ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

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Abyss_Fish
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ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Abyss_Fish » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:38 pm

Hia, I ordered some paper micarta scales for my native 5 a while back. It was a big custom project, blade swapping a maxamet blade into a linerless g10 body with a deep carry clip, refinishing the hardware and then patiently waiting for some custom paper micarta scales to come along.

But as it's sat in my knife roll starring at me I've had a change of heart, I don't at all see the knife as something to idolize anymore but to USE. Which is the direction most of my collection has gone. I plan to swap the blade for an lc200n one, but those scales are still inbound. Should I be worried about that paper micarta snapping without any liners to support it? I mean if I crash on bike my bike or something and my 6'8 240 pound body slams into it, is there a chance my handles will fail? Should I just stick to g10 and sell off those scales when they get to me?

tl;dr, I started a native 5 build that started fancy but now I want to actually use it and I'm concerned about paper micarta breaking.

also this IS my first post, I could've sworn I had an account since I've been lurking for a year or so but apparently not.
I require more lc200n and thinner grinds

Current collection: Watu, Rhino, Native G10 salt, Waterway, K390 Ladybug, Caribbean, Spydiechef

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Pancake
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Pancake » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:05 am

There is nothing to worry about.
Even paper micarta is very strong, and I think it will be as thick as standard G10 scales. And the handle itself is not that long, it is supported with steel backspacer.
I made knife scales from micarta, and it very hard to cut and shape. I even hit some scrap pieces with hammer and it can withstand some force.
In the pocket: Chaparral FRN, Native Chief, Police 4 K390, Pacific Salt SE, Manix 2 G10 REX45
On belt: Waterway

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bearfacedkiller
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby bearfacedkiller » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:15 am

I am not too familiar with paper micarta but canvas micarta is quite tough. It is tougher than g10 which is tougher than CF.

Honestly, I think you would have to be really abusing your knife to have an issue.
-Darby
sal wrote:Knife afi's are pretty far out, steel junky's more so, but "edge junky's" are just nuts. :p
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sal
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby sal » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:45 am

Hi Abyss_Fish,

Welcome to our forum.

sal

Thunderpants
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Thunderpants » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:22 pm

The only paper micarta I own is on a Maserin E.D.C (Yes, that's what they called it.)
It seems pretty darn tough to me. I wouldn't worry about it at all. Good material!

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kennethsime
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby kennethsime » Wed Apr 22, 2020 12:26 pm

One thing I've found is that canvas micarta tends to absorb moisture more than G10. You can pretty much wipe off G10, but Micarta soaks up the water as soon as it's wet. Not to yuck your yum, but I think I might pair the micarta handles with Maxamet as planned, and keep the LC200N in FRN. Micarta seems to go hand-in-hand with tool steels that you're not going to use around water anyway.

I've found my canvas micarta para 3 scales to be pretty durable, and very comfortable in hand.
Lost to the Ages: C90GRE Stretch 1 ZDP-189 British Racing Green | C28GRE2 Dragonfly 2 ZDP-189 British Racing Green
C12BK2W Matriarch 2 VG-10 Emerson Open | C81G2 Para Military 2 S30V

Currently Rotating: C81GPRGR2 Para Military 2 K390 Ranger Green | C223GPRGR Para 3 K390 Ranger Green
C90FPIV2 Stretch 2 Straight Spine, VG-10 Rit Dye'd Dark Apple Green | C223GP Para 3 S30V Green Canvas Micarta
C41BORE5 Native 5 Lightweight REX 45 Burnt Orange | C223BORE Para 3 Lightweight REX 45 Burnt Orange
C101GY2 Manix 2 Lightweight Maxamet Gray | C28GFG Dragonfly VG-10 Foliage Green
MT27 Mule Team 27 Micro-Melt PD#1 Ranger Green | C36GPGR Military 204p Dark Green

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Xplorer
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Xplorer » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:15 pm

Abyss_Fish wrote:
Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:38 pm
Hia, I ordered some paper micarta scales for my native 5 a while back.....
Hi Abyss_Fish,

I've done quite a lot of micarta testing over the past year or so. Hopefully I can offer you some helpful insights.

There's a lot of anecdotal information about micarta available on forums but I was finding differences between types of micarta so I decided I needed to run some tests in order to really understand the limits and difference of the various types available.

To first address your specific question about the paper micarta breaking, I would suggest it is not at all likely to break. Toughness comes in a lot of forms and the resistance to breaking should be a non issue for your Native. Wear resistance and chipping could be a little more of a concern, so I would prefer to use paper micarta on a knife with metal liners but I still think it will do just fine for you.

Here's some additional micarta info for you...

Paper micarta is somewhat flexible. That's one of the reasons I don't expect it to break on your Native. Here's some 1/8" paper micarta flexing more than the distance between Native scales.
Image

In terms of impact resistance, paper micarta is better than cross-cut phenolic products and can take a lot of abuse. I pounded this sample 3 times on a concrete floor with a 32oz hammer and it did not fracture, split, crack and didn't really even dent much for that matter.
Image
Image
However, if I turned it on it's side and whacked the edge it wouldn't have done so well.

Water resistance...I've been testing all sorts of micarta (or phenolic products) in a variety of ways. For water resistance tests each sample was weighed and then soaked in water for 24 hours. Weights were checked at 30 minutes, 1 hr, 3 hrs, 12 hours and 24 hours. Some gained weight and some didn't. Specifically you can see the bone paper micarta sample in the center of the picture started at .30 oz and gained .02 oz in 24 hours. That's about a 6.6% increase in weight, indicating a fair amount of absorption. As a side note, the G-carta samples had zero weight gain.
Image
Image

So, I would suggest your paper micarta scales will not break, will absorb some water if soaked, and will likely show some wear at the edges over time. My biggest concern would be the pivot area. Will the washers be riding directly on the micarta? If so, I would suggest that could be the area of most concern as it will wear and it will also absorb oil from lubricating the pivot.

Best regards,
Chad
:spyder: Spyderco fan and collector since 1991. :spyder:
Father of 2, nature explorer, custom knife maker.
@Xplorer42 on Instagram.

Thunderpants
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Thunderpants » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:34 pm

Awesome and authoritative info Chad! I for one would love to see more micarta on Spydercos!

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Abyss_Fish
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Abyss_Fish » Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:04 pm

Wonderful information here. Thank you all.
I require more lc200n and thinner grinds

Current collection: Watu, Rhino, Native G10 salt, Waterway, K390 Ladybug, Caribbean, Spydiechef

BornIn1500
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby BornIn1500 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:18 am

Xplorer wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:15 pm

Paper micarta is somewhat flexible. That's one of the reasons I don't expect it to break on your Native. Here's some 1/8" paper micarta flexing more than the distance between Native scales.
Image

Since those spacers are further apart than it would be on a native, the angle of bending on a native would be more severe given its shorter distance. It's a good test, just not quite apples to apples. I think touching micarta scales on a linerless native would take more force than he needs to worry about.

speedseeker
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby speedseeker » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:36 pm

Thunderpants wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:34 pm
I for one would love to see more micarta on Spydercos!
Agree here. Have always thought micarta was a superior material.

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Xplorer
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby Xplorer » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:44 pm

BornIn1500 wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:18 am

Since those spacers are further apart than it would be on a native, the angle of bending on a native would be more severe given its shorter distance. It's a good test, just not quite apples to apples. I think touching micarta scales on a linerless native would take more force than he needs to worry about.
I agree. To clarify, I wasn't saying the scales will be flexible enough to touch one another by any means. I didn't think anyone was worried about that. In that picture I wasn't doing a test so much as I was taking a quick picture for the OP that would demonstrate the inherent flexibility that decreases the likelihood of the breakage he was concerned about. In an actual Native not only would the end points be closer together, but the entire spine side would not be allowed to flex and so the overall flex realized in the knife itself will be far less than what I demonstrated. The point was this material isn't too brittle or particularly prone to fracture in the context of a knife handle.
:spyder: Spyderco fan and collector since 1991. :spyder:
Father of 2, nature explorer, custom knife maker.
@Xplorer42 on Instagram.

JD Spydo
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby JD Spydo » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:02 pm

bearfacedkiller wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:15 am
I am not too familiar with paper micarta but canvas micarta is quite tough. It is tougher than g10 which is tougher than CF.

Honestly, I think you would have to be really abusing your knife to have an issue.
I tend to agree with BFK about micarta. The few Micarta Spyders I still have are made of extremely tough material. Oh I'm sure there is cheap imitation micarta along with other handle materials.

When I used to carry my older Micarta, VG-10 JD Smith model for about two years I put that knife through some really hard work and I never had the micarta handle material ever fail on me. I wish Spyderco would do some more Micarta models. But I can settle for their high quality G-10. G-10 has become about my favorite handle material in the past 5 years.

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dj moonbat
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Re: ok but how brittle is Micarta REALLY

Postby dj moonbat » Sat Apr 25, 2020 6:37 am

I think if you land hard enough on a knife to break its micarta scales, your real problem is going to be hospitalization.


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