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FREE Learning-Selecting the Handle Material For Your Custom Knife

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Spalted Maple Handle
Spalted Maple Handle

Keith Nix Knives FREE Learning!!

The handle material of your new knife will be the focal point for most of the people who see it, as most people have never seen a knife with a beautiful piece of wood for a handle. Part of the pleasure of purchasing a custom handmade knife is getting to choose the handle material for that knife. Some folks prefer wood, some prefer some other synthetic material, and all are available at Keith Nix Knives!

Handle materials come in a variety of forms and colors, from impervious synthetics to natural woods. With all the choices available, it's easy to pick a color scheme for your kitchen knife set, or select a beautiful stained or dyed wood for your favorite outdoor sheath knife. Let's explore some of the available options.

Natural wood- This category is literally as diverse as the trees in the forest. Maple is a favorite, with all its figured types, from birds eye to flame, Ambrosia to spalted, burl to curly. But there are other woods including fruit woods like apple, mango, and cherry, nut woods such as oak, pecan, and walnut, and exotics like desert ironwood and rosewood. Lighter colored woods can be dyed a rainbow of colors to suit your personal taste while still showing the unique grain pattern of the wood itself.

All the handle woods I use at Keith Nix Knives have been stabilized (Learn about Stabilizing HERE!). That is a process where a polymer resin is forced into the wood using both vacuum and high pressure, then heated to harden the resin. The wood is then stable and resists changes due to humidity and temperature. Dyes can also be incorporated into the stabilizing liquid, creating color that isn't on the wood, but IN the wood. G10- G-10 is the designation for a glass-based epoxy resin laminate. What that means is that you take a glass-based cloth (fiberglass, in other words), soak it in an epoxy resin, and then using heat and pressure compress it into the shape you want. This material is impervious to liquids, is a great choice for professional kitchens, and comes in a variety of colors and combinations of colors. It can be finished to satin or high gloss, and is quite low maintenance. Micarta- Micarta is compressed and laminated too, but it is primarily made from burlap, linen, or canvas rather than glass. The laminate layers are glued with a phenolic resin, which are then compressed with heat to become a hard material that is commonly found in many types of kitchen knives. Micarta generally offers more subdued colors and slightly better grip than G10. Micarta is not capable of a high gloss finish.

Learn about stabilizing wood here! Contact Keith with any questions you might have about the handle materials for your custom knives!

More FREE Learning! Click here to learn how the handle for your knife is created!

Order Your Custom Knife From the Keith Nix Knives Shop NOW!


Thanks for reading,


Keith Nix Knives

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