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We’re going to compare the various knife handle materials in this article. Many people who are unfamiliar with knives make the mistake of believing that the knife grip is merely an ornamental decision. The handle’s design actually has a huge impact on the knife’s overall functionality and attributes.
Let’s examine the most typical handles used in knife grips today keeping that in mind. These materials are made of metal, synthetic fabrics, or natural elements, and each has strengths and drawbacks of its own. This article should assist you in selecting the ideal knife handle material for your needs, whether you’re looking for a professional knife, game knife, survival knife, or simply a collector’s item.
What To Consider When Choosing The Best Knife Handle
When selecting the ideal knife handle for your kitchen, there are a few factors to take into account.
- Plastic is an inexpensive option that comes in many colors and patterns. However, it can easily crack over time, which means it may need replacing sooner than expected. Plastic also tends to soften if left untreated, so this type of handle requires regular maintenance.
- Wood is a popular material for knife handles, especially those with a rustic look. These handles tend to be made from hardwoods like hickory or walnut. While they’re typically treated against decay, wood does scratch fairly easily, requiring occasional lubrication.
- Steel is stronger than plastic and harder than both wood and metal. It’s resistant to corrosion, scratches, and wear. Knives with steel handles are less likely to break or bend compared to those with plastic or wooden handles. Steel handles tend to be smoother as well, making them easier to clean.
The style of knife handle greatly influences its functionality. There are three main styles: straight, D-shaped, and contoured.
- Straight handles feature a straight shaft without any additional features. They work great for basic home use but aren’t ideal for precision tasks like chopping delicate herbs or vegetables. Straight handles tend to be lightweight and easy to wield, though they don’t provide much grip security.
- D-shaped handles feature a convex curve at the base known as the belly. This helps prevent the hand from slipping off the handle while cutting. D-shape handles tend to be heavier and bulkier than straight ones, but they offer better control and balance.
- A golf ball-like texture can be found on the surface of curved handles. In order to prevent slippage, these handles increase friction between the skin and the handle. Each contoured handle shape—including oval, round, square, and diamond—offers a unique set of advantages.
A short handle (around 3 inches long) allows the user to get a firm hold on the knife, reducing fatigue during use. Longer handles (4 inches+) allow the user to make longer cuts, but they require a bigger grip on the handle to ensure stability. Larger grips are harder on the hands, so some people prefer shorter handles instead.
When a knife handle feels comfortable in your hand, there shouldn’t be too much weight associated with it. If the handle feels too heavy, it could cause hand fatigue. Most manufacturers estimate that the average weight of a good quality steak knife is around 2 ounces, so most knife handles fall within acceptable limits.
Finding the right grip size depends largely on personal preference and what kind of activity the knife will see the most frequent use for. For general cooking purposes, a smaller knife handle (between 4 and 5 inches long) with a rounded tip works just fine. A larger knife handle (6 inches+), however, might be needed for gutting a fish, preparing food, or using a large chef’s knife.
Flexibility is another important aspect to consider when looking for the best grip. Some handles include a rubber coating that provides comfort and support regardless of what angle the wrist happens to be at when the hand moves upward.
Before deciding on a new knife set, check compatibility with existing knives. Many sets list the number of blades included and their lengths; compare these numbers to the number of knives in your current arsenal. Also, determine how many holes per inch the blade has, then consult the owner’s manual to find out whether your knives fit the specification.
Types Of Knife Handles
Knife handles come in many different shapes and sizes. The most important thing to consider is how much force you will be applying to the blade, so choose a handle that’s strong enough for your intended use.
The clip point was originally developed as an edging tool with a rounded shape designed to facilitate sharpening. Today it’s used on pocketknives and other tools where a smooth edge isn’t required or desired. It can also be found on some machetes and bayonet-type blades. This type of handle has been popular since its introduction because it provides excellent grip even when wet due to the natural rubber content.
This is another very common style of knife handle. It features two concave curves meeting at the top near the centerline of the blade. These curves are meant to provide additional control over the tip during cutting by allowing the user to pinch the corners before performing precision cuts.
A spear point is similar to a drop point but instead of using one curved surface, both sides slant out towards the tip. This allows the spear point to retain more piercing ability than a traditional drop point.
Also known as a chisel point, this type of blade feature is present on some kukri blades and facilitates penetration into hard materials like wood or bone.
Designed by Thomas Wharncliffe, this type of knife handle is named after his father who owned a blacksmith shop. It’s characterized by having a straight backside which transitions smoothly into a convex curve until the end of the blade. This gives it a large area for gripping and prevents any unwanted vibration from being transmitted through the handle to the blade.
A sheepsfoot is a generic term for a variety of knife handles made from either brass or steel. They’re characterized by their lack of lugs or pins to aid in locking the blade in place. Instead, they have a continuous channel along the entire length of the handle. This makes them lighter and easier to carry around all day long. However, they don’t offer the same level of protection against breakage as a lugged design would. Additionally, these types of handles tend to wear down quickly due to the absence of any cushioning between the handle and the metal. Lastly, they aren’t well suited for winter conditions due to the fact that there are no lubricants that remain liquid below zero Fahrenheit.
How We Chose Our Top Picks
We started by searching for the best-selling knife handles on Amazon. Then, we narrowed our search to those that were either stainless steel or carbon steel with a protective coating if you’re looking for something more corrosion-resistant.
From there, we read through customer reviews and feedback to get a sense of what people are saying about these handles. Finally, we came up with some features we thought we’d be able to use. For instance, we love knives with decent ergonomics – things like easy opening mechanisms, nonskid bases, and ambidextrous designs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Knife Handles
What is the best type of handle for a survival knife?
The answer to this question depends entirely on what you intend to use it for. For example, if you’re looking for something that can double as an everyday carry (EDC) knife or a bushcraft/camping knife, then go with something like a G10 or titanium handle.
How do I sharpen my knife?
Depending on how beat up your edge is, and whether or not it’s a serrated edge, you may need to use a file before busting out the whetstone.
Are there any safety concerns when using a fire-sharpened blade?
Fire-Sharpening has its place in camp and in the field, but most people will be better off using another method. The high temperatures used in some methods can cause rust or corrode metal components, making them less reliable or potentially dangerous. Also, some methods require you to buy expensive equipment that won’t break down into a compact package for easy transport.
Is it legal to carry a concealed knife with a non-foldable handle?
That varies from state to state, but generally speaking, these types of knives are permitted in your pocket or waistband without issue. However, larger “pocketknives” with a non-foldable handle will have a much higher profile and may draw unwanted attention, so proceed with caution.
What type of handle is best for a knife?
Aluminum is a fairly robust material for knife handles and is typically anodized for color, hardness, and protection. Because of its low density, the metal gives the knife a great, heavy feel without weighing it down. The T6-6061 alloy of aluminum, which has exceptional tensile strength, is the most popular kind used today.