favorite handle material of custom makers

RCC

Joined
Jun 27, 1999
Messages
172
Hello fellow makers....

I am compiling a general census of what is the favorite handle material that custom knife makers prefer to use on their knives, swords etc. and why.

Stay Shap.

RCC
 
Joined
Oct 10, 1998
Messages
634
Mother of Pearl. Beautiful figure and this
material will not move or shrink. What you
see, is what you will always have. Unless you drop it. Yep, it's brittle.
 
Joined
Apr 28, 1999
Messages
349
Number one is Pearl, then ivory then stag for the better grade knives. Woods don't sell too well unless they are on a special knife (reproduction of a classic). For the low to medium priced knives stag sells 3-1 over anything else. Just my observation, your's may be different.

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old pete
 

RCC

Joined
Jun 27, 1999
Messages
172
Hey Ole Pete..

I agree with you Stag out selling anything else. But from my experience it is about 5(or more) to 1. I just have had good luck selling it.

FYI - I work for www.knifesupplies.com we are the world's largest supplier of India Stag & have been for generations.

Thanks for your time.

Stay Sharp.

Ric
 
Joined
Apr 15, 1999
Messages
1,442
I know this is dull, but I never get tired of black linen micarta. Takes a beautiful shine, neat layers, and is stable and as tough as anything out there. I like a fancy handle material as much as the next guy (though natural materials that aren't stable drive me nuts!) but if knives only came in black-and-silver I wouldn't be too unhappy, either. Just boring, I guess
wink.gif


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-Drew Gleason
Little Bear Knives
 
Joined
Apr 17, 1999
Messages
170
I don't know why the woods don't sell well, but some of them should. One of my favorite materials is Desert Ironwood. It can be as fancy and figured as the wildest Pearls, It is far tougher and more durable, and it doesn't even need to be sealed. My experience so far shows it to be as stable as the micarta's.

Aside from this I tend to agree with the preceeding posts. Linen or canvas micarts for tacticals and stag, Ivory or pearl for the dressier pieces.

Hope this helps,

GARY B
 
Joined
Jul 12, 1999
Messages
30
Yeah, wood wood wood. The problem is that no one wants to sift through boards or scraps of exotic wood to find the "perfect" pieace. The fact is that there is much waste with wood if it is done right. Example: I know of someone who obtained a 10mm Colt in a trade for some custom archery epuipment. The scales are suposed to be custom cocobolo. All you see however when you look at it is a redish-brown, nearly grainless piece of wood stock. If you look close, you notice that you're looking at end grain. What a joke! Obviously, that piece of wood, which should have been trash-canned, was used up to save money. No wonder people think of wood as boring. It may not compete with pearl and such, but when done correctly, a well finished, charactered sample of the right wood should make you silly.

Mmmm...Cocobolo...Bolivian Rosewood...Blood Wood...Beutiful stuff!
 
Joined
Mar 4, 1999
Messages
83
For me, its gotta show something. Pearl, stag and highly figured woods. Ironwood, kingwood, cocobolo, and some of the stabilized, softer woods really do it for me. Of course, I'm not selling into a market that dictates what it wants to buy.

For older collectable folders, Remington bone and some of the more exotic celluloids are very, very nice.
 
Joined
Dec 16, 1998
Messages
1,284
Pearl, Stag, Hardwoods, Ivories.
Pearl on the collectibles I buy, Stag on the knives that I make. Hardwoods like Ironwood burl,etc on my knives and ivory occasionally.
Dave Ellis
 
Joined
Apr 19, 1999
Messages
3,560
My hunters get stag or cocobolo.
My bowies get Desert Ironwood or stag.
My kitchen knives get black paper micarta.

I guess all round that Stag is the most consistant seller where the customer is looking for a special knife but wood seems to be preferred by hunters for grip.

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george
www.tichbourneknives.com
[email protected]

 
Joined
Oct 10, 1998
Messages
224
I know that the death knell has been sounded for wood, but I (and many of MY customers like it, if it's naturally impregnated with oils [cocobolo, desert ironwood, etc.]), or stabilized. I just can't get used to plastic, with the exception being kitchen or fillet knives.
I'm just completing a fairly large stabilizer, and am playing around with various media in order to find exactly what works best. Cultivating friends in the firewood business to look for burls and wild grain patterns pays big dividends!
Stag is great, but before long I'll wager sellers will need to keep and supply letters of legal possession for knives sold, same as with ivory nowadays.
Harry Jensen
Fresno, CA
 
Joined
Dec 27, 1998
Messages
297
Burled stabilized wood - such uniqueness
elephant, mastadon and walrus ivory something
about it pulls just about everyone.
pearl - more of the same

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http://www.imt.net/~goshawk The race is not always to the swift, but he who hangs loose.
Don't walk in tradition just because it feels good!!!!!

 
Joined
Oct 13, 1998
Messages
293
From my experience in selling custom knives. Here is what I find:

For Folders: (the top 4 are close)
1. Pearl (black lip, white, gold)
2. Fossil Ivory (bark)
3. Ivory
4. Abalone
5. Sheep Horn or Stag
6. Jig Bone
6. Woods
(other good choices for fancy folders might include coral, lapis, dinosaur bone, oosic, fossil bone

For Tactical Folders:
1. Carbon Fiber (way ahead of the rest)
2. All Titanium
3. Micarta
4. G-10

Hunters & Bowies:
1. Ivory & Fossil Ivory(usually with damascus on high end knives)
2. Stag & Sheep Horn
3. Wood
4. Micarta

Micarta seems to be the handle of choice for fixed tactical blades.

Also, I don't recommend using brass on any knife.

Hope this helps,
Larry

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RCC

Joined
Jun 27, 1999
Messages
172
Larry:

Thanks for the list - it helps a lot. And I want to thank everyone else for their input.

Why do you not recommend brass?

Stay Sharp.

Ric
 

I do a lot of custom rehandle work for a contractor and I use a lot of Sheep Horn, Cocobolo, Desert Ironwood and Stag. For my own customers I use a lot of my stabilized woods,(burls) as well as wood stabilized by other sources. Presentation Bowies normally either Stag or Elk; For Hunters I use stabilized Moose antlers, & Stag, Sheep Horn, and various stabilized woods; For Folders I have been using a lot of Ivory, Pearl, Sheep Horn, and stabilized Burls.

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Curtis Wilson
 
Joined
Oct 10, 1998
Messages
811
I am not a maker but felt compelled to post since I am a dealer and collector and have bought and sold customs. I have a weakness for Desert Ironwood if it has a lot of the lighter coloring in it. whenever I see a knife with such a piece I am automatically interested it. Can't say the same about stag. Pearl and Ivory tend to get my attentiong first though. I agree stag sells 5 to 1 and wood is not generally very popular.

Regards,

Tom Carey

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Now selling fossil ivory, jade, amber, opal, sandstone, dino bone etc...
Email me for info. The new items will be added to cga online in the near future.

www.anova.org/cga






[This message has been edited by Tom Carey (edited 08 August 1999).]
 
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