how to finish micarta knife handles

Finishing Micarta knife handles is an important step in creating a comfortable, durable, and aesthetically pleasing grip on your knife. Micarta is a composite material made from layers of fabric, paper, or other materials bonded together with resin. It’s a popular choice for knife handles due to its durability and grip. Here’s how to finish Micarta knife handles:

Materials You’ll Need:

  1. Micarta knife handles
  2. Sandpaper (various grits, typically ranging from 100 to 600)
  3. Water or oil (for wet sanding)
  4. Protective gloves
  5. Dust mask or respirator
  6. Clean cloth or paper towels
  7. Epoxy resin (optional)
  8. Clamps (if needed)
  9. Linseed oil, mineral oil, or wood finish (for oiling)
  10. Varnish (optional, for a glossy finish)


  1. Prepare Your Workspace:
    • Set up a clean, well-ventilated area for the finishing process. Consider wearing protective gloves and a dust mask or respirator to protect yourself from dust and fumes.
  2. Sand the Micarta Handles:
    • Start with coarse-grit sandpaper (around 100 grit) to remove any rough spots, imperfections, or excess material on the Micarta handles. Sand in the direction of the handle’s grain for a consistent finish.
    • Gradually progress to finer grits (e.g., 220, 400, 600) to smooth the surface. Wet sanding with water or oil can help achieve a smoother finish and prevent the sandpaper from clogging.
    • Continue sanding until the handles feel smooth to the touch, and any visible imperfections have been removed.
  3. Clean the Handles:
    • Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe away dust and debris from the handles. Ensure they are completely clean before proceeding.
  4. Apply a Finish (Optional):
    • You can choose to apply a finish to the Micarta handles for added protection and a polished appearance.
    • One common option is to apply linseed oil, mineral oil, or another wood finish. Apply a thin, even coat and allow it to soak into the Micarta for a few minutes. Wipe away any excess with a clean cloth.
    • For a glossy finish, you can use varnish. Apply multiple thin coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Sand lightly between coats for a smoother finish.
  5. Let the Finish Dry:
    • Allow the applied finish to dry thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This can take several hours to a few days, depending on the type of finish used.
  6. Check and Refine:
    • After the finish has dried, inspect the Micarta handles for any imperfections or uneven spots. If necessary, lightly sand and reapply the finish to achieve the desired result.
  7. Secure the Handles (If Needed):
    • If the knife handles were removed during the finishing process, use epoxy resin to securely reattach them to the knife. Ensure a tight fit and clamp them in place if necessary.
  8. Final Touches:
    • Once the handles are securely attached and the finish is dry, give your knife handles a final wipe-down to remove any residue.

Finishing Micarta knife handles is a rewarding process that enhances the appearance and functionality of your knife. Whether you choose to go for a matte or glossy finish, the result will be a comfortable and visually appealing grip on your knife.