Carbon Fiber Knife Handles

Knife Handle Materials — Carbon Fiber

A carbon fiber knife handle is now widely available for this oldest of tools known to humankind. Carbon fiber is one of the greatest modern manufactured materials. It is made from strands of carbon woven then bonded together with resin to create a strong, light and beautiful material. There are many reasons to choose carbon fiber as a knife handle material.

Carbon looks high tech and is eye catching because the weave of the fibers catches the light. Not only does it look neat, it is customizable and can be crafted to spec with different tones, sizes of the fiber weave and color.

Strength to weight ratio
Carbon is very light weight. Carbon is lighter than many, if not all metals. This lightness will help make a load less burdensome, which means the knife with the carbon handle is the one most likely to be carried. A carbon handle can be textured and shaped, making it easier (and safer) to grip when wet.
Yet despite the light weight, carbon is extremely strong. It is strong enough that it has become the most popular frame material for high end racing bicycles, is widely used in the aerospace and race car industries, and is a standard material for prosthetic parts for someone who has lost a limb. This strength will ensure durability of a knife handle.

Carbon is very stiff
Carbon’s stiffness means that force applied will transfer directly to the blade. It is used in sporting goods when stiffness is required, like in soles of running shoes, and boat shells for competitive rowing. The stiffness is prized by racing cyclists. This efficient power transfer means less energy is expended by athletes using items with carbon, and this is also be true for a knife user. But despite the stiffness, carbon is also forgiving. It will reduce fatigue in the user’s hands.

Improved manufacturing
Though carbon has historically been a higher budget item, improved manufacturing has reduced the price point. Carbon knife handle crafting has become a popular endeavor, allowing folks to fully personalize their knives. The use of wood, bone and metals for knife handles has always been an important craft in history and in lore, and now it is possible to work with carbon. Carbon is the most modern, strong and stiff material with the best strength to weight ratio,created by humankind. Carbon is here to stay as a knife handle material. Watch for continued innovations.

Benefits of Glass Reinforced Nylon Handles

Nylon is a popular material for knife handles because of its strength, impact resistance, chemical inertness and stability at high temperatures. All these characteristics are enhanced by adding glass fibers to the nylon to create a new material, glass reinforced nylon (GRN).

GRN is a member of a new group of high-tech materials called composites. By combining basic substances with reinforcing fibers or particles, composites improve on nature by increasing all the good points of traditional materials. The glass fibers used to produce GRN are long, textile-type strands with a lubricant to keep them from abrading each other and added binders and coupling agents to help them bind with the nylon. This reinforcement at least doubles most of the physical properties of the nylon, increasing tensile strength from 10,000 psi to more than 30,000 psi and deflection temperature from 170 degrees F to about 500 degrees F. Similar increases can be seen in dimensional stability, fatigue endurance and resistance to the hydrocarbons found in gasoline, machine oils and other industrial products.

These improvements make glass reinforced nylon a perfect choice for knife handles. The property known as creep, movement of the blade in its fitting in the handle, is greatly decreased by glass reinforcement. Deformation under repeated impacts, another common problem with conventional nylon, is also improved.

Since these are some of the perennial difficulties of knives, using GRN for knife handles is a logical choice. The knives last longer, resist wear better and remain usable over a broader range of conditions than those with conventional nylon handles. Knife owners who are familiar with the shattering, impact warping and other problems of conventional nylon will be relieved at the improved performance of GRN.

These knives can be used over a wider range of environmental factors than other knives. The ability to retain shape under high temperatures will be useful in some functions, as will the resistance to solvents, fuels and other caustic chemicals. The lifespan of the knife is increased, making it a better investment. In survival applications where any equipment failure can have life-threatening implications, glass reinforcement can make a crucial difference.