There are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect handle material to compliment your blade. Some even say the handle is just as important as the blade and for various reasons. For starters, depending on the type of knife you are making you may need something more durable, elegant or easily manipulated because the material contributes to how safely you can grip and the performance of the knife. The handle material can also add personality and style if you have a signature look. There are so many different types of materials available from synthetic, metal and natural elements - we hope our guide will help you find your perfect fit.
Includes maple, walnut, olive wood, rosewood, mesquite, desert ironwood, and pink ivory. Woods do need to be properly taken care of to protect from damage. A more durable option would be stabilized wood.
Pros: elegant, durable, not too expensive, can be shaped easily to your liking, variety, comfortable to hold
Cons: porous - can easily crack or break, gets damage if exposed to moisture too often, high maintenance
Bone and Horns
This material comes from animals. Most popular options are cow and giraffe bones. They are porous, so one can add durability by stabilizing and dying with resins for added protection and beauty.
Pros: inexpensive, provide a traditional yet eye-catching look, bones are very dense and readily available while adding an exotic touch
Cons: are porous and can crack or become deformed over time, can be difficult to shape
Mother Of Pearl
This material produced by oysters and other mollusks, stuff that can eventually turn into a pearl. Because this is an expensive option, you can get a similar look from fabricated mother of pearl handles at a lower cost.
Pros: stands out from the crowd, give off an iridescent glow, easy to manipulate
Cons: more expensive than other materials
This material comes from casting crushed pine cones in resin.
Pros: creative choice, can be dyed various colors
This material is not a popular option and you won't see many productions of these. They are put together by wrapping the leather tightly around another material. You'll most often see leather used to accent knife handles made of bone, wood or other natural materials. You will rarely see leather on a tactical or utility knife.
Pros: inexpensive, traditional
Cons: lacks strength and durability
Synthetic Handle Materials
This material is a strong, durable polymer. It is made by combining carbon fibers with another material such as plastic resin. This gives knife makers the creative freedom to create and style their handle to their own liking.
Pros: stiff, lightweight, resistant to chemicals, and able to withstand high temperatures, stronger yet lighter than virtually any other handle material choice, which is great for those who want a sturdy knife that won’t weigh them down, creative freedom
This handle material is a high-pressure fiberglass composite laminate made by stacking layers of glass cloth, soaking them in epoxy resin, and then compressing them under high heat
Pros: similar to carbon fiber but less expensive; strong and durable; lightweight; highly resistant to moisture, heat, and chemicals; easily carved, peened or engraved to provide a more textured grip; many options - you can find textured G10 scales with honeycomb, diamond, and other patterns
This handle material is a composite made from linen, canvas, paper, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or other fabrics soaked in phenolic resin and baked under high pressure.
Pros: extremely durable and lightweight; ranges in price from very cost effective to mid-priced; naturally smooth to the touch but can be given texture by peening away the resin to expose the base material; creative freedom