G10 vs Micarta Knife Handles

The Kitchen Knife Handle Showdown: Micarta vs. G10

The Kitchen Knife Handle Showdown: Micarta vs. G10

In the world of kitchen knives, handle materials play an equally important role in the performance of these essential tools as the materials used to create the blades. While G10 and micarta are two very similar knife handle materials, they come with 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 Knife Handles: Which is Better for the Kitchen?

To determine whether G10 or micarta knife handles are better, it is important to understand some key details:

  • The differences in materials
  • How strong they are
  • How well both materials hold up to water, moisture, and liquids

When comparing the two materials, we’ll cover these key details to help you choose the best kitchen knife handle material for your needs.

    What is G10?

    Closeup of G10 Knife Handle on F.N. Sharp Chef's Knife

    A versatile product, G10 material is one of the toughest glass laminate materials available, which makes it great for kitchen knife handles.

    How is G10 Made?

    A type of garolite in the composite family, G10 (or G-10) is a resin-based material that 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. 

    Are G10 Kitchen Knife Handles Water-Resistant?

    G10 material 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 material is also commonly used for underwater applications due to its strength, durability, and highly water-resistant properties.

    According to Dielectric Manufacturing's technical data for G10, the tensile strength measures in at 40,000 PSI lengthwise and at 35,000 PSI crosswise. Compression strength yields 68,000 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 to micarta.

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    What is Micarta?

    Closeup of micarta knife handle on chef's knife

    Micarta is also a resin-based material in the composite family that is commonly used for kitchen knife handles.

    How is Micarta Made?

    Like G10, micarta is also compressed and laminated, but it's 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?

    While G10 is nearly waterproof, 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. There may also be 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 delivers 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?

    side-by-side of micarta vs. G10 knife handles on wooden cutting board

    Although both micarta and G10 are 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, it's 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).

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    Is G10 Better Than Micarta?

    g10 knife handles

    Since G10 is made of glass fibers and micarta is constructed with linen, paper and/or canvas, it tends to offer higher strength and durability compared to micarta. Still, both are among the best knife handle materials available.

    When reviewing the durability data listed in previous paragraphs, you can see that G10 ranks higher in all durability areas compared to micarta, including tensile strength, compressive strength and flexural strength. Even though they're 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 also has less water resistance than G10, 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, with a lot of their durability being based on design and materials. Regardless, glass fibers supersede linen and fabric, even though the phenolic resins used in micarta handles produce hard and durable results, too. But, for strength, durability and continual beauty, G10 wins the battle.

    Experience the Difference of G10 with F.N. Sharp's 6-Knife Set & Steak Knives!