While many people think the most important part of a knife is the blade, that assumption is very misguided. The handle is an equally important aspect of the knife because without it, the knife would lose its functionality. For anyone looking to buy a new knife, whether a chef or outdoorsman, the handle is a significant feature that should not be overlooked. Here is some information about common styles and types of knife handles.
Wood is one of the most popular knife handle materials for a variety of reasons. The top reason is most likely its comfort. Wood is known for being very soft and easy on the hands, which makes it ideal for knives that are used often, such as kitchen knives. Depending on the type of wood that's used, these handles can be very expensive and delicate. Wood also makes it extremely easy to carve artsy designs and create handles unlike any other types. Some of the common types of wood used for handles are cocobolo, ebony and rosewood.
Wood does have a number of drawbacks that you should keep in mind when thinking about buying a knife with a wood handle. The biggest factor is its maintenance. Wood is difficult to clean and harder to maintain, as it can be damaged easily.
Micarta is a manufactured synthetic material that is a composite of linen or paper. Micarta handles are known to be especially strong and durable and commonly used for heavy duty survival knives. These knives can withstand the extremes of heat and cold, and knife makers typically note its resistance to wear. Finally, another allure of micarta handles is that they come in a range of colors, such as black, red, tan and other bright hues.
Metal is a very popular choice for handles because of its durability and strength. There are two common types of metal typically used for knife handles: titanium and stainless steel. The benefit of stainless steel is that it's resistant to corrosion. Titanium is similarly corrosion-resistant and lightweight, but has a higher threshold to withstand tension.
Despite the strength of metal handles, they are seen as cold and uninviting, unlike the decoration and style of wood handles. Chefs also stay away from these types of handles because if they're near a flame for too long, they can become scorching hot.
Stag handles are made out of naturally shed deer antlers, which makes these handles increasingly rarer and costlier. However, two of the major advantages of stag is that the rough texture makes a sturdy grip and the shape of the antler gives it natural curves.