FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

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FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:15 am

From your experiences everyone, and usage, what are the main strengths and weaknesses you find between FRN vs G10 vs sculpted and textured wood? Natural wood can split, splinter, decay/rot, and other things, but, as an example, would treated wood like some of the Pakka wood Spyderco has experimented with rival FRN for your knife use or is FRN the new foundation material? And what do you like about G10 vs FRN?

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby The Deacon » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:41 am

FRN has the virtue of being inexpensive and reasonably impervious to damage. Weaknesses would be ease of abrasion damage and the potential for melting if exposed to high heat. G10 and properly stabilized wood are theoretically stronger but, since most folding knife handles these days are are fitted with liners that are stronger than whatever scale material covers them, the scales will never be subjected to forces that take advantage of the material's strength. None of these materials take screws particularly well, G-10 and stabilized wood may be slightly better than FRN in this regard, but still not good. One advantage G10 and stabilized wood have, but one that Spyderco has never taken advantage of, is that they can be CNC machined to a variety of textures. Companies that make stocks for long guns and grips for handguns take full advantage of that.

Can you visualize your favorite Spyderco model with scales machined to look like one of these Altamont grips?

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby Evil D » Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:48 am

^^^^That's hot.
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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:30 am

Great analysis, Deacon, and yes, I would really appreciate it if Spyderco were to make wood grips with such patterns as that. Very neat, thank you.

One of my hopes was for an Endura or Pacific Salt with some type of stabilized wood with grip texturing like that.

Since Spyderco would not have to design expensive molds, is there a possibility that they can do this in Golden, and in the not too distant future? I would love to see sal comment on this.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby p_atrick » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:41 am

Sal briefly talked about the issues they face with woods:
sal wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:37 pm
p_atrick wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:45 am
I vote for wood, but not the stabilized plywood you often see on Spydercos and Benchmades. How about curly birch, snake wood, ironwood, etc.? I'm sure that will be a big boost to the price, so it may not be a smart decision. Still, a Chap version of the Sage 4 would be nice.
Hi P_atrick,

We're looking at wood, but we've had horrible problems with wood models made in the orient and shipped to dry Colorado almost always causes problems.

sal

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby Wartstein » Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:22 am

p_atrick wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:41 am
Sal briefly talked about the issues they face with woods:
sal wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 12:37 pm
p_atrick wrote:
Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:45 am
I vote for wood, but not the stabilized plywood you often see on Spydercos and Benchmades. How about curly birch, snake wood, ironwood, etc.? I'm sure that will be a big boost to the price, so it may not be a smart decision. Still, a Chap version of the Sage 4 would be nice.
Hi P_atrick,

We're looking at wood, but we've had horrible problems with wood models made in the orient and shipped to dry Colorado almost always causes problems.

sal
Sounds like a more severe version of the "Micarta-problem" Sal also mentioned once...
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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:41 pm

Wartstein my friend, and others, how can this problem be overcome?

Is there a material beyond FRN, G10, and Micarta, that give us the beauty and feel of wood, with the durability of polymers or composites?

Diamondoid Metamaterials, but they are not makable yet :(

One of many things I do like about Spyderco, and I am sure you can agree with this everyone: They push the envelope when it comes to experimenting with new handle materials and blade materials and improving the existing ones.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby Wartstein » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:32 pm

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 2:41 pm
Wartstein my friend, and others, how can this problem be overcome?
I guess one solution are custom scales..

I think the problem with shrinking Micarta and "cracking (?)" wood is just relevant when it comes to producing many pieces of one model, Spydercos very high quality- and fit and finish standards, plus shipping the wood- or Micarta handled knives from a tropical- to a dry climate.

So if you can live with maybe a tiny crack or gap, and/or order custom scales in the climate zone you live in, you should be fine.

Or, maybe if Golden models would get the Micarta- or wood treatment, that would work either?? I mean, the (Golden made) Shaman obviously WILL come in a Micarta version... while the Taichung made Chaparral not as of today...
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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby Tims » Sat Jun 15, 2019 4:30 am

I like frn for it’s wear characteristics and perceived density compared to g10. I like micarta for it’s warmth in the hand. I don’t mind polished g10

I have never understood the issue of not using micarta due to it being too reactive to humidity. It’s inert and widely used in the knife industry and elsewhere. I have never experiened this reactivity in any of my micarta knives. Infact, I’ve had an LT Wright Coyote with snakeskin micarta banging around my kitchen for the past year with no issue. It’s gone through Christ knows how many wet/dry cycles.
All that said, I’ve never not bought a Spyderco because it didn’t have micarta. Iv’e not bought them for having textured g10 though.

Edit: I realise my experience with micarta is limited to glued and pinned scales. I have no experience with raw micarta scales prior to fixing to the knife.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby arty » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:43 am

Lots of Asian exotic woods take a long time to dry properly. If they are not kiln dried and green, it could take upwards of a year for the wood to dry. If shipped to a dry climate, cracking and shrinkage are assured.
If the wood is stabilized, as in impregnated with polymers under pressure, it won’t shrink.
I have some Japanese knives with stabilized laminated wood handles, and they are fine. I have a knife set that is more than 50 years old (52 to be exact) that still looks good.
From a functional standpoint, I prefer FRN or G10 to wood. For some things, I prefer rubber compound grips. Wood looks the best!

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby SpyderEdgeForever » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:20 pm

arty, I would like some compound that is rubber based but looks like wood. Checkered rubber with a wood finish. Would you like that on a Spyderco knife if it was durable?

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby demoncase » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:58 pm

Man has been trying to get thin veneers of wood to be stable and strong for several hundred years....and we are still struggling with it.

I never worry about G10 or FRN if I have mud or blood or oil or solvent or glue or paint on my hands.
I know it won't wreck them.
I know I can get them clean.
I don't worry about them splitting or cracking if I drop the knife.
If I run my knife under a tap, I don't have to worry about them swelling or storing moisture to create rust along the way.

I can't say that about wood every time.....I like a walnut stock on a rifle because my rifles go from locker to range and back again.
Knife scales on a folder are so much thinner and more delicate than even the stock on a pistol....and you can tell.
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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby Surfingringo » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:34 pm

I like the look of wood but it doesn’t have any real advantages over synthetic materials other than aesthetics. Stabilized wood is much much more resilient but it is still not on par with g10/frn for being impervious to the elements. I have tested stabilized woods on the kayak. Leave that stuff in the sun, salt and water for a few days alongside frn and you will see just how stable it is (or isn’t).

Clearly that’s an extreme example and nobody is asking for wooden handled salt knives. It just happens to be something I’ve tested so I thought I would mention it in this thread. IMO, stabilized wood is suitable for most knife handle applications but it’s definitely not on par with g10 and frn for being completely “bulletproof”.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby arty » Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:31 am

SpyderEdgeForever wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:20 pm
arty, I would like some compound that is rubber based but looks like wood. Checkered rubber with a wood finish. Would you like that on a Spyderco knife if it was durable?
I have a couple of fishing knives with VG10 blades and Thermorun handles. The handles are durable enough in the kitchen, but I am not sure abut out in the field. I have only used them after surf fishing.
I sure would like handles with this sort of texture, but a resistance to cutting and abrasion. It can be hard to hold on to a knife handle when your hands are covered in slime and blood. I am skeptical that this perfect handle material is possible, but open to new materials.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby cycleguy » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:10 am

My first Spyderco is a Delica 4. It's my bias but for pocket knives "True Spyderco's are FRN". Over 10 years later and every bit as good as new. Glad to see the Para 3 and Sage going in this direction! And new knives such as the Endela continuing this heritage.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby BobABQ » Sun Jun 16, 2019 8:54 am

Speaking only for myself I am a big fan of wood, G-10 and micarta. The FRN handled knives just feel cheap to me. I am positive that FRN makes excellent handles and do a wonderful job but I am just fond of them.

I do love a nice set of wood handles or polished micarta.

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby cycleguy » Sun Jun 16, 2019 9:45 am

Wasn't too long ago and FRN was an unfathomable super material!!! Now it just seems cheap.... Ha Ha!

I understand you. I too was a big wood guy myself - even to the extents of +$1000 into the wood stock of a hunting rifle. Wet your pants gorgeous!!! I still enjoy the beauty and variety of wood species and grain pattern, but somewhere along the way I wised up to its limitations and vulnerabilities outside a stabilized environment, and particularly in wet weather. Almost all of my wood handled gear has since changed over to "high quality" plastics (I do have some micarta & G10 on knives and G10 on handguns which I am fine with as well).

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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby Doc Dan » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:07 am

I love the look of wood, but it is not the most practical thing on some knives because it will crack, dent, and rot. Even stabilized wood can have issues, as Surf said above. I really love bone. My favorite is the Chestnut bone CASE does. I love stag, too. But these are heavy and prone to breakage if dropped or abused. They are good on a pocket knife, but not real practical on anything else, only for show.

G10 is a great material and hard to beat. I like the looks of it polished. One of my BM's has black polished G10 carved to look like Kudu horn. Beautiful.
However, if it were not for that carving, it would be very slippery.

I also like FRN. It is rugged and practical. It is not a thing of beauty, its only beauty being in its practicality. Of course, here, texture helps. I like the looks of the Maniago FRN, but I like the grip on the Japanese FRN with bi-directional texturing for a knife I will use hard.

FRN, G10, and FRCP do give us color and transparency, however. I wish Spyderco would give us more translucent FRN and FRCP in interesting colors like orange, green, yellow orange, etc. I also would like to see more earth tones in solid FRN and FRCP and G10.
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Re: FRN vs G10 vs Wood: Strengths and Weaknesses in each for Spyderco Knife Handles?

Postby soc_monki » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:08 am

I like beautiful wood. I love guitars, and they are made of wood. But wood can be unstable, and guitars change with temperature and humidity changes, sometimes a lot! You have to adjust them and tune them, all kinds of things can go wrong. That is why (besides repair and string changes!) touring bands have techs. They keep all the instruments (and amps, which sometimes need adjustments too!) in adjustment so you hear good music, not out of tune/intonation music!

For my knives, I'll take frn, G10, or carbon fiber. Stable and durable, and beautiful too! Not a fan of micarta myself. Maybe I just haven't seen the right variety yet.
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