be disappointed by either of them, they are solid performers.