When it comes to kitchen knife handles, there are several materials to choose from. Some handles are aluminum, bone, and wood while others are G10, stainless steel, Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN), Micarta, and other similar materials. Some deliver more beauty than reliability while others focus on durability and strength.
Micarta and G10 are two of the strongest and most durable knife handles on the list, but G10 knife handles have a little bit more strength and durability than Micarta. This is perhaps the reason G10 is becoming the popular choice of many chefs and home cooks. So, what can G10 knife handles do for your kitchen? Let’s break it down.
What is G10?
G10, also known as G-10, is a composite material that is resin-based. Rather than using various fabrics like Micarta incorporates, G10 is constructed of glass fibers. This gives the final material increased strength. The glass fiber sheets are pressed together with epoxy resin and heated until they dry completely. The resulting product becomes fiberglass.
G10 is a versatile product that was originally used for printed circuit boards due to its high-temperature durability and non-conductive properties. It was later discovered to be a great material for kitchen knife handles and other types of handles like gun grips due to its moisture-resistant characteristics.
G-10 may also be referred to as the brand Garolite. The term “G-10” came from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The origins of where the substance came from are unknown, as well as who owned and currently owns the product. It is known, however, that a lot of manufacturers make the material. Who knows, it could have been top secret, not to mention any names.
Is G10 Good for Kitchen Knife Handles?
G10/Garolite is a very durable, hard material due to its glass-fiber construction. It has become a popular choice for kitchen knives because it is moisture-resistant (almost close enough to say moisture-proof or waterproof) and is highly dent resistant. That is also why we here at F.N. Sharp decided to use G10 to craft our handles. The material is scratch-resistant which preserves the beauty of the knife well. Overall, the glass construction and the fiber layout make it a great material for kitchen knife handles.
How Durable are G10 Knife Handles?
G-10 knife handles deliver durability and high strength in one package, meaning they will provide “years of valuable service” and can handle constant use and repeated washing, not to mention hot and cold transitions with no trouble.
The lack of expansion and contraction in G10 handles is also an important factor as there aren’t any gaps where the handle meets the tang. This means there is no opportunity for corrosion or bacteria growth. Furthermore, water is no match for G-10 knife handles. The weave of glass fibers and the consecutive layers that are glued with an epoxy resin deliver a “practically water-tight” seal. That is why G10 is used quite a bit for underwater equipment such as submarines, sonars, flashlights, marina boats, and more.
On a more technical scale, the tensile strength of G10 averages around 40,000+ PSI lengthwise and at 35,000+ PSI crosswise while compression strength is 60,000+ PSI flatwise and 35,000+ PSI edgewise. The bending strength determines how much it can bend before it snaps and that number for G10 material with a .025-inch thickness is ranked at 55,000 PSI lengthwise and 45,000 PSI crosswise. The hardness is gauged by the Rockwell Hardness M scale. You may see that in the specs of some kitchen knives, but most handle materials score below 100 while G-10 is rated at 110.
Got it? Yeah, that is a lot of numbers to deal with. In fact, those numbers are actually at the minimum, although they generally don’t go too much higher.
Is G10 Better Than Micarta?
When comparing G10 vs. Micarta, they are both very durable materials, making them good choices for kitchen knife handles. However, G10’s technical data is just a little higher than Micarta. So, G-10 is “technically” better than Micarta when it comes to strength and durability. Plus, the natural fibers in Micarta can discolor over time, which is another reason why we decided to go with G10.
Micarta’s water resistance is slightly less due to the potential of moisture and liquid getting through the edges at points where the glue and fibers are gapped. Of course, that is minimal too. Furthermore, Micarta is a little bit more prone to scratches and dings, which may open the door to moisture as well.
As for designs, Micarta does have more opportunities since it is made from various fabrics and can have various cross fiber designs. But, if performance and durability is what you’re looking for, then G10 is the way to go!