The Knife Handle Showdown: G10 vs. Micarta
In the world of kitchen knives, handle materials play an important role in the performance of these essential tools. G10 and micarta are two very similar knife handle materials, but they do have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some people think they are the same type of handle, but that is not the case. So which knife handle material is better? Keep reading for a deep dive into the differences between G10 vs. micarta.
G10 vs. Micarta: Which is Better for Kitchen
To determine whether G10 or micarta knife handles are better, it is important to understand some key details:
- Differences in materials
- How strong micarta and G-10 are
- How well both materials hold up to water, moisture, and liquids
What is G10?
G10 (a.k.a. G-10) is a resin-based material that is part of the composite family. A type of garolite, it is made using compression and heat. More specifically, glass cloth is stacked in thin layers (fiberglass layers), soaked in an epoxy resin, and compressed/laminated together with heat to form a fiberglass material.
G10 is a versatile product and is one of the toughest glass laminate materials available, which makes it great for kitchen knife handles.
Are G10 Kitchen Knife Handles Water-Resistant?
G10 is definitely water-resistant, but not waterproof, although it does come pretty close. Water penetration is extremely minimal due to the materials used and the construction of the handle.
How Durable Are G10 Kitchen Knife Handles?
G10 kitchen knife handles are very durable with a very high level of strength, meaning they will last for a very long time even under heavy use in both wet and dry conditions. G10 is also commonly used for underwater applications due to its strength, durability, and highly water-resistant properties.
According to Accurate Plastics technical data for G10, the tensile strength of G10 measures in at 40,000+ PSI lengthwise and at 35,000+ PSI crosswise. Compression strength yields 60,000+ PSI flatwise and 35,000+ PSI edgewise. Flexural strength (bending strength) based on just a .125” thickness is 55,000+ PSI lengthwise and 45,000+ PSI crosswise.
When it comes to hardness properties, G10 ranks in at 110 on the Rockwell Hardness M scale. These details may not be completely understandable, but they help when comparing G10 to micarta.
What is Micarta?
Micarta is also a resin-based material that is part of the composite family. Micarta is compressed and laminated too, but it is primarily made from burlap, linen, or canvas rather than glass. The laminate layers are glued with a phenolic resin, which are then compressed with heat to become a hard material that is commonly found in many types of kitchen knives.
Are Micarta Kitchen Knife Handles Water-Resistant?
Micarta can absorb some degree of water, liquids, and moisture. This is because the weave that forms the laminated material can have openings around the edges or may have gaps in places where the phenolic resin did not thoroughly fill the space, although water penetration is limited to low levels. Furthermore, the slightly soft surface of micarta can develop dents, scratches, and loose areas that allow water to pass through.
How Durable Are Micarta Kitchen Knife Handles?
Micarta deliver durable kitchen knife handles with strong performance for many years of reliable use. The materials used in micarta knife handles can vary, including linens, paper, and canvas. Although most micarta handles are made with linen, many incorporate paper and canvas too.
For linen materials used in micarta handles, Accurate Plastics reports a tensile strength of 12,500+ PSI lengthwise and 8,750+ PSI crosswise. The compression strength of linen is reported as 37,000+ PSI flatwise and 25,000+ PSI edgewise.
As for the flexible capabilities of linen at a .125” thickness, it measures in at 16,500+ PSI lengthwise and 14,000+ PSI crosswise. Using the Rockwell Hardness M scale, micarta with linen as a base ranks in at 105, which is just 5 less than G10. Accurate Plastics also includes data for other micarta materials, like paper and canvas. Bear in mind that the data is based on specific materials.
What is the Difference between G10 and Micarta?
Even though both micarta and G10 are both resin-based composite materials, G10’s base ingredient is glass fibers whereas micarta is usually made with linen, and sometimes includes fabric and paper too.
As for appearance, both G10 and micarta provide a sleek look, but micarta offers more designs. The material variations in micarta give it that extra kick when it comes to appearance, creating a rugged, yet stylish look. G10 is mostly glass material, but it can accept color more easily and the fibers can be woven in different directions to deliver a unique look that often resembles carbon fiber. However, G10 is generally smoother than micarta.
When it comes to G10 layers, they are adhered with epoxy resins whereas micarta is glued together with phenolic resins (a synthetic material made from Phenol).
Is G10 Better Than Micarta?
Since G10 is made of glass fibers while micarta is constructed with linen, paper, and/or canvas, it tends to have higher strength and durability, even though both are among the best knife handle materials available.
If you reviewed the durability data listed in previous paragraphs, you can see that G10 ranks higher in all durability areas, including tensile strength, compressive strength, and flexural strength. Even though micarta and G10 are both resin-based composites, G10’s glass properties give it an advantage over the cloth properties of micarta. In any case, both materials are definitely highly durable and provide many years of quality use.
When it comes to long-term appearance, micarta is sensitive to grease, oil, dirt, and other elements that can gradually make their way into the surface through the edges or scratches and dents. Micarta has less water resistance than G10, as well, but the difference is minimal. When it comes to hardness, micarta is not far behind G10 according to the Rockwell Hardness M scale data. G10 can potentially suffer from heavy impacts but micarta is more susceptible to common dents and dings.
In the end, both G10 and micarta are great choices for kitchen knife handles and a lot of their durability is also based on design and materials. Regardless, glass fibers supersede linen and fabric, even though the phenolic resins used in micarta handles produces hard and durable results, too. For strength, durability, and continual beauty, G10 wins the battle.