Canvas Micarta vs. G10

“Can you explain the differences between Canvas Micarta and G10?”

I get asked this question a lot since I make knives using both handle materials.  I’ve put together a few thoughts and observations I’ve had while having made hundreds of knives with what I consider the 2 best synthetic handle materials available.

Note #1: I heavily bead-blast my synthetic handle materials.  So the notes regarding texture and finish do not carry over to polished/buffed handles.

Note #2: Bead-blasting these materials removes the resin inbetween the fiberglass/canvas, leaving micro-divits – which is what gives it such a nice grip.

Texture:
Both G10 and Canvas Micarta can be bead-blasted for a nice grippy texture.  However, there are subtle differences between the two.  G10 seems grippier when dry, and Canvas Micarta’s grip actually improves when wet.  The reason for this is the nature of the material used.  Canvas – being a natural material – when exposed to moisture behaves like wood and leather..it “opens up”.  The entire surface becomes grippier.  G10 (made of fiberglass – a man made material) remains smooth when wet.

Finish:
Both take on a nice matte finish, but the color of G10 can change significantly more when bead-blasted.  It tends to dull the bright colors, whereas with canvas micarta, it doesn’t start out as bright, so bead-blasting doesn’t seem to dull it much.

Lines in the material:
Canvas Micarta has “squiggly lines” that can be seen around the tang of the knife and the face of the handle can have slight “rings” showing the contouring of the handle.
G10 in solid colors does not show “rings”.  However, in alternating color (Blue/Black or Black/Tan, for example) the pattern can be quite visually striking.

Maintenance:
It takes less work to maintain G10, even though both handles are synthetics….canvas is still a natural material…and benefits from the ocassional oiling.  I’ve had some customers coat theirs with a spray-on polyurethane finish  – with good results. (keeps the texture and grip)

Temperature:
G10 feels “cold” when you leave your knife outside in cool weather.  Micarta always feels “warm”.

Stability:
G10 is more stable than Micarta, but only by a slight margin and really….we’re talking about 99.5% and 99.9% dimensional stability.  Both materials are very stable and won’t “move” on you.  I have sent my kitchen knives with G10 handles through my dishwasher hundreds of times with no delamination whatsoever.

Weight:
G10 is heavier than Micarta.

Colors:
I only offer 3 colors in Canvas Micarta: Natural (yellow/brown), Green and Black.
There are many more colors available for G10 – here’s a list in order of my preference:
Solids = Blue, Orange, Red, Black, Tan (I do not like yellow – don’t ask for it…I won’t do it!)
Patterns = Blue/Black, Black/Tan, Black/Orange

 

 

Hopefully this helps explain some of the reasoning behind why I choose certain materials, and perhaps it will help you in making a decision on which to use.

Thanks for reading!

Dan