Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

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Donut
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Donut » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:10 am

Is it possible that we could get smooth G-10 made with Micarta resin and have some grip to it?
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby The Deacon » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:54 am

No, because the "grip" that Micarta is noted for comes from the phenolic resin, and if you have a material that combines fiber glass cloth with phenolic resin it's going to be called Glass Fiber Micarta and sold by Norplex, or G-3 if it's made by anyone else and they want to use NEMA terminology, or pretty much anything but G-10 or Micarta by anyone who doesn't want to call it G-3 but doesn't want to mislabel it either. OTOH, it would be fairly easy to make a knife with smooth G-3 handles, and it should offer grip similar to that of smooth, "original recipe" Micarta. Whether Sal would consider doing that, or would fear the same issues he's had with Micarta, is another matter.
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Donut » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:42 am

Yeah, well, there aren't many unlined G-10 or Micarta designs anymore.

In my mind, it makes sense that if the resin is cured by heat, that it would warp in use.
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Bugout Bill » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:54 am

Now that this has dragged on for two pages...

As I understand it G10 is glass fiber impregnated with resin, micarta is fabric or paper impregnated with resin. Beyond that I really don't care about the minutiae of what resin is used in which. I really don't think that the average user would notice.

Both are plenty strong, chemical and flame resistant, and are dependent on the surface finish applied for grip (more the case with micarta).
Donut wrote:Yeah, well, there aren't many unlined G-10 or Micarta designs anymore.

In my mind, it makes sense that if the resin is cured by heat, that it would warp in use.
You care to elaborate?
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby The Deacon » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:55 am

Donut wrote:Yeah, well, there aren't many unlined G-10 or Micarta designs anymore.

In my mind, it makes sense that if the resin is cured by heat, that it would warp in use.
Just keep in mind that there are basically two types of resin; those which require an outside source of heat to cure, and those which use a catalyst to create a chemical reaction that generates heat. So, even for the epoxy resins, there's heat involved. Also might pay to consider that, Sal's experiences notwithstanding, dimensional stability has always been one of the characteristics of phenolic Micarta.
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby glbpro » Fri Nov 07, 2014 12:35 pm

Donut wrote:Yeah, well, there aren't many unlined G-10 or Micarta designs anymore.
Are you referring to designs in the Spyderco lineup or in general? Cold Steel use unlined G10 for the handles of their Recon One, AK-47 and American lawman knives, and those designs are incredibly strong. I saw a destruction test of a Recon One which was driven into a tree and then bent sideways - the blade snapped before the handle!

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Surfingringo » Fri Nov 07, 2014 2:09 pm

The Deacon wrote:
Donut wrote:Yeah, well, there aren't many unlined G-10 or Micarta designs anymore.

In my mind, it makes sense that if the resin is cured by heat, that it would warp in use.
Just keep in mind that there are basically two types of resin; those which require an outside source of heat to cure, and those which use a catalyst to create a chemical reaction that generates heat. So, even for the epoxy resins, there's heat involved. Also might pay to consider that, Sal's experiences notwithstanding, dimensional stability has always been one of the characteristics of phenolic Micarta.
We even use some for quick surfboard repair that cures when exposed to uv/sunlight.

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Donut » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:08 pm

Spyderco has shifted away from handles that only have G-10 or Micarta. The G-10 UKPK has gone away, the Orange Dodo was just a sprint. Is there anything left in the lineup with unlined G-10 or Micarta? Maybe the Military with partial liners would be the closest.

Gringo, does it warp being exposed to more sunlight/heat/change in temperature? (Maybe you don't see that wild of temperature changes where you're at.) I imagine going through summer and winter would be crazy on a material that holds things together... that can be affected by heat.
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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby farnorthdan » Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:44 pm

Welcome to the forum jacoproducts :)
Happy to be part of this great forum and group of down to earth spyderco addicts, Thanks Sal and gang.
My Grails: Lum Tanto folder sprint, Sprint Persian(red), Captain, Manix 2 (M4), SB MT, PM2 M390, CF dodo, Manix2 (CF S90V),Manix2 XL S90V, Zowada CF Balance Rassenti Nivarna, Lil' Nilakka, Tuff, Police 4, Chinook 4, Caly HAP40 52100 Military, S110V Military, Any/All PM2 & Military sprints/exclusives I can get my grubby hands on :) :spyder: :) :spyder: :)

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Bill1170 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:02 am

The phenolic resin used in traditional micarta is one of the first plastics that became commercially important in the early 20th century. I've worked it a fair bit in its canvas phenolic form. It feels more friendly to my hands than G-10 does, feels more like wood than epoxy does. I've used denim and epoxy to make "jeancarta" and the canvas phenolic still feels more "organic" than my epoxy-cotton does.

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:40 pm

Cliff Stamp wrote:
The Deacon wrote:Only partially true.
Micarta, is a trade name, a trademark and also a generic term for resin impregnated fibers.

It doesn't make a lot of sense to use one definition to correct a statement made where another is used. That is how the "theory" of evolution is refuted because after all it is only a theory, and a theory is only a loose guess.
Now please tell me if I'm wrong or got the wrong material>> I heard some time back that Micarta was actually invented/discovered by one of the big electrical manufacturers? I believe it was "Westinghouse" if my memory serves me well that used it in certain electrical applications.

Cliff that is the first time I've ever heard about G-10 being a variant or specialized type of Micarta but it does make perfect sense when you see how both materials are made and I can easily believe it>> I'm also wondering if G-10 also has properties that are in line for electrical manufacturing just like conventional Micarta does?

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby Bill1170 » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:24 pm

G-10 is the green stuff that forms the backing for many circuit boards. It is very widely used for this application.

Fun fact: Paper phenolic laminate was developed long ago to replace sheets of mica as an insulating substrate for circuit boards. This is why one brand was called "Formica." A replacement for mica, get it? Later it was discovered that this material made an excellent surfacing material for work surfaces in homes and businesses.

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby TazKristi » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:05 am

farnorthdan wrote:Welcome to the forum jacoproducts :)
Just jumping in with an explanation... you are very kind Farnorthdan, but unfortunately "jacoproducts" was a spammer so the post above your kind "Welcome" to the forum is now gone. ;)

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Re: Explaining the difference between G10 and Micarta

Postby EDC Honeybee » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:22 am

Many great responses above. Both are great materials, though they tend to be very different when working on a belt grinder (different considerations for hand-sanding and cnc work).
Paper micarta may have the tendency to peel or chip out of the surface when grinding too hard, and gunks up belts like crazy.
Linen micarta is great to work with, but the fibers can have a tendency to burn and yellow if you arent using a fresh belt or if you keep the material on the belt too long.
G10 seems extra toxic to me and creates a very fine powder. As purchased, it tends to be much more uniform and predictable since paper or linen will depend more on the medium used with the resin.
Mycarta (homemade resin/paper/cloth material like micarta) may use extra unique materials, but there may be voids in the material and the overall quality is more or less unknown. When done right, it can produce exceptional results. Just beware Mycarta from lower-end custom makers.

It goes without saying, wear a proper respirator and eye protection when working with any of them.

For my money, I am pretty tired of most g10. Especially black g10. Best looking g10 imo is the grey that spyderco used on Superblue.
I imagine most production companies use g10 rather than micarta since it is so consistent, comes with a built-in finish (peel-ply), and has very good idiot-proof qualities.


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