All About Pocket Knives

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:15 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:52 pm
Posts: 37
I found yellow paper based micarta on ebay but I can't for the world find where he is getting it. Everyone has linen or canvas or some such thing. Paper looks to finish much smoother. May have to buy it on ebay.

I bought some G10 but I'm skeered to death of it. It will kill you from the way they warn you about it plus they keep mentioning glass. I hope they mean fiberglass. I'm just getting close to over with a nightmare with some glass hard material but I learned a lot. G10 may not be a problem.

Still love that good old plastic. You can just beat a pin in it with a great big hammer.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:19 pm 
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I won't work with G-10 because it is SO NASTY. You better wear a respirator and have a dust evacuation system!
Micarta is almost as bad, but instead of it being resin impregnated fiberglass like G-10, it is resin impregnated canvas, linen, or paper. All of it is bad for your lungs!

You should wear a respirator when sanding or cutting pretty much anything. Most of the things we sand, cut or grind in our shops, we shouldn’t breathe. Wood dust and carbon steel may break down somewhat in the lungs, but stainless steel and the synthetic particles like micarta, G-10, plastics, & even bone don’t decompose in your lungs. Unless you can cough it out, it is there permanently.

The stone & steel dust is what gave the old time knife grinders what was called “Grinders Lung,” an occupational hazard of knife grinders.

There is an interesting article online about Grinders Lung from the Provincial Medical Journal of London, dated 1843; ... 17/?page=1
Some grinding occupations were more hazardous than others.
Fork grinders seemed to die between the ages of 28 to 32.
Razor grinders tended to die between 40 to 45 years of age.
Table knife grinders, who worked on wet stones, usually died between 50 to 60 years of age.

In 1822 there were “inquires,” (apparently their word for “studies”), into the mortality of 2500 grinders.
The results speak of severe occupational hazards:

1. Less than 60 (of the 2500 grinders) reached the age of 45.
2. Fewer than 35 of them reached the age of 50.
3. Of the 80 fork grinders, not a single one reached the age of 36.

A later study showed that within the Kingdom at large 296 out of 1000 people (from all walks of life) would die between the ages of 20 to 40.
Within the Grinding Trades (fork, razor and knife grinders) 885 out of 1000 people would die between ages 20 to 40. That is 89% of the grinders, (rounding up the ½ percent). Obviously they didn’t have OSHA! :lol: :lol:

Why this rabbit trail?
1- Because I like rabbit trails. :mrgreen:
2- Because it shows how dangerous the airborne dust particles that result from knife making can be.

Consider this; in the 1800s they were using mostly natural materials to make knives. They didn’t have micarta, or G-10 or some of the more nasty (to the lungs) synthetic materials we make knives from today.

Moral: Get a dust evacuation system, even if it is just a Shop-Vac at your grinder or sander to suck up the majority of the dust. Get a respirator and WEAR THE DARN THING! :x

Really you should! ::nod::

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:04 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 28, 2011 1:52 pm
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I only thought I was scared. I guess I should be terrified. Does anyone used G10 or Micarta? Unless you want bone or the few colors of acrylic they’ve decided we can have, there isn’t much else out there and there is a TON of it out there. Everyone sells it, the assumption is that many people use it.

To get it all in perspective, the first thing I noticed was that people died of fork grinding at 20. That means they must have started at 10. They had no laws, no controls, no knowledge. They were in a basement with no ventelation and a particle mask was unheard of. It’s mind opening but not really a good comparison to modern people using G10 every now and then and not 15 hours per day in a sweat shop.

I’ve been cuting, grinding, welding painting, sanding something for 30 years with a lot of brake dust thrown in for good measure back before they outlawed asbestos and before we knew it was bad.

I’m not saying G10 and Micarta aren’t bad. From what I’ve read everywhere it is some nasty stuff. One place that sells it even recommends a wet tile saw to cut it with. What I’m saying is that insulating your attic is bad too. Doing the brakes on your car. Grinding metal, Grinding bone. Grinding plastic and acrylic. Breathing paint fumes. And we are smarter now. I’ve done a lot of stupid things with just occasonal use of a mask and made it to 50 already. That’s not to say that I won’t die of some horrible lung disease next year from all of it. I know painters who started in the 60s who had to stop when they were 50-55 because the doctor said they couldn’t breath that stuff anymore or they would die. Luckily I missed the 60s because we were still stupid then about all this stuff. The 70s and 80s were bad enough.

I guess I have a bad way of explaining things. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate your warnings Orvit. It takes years and people dying before something gets outlawed and as far as we know this stuff won’t be on the market in 2 years. Warnings are good and people can use them to think of ways to use the product safely.

If you do an internet search for “yellow plastic” you don’t have any choices except Micarta or G10 or G11. I’m not even sure if there is a difference between the three. I ordered a piece to see what it was. I was looking for something without a pattern in it so canvas or linin Micara are both out. I was thinking G10 was close to just acrylic which isn’t too easy to work with either. I hate breaking handles and I’ve already broken my share.

But really, thanks for the warning. Getting it from someone I know carries more weight. Now I know why another guy who sells on ebay says he wet sands it over the kitchen sink. He failed to mention that it was to keep from dying.


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