Exploring Knife Handles: Checkout the Different Classic & Modern Varieties

Exploring Knife Handles: Checkout the Different Classic & Modern Varieties

Exploring Knife Handles:
Checkout the Different Classic & Modern Varieties

When you hold a knife, its handle is the first part of the interaction. As you make a cut, the handle’s perfect design and balanced weight play a crucial role in smooth and efficient cutting. If the handle doesn't offer the right grip or feels heavy to hold, the cutting won't just be fine. So, in addition to focusing solely on the blade's attributes, it's also important to recognize the significance of the handle.

In older times, knife smiths used to be very particular about the quality, precision, material, and process of making the knives’ handles. With time, things evolved, and a lot of new materials came into the market. However, several historic materials survived the test of time and are still in use. In this blog, we will discuss historic knife handles still in use and the contemporary knife handle materials currently in trend: -
Damascus Steel Chef Knife

Historically Popular Knife Handles

Wood Handles

Wood is one of the top favorites for classic chef knife handles because of the timeless appeal, durability, and comfort it offers. Various wood types offer distinct advantages, catering to different preferences and needs like:

  • Ebony, prized for its hardness and elegant black hue, comes with a sophisticated look.
  • Walnut, with its warm brown tones and subtle grain, combines aesthetics with lightweight handling. It is famously used in Japanese knife handles.
  • Magnolia is known for its moisture-absorbing properties and easy grip, ensuring secure handling even in challenging conditions.
  • Teak stands out for its exceptional durability and weather resistance, accompanied by a golden-brown hue and pronounced grain.
  • Burlwood offers both good looks and manageable weight and is available in diverse species with unique patterns.
  • Cherry tree wood comes with a reddish-brown coloration and appealing grain, complemented by its lightweight nature and ease of crafting.
  • Wenge, characterized by its dark brown hue and distinctive grain, excels in heavy-duty applications due to its remarkable hardness and relative lightness.
Damascus Steel Chef Knife

Bone Handles

Bone handles, derived from animals like cows, pigs, or even ancient mammoths, are lightweight and often polished to a smooth finish. They provide a sturdy grip, especially beneficial in wet or slippery conditions, making them appropriate for outdoor activities like hunting and fishing.
Despite their durability, bone handles have drawbacks. They can be heavy, potentially reducing comfort during extended use. However, bone's resilience to heat and cold makes it super adaptable to various environments.

Bone handles also have a great aesthetic appeal. Their natural contours and textures lend character to knives, often enhanced by carving or engraving, appealing to collectors and enthusiasts who love collecting unique pieces.

Horn Handles 

Horn handles, sourced from diverse creatures like sheep, buffalo, etc., have natural textures and veining that add character to knives. These handles are super sturdy and even offer utility in crafts like leatherwork and jewelry-making. The horn tip, a derivative of animal horns, including water buffalo, is highly preferred due to its durability and water resistance.

Metal Handles 

Metal knife handles have a long history, and various materials have been used throughout the ages. Here are some notable historical metal knife handle materials:
  • Brass: Brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, has been valued for its corrosion resistance and attractive golden hue. Brass handles were popular in both decorative and utilitarian knives, offering both durability and visual appeal. They were often intricately engraved or embellished with decorative elements.
  • Silver: In some cultures, particularly among the wealthy or nobility, silver is used for knife handles. Silver handles are not only aesthetically pleasing but also showcase the owner's status and wealth.
  • Copper:Copper: While not the most common material, copper was also one of the historically used materials for making knife handles. It offers a unique metallic hue and can be polished to a high shine. However, copper is relatively soft compared to other metals like steel or aluminum, so it may not provide the same level of durability and strength. 

Damascus Steel Chef Knife

Modern Knife Handle Materials 

Carbon Fibre Handles 

This material is composed of tightly woven carbon strands embedded in resin, carbon fiber offering high durability and longevity even under rigorous use. Despite its robustness, carbon fiber maintains a featherweight profile, contributing to a high blade-to-weight ratio for effortless handling and carrying.

While its production process is labor-intensive, resulting in a higher cost, the investment pays off in terms of both performance and visual appeal.

Carbon Fibre Handles 

These knife handles are constructed from a blend of materials such as fiberglass, resin, and sometimes rubber. Let's discuss the different types of composite materials: -

  • G-10 - G-10 is a fiberglass laminate known for its exceptional toughness, hardness, and lightweight nature. It provides similar properties to carbon fiber but at a fraction of the cost.

  • Grivory - Another composite material, Grivory is a high-temperature resistant thermoplastic composite utilized in various industries, including automotive and aerospace. Its semi-crystalline structure offers excellent durability and heat resistance, contributing to its suitability for demanding knife applications.

  • Micarta - It is a well-known brand of composite material crafted from layers of fabric such as linen, canvas, or fiberglass soaked in resin. This results in a sturdy and versatile handle material with a wide range of textures and colors available. Micarta handles offer enhanced grip and moisture resistance.


It's time to put the knife-sharpening myths to rest. By debunking these misconceptions and shedding light on the facts, we've equipped you with knowledge about kitchen knives. Remember, a sharp knife is your greatest companion in the kitchen, and proper care and maintenance are essential for its longevity. 

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