TeroTuf™ vs “micarta”
We get a lot of questions regarding our preferred material, so here are some words on the subject. When we started making scales back in 2015 we were drawn to micarta, as many are, for it’s look, and happily used it alongside G10, & wood. I’m not capitalizing it here because “micarta” is now used as a generic term when describing phenolic resin based textile composites. In it’s classic form, it’s a good material that has a long and storied history, but it has it’s shortcomings when employed in knife-making, the dust it produces is very toxic, abrasive, and it has an almost intolerable odor. Even when we upgraded to an industrial strength collection system, it still posed many issues for us.
Enter TeroTuf ™ (a material produced by US based CIP Composites) – not only do we find this material more pleasing to the eye – it offers a real textile look and feel! It is also easier on our machines, lighter weight, doesn’t de-laminate as easily when stressed, is more shock-absorbent, and provides better grip in both wet and dry conditions.
Here’s what the manufacturer has to say about it:
” CIP TeroTuf™, originally designed as a wear material for industrial use, was introduced to the knife industry as a new option for handles. This material has quickly become a preferred alternative to many other utilitarian handle options. TeroTuf is made with 100% polyester resin and fabric with no fillers, is non-toxic, chemically resistant to most cleaning supplies, and does not swell in water. TeroTuf has been weather tested by Ochs Sherworx (after twenty-seven weeks in the sun CIP material showed no noticeable change). “
While TeroTuf ™ is a bit more expensive, it’s benefits are worth it if you’re putting your knife in service. While there are companies that are producing variations on classic micarta, you don’t always know what you’re getting. TeroTuf is a known quantity, and we like using products with spec sheets so we know exactly what we’re working with and providing the customer.
You cannot buff it to get a glossy sheen the way you can with other materials, but we feel that would defeat it’s purpose and we much prefer the natural look and feel it provides. It will darken with use or when oiled, but it can also be cleaned very easily. It’s soft to the touch, like your favorite pair of jeans, but it’s tough as nails, and once you get a grip on it, you might not want to let go! (ok, got a little cheesy with that last line, but leaving it in!)