What Your Handles Are Made Of: Steel, Micarta, Bone Handle Hunting Knife, and More!
Last updated ago
7 min read
By 
Michael Way
Published 
October 28, 2021

What Your Handles Are Made Of: Steel, Micarta, Bone Handle Hunting Knife, and More!

Last updated ago
7 min read
By 
Michael Way
Published 
October 28, 2021

Knife handles come in a variety of materials, and each one has its pros and cons. Steel handles are more durable than bone, but they can become slippery when wet. Micarta is more expensive than both steel or bone, but it is less likely to slip out of your hand because it does not have any pores for water to get into. There are more choices out there, so it pays to know their strengths and weaknesses.

This article features nine different knife handle materials, and we hope it will help you determine the best handle on your next knife purchase!

Steel

You’ll notice that many knife blades are made of steel. It is a popular knife material choice because of its strength and durability. You can rely on it to cut and slice fruits, vegetables, and meat in the kitchen. When used outdoors, even branches and ropes are nothing to razor-sharp steel blades.

You'll see the same strength when you choose knives with steel handles. Not only are they strong, but they are also visually pleasing. You have knives that look modern and sleek.

However, one of the most significant downsides of using steel as a handle is that it is too smooth and can be slippery, especially in wet environments. With that, pick the ones that have etched designs as they are easier to handle.

Although it is not the best knife for kitchen use because the steel handle absorbs heat, knives with steel blades and handles are a common sight. Pay attention to fire hazards and keep these knives away from extreme heat for safety.

Here are some knives with steel handles you can consider:

  • Tier Kitchen Knife Set
  • Cuisinart 15-Piece Knife Set
  • Yabano 16-Piece Knife Set
  • Antiknives 9-Inch Chef’s Knife
  • Sixilang Santoku Knife
  • Kurshchmann 15-Piece Knife Set

Aluminum

Aluminum is another reliable material used for many kitchen utensils—not only knives. Spoons, forks, pots, and pans are all made of aluminum. Joining the list are knife handles. If you seek a knife with durable handles and can come in different colors, you’ll have it with aluminum handles.

If for steel, you need extra care in keeping it cool, mainly when used in the kitchen; it’s the other way around for aluminum. You’ll face challenges if you use knives with aluminum handles in winter or outdoors where the weather is cold. Aluminum gets so cold that it is challenging to hold—unless you are using gloves!

Because aluminum is lightweight, it is a popular choice for pocket knives. The characteristic contributes to the portability hunters and outdoor enthusiasts love about pocket knives. You can slip the knife into your pocket or tie it around your belt without any trouble.

Here are some reliable knives with aluminum handles:

  • Klein Lockback Knife
  • Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S
  • Harita Folding Pocket Knife
  • Rada Cutlery 3-Piece Knife Set
  • Outdoor Edge Flip ‘N Blaze Folding Knife

Titanium

Who has not heard of the song that explains how titanium is bulletproof? Many knife blades are made with titanium or steel strengthened by titanium. They ensure that your knife can handle any ingredient or outdoor stuff you need to cut. This same strength and corrosion resistance of the blade transcend to the handles made with titanium.

You can use knives with titanium handles for tactical and hunting tasks because of the rigid materials you’ll face outdoors. Skip the worries about the handles breaking or bending if you cut through wood, bones, or ropes as with titanium handles, you can cut perfectly, safely, and with a solid grip.

Nonetheless, similar to steel, titanium also absorbs heat, so when used in the kitchen or outdoor campfires, it is best to keep it away from fire.

To get you started with knives with titanium handles, here’s a list:

  • Drop + Eric Ochs Titanium Liner Lock Folding Pocket Knife
  • Canku C216 Titanium Folding Knife
  • Samior GP035
  • Kizer Cutlery Folding Pocket Knife
  • Eafengrow EF906 Folding Pocket Knife
bone handle knife

Micarta

You’ll often see micarta handles for tactical and survival knives. This material is derived from synthetic material and is designed to be corrosion-resistant, durable, and usable regardless of environment temperature. You do not have to worry about traversing the wild when hunting or going for assignments in unknown territories with these characteristics. Your knives can keep you safe and assist you in preparing the food and tools you need to survive.

However, micarta is smooth and has no texture to make it easier to grip. When picking knives with this handle, choose the ones designed with ergonomic curves for you to hold them more comfortably.

Some of the knives you can check out and maybe add to your outdoor must-haves are the following:

  • Buck Compadre Camp
  • Columbia River CRKT 2387
  • Rough Rider 489 Throwing Knife
  • Esee 4
  • Shrade SCHF26 Extreme Survival
  • Camillus 19218 HT-7
  • Boker Plus Kwaiken
  • Benchmade Proper 319

G10

You’ll have the best knife handle the world has to offer with G10: durability, strength, beauty, utility, and price. You are sure of the durability and strength of G10 handles because of the fiberglass layers. Fiberglass is a crucial material used for speed boats, roller coasters, airplanes, and F1 cars—that’s how strong it is! You wouldn’t expect this toughness from a knife that is lightweight. With strength and portability, G10 is often used for survival and tactical knives.

Also, you’ll love carrying knives with G10 handles because of their glorious colors of either black, gray, brown, or camouflage. You cannot forget the aesthetics even if you are on an assignment or out in the wild. Finally, you can get all this greatness at a reasonable price.

Looking into using knives with G10 handles? Here are some choices:

  • BGT Hunting Folding Knife
  • Tops Home Pocket Knife
  • Ned Foss Survival Knife
  • Ytuomzi Damascus Kitchen Knife
  • Mercer Culinary Damascus Chef’s Knife

Carbon Fiber

There is no such thing as expensive knives when it comes to your safety and efficiency in performing tactical tasks. You are willing to go for quality and high-end knives in a heartbeat. With that, knives with carbon fiber handles are a great choice. In the face of G10 and carbon fiber handles, you’ll have difficulty choosing because they are both beautiful and strong.

Carbon fiber is robust. It is the material used to make softball bats, helicopters, fighter jets, archery arrows, helmets, military drones, and prosthetics. You'll also have solid control of your knife with carbon fiber used as a handle.

Here are the knives worthy of your money:

  • CJRB Cutlery Folding Knife
  • Samior S124 Compact Small Flipper
  • Kershaw Natrix Pocket Knife
  • Spyderco Sage 5
  • Zero Tolerance 045OCF
  • Ganzo Firebird Pocket Folding Knife
Bone knife

Bone Handle Hunting Knife

A bone knife is not something new—it has been used as knife handles by our ancestors for the longest time. These materials are hard to find, especially with restrictive wildlife laws, making bone knives expensive. Nonetheless, you’ll get your money’s worth by having a bone handle knife that is unique only to you. Collectors will surely love this fact.

A bone handle pocket knife or fixed blade ones, despite generally being tagged as “bone” knives are not always made of bone. Animal tusks, horns, and antlers are also used for bone handles.

Tusks source: Elephants and boars

Antler source: Deer and elk

Horns source: Goats, sheep, cow

Bone source: Carcass of dead animals

Here are some knives with bone handles you can have:

  • Bone Collector Lockback Bone Pocket Knife
  • J & S Urban Expedition Bone Blade Knife
  • Uncle Henry Golden Spike Rat Tail Tang
  • Bushcraft Camping and Hunting Knife
  • Old Timer 858OTB

Wood

At home, wood as a central theme of interior design gives a natural and earthy ambiance. For knife handles, wood gives this organic feeling too. Aside from the aesthetics, wood handles are also durable, especially the hardwood types, which are reinforced with plastic.

Nonetheless, softwood handles are also equally beautiful and robust with proper care. This handle type is the easiest to customize through carving. If you are looking into beginning your customized knife-making journey, using wood as handle material would be great.

Just make sure to clean the blade and the handle for knife excellence maintenance. For the wood handle, clean, dry, and apply mineral oil to it every once in a while.

Here are the visually pleasing knives with wood handles:

  • Kiwi Knife Utility And Chef’s Knives
  • Elk Ridge Wood Hunting Pocket Knife
  • Chicago Cutlery Walnut Tradition
  • Vestaware 16-Piece Knife Set
  • Nanfang Brothers Damascus Santoku Knife
  • Eafengrow EF17 Folding Pocket Knife

Mother Of Pearl

Mother Of Pearl is the same material you find in most pearl jewelry. Imagine having the same glorious pieces in your knife handle.

If you know someone into knife collection, sending over a knife with a mother of pearl handle would be a great surprise. Even individuals who are not into knives would immediately see how knives using the material stand out from the rest in terms of aesthetics.

However, in terms of strength, pearls aren't the strongest. It is soft and can easily suffer abrasion and scratches. If this is your choice, just giving it extra care won’t hurt.

  • Al Mar Japan 1001P Osprey Classic
  • Wild Turkey Handmade Elk Ridge Ballistic
  • TAC-FORCE Stiletto Style Folding Knife
  • Fallkniven TK3 Tre Konor Folding Knife
  • Kershaw 1660BPEARL
  • Frost Cutlery Bulldog Copperhead Pocket Knife

Final Thoughts

Knives come in different functions, designs, and, in this case, handles. Each of these materials comes with its own specifications, pros and cons, which you need to consider before purchasing. It isn't easy to choose just one with all these, and we do not encourage you to do so!

Nonetheless, if you are looking into picking just one or two knives, determine your needs first. Do you need a kitchen, outdoors, or tactical knife? Narrow your choices further by knowing whether you want to go for natural materials or synthetic. Of course, look back on the details mentioned above for the final decision making.

Knife handles are as important as the blades, so arming yourself with facts and knowledge will help a lot. These will help you decide which knife handle material to choose.

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