I like the direction this is going, nice ideas being tossed around. And I like Lefty's vision on this. As for the woods, not sure what others' experiences are, but I found that wenge at times can be a bit brittle, at least I had issues with the pieces I had. Something like cocobolo or bubinga should be nice, stable (if it is aged enough), and affordable. If you want to stay American, a figured maple variation would be nice (curly, quilted, birdseye etc), walnut and mesquite should work also. Not a big fan of the artificial materials, but in the end the decision should be guided by how the overall package works.
I like wood handles as well. Walnut, maple and cherry are all locally available. Curious about a response to Devin's question.
Where I have seen it working well is when it is used with more muted woods and mono-steels or when a very thin amount is used as a spacer or to top off a ferrule. A little flair in these instances can be good. But the thick mokume bolsters don't do it for me with damascus steel or nice wood. My eye simply rejects having two metal patterns right next to each other.
But that's just me. Three patterns in a knife is just too much.
"What happened to those other underpants you had?" -- Flight of the Conchords
I think it has already been said but there's so many pages I don't wanna go through them, but I like this handle from Twistington. Simple but nice, especially so if you polished the tang to the same level as the frontcap, would be easier to make than a bolster
I also think that some of the Twistington handles look really great, and that the idea of a modified old-school butchers handle is cool, but I have some reservations about the idea. What looks comfortable and sounds like a cool handle design concept on paper (or forum) does not necessarily make a good handle in reality. Let's also remember that a bull-nose has a very different application than a gyuto and the different mechanics may mean that a good handle for one doesn't transfer to the other.
Also, I have a hard time endorsing a handle that I (and I'm assuming most potential buyers) have never actually held, much less spent any length of time working with. I've used some handles from some pretty well regarded makers that look REALLY cool on screen, but were pretty fundamentally flawed (IMO) when it came to actually using them for a few hours.
While I'm in buzz-kill mode, I'll also point out that while Twistington's bolster looks really stunning, I don't understand it's functional benefit (which wouldn't keep me from ordering it on a custom) but, there also appears to be a pretty sizable gap where it's fitted around the tang.... a good example of a bolster introducing new possible problems.
I hate to sound negative on this great, positive thread, and I'm not saying that I think that the modified butcher handle is a "bad" idea, just that it's an "unknown" that needs some serious R&D and vetting before we order up 80 of them.
For those still interested, here are some better pictures of the handle on Karring's #10(as in 10th made) Martell gyuto. My Martell (the one Chuckles posted pics of) is a later, non-numbered piece and it shows some very subtle changes to the design (over all its thinner and rounder) but I actually like the extra beef and angular definition in the #10. Again, just to be clear: I AM NOT, NOR SHOULD ANYONE ELSE, SUGGESTING THAT WE COPY ANYONE'S WORK! I'm just posting this as food for thought as to a non-coke-bottle evolutionary path for a western handle that's tried, tested, and VERY good.
"I gotta tell ya, this is pretty terrific. Ha hahaha, YEAH!" - Moe (w/ 2 knives). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVt4U...layer_embedded
sorry =DUntil Tom comes up with an anticipated price, I think it's best NOT to even mention a price. You're going to create an expectation that something can be done at a certain price and, at this time, I'm assuming that there has been NO mention of a possible price because nothing has been even tentatively agreed upon except for the basic profile of the knife and the steel.
it was not my intention
i really like the idea of no bolster.
Justin, you take really good pictures.