Favorite Natural Handle Material?

Oct 14, 1998
hey guys/gals,
what are your favorite types of wood/ivory/bone to use for knife handles and why? i'm particularly interested in type of wood/whatever else, hardness, workability, innate attributes, durability, and anything else that you feel is important about it. Ex. ironwood, cocobola, snakewood, ivory, etc.
My two favorites are, African Blackwood, and Desert Ironwood. Why? Both are very stable and beautiful!! Cocobolo is very good also.
I like Sandawood....it accentuates stainless steel very nicely and I like the color.

I also like the red bone handles on Case knives. They have a nice look and feel to them.


My favorite handle material is solid titanium because of it's strength, looks, and weight.

#2. Aluminum, strength and weight
#3. Stainless Steel, strength and feel
#4. Zytel, strength, feel and weight
#5. G-10 with titanium liners for strength
#6. Kraton with full liners (inner frame)
for the comfort and feel
#7. Deer stag for looks
#8. Packawood (laminated woods dyed), cherry, for looks.

Don't like bone handles ... tends to crack especially at the pins when age sets in.

These are my likes in handles.


" Knife Collectors Are Sharp People

I haven't worked with any naturals other than woods.

In order of preference:
1) Snakewood...very hard with tight grain. Difficult to work with as it burns with power tools, but due to the tight grain it takes distinct and sharp angles and actually polishes with finer sandpaper grits.
2) Manzanita....similar to above but not quite as hard
3) Macassar Ebony...
1. Sheep Horn

2. Stag

3. Pearls

4. Fossil Ivory

5. Ivory

6. Desert Ironwood

7. other woods


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1. Sheep Horn

2. Ironwood

3. Fossil Ivory

4. Lacewood

5. Cocobola

6. Curly Maple

7. California Buckeye Burl

8. Stag

I guess that I like the above for the simple reason that it seems that maybe with the exception of Cocobola, you never get the same pattern twice even from the same piece of material. That to me makes each knife unique unto its self. The blade geometry may be very close from knife to knife, but the handles will set them apart.
Just my 2 cents worth.
Mike C

Killing the dog wont cure the bite.

1 Black lip pearl.
2 Walrus Ivory
3 Minerals (next one is Jade.)
3 Linen Micarta on a user is nice. I also like the handle material on the new Busse Production knives.