A great knife blade can only perform well when paired with a strong handle that offers the perfect textured grip during the cutting process. Besides, fine knife handles make a great knife to use comfortably. And although a knife handle can be crafted from different materials, wood is the most preferred and available natural material for knife handle making. Therefore, this article will look at the best knife handle wood to deliver high-quality results.
Why Use Wood as Your Knife Handle?
The best wood for a knife has a matchless visual appeal, offers a nice feel and never fails to render grip. Also, wood is widely available. This is why most passionate knife collectors, novice cooks and professional chefs use knives with wooden handles. Besides, a high-quality handle made of wood is attention-grabbing, long-lasting and saves you money since it's an economical material when it's the matter of heavy-duty tools. Here are other reasons why wood handle material;
- It's easy to shape and carve into a design you want for ornamental knives
- It's eco-friendly and all-natural
- It lasts for a long period if well finished
- It's classic, beautiful and attractive. Has unmatched appeal.
Now that we understand why wood is preferable for knife handles let's check out the best wood materials for knifemaking.
What is the best knife handle wood?
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1. Bookmatched Zebrawood Exotic Knifes Scales
- Crosscut Zebrawood
- Wood Scale 3/8" X 2" X 5" (+/- 1/16)
- Natural Hardwood Scales
For the best knife handle wood, count on the Bookmatched Zebrawood Exotic Knives Scales, a high-quality wood you can rely on. This wood has a sturdy pattern, and though it's used to make cabinets and furniture, it's perfect for creating small items like knives. Besides, it's a great option for making hunting knives.
The wood has a golden yellow and some black and dark brown streaks. The dark and light tan background streaks give it a zebra stripe look. It consists of natural hardwood scales that are great for knifemaking equipment. Besides, this wood piece comes with a reasonable price and availability.
2. Variety pack of 5 (VP18) wood scales for knife making
- Great looking hardwood
- Knife Making
- Knife Scales
If you're looking for the best knife handle wood for knife making or DIY projects, we recommend the Variety Pack of 5 (V18) Wood Scales. This set has five types of wood in a pack. This wood for knife handles is suitable for professionals and beginners to create high-quality ones.
Besides, this brand has twenty-five types of wood for handmade custom knife handles, including laser engraved woods, horn, bone, stabilized wood and a good number of unique scales. However, the wood can be affected because of the difference in humidity and temperature of a place.
3. Bookmatched Ironwood 2 Pack Knife Scales
- Looking for premium and exotic wood? Our Ironwood kit is the best of the best for easy wood working....
- MAKE YOUR ART & CRAFT DREAM COME TRUE: The Exotic Ironwood set has the smoothest surface and the...
- THE BEST CUSTOMER TEAM: we are a team work; we do know how ironwood carving not only sounds but how...
If you're looking for the best knife handle wood that offers the most exotic block for crafting, we recommend the Bookmatched Ironwood Knife Scales. The knife scales are exotic blanks that have been crafted from the wood of the ironwood tree. The wood consists of a striking grain, and it's dense. Additionally, this wood is suitable for beginners and professionals. You can create your favorite knife using this material.
Ironwood trees are usually found in the deserts and coastal regions of California, Arizona and Mexico. They're not cut down, though the fallen ones are collected. These are then dried up for many years and carved by carvers. The results are a superior color and grain.
4. Black Walnut Wood Pair Knife Handles for Knife-making
- 1 set of BOOKMATCHED Black Walnut knife scales
- Great as gun grips too
- Each scale is 3/8" thick, 1.5" wide, and 5" long.....or larger
If you're looking for the best knife handle wood that will deliver high-quality results, count on the Black Walnut Wood Pair Knife Handles. Black Walnut gives you the maximum strength, making it a sturdy wood for knife handles. Besides, the wood is hard, heavy and resilient. When it comes to hardness, you need a wooden knife handle. The heaviness means you can expect greater control from your strong heavy knives. Conversely, resilience is what you should have when you want durability.
Knife enthusiasts love this wood because there is less shrinkage in it and the grains are straight and irregular, and their texture is medium. Considering all the aspects we mentioned, this pair is the best wood for knife handles.
5. Payne Bros Custom Knives Leopard Wood Scale
The material of the Payne Bros Custom Knives is not very thick, making it easier to work with. It's a great idea to have a custom knife made for yourself, and this wood has the ideal thickness and the perfect size for knife making and repairing projects.
The set includes two pieces of untreated wood. These woods are available as a book-matched set and as this is natural wood; thus, the wood's color, grain, and look can be a bit different from what is in the picture. However, the wood can be affected because of the difference in humidity and temperature of a place.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best Knife Handle Wood
1. Comfortable grip
Proper care usually increases the durability of wooden knife handles. For example, when the wood dries out, apply a few drops of oil on the surface and allow it to soak to prevent it from cracking and keeping it sturdy. Nonetheless, if the wooden handle is made of stabilized wood, you won't need to do so since it has already absorbed stabilization resin before, and it would sustain for a long time.
Knife handles made of wood are usually tough and can withstand for years. Woods offer strength and durability, making them the perfect option for making knife handles. They can also endure regular use without cracking while allowing you to easily chop and cut meat and vegetables. The resilience provided by wood makes it a great raw material for manufacturing knife handles.
Though some woods are vulnerable to water, they will last you a lifetime when you maintain wooden handles correctly. So depending on the wood type you choose, they can last you even longer than some metal handles. An instance of such wood types would be African Blackwood.
Handles made of natural wood usually look very attractive. Wood carving is also easy, giving the knife handle an aesthetically beautiful shape while ensuring a firm and comfortable grip. Knives crafted of wooden handles are ideal for everyday knife users, though knife lovers who love an exotic collection of custom knives also prefer wooden handles.
Wooden knife handles are available in a wide price range. From being cheap and affordable to expensive, wooden knife handles can spoil you for an option. Besides, knife handles made of high-quality wood can last you long for all your cutting, slicing and chopping needs. Therefore, your wooden knife handle might last for many years without any issue with minimum care and frequent maintenance.
What Wood Types Are Used for Knife Scales?
Hardwoods usually make the best option for knife scales since they're durable. They maintain thin sections and fine curves like finger grooves and flutes without breaking, splintering or chipping. Therefore when choosing a knife handle material, look for close-grained options to resist contamination and staining.
Oak-wood is a popular option for knife scales since it's affordable and results in a durable and stable oak handle. Furthermore, since oak is easy to work with, artisan knifemakers usually add designs or inscriptions to the finished handle to boost its aesthetic value. Besides, its resilient composition and unique combination of affordable prices make it the perfect option for practical projects like hunting knives or kitchen knives.
2. Olive wood
Olive wood, which traditionally originates in Eastern Africa and Europe, is yellowish with black or darker brown streaks. And like rosewood, the color usually deepens with age. The primary uses are turned objects, veneer manufacturing and specialty wood pieces. Though olive wood is prone to insect infestation, you can prevent this issue by maintaining your knife frequently.
Ebony is a luxurious wood with rich darkness that demands everything from upscale knives to luxury furniture. And though it's pretty expensive, the resilient performance and stylish results make it worth the price, particularly if you want to make a knife that someone will be eager to buy.
4. Desert ironwood
Desert ironwood is one of the most stable and hardest woods. The color usually ranges from a darker red or brown to orange-yellow. It's heavy and can offer a good counterbalance for longer blades. Besides, the stability of this wood makes it relatively easy to work with.
5. African blackwood
As the name indicates, African blackwood is a black-colored wood that can be black without discernable grain. African blackwood may also often have a dark brown or purple hue. Besides, this wood is very durable and dense. It is considered metal-like since woodworkers have to process the wood with metal-working equipment. Furthermore, African blackwood is great for carving intricate details into your knife handles since its density perfectly holds those details.
Like oak wood, rosewood is a cost-effective knife scale material. It usually varies in shade from a deep, purplish hue to golden brown and darkens with age, making it look deep and luxurious when polished. Rosewood's strong composition makes it ideal for the most demanding uses. Most knifemakers prefer Indian rosewood due to its rich coloration and resistance to all kinds of contaminants.
Bloodwood has bright blood-red color, silky feel and is wear-resistant. If you are looking for an exotic wood alternative to traditional rosewood, oak or walnut, bloodwood produces inspiring results. You can use it for hunting knives, kitchen knives and showpieces, though ensure you keep its color vivid through regular oiling and cleaning.
8. Koa wood
Koa is extremely expensive and very sought-after wood due to its beautiful aesthetic and the fact that it only grows in Hawaii. It can be found in yellow, red, gold, pink and brown colors. Not most woods possess the range of colors that Koa does. Besides, Koa is relatively easy to work with. It's a hard and durable wood that's well-suited, making it one of the best wood for knife handles.
9. Walnut wood
Walnut wood is used for virtually everything: kitchen fixtures, furniture, gun handles and more. Nonetheless, if you intend to use it for kitchen knives, it's a better option for one-of-a-kind display pieces that get minimal use.
10. Cocobolo wood
If you want super-durable wood, you will never go wrong with cocobolo wood from Central America. It has historically been used to make musical instruments, fine furniture and other specialty items. Cocobolo usually does well in dry and wet conditions as a knife handle. It resists virtually everything, including insects like termites, so the finished knife will last longer, no matter how often you use it. Besides, cocobolo comes in various colors: red, black, purple, and yellow to achieve different visual results.
Bocote wood has an exotic yellowish color with unique black striping, creating great knife handles. Bocote wood for knife handles is also wear-resistant, and you can use it for a wide range of applications. Nonetheless, it is expensive as it's stylish, making it a better option for custom or ornamental knives.
Amboyna is one of the most expensive woods used for knife handles, though you will get your money's worth in terms of aesthetic and functionality. It's sturdy, stable and usually resists oxidizing. Though sturdy enough to use on everyday knives, the price tag makes this wood more suitable for artisan knives that get little wear.
13. Stabilized laminates
Some knifemakers usually use stabilized laminates, plywood products crafted from birch trees. This birch laminate is produced using intense vacuum pressure to insert polymer or phenolic resin and dye into the wood before compressing it into plywood blocks. The result is a tough, durable wood product that is waterproof.
14. Stabilized woods
Stabilized wood has been treated to withstand issues like porosity and weakness. The treatment process is similar to stabilized laminates, and the resulting wood is durable and uniquely colored. If you prefer a wood that is not naturally self-sealing or resinous hardwood, stabilizing it can make it ideal for wet applications such as marine environments or kitchen use.