Knife Handle Materials

STAG
derived from naturally shed deer antlers. When exposed to open flame, stag takes on that slightly burnt look. Very elegant material for pocketknives.

BONE
derived from naturally deceased animals. Bone is usually given a surface texture, most commonly in the forms of pickbone and jigged bone. Bone can be dyed to achieve bright colors (e.g. green, blue, and black). This is the most common handle material for pocketknives.

G-10
a fiberglass based laminate. Layers of fiberglass cloth are soaked in resin and are compressed and baked. The resulting material is very hard, lightweight, and strong. Surface texture is added in the form of checkering. G-10 is an ideal material for tactical folders because of its ruggedness and lightweight. It is usually available in black.

MICARTA
the most common form is linen micarta. Similar construction as G-10. The layers of linen cloths are soaked in a phoenolic resin. The end product is a material that is lightweight, strong, as well as having a touch of class (thus dressier than G-10). Micarta has no surface texture, it is extremely smooth to the touch. It is a material that requires hand labor, which translates into a higher priced knife. Micarta is a relatively soft material that can be scratched if not treated properly.

CARBON FIBER
composed of thin strands of carbon, tightly woven in a weave pattern, that are set in resin. It is a highly futuristic looking material with a definite "ahhhh" factor. Of all the lightweight synthetic handle materials, carbon fiber is perhaps the strongest. The main visual attraction of this material is the ability of the carbon strands to reflect light, making the weave pattern highly visible. Carbon fiber is also a labor-intensive material that results in a rather pricey knife.

ZYTEL®
Du Pont developed this thermoplastic material. Of all synthetic materials, ZYTEL® is the least expensive to produce, which explains the abundance of work knives that have this material. It is unbreakable: resists impact and abrasions. ZYTEL® has a slight surface texture, but knife companies using this material will add additional, more aggressive surface texture to augment this slight texture.

TITANIUM
a nonferrous metal alloy, the most common form of titanium is 6AL/4V: 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, and 90% pure titanium. This is a lightweight metal alloy that offers unsurpassed corrosion resistance of any metal. It has a warm "grip you back" feel and can be finished either by anodizing or bead blasting. Aside from handles, titanium is also used as liner materials for locking liner knives for it is a rather "springy" metal.

ALUMINUM
just like titanium, aluminum is also a nonferrous metal. Commonly used as handles, aluminum gives the knife a solid feel, without the extra weight. The most common form of aluminum is T6-6061, a heat treatable grade. The most common finishing process for aluminum is anodizing.

ANODIZATION
an electrochemical process which adds color to titanium, which is especially conducive to this coloring process. Depending on the voltage used, colors can vary (high voltage = dark color, low voltage = light color).

BEAD BLASTING
a process by which steel, aluminum, and titanium are finished. Bead blasting is commonly found on tactical folders and fixed blades, for it provides a 100% subdued, non-glare finish.

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