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Handle Materials – Poll


Oct 26, 1998
Still sticking to topic…

I will try and keep this to general use, utility type knives. What is your favorite overall handle material, and why? I imagine that most of us like a good combination of looks and durability, with both the comfort and security of the grip being paramount. Do you prefer natural materials, or man-made? How important a factor is handle material in choosing a knife of this type?

I prefer a metal or micarta handled knife. I like the feel of these materials, the cool of steel or the warmth of micarta, as well as their clean looks. I dislike any kind of plastic and most resins, I find them either slick or sticky, and I haven’t warmed to carbon fiber all that much, in spite of its durability. I love both the look and feel of a wood handle, and with the use of stabilized materials I will have to explore this avenue once more.

For looks, I'd have to say wood, then maybe micarta. Non-slip I think goes to G-10, though zytel isn't too bad. I find steel too heavy and slippery - you can find materials that look better and perform better.

I think choice of handle material depends on intended use, at least in my case. Overall, it's hard to say, but I guess for aesthetics and feel - wood or micarta; for harder, more utility use, one of the plastic materials.
For overall usability/durability & grippiness I like G-10.

For the ultimate in durability I'd go with titanium (am waiting for my Ti scaled Talonite Cetan from Rob Simonich!).

For sheer beauty & artistry I'd opt for either fancy stag/bone or wood (fancy burled pattern).

Durability - Zytel or Kraton
Grip - Bead blasted G-10 or Kraton
Appearannce - Wood or Poliished Micarta/G-10

Overall - To me utility means heavy use without concern about appearance. Therefore, I would opt for Kraton. I have read others have had difficulty with Krayton handles becoming loose. I have not had this problem.
From a purely looks point of view, I would have to go with woods of whatever type. The natural beauty, deep color and shimmer, and uniqueness to each scale is very appealing to me. For hardcore all weather using knives I'd have to go with Micarta, and I am especially partial to the burgundy variety! Wood is a little easier to work, but then you have to finish it, too, which is a bit of a pain. Micarta is almost as easy to work with hand tools as wood, and when you're done you're ready to hit the woods and play!

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Stag looks nice, I do like it. Kraton-G is cool too. Chris Reeve knives never seem to worry about this...
Looks: Almost nothing, to me, is as beautiful as a great piece of Cocobolo. I have begun using it quite a bit in my knifemaking projects because of it's great looks and toughness plus it's beauty rivals Desert Ironwood. IMO.

Durability and Gripability: G10. Hands down. Nothing is tougher and more impervious to the elements, and when bead blasted, it provides a VERY secure grip.

If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid.

For looks my favorite is an old case with scrimshawed ivory and filagreed silver bolsters. For use I like the coating on my bm autoreflex. It grips sweaty hands well.

Definately glass/epoxy composites for using knives, as long as they have a rough suface. Beat it, abuse it, hose it off with WD-40. It is ready to go.

My favorite is titanium. I guess I've probably had handles of all types in the past 35 years of my knifeaholicism, but prefer utility to beauty, mainly because I found I hated to use knives with "art" handles.
Depends on the knife's purpose.

Pure using knives: G-10 or something like it.

Something with a little more style, but still a user: micarta

Something with a lot more style: Stabilized burly wood
Never having been a fan of natural materials, I tend to stick with G-10 or Titanium, for overall use and durability.

The only limitation is lack of imagination.

Romans 10:9-10

"Military" Fans Unite!!

G10 for me too.


Ever notice no other candy tastes quite like Pez? Oh yeah, the BM Mini-Axis and the Rekat Carnivour are the best production folders yet (IMHO, of course)!!


You are the model of decorum!

I prefer G-10 for a pure user.

Wood with nice grain for looks and light use.

Mother of Pearl for Looks and no use (sorry, couldn't help myself - it just slipped out).
Best knives I've owned all had Micarta® handles. I believe it's the best around, for durability. However I don't like it too polished - a Micarta® handle with a little texture to it feels the best to me. Secondly I like Elk Antlers. Lastly I like knives with no handles! Well, what I mean by that is I like 'em after I've wrapped them in parachute cord.
I like the cool feel and invincability of titanium.

...the durability of G-10

...and the natural look of Micarta

I need a bigger bucket.
Great question that was asked here.

My fav. handle is India Stag, nothing compares. My reasoning is simple, a custom knife is like a finger print. There are NO two knives that will be identical.

India Stag is the same way, you cannot find an identical match.

I think that India Stag just enhances a custom knife.

But I have a biased opinion as well, I work for the world's largest supplier of India Stag along with a few other exotic materials.

Check us out, www.knifesupplies.com

Stay Sharp.

I would stick with stags, or woods for their looks, and some of the stabilized woods are as strong as anything else, but end up with a micarta as my daily carry knife because i couldnt afford anything else.