Micarta Industrial Laminate - Knife Handle Material
Micarta® is an industrial thermoset phenolic resin laminate used originally in the electrical industry. Popular types of Micarta used in the knife industry are Paper, Linen and Cavans Micarta. Each has their own unique look and the design and purpose of the knife will usually determine the type used. The name Micarta® is a registered trademark of Norplex-Micarta Industrial Plastics.
Micarta is very similar to G10 as both are resin laminates, and have good dielectric properties. Micarta isn't quite as strong as G10, but has a somewhat "warmer" feel to it on a knife handle. There is an inherent softness to the touch where as with G-10 the handles are hard and cold. Micarta is less imperveous to moisture and staining and can sometimes change color with use.
Nowadays, Micarta is used to describe any number of Resin Laminates that use Canvas, Paper, Linen or other fabrics (and sometimes even glass fiber like G-10). They may use Phenolic, Epoxy or Silicon resin among others. It is becoming more and more popular to use custom Micartas made in small batches by any number of custom laminaters out there that can provide a unique product with very unique patterns and materials.
Special Types of Micarta
Thunderstorm Kevlar - Thunderstorm Kevlar G-10 is a special type of Micarta that uses Kevlar cloth fiber interwoven with brass wire. This is sort of Micarta's take on the lightning strike carbon fiber that has become very popular.
What Kind of Micarta Do I have?
You can often tell the base material of the Micarta based on the textures in the sample. Paper Micarta tends to be uniform in color without much grain or texture, while Linen has a slight dimpling to it from the fabric. Canvas Micarta is very textured and grained and is the "roughest" looking of the bunch. New types of Micarta often use Denin or Burlap to acheive some interesting results as well.