Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

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JD Spydo
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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby JD Spydo » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:41 am

legOFwhat? wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:19 am
Joe, I happen to love Micarta and have made a dozen or so sets of MT scales with Micarta alone (w/ G10 liners). Nearly all my folders are G10 and zero with Micarta! It's really weird but, G10 on any of my fixed blades are always pushed aside preferring linen or canvas Micarta, polished or not I love them more and the added weight adds to the enjoyment. 40 grit sandpaper on Micarta feels really nice in use and with sweaty hands and oddly polished up is just as grippy...IMO of course

It is quite a chore to cut shape and sand and the smell will drive away family members, but I enjoy the challenge. It's super durable too! It's the CruWear of handle materials lol.

Only Ti I own is on clips so I can't comment on that :p


Edit: I lied, I do have a Micarta handled PM2 in my pocket atm :confused: it's aftermarket scales so I haven't purchased a folder with Micarta....whew I'm getting too old for this crud ;)
Oh I love "Canvas Micarta" handles :) at the risk of committing a sacrilege I almost bought a BUSSE fixed blade because I loved that particular handle so much. But I quickly came to my senses and started immediately gazing at some newer Spyderco fixed blades instead :D Just to think of the atrocity I almost committed :rolleyes:

That would be so cool if Spyderco ever did a Sprint Run of the TEMPERANCE 1 model and used "Canvas Micarta" handles for them. So glad you brought that up ;)

My love of G-10 handles is pretty much based on "function" more than anything else. I've never had a folder or fixed blade slip out of my hand>> nor did I ever lose my grip on a G-10 handle. And I'm even including the first generation G-10 that Spyderco used on their RENEGADE models of the mid nineties.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby JD Spydo » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:47 am

Albatross wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:54 am
The Deacon wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:27 am
JD, I'll agree that Spyderco definitely offered a bunch of models with Micarta handle, both lined and unlined, during that period. All, or almost all, were made in Japan and apparently Spyderco ran into shrinkage issues with those knives that has made them reluctant to use Micarta. To me, that's a shame since Micarta can be used unlined because it offers little friction handles while G-10 requires liners because it's potentially abrasive.

OTOH, I think there were no more, and probably fewer, titanium models available any given year during that 7 span than any given year during the last seven. What were more common during that period but have totally disappears are aluminum handles, although I'm not sure anyone misses them.
That's too bad, aluminum is a decent, lightweight, and fairly inexpensive handle material. It's cheaper than titanium and lighter than stainless steel. No, it's not perfect, or even one of my preferred handle materials, but it would fit the needs of a lot of people.

Just ask Kershaw.

I wouldn't be surprised if global economic woes in the future, causes a shift in how people percieve aluminum handles.

As for the original topic of this thread, I would love to see more titanium and micarta. I haven't said it in a while, but have asked for both materials to be used more. Both materials offer things that G10/stainless steel/FRN/FRCP don't offer. I'd love to see some new models made in Golden, with micarta inlays or titanium scales, or maybe even both together.
Glad you brought up "Aluminum" handles Mr. Paul :) Because when I first got into using and collecting premium knives I got 4 Benchmade models that had "anodized aluminum" handles. Not sure what all the anodizing process did exactly but I dearly loved those anodized aluminum handles. I still own two of those Benchmade Boguszewski Spike models with anodized aluminum handles and I've never had a grip problem with them at all. I don't like them as much as I do really well made titanium handles but they are close in comparison.
Not trying to be redundant but I still had a special appeal for those titanium handles Spyderco used on their TI ATR models. Those were the "cat's meow" :cool:

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Baron Mind » Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:18 pm

Titanium is alive and well, though I'd like to see Spyderco do more of it. Micarta is making a come back. G10 is great, but it can get stale after a while. Carbon fiber is probably my least favorite scale material, at least with slab construction. Continued carbon fiber is beautiful to me, but is wasted and cheapened on a flat surface. More variety is always welcomed. Terotuf and richlite come to mind.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Danke » Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:42 pm

Must have missed the Swayback?

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby kennethsime » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:02 pm

I think the issue is that Spyderco isn't going to sell that many $300 knives when compared with $100 knives.

Sal & Spyderco are always trying to reduce costs so that they can put super steel into a working man's knife, and Titanium or Micarta handle scales quickly add to the cost of each knife.

I do enjoy aluminum handles, say on the Benchmade 940. I'd be happy to see an aluminum Dragonfly or Para 3 with a wire clip.
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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Pokey » Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:08 pm

Danke wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 9:42 pm
Must have missed the Swayback?
And the SpyOpera?

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby steelcity16 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:53 pm

kennethsime wrote:
Fri Aug 28, 2020 10:02 pm
I think the issue is that Spyderco isn't going to sell that many $300 knives when compared with $100 knives.

Sal & Spyderco are always trying to reduce costs so that they can put super steel into a working man's knife, and Titanium or Micarta handle scales quickly add to the cost of each knife.

Micarta is actually pretty cheap. Just as cheap or cheaper than G10 (compare prices on BRK fixed blades...Micarta is cheaper than G10 on these). They will continue to sell Micarta Shamans by the truckload and would sell Micarta Natives, Militaries, PM2s, Para 3s, Delicas, and Enduras by the container ship. I see a lot of Micarta in the future. Its a fantastic material, especially when finished in a grippy matte texture like the Shaman rather than smooth polished like the Spyopera.
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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Notsurewhy » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:07 am

I would feel better about micarta's long term prospects if they would offer it on a regular production model. All of the micarta has been on sprints or exclusives as far as I can tell.

Even with the IMMENSE popularity of the Cru Carta shaman, they didn't make the zwear/micarta regular production, just a bigger Sprint run. And because of their own arbitrary rules, that means it will never become regular production. Seems silly to me. The demand is there. Meet it.

Titanium, for me, is a good liner material, nothing more. Metal handles are cold and slippery. Two things I don't want in a knife grip. It's better than stainless though.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby steelcity16 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:46 am

Notsurewhy wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 8:07 am
I would feel better about micarta's long term prospects if they would offer it on a regular production model. All of the micarta has been on sprints or exclusives as far as I can tell.

Even with the IMMENSE popularity of the Cru Carta shaman, they didn't make the zwear/micarta regular production, just a bigger Sprint run. And because of their own arbitrary rules, that means it will never become regular production. Seems silly to me. The demand is there. Meet it.

I still think the possibility of a production Cru-carta Shaman is pretty good. Maybe they just wanted to gauge the demand of a second sprint before moving to full production. My guess is that they are going to do it in OD Green Micarta and Cruwear. The OD Green makes it different from the sprint as to not break their rules. Perhaps they are still trying to either source the OD Green Micarta or test it to see if it holds up as good as the Natural Micarta.
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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Evil D » Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:12 am

Maybe I missed something about titanium, seems to me there's always a few new titanium knives coming out in every new reveal that's made. In the time I've been here titanium frame locks have definitely been more on the rise than on the decline.

Micarta on the other hand seems to have been largely replaced by G10, which seems to be more stable and easier to manufacture consistently (apparently micarta is very susceptible to weather/humidity changes). I do wonder if Japanese models could be made cheaper in micarta than G10 since G10 costs so much over there. I really like both of these materials for different reasons, in some cases I'd be just fine with polished G10 over polished micarta (though neither one seems to happen very often anyway).

If any of these materials is being used less, I think FRN is really to blame. While some people are quick to see it as "just cheap plastic", the reality is FRN is pretty high performance stuff and once the initial investment cost of the molds is covered, I'm sure the profit margins jump way up. I'd imagine for example the current version of the Delica has more than paid for the mold costs and their profit on that knife must be pretty good. FRN seems to be capable of very consistent production accuracy, so much so that knives can be made in linerless FRN without washers and still have a reasonably tight pivot with little to no blade play, and from what I can tell there's little to no finishing done to these molds before they're assembled into a knife. I'm not sure the same can be done with micarta without additional manufacturing/finishing steps (milling the material to be flat for example), and the end product is nowhere near as tough as a linerless FRN knife is.

I'm old enough to remember when "plastic" was a new and exciting space aged thing. I remember when I was a kid, toys that were traditionally made of stamped steel were suddenly lightweight plastic. I remember when bottled beverages were all offered in glass bottles and suddenly they were sold in plastic bottles (I even remember taking a field trip to a bottling plant and learning about injection molding which was mind blowing at the time). While FRN isn't exactly "plastic", I think it's a similar product that's replacing more traditional materials in the same way other plastics have replaced glass and steel.

I'm sure there will always be people who see it as cheap plastic, just as I'm sure there's people out there who prefer a stainless steel handle over G10/micarta/carbon fiber because those are basically just fancy versions of fiberglass.
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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby JD Spydo » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:06 pm

I just got told by a buddy of mine that most all the specialty metals have skyrocketed in price in the past 8 to 10 months. I had not followed that market but I will say that I'm kind of surprised to hear that because I'm doubtful that "demand" has increased that much.

I had noticed that several of the precious metals have went skyward>> but I thought that was because of fact of the USA and other economies have been rocked since the Virus Scare. I've never really linked precious metals with industrial and/or strategic metals (military uses).

But it makes perfect sense because when you think about it because the precious metals are real money>> not the fiat, Monopoly game board money we've been using the past few decades :cool:

So taking all of that into consideration I guess it's fair to assume that all metals will be going upward for the foreseeable future. But I'm not giving up on Titanium handles because I do think they are poised for a comeback.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby steelcity16 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:39 pm

I think part of it too is Spyderco sticking to their niche. They make amazing folders in G10 and FRN. The best in the game. Their FRN, especially the Seki stuff, is nothing short of revolutionary. There are so many other companies out there making Ti folders that it's hard to compete and the question becomes is there really enough market share out there in the Ti folder market that they could capture to justify R&D costs needed to compete in the Ti folder space. This is probably the same reason we don't see them really trying to compete with BRK and LT Wright churning out 3V Micarta fixed blades. That market is already saturated and you can get custom fixed blades for the price of some of the recent Spyderco fixed blades.

As we saw last year though there was definitely pent up demand in the Micarta folder space as there were really no production Micarta folders out there prior to the Cru-Carta Shaman. They absolutely nailed that by pairing Micarta with one of the hottest steels of 2019 and a great beefy model with the popular and fidget friendly comp lock to create a knife with incredible demand and appeal. There is plenty more room in this space to churn out Cru-Carta models of their flagship Golden and Seki models. I think that if they switched it up to OD Green Micarta and added a DLC option for each Cru-Carta model they would have a winner and could sell these as production models and still have a hard time keeping them in stock.
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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby JD Spydo » Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:30 pm

steelcity16 wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:39 pm
I think part of it too is Spyderco sticking to their niche. They make amazing folders in G10 and FRN. The best in the game. Their FRN, especially the Seki stuff, is nothing short of revolutionary. There are so many other companies out there making Ti folders that it's hard to compete and the question becomes is there really enough market share out there in the Ti folder market that they could capture to justify R&D costs needed to compete in the Ti folder space.
You've made some good points. And I can't argue with some of what you've said. But in the past when they have used titanium for special high end models it really doesn't cause any internal problems selling their more iconic, mainstream models like the POLICE,Endura, Delica, Native, Military ect.
I do however see the underlying point you're making about the entire market. It is a good thing to go by the old adage "Dance With The One That Brought You" In other words if you've got key models that are raking in the "lion's share" of the revenue then it does make sense to focus on those primarily.
But Spyderco has always had a few obscure high end models that are apart from the main money makers. One good example are the extravagant Carbon Fiber handled units they've had over the years. I'm sure that was mainly to appease all the extreme knife nuts and connoisseurs. Which is a definition that many of us here on the Forum fit into :o :D
And I'm glad they always have a few specialty type items in their main line up>> if not for that reason but just to give your overall customer base a wider selection. I hope I made sense :o

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby The Mastiff » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:32 pm

Titanium and carbon fiber is very expensive. You aren't going to find anything in these that is remotely inexpensive now. I too like micarta scales mostly because it's easy to hang on to even when wet.
I've been waiting for a model to rival the Titanium ATR of the 2003/2004 era and I've yet to see one come forth.
That is liked by a lot of people now but I recall thinking that the Ti version wasn't a fast seller. I had one then sold it. I don't know about rivaling it but there have been some very well made high end Spydercos since then that I'd put up against the ATR in fit and finish. They were expensive though. It would be a rare knife for me to want to spend $300 and more now that I'm retired . It's possible though. It would just have to push the right buttons and not have an inexpensive version in FRN and VG10/S30V ( the same steel as the Ti version) coming a month later. Timing is important in these matters I think.

Chances are pretty good we will see something in that category given enough time. Spyderco has something for almost everybody eventually.

Joe

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Sumdumguy » Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:07 pm

I would love to see a Caribbean, with a Ti comp like the ATR.

Contoured and milled to match the original Caribbean, would make it perfect.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:36 pm

Sumdumguy wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:07 pm
I would love to see a Caribbean, with a Ti comp like the ATR.

Contoured and milled to match the original Caribbean, would make it perfect.
Well Dude if we do get the new C-60 Ayoob Sprint then maybe that should be the next one we lobby for :)

There was something really special about that Titanium ATR. Because when the stainless version of the ATR came out it just didn't do anything for me at all.

For years I've wanted either another G-10 Harpy or maybe a Titanium Harpy. There are so many possibilities.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby JD Spydo » Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:42 pm

The Mastiff wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:32 pm
Titanium and carbon fiber is very expensive. You aren't going to find anything in these that is remotely inexpensive now. I too like micarta scales mostly because it's easy to hang on to even when wet.
I've been waiting for a model to rival the Titanium ATR of the 2003/2004 era and I've yet to see one come forth.
That is liked by a lot of people now but I recall thinking that the Ti version wasn't a fast seller. I had one then sold it. I don't know about rivaling it but there have been some very well made high end Spydercos since then that I'd put up against the ATR in fit and finish. They were expensive though. It would be a rare knife for me to want to spend $300 and more now that I'm retired . It's possible though. It would just have to push the right buttons and not have an inexpensive version in FRN and VG10/S30V ( the same steel as the Ti version) coming a month later. Timing is important in these matters I think.

Chances are pretty good we will see something in that category given enough time. Spyderco has something for almost everybody eventually.

Joe
Well Mastiff I don't think it was so much being a slow seller as it was extremely difficult to even get one period. I even went to the 2004 BLADE Show in Atlanta. I had 4 knives on my list to get when I got there. The Ti ATR was not to be found at that show. Believe me I checked out every dealer at that show and only one offered to special order it for me. I got the other 3 knives I wanted at that show plus new sharpening gear as well.

It took me about 4 more months after that show before I was able to finally get a Ti ATR in PE. A good friend of mine found the fully serrated version of the Ti ATR >>> and he told me that he got his from GP knives out of Illinois. I used to do a lot of business with them at one time. I'm telling you when the Ti ATR was in the main line up they were not easy to get even if you had a wallet full of cash :(
I had a similar difficult time of locating the first of the 204 Sharpmaker when it first came out. It took me 6 months before I was able to locate my first 204 Sharpmaker too. I seem to remember that Spyderco said they were having problems obtaining materials for that Ti ATR.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby Sumdumguy » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:29 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 7:36 pm
Sumdumguy wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 6:07 pm
I would love to see a Caribbean, with a Ti comp like the ATR.

Contoured and milled to match the original Caribbean, would make it perfect.
Well Dude if we do get the new C-60 Ayoob Sprint then maybe that should be the next one we lobby for :)

There was something really special about that Titanium ATR. Because when the stainless version of the ATR came out it just didn't do anything for me at all.

For years I've wanted either another G-10 Harpy or maybe a Titanium Harpy. There are so many possibilities.
I would be all for it! Sal was originally talking about doing a Ti framed Caribbean XL, back when the Caribbean was still in production... the tease!

I love Ti slab handles. Can you imagine if they did a Lum Tanto Framelock? Put LC200N on it and I would honestly buy two of them at MAP. The only issue I had with the C46 was the linerlock, I just don't care for them. But, Ti framelocks make them a lot more tolerable.

Also, just for those who don't already know my position. STEEL LOCKBAR INSERTS ARE REQUIRED ON ALL TI FRAMELOCKS OF ANY VARIATION.

My Ti A.T.R.(full SE) is still sitting in the box, waiting to be sent to Golden. It's stop pin is too small, for some reason. One of these days I'll send it off.

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Re: Have Titanium and Micarta Handles Become Extinct?

Postby GarageBoy » Fri Sep 04, 2020 1:31 pm

Aluminum and stainless scales are the real extinct one. The BM 940 is one of the rare popular knives using aluminum


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