Knife Handle Material

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a chef, or need a reliable tool for everyday tasks, the right knife handle material can greatly impact your cutting experience. Each material possesses unique qualities that affect the knife’s functionality and aesthetics. Keep scrolling to learn more about them!

How Many Types Of Knife Handle Materials?

Natural Materials

1. Wooden 

Wooden knife handles are popular for their natural beauty, providing various patterns and colors. Softwoods and hardwoods like rosewood, ebony, and oak offer a wide range of options. However, wood is susceptible to rotting, so manufacturers often apply resin coatings to waterproof the handles. 

  • Ebony: Ebony wood is dark and dense, but it’s expensive and endangered.
  • Cocobolo: Cocobolo wood has a rich reddish-brown color. It is water-resistant but scarce due to over-exploitation.
  • Oak: Oak wood is affordable and durable, best for long-term use.

Wooden handles can have unique features that set them apart:

  • Stabilized: Wood is treated with resin to fill its pores, making it waterproof and harder. 
  • Burl: Abnormal growths, or burls, can bring exquisite patterns to the wood, making them more valuable.
  • Spalted: You can find wood that has undergone natural colorization due to fungal decay in dying trees. The color combinations are popular because each piece of spalted wood is unique.

2. Leather

  • Manufacturers tightly wrap leather around a base material, usually wood or metal, to create leather knife handles. Leather is famous for its softness, but it is vulnerable to water damage
  • Therefore, leather handles are not suitable for long-term use in kitchens. Although leather is affordable, people usually use it for hunting or carpentry.

3. Dead Animal Bones

  • Bone knife handles originate from dead animals, ensuring ethical sourcing. In the past, hunters would craft knives using animal parts from their hunts. You can use bones from various animals, such as elephants, deer, and cows.
  • Bone handles have attractive colors due to their material properties. However, they can be slippery when used in cooking because they have a smooth texture. Besides, bones become brittle after death, so a bone handle may crack if not handled carefully.

Metal Materials

Metal knife handles are the most common type found in kitchen knives. Manufacturers cast the handle and blade from the same material, creating a sleek and professional appearance.

Metal handles may feature engravings or rubber textures to improve grip. Below are common types of metal used for handles:

1. Stainless steel

  • Stainless steel handles are famous for their durability and resistance to rust and scratches. 
  • They are visually appealing and can withstand frequent washing without corrosion concerns. However, these heavy handles may require additional textures for better grip.

2. Aluminum

  • Aluminum handles are lighter than stainless steel handles and offer good corrosion resistance at an affordable price. 
  • However, they can conduct temperature. You may feel uncomfortable when holding them in cold conditions, and it can pose a burn risk when you cut hot objects.

3. Titanium

  • Titanium handles have superior qualities compared to stainless steel and aluminum. They are lightweight, strong, rust-resistant, and ideal for wet kitchen environments. 
  • While more expensive to produce, titanium handles offer lasting performance and a comfortable grip

Synthetic Knife Handle Materials

Synthetic knife handle materials offer impressive properties and have overcome many limitations of natural materials. Below are some options for synthetic knife handle materials:

1. Carbon Fiber

  • Carbon fiber is famous for its strength-to-weight ratio and is popular in high-end industries like Formula 1 and aerospace.
  • Carbon fiber handles are lightweight, strong, and catchy. They also provide excellent insulation to prevent burns.
  • However, they are structurally weak in directions and can be brittle, prone to breaking with a forceful impact.

2. G-10 (Also Known As Garolite)

  • G-10 is a more affordable alternative to carbon fiber while offering similar strength and lightness.
  • Producers create it by stacking resin-soaked fiberglass sheets.
  • Although G-10 handles are not as aesthetically pleasing as carbon fiber, they come in various colors. Like carbon fiber, G-10 is also prone to brittleness.

3. Micarta

  • Micarta is similar to G-10 but with linen sheets and phenolic resin and shares the same strengths and weaknesses.
  • It is robust, lightweight but brittle. Due to their hardness, micarta handles tend to be slippery, and engraving textures requires additional effort and cost.

FAQ related to Knife Handle Material

What Is The Best Handle Material For A Kitchen Knife?

Stainless steel is often a popular and reliable choice for kitchen knife handles. They offer several advantages that make them highly desirable:

  • Durability: Stainless steel is known for its exceptional durability and resistance to corrosion. It can withstand regular use, moisture, and various kitchen conditions without deteriorating or rusting.
  • Hygiene: The handles are non-porous and easy to clean, making them highly sanitary. 
  • Aesthetics: Stainless steel handles have a sleek and modern appearance that adds a touch of elegance to the kitchen. They can complement any kitchen decor and are often associated with high-quality culinary tools.

What Makes A Knife Handle Comfortable?

  • Ergonomics: An ergonomic handle design is crucial for comfort. A handle with a contoured shape follows the natural curves of your hand. Thus, it provides a secure and comfortable grip, ensuring prolonged use.
  • Texture: A textured surface on the handle enhances grip and prevents slippage. It’s best to have ridges, grooves, or a rubberized coating. The texture ensures a firm hold even when the handle is wet or greasy.
  • Weight and balance: A well-balanced knife allows easy control and reduces fatigue during long cutting tasks.
  • Materials: Wood or synthetic composites offer a warm and natural feel, while others, like stainless steel or plastic, provide a smooth touch.

What Are Old Cutlery Handles Made Of?

  • Bone: In the past, bone was a popular choice for cutlery handles. People sourced it from different animals, such as cows and oxen.
  • Wood: People used different types of wood, such as ebony, rosewood, or oak, to make cutlery handles.
  • Horn: Handles made from animal horns, such as buffalo, ivory, or stag horn. These horns provided a unique texture and pattern, adding a rustic and traditional touch to cutlery.
  • Ancient people also used mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell to make cutlery handles.

What Wood Is Best For Knife Handles?

Hardwoods are the best choice for knife handles due to their durability and stability. Some popular hardwood options for knife handles are:

  • Koa: Koa is a native Hawaiian hardwood known for its natural luster. 
  • Desert ironwood: a dense hardwood with brown colors.
  • Olive wood: Has distinctive grain patterns and warm tones. It is a popular choice for both functional and decorative knife handles.
  • Cocobolo: a tropical hardwood known for its rich reddish-brown color. It is dense, durable, and offers excellent resistance to moisture and wear.
  • Rosewood, ebony, walnut, and oak


In conclusion, knife handle material varies widely, including natural options like wood, leather, or animal bones. You can consider synthetic choices (carbon fiber, micarta, and G-10) or metal handles like stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium.

Finally, it all comes down to personal preference. Seki hopes that you can choose the knife handle that suits you best.