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View Full Version : Handle material - What do you prefer



oivind_dahle
06-23-2012, 09:22 AM
Ive tried a lot of handles over the past years, from plastic, wood, micarta and horn.

What are your favorite handle material and why?

jgraeff
06-23-2012, 09:57 AM
I really like wood, as long as its not too slick i feel it offers a great feel, looks good, and has grip when its whet. Some micarta is ok to but overall tend to not like it quite as much.

heldentenor
06-23-2012, 10:51 AM
Ebony. Looks good, feels good.

Pabloz
06-23-2012, 10:53 AM
Dymondwood...easy to get, easy to work, STABLE, lots of variety, can take anyone's abuse, looks good, polishes beautifully, very economical, etc. One thing I really like about this stuff is the visual effects of the layers that you can't get with anything else.

Stabilized wood...same as above, except looks GREAT, seems that the stabilizing enhances chatoyance in a lot of woods (most times) but is also significantly more costly. STABILIZING MUST BE DONE BY EXPERIENCE, QUALITY PEOPLE....if not it will be gummy, soft, spotty, etc. especially on spalted (rotted) woods...a real PITA!!!

Natural wood...easy to get, not so easy to work, desert ironwood, bubinga, and other really oily woods clog belts (I will not use cocobolo), Ebony...LOVE IT. Not so stable or durable...again depending on species. Usually looks great and relatively economical....depending on species.

Horn, antler, ivory, etc....SMELLY!!!!! but absolutely gorgeous!!!! Quality stuff is always EXPENSIVE!!!!! Somewhat stable if aged.

Micarta, G-10, carbon fiber, corian, other composites.....SAA Dymondwood just more expensive and working with it is a challenge. Fiberous composites cover you with fine dust due to inherant static. Can also be very itchy...wear a long sleeve shirt w/a button up collar. Is also toxic if heated to melting or burning point. The other composites that are not fiber reinforced are more like working Dymonwood/stabilized wood.

I use and like all of them for different reasons and applications. I also always were a respirator no matter what I'm working with.

Hope this helps.

PZ

kalaeb
06-23-2012, 01:35 PM
I prefer figured woods. Generally I only like horn, antlers, etc in accent, ferrule, buttcap...
I do not like the appearance of micarta or dymondwood. But that is just me.

WildBoar
06-23-2012, 01:49 PM
Woods for me. I like the wide variety of looks that are available, and I like the feel of a wood handle.

Horn, teeth, etc. are generally more for accent if the knife will be an 'everyday knife', although I have seen pics of some full handles, like Bill Burke's, that look really nice. I got to see the knife with the tooth handle SpikeC made for Son; it is really cool, but to me it is more of an art piece/ sentimental piece then an everyday tool.

I've seen some micarta I liked, and a lot I did not. Since I am a home cook, I do not have to deal with health department prohibitions against wood, which often drives some of the pros to go with micarta.

markk
06-23-2012, 03:59 PM
I prefer a wood handle, highly figured wood if possible. I even prefer wood for the accents. I am not against other things in the handle but if I have the ability to choose, I choose wood.

obtuse
06-23-2012, 04:18 PM
Human bone

Birnando
06-23-2012, 04:28 PM
I definitely prefer woods or horn.
The feel and the looks works well for me.
Simple, clean and elegant when done right.
That said, I do prefer a more subtle look for my handles, so burl is a total turn-off for me.
Way too noisy, and imho, quite tacky looking.

Cipcich
06-23-2012, 06:42 PM
I like a nice handle carefully crafted by someone else. Natural materials are best, but the "someone else" is key. Not everyone has the skill to make a well-balanced and aesthetically pleasing knife handle, no matter how fine the material. It's more difficult than it might appear . . my last attempt looks like it was made by a Cub Scout.

SpikeC
06-23-2012, 06:59 PM
I have not made one with human bone, but I did redo the metal work on a flute made of a girls leg bone for a Tibetan Buddhist monk once. It was an interesting project.


Human bone

dmccurtis
06-23-2012, 08:06 PM
Ho, ichii, burnt chestnut, or ebony. I like clean, simple woods. Highly figured woods or burls are too gaudy for my taste. I do love marbled or white streaked horn ferrules.

RRLOVER
06-23-2012, 08:28 PM
It has to be a Burl or highly figured wood for me.I find ebony to be soooo vanilla.

apicius9
06-23-2012, 08:40 PM
It has to be a Burl or highly figured wood for me.I find ebony to be soooo vanilla.

Hey, I like vanilla - nothing like a nice, homemade frozen vanilla custard ;)

As for woods, I have simple tastes, still like horn and wood combos the best. Sometimes handles with a bling can be nice, but in most cases, I prefer simpler versions (that has actually changed, the more handles I make, the more I like the simple ones). My favorite woods are koa, thuya, amboyna. Never warmed up to micarta or Dymondwood.

Stefan

Maluaka
06-23-2012, 08:49 PM
Ho, ichii, burnt chestnut, or ebony. I like clean, simple woods. Highly figured woods or burls are too gaudy for my taste. I do love marbled or white streaked horn ferrules.

My sentiments exactly. Ho with a marble bolster is my cup of tea. Though I do think ebony is nice on a Yanagiba. Classes it up a bit. Funny, because I have a bunch of stabilized maple burl waiting to go on some hunting/bush knives, but I just don't like it on kitchen knives.

obtuse
06-23-2012, 09:41 PM
I'm with Stefan on personal wood tastes.

chinacats
06-23-2012, 10:24 PM
Ive tried a lot of handles over the past years, from plastic, wood, micarta and horn.

What are your favorite handle material and why?

So we never heard from you...of all you have tried, which do you prefer?

Cipcich
06-23-2012, 10:35 PM
Actually, we have. Musk ox.

ajhuff
06-23-2012, 10:46 PM
I like black plastic.

Sorry guys.

-AJ

The hekler
06-24-2012, 12:29 AM
Natural materials for me... I've never had a problem with the regular black horn and ho wood, but I will have all my knives rehandled at some point with nicely figured redwood Burl (just enough excitement with out being over the top like some of the nicer koas) black ferule (either ebony or horn again) and some type of spacer. The spacers are where I give some lee way I've seen buckle silver, tooth, horn, fossil I love it all. Such a small piece of the handle if it's there at all but it has to be perfect. I don't really see the need for end caps at thins time but I've seem some lovely manmouth tooth ones that cannot be beat!

Vertigo
06-24-2012, 12:31 AM
I like black plastic.

Sorry guys.

-AJ
Well, it's better than Gusto Grips™ eh?

The Edge
06-24-2012, 12:32 AM
I personally like over the top. Love wood burls and horn of any type. The materials just have to jive together when the handle is finished. It just surprises me how decadent natural materials can be, and I feel like they're getting good use if I put them on a tool that will be used daily.

Lucretia
06-24-2012, 12:46 AM
I've briefly handled a knife with a bighorn sheep handle and hated it--something about the texture just made my skin crawl. Wood for me.

Alex Kwa
06-24-2012, 01:45 AM
I love wood. It feels very traditional and right in my hands.

Dieter01
06-24-2012, 02:03 AM
Ho, ichii, burnt chestnut, or ebony. I like clean, simple woods. Highly figured woods or burls are too gaudy for my taste. I do love marbled or white streaked horn ferrules.

+2. I like clean and simple. Love Markos Arizona Desert Ironwood handles though, but thats about as crazy as I want to be :-)

Crothcipt
06-24-2012, 03:39 AM
I am trying many different types still. I seemed to be drawn to redwood, but I don't like red. I am looking to trying some cool woods out soon.