First Custom (Ironwood or Carbon Fiber)

Discussion in 'Custom Knife Forum Archive' started by dino, Feb 18, 2002.

  1. dino

    dino

    274
    Jan 3, 1999
    I will be purchasing my first custom knife soon and thought this would be a good forum for advice on handle materials. The knife will be the Larry Davidson Hornet balisong
    Hornet
    I'm torn between going with Carbon Fiber or Ironwood. I've also considered stag, but am leaning towards the CF or Ironwood. Any advice (pros/cons) would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. Keith Montgomery

    Keith Montgomery

    May 9, 2000
    Carbon fiber is tough and light and when polished looks pretty good (roughed makes for a better grip). It would make a great handle. Ironwood will not be as tough and if it is not stabilized it will tend to move. Since it takes Ironwood about 15 years to dry when no special drying techniques are used it quite often gets sold wet. That means it will continue to dry and shrink after it has been used to make the handle. Even though Ironwood is very dense it can be stabilized to prevent this from happening. Stabilizing will also make the wood tougher and harder to damage. It will also not need to be oiled and carefully cared for.

    The other advantage is that it is a beautiful wood. In my opinion it would make for a far nicer looking handle than carbon fiber. My choice would be Ironwood, but that is me. I love natural materials for knife handles. If it was going on a knife to be used in water (particularly salt water) or around harsh chemicals, I would choose a synthetic. For anything else, give me a natural material every time.
     
  3. DBH

    DBH

    Aug 3, 2001
    Dino, I hope Keith already sold you on the ironwood;) It is a great handle material. I own knives in both carbon fiber as well as wood, but vote goes for the ironwood. Ironwood looks first class
     

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  4. dino

    dino

    274
    Jan 3, 1999
    I have to admit that wood sure looks nice! Judging from what I know of Larry Davidson, I'm sure the wood is A+ quality. I've never seen Carbon Fiber in person, but have heard it can look real nice. How does CF compare to wood based on looks? There was a post I read that mentioned CF had a "holographic" effect. Can anyone comment on this?
    Thanks.
     
  5. nifrand

    nifrand Custom Knife Forum Mod

    Feb 25, 1999
    Ironwood:D
     
  6. Keith Montgomery

    Keith Montgomery

    May 9, 2000
    dino, the reason for the look that carbon fiber has is that carbon fiber material is actually a composite. Carbon fibers are very small and are grouped together to make strands. These strands will have either 1000 fibers (called 1K), 3000 fibers/3K, 6000 fibers/6K, 12000 fibers/12k and so on. 3K X 3K (which means that it has 3K strands going in each direction of the weave, which is described later)and 6K X 6K seem to be the most commonly used material though 12K X 12K is also seen quite a bit. By the way, 1K X 1K is the most expensive because it is the hardest to weave. The strands are weaved together in a pattern that looks like that used in making a wicker chair. This material is almost like cloth and is flexible, but very strong. to make it solid it is coated with a clear resin. When you look at carbon fiber you are looking through the resin to the fibers inside, the light reflects of the weaved strands at different angles back through the clear resin, giving it that kind of holograhic checkerboard look.


    Edited to get rid of a 0 that did not belong.
     
  7. dino

    dino

    274
    Jan 3, 1999
    Thanks for the input guys. KWM, very good tutorial on CF. It would appear that CF would show scratches if it has a polished finish. I'm leaning towards the Ironwood even though it costs a little more.
     

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