What is the difference between Micarta vs G10 knife handle? We did the research, and here is what we found. Learn all about these great materials below.
Micarta vs G10
From the get-go, it’s important to clarify that the overall difference between micarta vs G10 scale knife handles is minor. As you research the subject, you will find that there is little to distinguish between them, apart from a few small considerations. Micarta is an older material made of natural fibers, whereas G10 is synthetic.
What is G10?
G10 is in so many of our knife handles, but we seldom stop to ask what is G10 made of?
G10 scales are made of many interwoven layers of fiberglass laminated with epoxy resin and baked under many thousands of pounds of pressure.1 The end result is an extraordinarily durable G10 knife handle. Interestingly, it was first used as a substrate for printed circuit boards due to its excellent properties as an insulating material.
What is Micarta?
What is micarta made of? Micarta is made through a similar process as G10, however the base component is made of either fabric, linen, or even carbon fiber. Micarta has been in use for over a hundred years, and has even been found in boat propellers!2
Both G10 and micarta go through the same process of interweaving and laminating.
Canvas vs Linen Micarta
The difference between canvas and linen micarta is mostly one of appearance. Because both canvas or linen weaves are styles of micarta, they have similar hand-feels and the same wet-condition grip advantage you would hope for. However, canvas is a coarser material and that will be evident in the knife handle, which will look a bit more textured than linen.
Choose canvas if you like the textured look, but choose linen if you prefer a smooth aesthetic.
G10 handles are considered to have a superior grip in dry conditions due to their polish. But this polish Also makes the handle a little slippery when wet. However, an unpolished G10 handle should also do fine in wet conditions.
Paradoxically, micarta can actually have a better grip in wet conditions than in dry ones. This is even true for smooth micarta, you do not need a rough surface to produce this extra grippy effect. Micarta is known to have a better grip in wet conditions compared to polished G10. Some micarta handles are sandblasted, which produces an even better grip in moisture. Many find that micarta just has a better hand feel.
Both materials can handle extensive abuse, and either are an excellent choice in terms of strength. Either one can last a lifetime with little maintenance.
But when push comes to shove, G10, with its fiberglass Construction, comes out ahead as just that much stronger then micarta. However, this strength discrepancy will not matter for most purposes.
Micarta is generally considered to have a more elegant look. When modified, sanded, or polished, it acts more like wood than the underlying cloth or canvas base would suggest. This allows it to be easily textured to your heart’s content so you can go for a smooth finish or a more rustic look. When unpolished, micarta will develop an age to look over time, as it soaks up sweat and moisture. Some people like that effect, but others prefer to easily clean it with some soap and water.
G10, on the other hand, is basically chemically inert, so it will not soak up any moisture, sweat, or dirt. With a little cleaning, it will look like it did on the day you bought it.
Where to Buy Micarta
If you are interested in making your own micarta knife, and want to know where to buy micarta scales for you handle, it may surprise you to know that Amazon has a wide selection of high quality micarta for you to try out.
There is a nice variety of micarta handle scales for sale online to help you make the perfect knife handle. -SHOP NOW
It must be restated that the two materials are in the end very similar, and we are splitting hairs here. But when you get right down to it, each one has different advantages by different criteria.
In terms of hand feel, micarta is the winter due to its adaptability and wet conditions, in generally increased feeling of comfort on the skin. G10 beats micarta on strength, but only slightly, due to its fiberglass composition.
As to look, whether you want a more worn look, or newer look, will determine if micarta or G10 is right for you.There is so much variation from handle to handle, polish to polish, that there is no obvious winner here.
Check out GEARCTRL’s handy guide to the best pocket knife sharpeners so you can sharpern your micarta or G10 knife with a sharpener small enough to fit in your pocket!