G10 vs Micarta which one is best for knife handle

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G10 vs Micarta what is better? Let’s explore.

Knife handles are the most important part of the knife. They are the part that holds the knife blade. They are also the part that is most likely to be damaged by the knife, and thus, it is important to choose the right material to use.

There are many types of materials used in knife handles, and each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is very important to know the characteristics of the materials before you buy them so that you can choose the best one.

In this article, we will take a look at G10 and Micarta and compare their qualities to help you make an informed decision.

G10 vs Micarta knife handles differences between the handle materials
G10 vs Micarta, which is better?

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G10 vs Micarta – what is a better choice for a knife handle

Knife handles are important, especially if you want your knife to be durable and long-lasting. Choosing the right material to make the handle is very important. Not only is it going to make a difference to the quality of your knife, but it can also affect its price. 

What is G10?

In simple words, G10 is a fiberglass-based laminate (details in the history of G10).  G10 is a material that is used in a wide variety of applications, including kitchen countertops, bathroom vanities, and many other uses. It is a highly versatile material that can be used in a wide range of environments. This material is manufactured in a number of different forms, including sheets, panels, and tiles.

If you are looking for an affordable way to add a touch of luxury to your home, look no further than G10. This material is extremely durable and offers a number of benefits to your home. It can be installed in a number of ways, including flush mount and under-counter. It can also be used to cover existing countertops, or even as a kitchen backsplash. In addition, this material is available in a wide range of colors and styles.

G10 knife handle
G10 knife handle

A little history of G10

G10 was invented by George Westinghouse, in the 1950s. A fine blend of fiberglass and epoxy resin (viscous liquid) makes G10 material.

Resin comes in synthetic and natural forms. Synthetic resin is used in knife handles. Its high resistance makes it able to withstand wear and tear. Epoxy resin is twice harder than ordinary synthetic resin. It is heat, water, and moisture-proof.

How G10 is made? Fiberglass cloths are soaked in an epoxy resin, then they are layered on top of each other. They are then heated and compressed to form the desired shape. This is the same process used for carbon fiber handles and micarta, but it uses a process called filament winding. G10 uses fiberglass which is not the case with micarta.

What is Micarta

Micarta was invented by George Westinghouse, as early as 1910 using phenolic resin developed by Leo Baekeland.

As mentioned earlier, the processes of making Micarta and G10 are very similar. For making micarta- burlap, carbon fiber, linen or canvas is used instead of fiberglass. And they are soaked into a phenolic resin. The rest of the procedure is the same as G10. Phenolic is a synthetic resin made from an organic compound called phenol.

 The name micarta came from the Greek word “mica” meaning – fabric embedded with tiny pieces of rock.

Micarta knife handle
Micarta knife handle

Micarta vs G10 – what is the difference

The basic difference between G10 and Micarta is one is made from epoxy resin and the other from phenolic resin. As they look pretty similar it is not very easy for a common man to differentiate between G10 and Micarta.

Apart from the different resins used, G10 is produced from fiberglass and Micarta from linen. Sometimes, burlap, canvas, or paper are also used to make Micarta. For this reason, Micarta can achieve unique looks if we compare it to G10. As G10 is always made from fiberglass composite.

As said, Micarta uses different materials and it can have more designs and looks.

How durable are G10 and Micarta?

The strength and durability of a product are measured by its Tensile Strength. What is tensile strength? Tensile strength is – how much pressure a material can resist before it tears apart. We will see a tensile strength chart for our G10 vs Micarta discussion:

Is G-10 a strong material?

As mentioned earlier, epoxy resins are twice stronger than normal resin. Also, G10 can tolerate extreme heat and cold without reacting to moisture and dry conditions. G10 has a wider application just because of its durability, water-resistant properties.

Already known as the strongest composite tensile strength of G10 is very high and when used in knife handles it becomes very durable.

Tensile strength chart for G10

Tensile StrengthFlatwise PSICrosswise PSI
Compressive StrengthFlatwise PSIEdgewise PSI
Flexural strength /bending strengthLengthwise PSICrosswise PSI
(On 0.125″ thickness)5500045000  
G10 tensile strength chart

On a Rockwell hardness M scale, G10 has a hooping 110 score. In short fiberglass-epoxy resin woven composite G10 is much more stronger than Micarta.

Micarta material for knife handle
Micarta knife handle material

How strong is Micarta?

If you want the durability of steel but without the weight, then micarta is the way to go. Micarta is a strong material known as the steel of the plastic industry. Woven from phenolic resin micarta is very strong compared to other knife handle materials. But if we are comparing G10 and Micarta, G10 is the winner as it is woven with fiberglass.

 Said that let’s check the tensile strength of Micarta to see how much strong it is compared to G10 material:

Tensile strength chart for Micarta (Linen woven)

Tensile StrengthFlatwise PSICrosswise PSI
Compressive StrengthFlatwise PSIEdgewise PSI
Flexural strength /bending strengthLengthwise PSICrosswise PSI
(On 0.125″ thickness)1650014000  
Micarta Tensile strength chart

Tensile strength chart for Micarta (Paper woven)

Tensile StrengthFlatwise PSICrosswise PSI
Compressive StrengthFlatwise PSIEdgewise PSI
Flexural strength /bending strengthLengthwise PSICrosswise PSI
(On 0.125″ thickness)1350011800  
Paper woven Micarta tensile strength

Tensile strength chart for Micarta (Canvas woven)

Tensile StrengthFlatwise PSICrosswise PSI
Compressive StrengthFlatwise PSIEdgewise PSI
Flexural strength /bending strengthLengthwise PSICrosswise PSI
(On 0.125″ thickness)1700016000  
Tensile strength of canvas woven Micarta

Accurate Plastics has other materials compared in their chart, however, we will strict our comparison between paper, linen and canvas as they are the most used materials in Micarta. On a Rockwell hardness M scale, Micarta scores an impressive 105. This is quite interesting.

Micarta scales for knife
Micarta scales for knife

Is G10 knife handles heavier than Micarta?

Both Micarta and G10 are very similar in weight. There is a very negligible weight difference between Micarta and G10. It will not make much difference and you will not be able to tell which one is heavier. 

But yes, G10 is a bit heavier than Micarta. The weight difference is very narrow to choose one on the aspect of weight.

Is G10 handle water-resistant?

G10 isn’t waterproof but it is water-resistant. The construction process and the materials used make it hard for water to get into the handles. G10 will always provide a better grip in dry conditions while a Micarta handle will provide a better grip in wet conditions.

Is Micarta handle water-resistant?

Water can get into the micarta handle if resins were not filled in correctly in the laminating process, or from the edges. As micarta is comparatively soft, it can have dents and scratches which results in water penetration.

G10 knife scale
G10 scale for knife

G-10 vs Micarta – How is the grip?

G10 grip: The G-10 material has been engineered to be perfect for creating a high-quality knife handle. However, it is smooth in its natural state. The grip is vital when we talk about a knife. G10 gives a good grip when it is dry. But in wet conditions grip is not perfect.

To help with this issue, checkering is a suitable solution. You can add a pattern (if it is not already done by the manufacturer), it will give you a good grip as well as a different/attractive look of the knife.

Micarta is an extremely smooth material; does it have a good grip? Well not only the making process of G10 and Micarta are similar, but their nature also is not much different. Micarta has a smooth surface like G10 and texture on it is needed for a tight grip. Manufacturers carve textures on Micarta handles of knives to achieve proper grip.

It takes quite some effort to make Micarta handles perfect to use with a better grip, that’s why it is pricier.

What is the difference between Micarta and G10 in regards to grip? Both are smooth and slick in their natural state. As Micarta is made from canvas, paper, linen or burlap soaking into phenolic resin; it does not have any texture at all. At the same time, G10 is a bit less slick because it is woven from fiberglass.

Generally, both are sold making textures on them (when used on knife handle), micarta is costlier because of the efforts it takes to get texture. If you are going to use your knife in a wet condition then micarta is better than G10 as G10 retains good grip in a dry state and micarta in a wet state.

Phelonic resins are used in micarta
Phenolic resin knife scales (Micarta)

Is G-10 a customizable material?

Yes G10 is a highly customizable material. Both the material used (epoxy resin and fiberglass layering) can have different colors and G10 can be made in various attractive colors.

The layering of fiberglass can have different thicknesses and thinness with different colors in the layer to give a pleasing aesthetic.

Can you customize Micarta handle?

Micarta has different base materials (paper, linen, burlap, canvas etc.) that are soaked into phenolic resin and layered using heat and pressure. It gives micarta different looks depending on the material used.

Though micarta can not have patterned texture on it like G10, it can have beautiful looks in the cases where burlap or canvas is used for layering.

Is G-10 easy to maintain?

G10 does not get rust (steel handle can) as it is synthetic material. It is durable, super-strong, does not soak water. It is resistant to heat and moisture. Naturally, G10 is quite easy to maintain.

Cleaning a G10 handle is easy and you will not see any chipping. Yes, it is easy to maintain a knife with a G10 handle.

Is Micarta easy to maintain?

Base materials used to micarta are natural (though itself is a synthetic product). So in case of dent or the layering not properly filled by resin can cause water or any other liquid soaking. In that case, it can be unhygienic. Oiling the handle at regular intervals or whenever needed can keep the handle good for a long time.

G10 materials can have attractive designs on it
Designs on G10 material handle

What type of knives are better suited with a G-10 or Micarta handle?

It is quite common to find tactical knives having G10 handles. However, there are some brands that use it for kitchen knives as well due to its durable and strong nature.

A strong and sturdy micarta handle is also suitable for tactical knives that tolerate lots of wear and tear. 

Micarta vs G10 knife handle in a nutshell

HardnessWins by a slight marginLose by 5 points in Rockwell Hardness
GripBetter grip in dry conditionBetter grip in wet condition
MaintenanceEasy to maintainNot so easy
WeightNegligibly higherLighter than G10
ColorsMore bright patternsSubtle colors
PriceCostly than MicartaCheaper than G10
Micarta does not have much option for designs
Possibilities of attractive designs on Micarta is limited

Final Words – G10 vs Micarta knife handles

Both the materials are composite from layering lamination and resin. Heated and compressed to be super strong and durable. Both Micarta and G10 material has a wider application for many purposes.

However, the materials used to make them create a slight difference in terms of durability, strength, maintenance and cost too.

If we consider all the aspects, yes G10 wins the race. But Micarta is not far behind. You can buy any of them suitable for your condition.

If you want to know about frequently used kitchen knives check here.

Hope you enjoyed our conversion over G10 vs Micarta! If you have any questions, suggestions then let us know in the comment section below.

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