Different Scale Material Weights

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Bolster
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Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Bolster » Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:15 pm

As you're probably tired of reading by now, my interest is in lightweight versions of Mules. I've been on a hunt for light, durable scales (can't find sheets of FRN) and thought you Muleniks might be interested...or not...but if you are, my measurements:

Titanium...........2.61 oz/cu in
Aluminum.........1.57 oz/cu in
G-10................1.05 to 1.14 oz/cu in (aka Phenolic G-10)
Magnesium.......1.02 oz/cu in
Delrin...............0.82 oz/cu in
Carbon Fiber.....0.79 oz/cu in
Kydex..............0.78 oz/cu in
Micarta............0.72 oz/cu in
Lignum Vitae....0.72 oz/cu in
TeroTuf.............0.69 oz/cu in
Polycarbonate...0.69 oz/cu in
Ebony..............0.69 oz/cu in
Nylon 6/6.........0.66 oz/cu in (aka Zytel, FRN)
Phenolic LE.......0.66 oz/cu in
ABS Plastic........0.63 oz/cu in
Styrene............0.61 oz/cu in
Polyethelene LD.0.55 oz/cu in
UHMW..............0.55 oz/cu in
Rubber..............0.53 oz/cu in
PolyPro Copolymer.....0.52 oz
Cherry..............0.45 oz/cu in
Teak.................0.45 oz/cu in
Zebrawood........0.45 oz/cu in
Oak..................0.43 oz/cu in
Fruit Woods.......0.4 oz/cu in range
Mahogany.........0.40 oz/cu in
Walnut..............0.38 oz/cu in
Walnut, Am Blk..0.37 oz/cu in
Walnut, Euro......0.32 oz/cu in
(Nobody uses the following, but good reference:)
Basswood.........0.27 oz/cu in
Poplar..............0.26 oz/cu in
Redwood..........0.26 oz/cu in
White Pine........0.24-0.26 oz/cu in
Bamboo............0.19 oz/cu in
Balsa Wood.......0.08 oz/cu in

...and figure a typical medium handle might take 1.5 cu in* if using 1/8" scales, 3 cu in for 1/4" scales.

TeroTuf may be the replacement for FRN I've been looking for. I understand it is quite safe to machine, being all polyester. It is odd stuff in the raw, looks very fabric-y. I understand that applying mineral oil makes it prettier. Will try to take some photos later.

* A guess. Yet to be verified; if someone would like to verify, that'd be great!

UPDATED from
https://www.easycalculation.com/enginee ... eight.html
https://www.inchcalculator.com/lumber-w ... alculator/
https://www.norplex-micarta.com/wp-cont ... _Sizes.pdf
Last edited by Bolster on Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Michael Janich
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Michael Janich » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:50 am

Hey, Bolster:

You may not be able to find sheets of FRN, but sheets of raw nylon are available at most plastics supply houses. They are off-white in raw form, but can be RIT dyed.

Plastic suppliers also have other materials that might be worthy of consideration, like ABS, Delrin, Low-Density Polyethylene, High-Density Polyethylene, etc. One version of HDPE called Sanatec is used for cutting boards and comes pre-dyed in bright colors.

Stay safe,

Mike

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby JRinFL » Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:56 am

Delrin has been used in traditional knives for many decades, very good stuff. It can be slick, so you might want a way to add texture to it.

Richlite is another interesting material for knives. It is starting to pop up here and there on some knives now. Case even released a line using Richlite.

"Muleniks" ha! There a patch idea right there.
Not every choiless knife needs a choil, not every knife with a choil needs it removed. Not every big knife needs a Lil' companion. Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes. Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date.

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Bolster
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Bolster » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:56 am

Do you guys know if any of the above materials you've listed are light weight? I know the HDPE is heavy stuff...Thanks, B.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Gtscotty » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:34 am

I'm thinking 3d printed PETG or ABS (or even Nylon or PC if you're that fancy) will be strong enough for handle scales, and very lightweight with a reasonable percentage (30-40?) Gyroid infill. That's my plan anyway. PLA is harder and cheaper, but can be brittle, and is very prone to creep, so bolted connections tend to loosen over time (PETG is much better about this).

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby z1r » Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:56 am

This is great info and makes me want to take another look at walnut. I know walnut is less dense than Mahogany depending on species. And, surprisingly, both are lighter than many of the synthetics used for scales.

And yes, Muleniks is a great name!

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JRinFL
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby JRinFL » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:26 am

Delrin is probably very close to FRN weight, Richlite will be close to paper micarta in weight.
Not every choiless knife needs a choil, not every knife with a choil needs it removed. Not every big knife needs a Lil' companion. Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes. Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby JRinFL » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:28 am

Aerogels will be the lightest, if you can get them! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerogel
Not every choiless knife needs a choil, not every knife with a choil needs it removed. Not every big knife needs a Lil' companion. Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes. Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Pokey » Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:39 am

JRinFL wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:56 am
Delrin has been used in traditional knives for many decades, very good stuff. It can be slick, so you might want a way to add texture to it.

Richlite is another interesting material for knives. It is starting to pop up here and there on some knives now. Case even released a line using Richlite.

"Muleniks" ha! There a patch idea right there.
Delrin has been used for years to make the string nut on guitars. Epicurian cutting boards and some Gibson guitar fretboards are made of Richlite.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Pokey » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:42 am

JRinFL wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 7:28 am
Aerogels will be the lightest, if you can get them! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aerogel
Not very durable, though. It can crumble when you touch it. :(

z1r
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby z1r » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:48 am

I picked up a set of the G10 scales today. It will be interesting to compare them to the wood set I intend to make. Planning on a set of walnut and hope to find a set of dyed stabilized wood suitable for scales.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby JRinFL » Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:58 am

I found some specs on Delrin:
.816 oz (.051 lb) / cu in
Not every choiless knife needs a choil, not every knife with a choil needs it removed. Not every big knife needs a Lil' companion. Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes. Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby RustyIron » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:12 am

Michael Janich wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:50 am

Plastic suppliers also have other materials that might be worthy of consideration, like ABS, Delrin, Low-Density Polyethylene, High-Density Polyethylene, etc.
Good to know. Wife is restoring a vintage Coca-Cola machine, and the red buttons are worn and faded. Yesterday I had some nylon and polypropylene rod delivered. Turning the buttons will be easy, but dying the material is an unknown. Assuming the buttons come out ok, I'll stick some knife scales in the brew and see what happens.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby RustyIron » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:14 am

Pokey wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:42 am

Not very durable, though. It can crumble when you touch it. :(
Yeah, but for those guys who gently put their knives in a case, never carry them, or... god forbid... cut something... the aerogel will be plenty durable. :eek:

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Bolster
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Bolster » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:17 am

JRinFL wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 10:58 am
I found some specs on Delrin:
.816 oz (.051 lb) / cu in

Not bad...! Thanks

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby JRinFL » Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:25 pm

Nylon 6-6 (Zytel) is .6592 oz / cu in

Strong, durable, and long lasting. You can see why knives have been made with it so often.
Not every choiless knife needs a choil, not every knife with a choil needs it removed. Not every big knife needs a Lil' companion. Wharnie for the whin! Friends call me Jim. As do my foes. Used to be JR in CT with a much earlier join date.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Artvitel » Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:02 pm

I’ll make some conversions in metric system for popular materials :D

- Micarta - 1.25 Ton / Cu. Meter
- Carbon Fiber - 1.40 Ton / Cu. Meter
- G10 - 1.64 Ton / Cu. Meter

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Bolster
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Bolster » Thu Apr 29, 2021 3:12 pm

JRinFL wrote:
Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:25 pm
Nylon 6-6 (Zytel) is .6592 oz / cu in
Strong, durable, and long lasting. You can see why knives have been made with it so often.

Interesting!! Zytel = FRN (more or less). Didn't know that. At 0.66 it's a scootch lighter than TeroTuf at 0.69. I didn't realize that FRN was about the same weight as TeroTuf, which is widely available, so this may end my search for sheets of FRN. For the minimal difference in weight, I'll go with TeroTuf for now, whose dust is less problematic.

"Zytel is a trademark referring to a large family of Nylons developed by DuPont. Zytel is a high strength, abrasion and impact resistant form of thermoplastic polyamide commonly known as Nylon. For knife handle application, glass reinforced form of Zytel is the most suitable. This form of Zytel is most commonly referred to as FRN (Fiberglass-Reinforced Nylon) or GFN (Glass-Filled Nylon). Some knife manufacturers are using or have used other terms such as Grivory, Zy-Ex, Griv-Ex, etc. to refer to FRN but they are all virtually the same product....Pros: High strength, light weight, abrasion and impact resistant, inexpensive. Cons: lack of elegance, feels cheap."

https://www.lionknives.com.au/post/2017 ... -explained

NOTE: First post updated with more weights.

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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Alexander135 » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:57 pm

Have you considered Polylactic acid (PLA) ?
It's density is about 0.72 oz/in^3
Not the lightest but, it's very ridgid so when you design a handle you do not need solid plastic. You could also use PLA+ which has a good mix of strength to toughness for impact resistance.

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Bolster
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Re: Different Scale Material Weights

Postby Bolster » Thu Apr 29, 2021 6:33 pm

OK...I'm officially gobsmacked by the data above. So wood is the lightweight contender, would never have guessed that--had assumed many of the plastics would be lighter. I have worked with Poplar, considered on the border between a soft and a hard wood. Not particularly pretty, but strong and light weight. Dye it black, it might look decent and be a low-weight contender. Though Walnut is only a little more weight and very attractive.

Redwood and White Pine dent too easily for my taste, and I have no idea how bamboo would work. Would it need to be laminated?


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