Red Oak Handle?

Nov 9, 1999
I've got a Red Oak 1x8 in my shop and was wondering what kind of handle that would make. I need a cheap handle material fast (due to impatience) so do you guys think it'll work? Work well, that is? After sealing, would it be tough enough?
Hi Disco Stu,

I have used red oak to make Aikido weapons (tanto and bokken) and it takes a pretty good beating. It is fairly plain though but sometimes that plain look can really be great if you want people to focus on other parts of the knife than the handle.

As far as performance, I would imagine it would hold up very well as long as it is sealed well.
Here is a picture of one I did last year with a Red Oak handle (done in my Coke bottle style)It had a stain in the wood that I thought looked cool and added some character to the handle.It is a very sturdy handle and will hold up for a long time if sealed good or stabilized.
Al Dippold is known to use lots of different woods on his small utility knives. I got one last year with walnut, another with red oak, and just recently got another with ash handles. Looks just like the wood off a baseball bat, only Al dyed it some with leather dye. Just soak it in sealer or tung oil and you should be fine. Makes for an interesting handle.
Red oak is britle and unstable stable. The grain is open and water runs through it like a siv. It would be one of my last choices for a handle. If you are that hard up try taking several inches off your shovel handle It's probobly hickory (or ash or white oak) they are all much better for handles

on the other hand I have a gouge that I bought used 15 years ago. the handle is red oak. I've been beating on that thing for years and it looks just the same.

there my official opinion as cabinetmaker, and a little of the real world.

seal it good it'll probobly be fine