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Thread: Stabilized woods.

  1. #11
    Senior Member Matus's Avatar
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    I would say - look at typical Japanese knife handle made from ho wood and buffalo horn. They were made replaceable for a reason

    P.S. I use both. it is just fun to have all those options.


  2. #12

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    I make wa handles as a hobby. I only use natural woods because I like my handles to maintain the forward balance point of stock ho wood handles. Handles can be maintained simply by routine application of mineral oil or board conditioner.


  3. #13
    Senior Member Danzo's Avatar
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    all makes sense thanks guys. I’ve decided that my safest bet is to continue to use stabilized woods for contracted projects just to stay on the safe side and increase longevity. But for personal knives I can stick to natural

  4. #14
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    I think both have their merits and downsides. Stabilized is much less likely to crack or warp, and generally needs less maintenance and will tolerate a wider range of conditions. Yes, there is a different feel of natural wood finished with oil and/or wax, and it's cheaper than stabilized wood, but it's far more likely for natural wood to move over time.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott.livesey View Post
    look at what the stabilize process does, you are filling the pores of the wood with resin. you no longer have a piece of wood, you have a piece of resin. weight is the other factor, most stabilizing sites say wood will almost double in weight after treatment. furniture grade woods, hard maple, walnut, oak, hickory, if properly finished with oil or varnish and properly cared for, will last a life time as a table or a knife handle.
    there is something about the feel of finished real wood that is missing from stabilized wood.
    I'm with this guy.

    Every knife I've purchased since getting back into Japanese knives recently has had a hardwood, unstabilized (I'm pretty sure) wa handle. Two with rosewood handles (which can mean a *lot* of different things), and two with ebony handles (which I hope means just one thing). I just can't get into the look or feel of Ho wood handles. Probably a cultural thing, but it's my preference regardless.

    Hardwood wa handles are already on the heavy side; added resin doesn't help with the knife balance. I know enough about wood from other hobbies, mainly musical instruments (including "wet" ones like wooden flutes), to know how they'll respond to wear and water over time. If the wood moves and a horn ferrule doesn't, I'll just sand smooth and refinish. I use a little butcher block wax now and then on the rosewood handles that are more porous than ebony, but that's about it. I like handles that show wear, aren't too slick under my hand, and look like wood instead of plastic.

    But that's just one end-user perspective. If I made and sold knives for a living, I'd probably use stabilized wood to avoid returns on long/lifetime warranties where the user did something dumb like throw it in a dishwasher.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paraffin View Post
    I'm with this guy.

    Every knife I've purchased since getting back into Japanese knives recently has had a hardwood, unstabilized (I'm pretty sure) wa handle. Two with rosewood handles (which can mean a *lot* of different things), and two with ebony handles (which I hope means just one thing). I just can't get into the look or feel of Ho wood handles. Probably a cultural thing, but it's my preference regardless.

    Hardwood wa handles are already on the heavy side; added resin doesn't help with the knife balance. I know enough about wood from other hobbies, mainly musical instruments (including "wet" ones like wooden flutes), to know how they'll respond to wear and water over time. If the wood moves and a horn ferrule doesn't, I'll just sand smooth and refinish. I use a little butcher block wax now and then on the rosewood handles that are more porous than ebony, but that's about it. I like handles that show wear, aren't too slick under my hand, and look like wood instead of plastic. But that's just one end-user perspective. If I made and sold knives for a living, I'd probably use stabilized wood to avoid returns on long/lifetime warranties where the user did something dumb like throw it in a dishwasher.
    you cover dishwasher damage in the warranty, just like some makers have the "striking bone or using on a glass cutting board voids this warranty." hard maple or walnut are fairly light and useful if you want to get your 8" chef's knife weight to 3oz. dogwood and locust are very heavy and useful for adjusting the balance point.

  7. #17

    ecchef's Avatar
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    I had a pair of gorgeous b&w ebony scales move in every possible direction. The torsion eventually broke the mechanical bonds with the tang. I had them replaced with micarta. For me, stabilized is the way to go on working knives.

    “Though I could not caution all, I still might warn a few; Don’t lend your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools.” Robert Hunter

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