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Thread: What is it with wa handle makers?

  1. #11
    Canada's Sharpest Lefty Lefty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    So far, the only "multi-spacer" makers who have done it really nicely, in my opinion, are Heath and Chris A. Their look is very similar, in many respects.

    Dave, I agree with you on this one, 100%. Many can try, but it's hard to beat the simplicity and shaping of a DT Wa handle, or that of our custom handle makers here, if you want something a bit more "custom".

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  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by chefcomesback View Post
    Forgive me if my analogy is too vague but I think the handle is like a nice handmade pizza , there can not be more than 4 things on it, not a big fan of too much bling or too much on it

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Great analogy! I think it's easier to judge shapes because there are really only a few basic shapes that people make variations of.

    Materials usage is a lot tougher. I personally hate liners, give me 2 types of wood for contrast and maybe a nickel spacer. The worst offender in the knife world in my mind is Carter (sorry Murray!). Great knives, great videos too, but no Corian in my handle please. Maybe it has to do with the fact that in Japan no matter how nice/expensive the blade it's going to get a buffalo horn ferrule and Ho wood or a burnt Chestnut handle. He has gotten better recently.

  3. #13
    Western handle makers can do it way wrong too...I've been guilty of this. I mentioned wa handles as the main thing because that's what I see more of being whacked.

  4. #14
    I've had two PM's asking me for examples of bad handles. While I'd love to discuss some of the handles I think are gross mistakes I'd be just making fun of people to point them out. I do, however, realize that it'd be helpful to those learning to make them or for potential customers to see some bad examples for comparison purposes, so check out some other forums, Bladeforums (Kitchen Cutlery section), CKTG forums (Knife & Handle Makers section), KnifeDogs (Kitchen Corner section), & JerzeeDevil (Hell's Kitchen section) for some great examples.

  5. #15
    Senior Member stevenStefano's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Norn Iron
    I sorta agree with you in that I've seen a lot of handles (not here) that just look wrong and it's hard to put your finger on it, but they just don't look right at all. Makes me appreciate the time and effort that goes into the good ones to make them perfect. I think it shows the difference between those who have actually had first hand experience of the good ones and those who just see pictures and think they can do it. Like I say, I'm not talking about anyone here.
    "There are 2 mistakes one can make along the road to truth...not going all the way and not starting"

  6. #16
    Wow, I'm getting PM's that aren't so pleasant, seems like I upset some folks with this thread. I'll answer those PM's individually but let me address them here as well.

    First off I understand the learning curve that a maker must go through and the varying tastes people have, I've considered all that when I posted. What I'm referring to are the blatant things like a giant blocky handle that belongs on a 270 deba found on a 180mm santoku or a multi-material handle that's so heavy that you'd never be able to feel the blade. These are blatant mistakes that should be obvious.

    Here a few names discussed here folks!!!

    Below is an example of a "Broom Handle"...

    Here is an example of an "Everything But the Kitchen Sink"...20 piece handle = Desert Ironwood handle,M3 White aluminum Ferrule with Nickel Silver, M3 cobalt and M3 white aluminum spacers! Great construction but how handle heavy is this thing?

    More "Everything But the Kitchen Sink"....Black paper Micarta end cap to the ferrule, 2 layers of Tooth scales, 1/8" blue G10, more Tooth and G10, Black Paper Micarta end to the ferrule, then Blue Burl!?!

    BTW, the above examples are not the worst by far. If I went searching I'd find a ton of really stomach wrenching work to show. These are just quickly found examples that hopefully illustrate what I'm referring to.

  7. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Wales, UK
    I do not get gawdy, overcomplicated handles at all. Those 3 handles above are awful, the last one is shockingly bad.

    Burnt chestnut with a black buffalo horn ferrule and ho with a white ferrule are my favourites.

  8. #18
    Senior Member

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    Sep 2013
    Saint-Petersburg, Russia
    Dave there must be such handles. I mean good and bad are relative things and without bad handles you can't have good ones. So let there be more different handles. Yes with multi-quadriple-i-dont-know-who's-tooth and unicorn horn ferrules.

    Actually I'd post those examples into separate thread called something like "In the wild"

  9. #19
    Weird Wood Pusher Burl Source's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Kerby, OR
    I am a little bit spoiled. The wa handles on my knives have been by Mike Henry, Butch Harner and Mario.
    My personal taste has been different than the norm. I like a ferrule, contrasting body and a thin end cap to match the ferrule.
    As for colors and materials I look at it like clothing. What goes together and what clashes. Spacers I look at like a belt. Something thin to break things up, not thick like a cumberbun.

    As for shape. I like the tapered octagon like Mike H does. The tapered D handle with a ridge that Mario did for me is nice as well. Something I do not see happening is a tapered oval without the ridge. I have a store bought knife with a handle like that. (like the handle but hate the knife)
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  10. #20
    I like the what works and what doesn't input. That's one of the things I hoped to get with this thread.

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