The Ultimate Guide to Knife Handle Materials

Nowadays, with the advancement of technology, you can make knife handles from a lot of materials. Particularly, these Knife handle materials can be made from nature of wood, animal bones, metal to human-made synthetic materials that are both high atheistic and practical. In fact, knife users often choose the material for the handle based on durability, usability, and style. If you are still wondering what kind of knife handle to suit your style best, the following will give some suggestions on the most popular materials.

One of The Most Popular Knife handle materials – Stainless steel

One of the most outstanding advantages of stainless steel is its excellent durability and strength. Thanks to that you will not have to worry about the corrosion of the handle.

However, stainless steel adds a significant weight, thus being avoided because of making a handle for heavy duty hunting knives. This is one of the biggest limitations of stainless steel.

Stainless steel

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Also, stainless steel is also quite slippery, so it does not bring the necessary grip. For that reason, manufacturers often have to coat stainless steel with a protective layer such as plastic or rubber to make it easier to grip. Besides, you will not feel comfortable holding a steel handle on cold days.

Titanium

Titanium is a metal alloy, harder and lighter than steel. It is very lightweight, and it offers corrosion resistance, as well as resilience better than any metal. Though titanium is slightly heavier than aluminum, it still gives the user a light and springy feel.

Titanium

Image source: Knife Art

Fortunately, unlike most metals that give shivering when holding by hand in winter, titanium brings a warm feeling.

However, this rare and expensive metal has a bit of drawback. Contrary to stainless steel, this knife handle material is prone to scratches after being used for a long time.

Furthermore, the price of titanium can be pushed up very high by marketing effects. You should not believe in advertising and spend too much money on it because not all alloys are durable and unbreakable like stainless steel.

Aluminum

Manufacturers often coat aluminum with a protective oxide layer to enhance the hardness and shine of the metal. In other words, they only finish the process of making this metal by anodizing to add protection and color. That is why aluminum is a very durable material for making knives handle. Although aluminum has a high hardness, it brings light weight without losing a solid feeling for users. This material also has high corrosion resistance.

Aluminum

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Moreover, an aluminum handle will provide a more comfortable and easier grip for users in comparison with stainless steel. However, just like steel or any other metal, the handle made of aluminum brings an unpleasant feeling when you hold it in the winter.

In comparison to titanium – a more durable and superior material, aluminum is somewhat inferior.

Also, this material is prone to scratches, and it also creates a ringing sound when colliding with other objects.

Carbon fiber

This is a modern knife handle material with light weight and amazing strength. Furthermore, carbon fiber is considered to be the strongest in synthetic materials. As the carbon fiber reflects light, the handle looks very eye-catching in the weave pattern. Because of these outstanding features, carbon fiber is quite expensive. The producing process of this material takes a lot of labor and resources, so it is often used for high-end knives.

Carbon fiber

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Despite the high strength, carbon fiber is far from not being brittle, so it can break easily when impacted.

G-10

G-10 and carbon fiber have many similarities in term of strength and weight.

This is a Garolite overlay with a layer of fiberglass, soaked in resin, and then compressed and baked. Thanks to the fiberglass resin lamination, the protection is enhanced thus making this material very hard, durable, strong, and lightweight. Plus, the G-10 is not water vapor impermeable to water, moist or liquid, as well as being stable under the changing climate.

G-10

Image source: Triple J Knife Works

This lamination process also produces many unique colors with checkering pattern to create the eye-catching look of the handle. A G-10 handle also has a solid, comfortable grip so this is a pretty popular choice.

However, a small downside of the G-10 is that many people feel its colors are less elegant.

Bone

This is probably one of the first knife handle materials ever since humans evolved into hunting and gathering stages. So far, bone has been a popular material for traditional pocket knives.

The bones used to make handles are often from naturally dead animals such as elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and most commonly cow bones. Also, other parts of animals with similar hardness like horns, stag, and ivory can replace bone.

Furthermore, this natural material can be dyed into many different colors as well as given a texture on the surface for an easier grip and beauty.

Bone

Image source: Blade Magazine

However, there are some reasons why human replaces bone handles by modern synthetic materials. It is because this natural material is quite slippery and easy to crack. Plus, its stability is very low under the influence of light, temperature, and humidity.

Wood

Like bone, wood is one of the first materials used since the dawn of man. A handle made of wood will have high durability, eye-catching appearance at reasonable prices. That is why this natural material is a popular choice among all of these above.

When it comes to choosing wood for a knife handle, you will have a lot of options at a variety of prices. Wooden handles vary from the most common types to the rare ones. Soft wood will not be a smart choice if you use a knife in a humid environment. In this case, hardwoods from oak and maple are preferable.

Wood

Image source: www.kitchenknifeforums.com

Also, nowadays many manufacturers inject polymers into plywood from maple and compress them under high pressure to produce stabilized woods. This wood is denser and more durable than natural hardwood.

In conclusion, many knife users still think that the choice of handles is simply to meet aesthetic purposes. However, the knife handle material greatly influences the performances and characteristics of the knife. Before buying a knife, you should do research on the handle to be able to choose the material that suits your style best.

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