Best Knife Handle Material

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Wolverine666
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Best Knife Handle Material

Postby Wolverine666 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:19 am

For me at least , it seems that G10 is the best overall handle material for a folder (when paired with stainless steel liners). It is incredibly durable , it's super strong , it's impervious to temperature change , it will not crack or warp due to humidity , and it can be dyed almost any color imaginable. A great material to grasp.

But with the debut of the Sage 4 and it's (beautiful) Ironwood handle , I have been considering purchasing my first wood handle knife since the late 80's. I have read numerous times that Ironwood is very strong and dense. And prob even more so after being treated and/or stabilized (if it is needed at all). But I still have reservations about Ironwood (or any wood) for a knife handle , thinking it will eventually discolor and become dried out or crack. I could be wrong. And I hope I am.

I also like aluminum and titanium handles. They both have a great strength to weight ratio and are light weight. Titanium is a bit pricey however.

So I strongly lean toward G10 as my current favorite handle material. As long as it is coupled with the stainless steel liners.

What does everyone else like ?

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Postby DeathBySnooSnoo » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:34 am

I like CF and wood. I really like peel ply CF in terms of durability and grip. And the twill CF that Spyderco uses just looks great and has enough grip for me.
But I have to say that wood is just a great material. It has personality and warmth, it makes each knife unique. And even untreated it will last and last. In museums there are swords that are 200 years old that still have their original handles, so I am pretty sure that a wooden scaled knife is going to last a long time. Sure it will get dented and scratched, but that isn't a big deal to me at all. G10 will wear down and leave you with flat patches so what is the difference? So even though G10 is cheaper and easier for the makers to work with, I like wood scales. It doesn't suit every knife though, that I will say.
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Postby sharpguitarist » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:39 am

hey wolverine,
i like g10 also, peel ply and polished, for the same reasons you mentioned.
i also am a big fan of micarta.
the only handle material i don't really care for is stainless steel. it's cold and slick.
later,
don
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Postby Onionman » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:43 am

For everyday use, I have to say that G-10 is the best for cost, grip and durability. I also think that textured CF would be great as well, but unfortunately it is not available on the knives I typically carry (Caly 3.5 and Junior) However, I really like the look and feel of micarta, or a high quality wood handle like desert ironwood or cocobolo.
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Postby The Deacon » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:48 am

I'm the opposite. If I'm thinking of a knife strictly as a tool, then FRN, especially when paired with steel liners, is fine. But most of the time I look at knives as functional jewelry that need to look good as well as perform and, for that, I strongly prefer natural materials. Ivory and some species of wood work well on any size folder and I think they're the best choices for larger knives. Rams horn also works well on large and medium folders. Jigged bone and stag look great on medium and small folders, as do most other natural materials.

As for wood, ironwood and lignum vitae are about the toughest, strongest woods on earth. They're also both quite oily, to the point that they can be used without any finish. Someone would really have to go out of their way to dry them out and crack them. Treated decently any hardwood will last hundreds of years. Think Stradivarius violins, colonial era furniture, and the stocks on Kentucky flintlocks.
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Postby jackknifeh » Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:12 pm

Wolverine666 wrote:For me at least , it seems that G10 is the best overall handle material for a folder (when paired with stainless steel liners). It is incredibly durable , it's super strong , it's impervious to temperature change , it will not crack or warp due to humidity , and it can be dyed almost any color imaginable. A great material to grasp.

So I strongly lean toward G10 as my current favorite handle material. As long as it is coupled with the stainless steel liners.

What does everyone else like ?
I like G-10 a lot also and carbon fiber with the twill texture. I have made some G-10 scales. They had a smooth surface but still provided a good grip but I do like the peel-ply the most. The G-10 on my Manix2 is great. For a non-dressy look I like G-10 the best and CF for a gent's knife.

There is another company that makes a few very solid knives with G-10 and no liners. The G-10 is just as thick as Spyderco's G-10 and liners combined. The knives are not expensive I guess because there are no liners but they are VERY sturdy. I own one and wouldn't hesitate to buy a Spyderco G-10 knife without liners as long as the G-10 is thicker. I think if the salt knives with FRN had G-10 instead they may be stronger also, even without liners. I don't know this for sure but maybe it's possible. More expensive though so I wouldn't want to do away with the FRN handles. Maybe just add a G-10 model for those who may want it.

Jack

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Postby D1omedes » Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:59 pm

For an EDC knife, it's hard to beat G10. I do think natural woods, bone, carbon fiber and other exotic materials are great aesthetically, but they do not really contribute to utility. I understand how Deacon and others like their knives to be a bit pretty but I don't think I fall into that group as much. I tend to appreciate minimalist designs, so a knife like the Caly 3 in VG10 really hits all the things I want in an EDC.

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Postby Evil D » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:13 pm

I'd have to say overall G10 is my favorite too. I especially like the original Paramilitary, how it only had partial liners, so the majority of the knife was just big thick slabs of G10.
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Postby rg02 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:15 pm

G10 and CF for me :D

I would love to own a titanium Millie or sage 2 as well.
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Postby Fred Sanford » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:22 pm

I agree with Paul on the FRN. I'm a very "form follows function" type of person. If the form doesn't match function I don't want it. I think there is great beauty in simple function.

I love FRN for just being very useful, grippy, tough as heck, and for the fact that it is pretty much never going to go bad, rust or anything else. I would take G10 as a second favorite material. The older I get the less I like really grippy G10. I'm starting to really favor polished G10 like what was used on the Red Schempp Persian sprint.
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Postby Prospero » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:25 pm

By "best" I'll assume you mean useful or utilitarian. In my limited experience I would agree that G10 offers the best combination of physical properties, aethetics, and price. FRN is a great cost-effective material if it is implemented correctly. I've always considered wood to be used more for aesthetcis than practicality.

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Postby bh49 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:26 pm

Probably there is no such thing like the best handle material. All depends on applications.
For my needs I strongly prefer natural materials with favorites being at this time: jigged bone and wood. Of cause I will not refuse to turquoise, malachite, coral, smooth bone and stag. Out of synthetic I strongly prefer micarta, polished G10 can be OK.
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Postby APS » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:41 pm

I strongly prefer FRN as Spyderco uses it on the Delica/Endura4 family. I feel it has better grip than G10 but yet doesn't tear up your pockets b/c of the bug medallion they have right under the clip. So you have the functionality without the additional cost of G10. I love my Native5 but am anxiously awaiting the FRN version which I'm guessing will be around 30% less expensive.

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Postby Slash » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:47 pm

leather, it has worked well for thousands of years.

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Postby Ken44 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:55 pm

Micarta will always be my favorite for custom and factory fixed blades, and my custom folders.

You don't see micarta on many production folders, so I'll go with Carbon Fiber as far as spyderco is concerned.

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Postby Wolverine666 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:58 pm

The Deacon wrote:I'm the opposite. If I'm thinking of a knife strictly as a tool, then FRN, especially when paired with steel liners, is fine. But most of the time I look at knives as functional jewelry that need to look good as well as perform and, for that, I strongly prefer natural materials. Ivory and some species of wood work well on any size folder and I think they're the best choices for larger knives. Rams horn also works well on large and medium folders. Jigged bone and stag look great on medium and small folders, as do most other natural materials.

As for wood, ironwood and lignum vitae are about the toughest, strongest woods on earth. They're also both quite oily, to the point that they can be used without any finish. Someone would really have to go out of their way to dry them out and crack them. Treated decently any hardwood will last hundreds of years. Think Stradivarius violins, colonial era furniture, and the stocks on Kentucky flintlocks.
I suppose that's a pretty good point about the Stradivarius violins and Kentucky flintlocks. I have never seen either in person but the ones I have seen on "Pawn Stars" from the 1800's (and even earlier) look to be is great condition.

I like the phrase "functional jewelry". And I definitely like my knives to be pleasing to the eye as well as solid and tough. Some G10 that really appeals to me is the medium textured G10 on the Manix 2 and even the gripper G10 on some of the Manix 2 Sprint Runs (almost a prismatic effect). And the digital camo on the Para 2 is very attractive too IMO.

Also , after thinking much about this , I don't think that Spyderco would dare make a knife with a wood handle that would be anywhere near prone to cracking or warping or be anything less than extremely durable. Not to mention that the Ironwood on the Sage 4 is one the most attractive handles I have ever laid eyes on.

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Postby Waffle » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:39 pm

I agree with the Deacon, I enjoy the natural type materials. I also like the Titanium look.. almost looks like the Almite. However, I am going to say Almite for the win. Almite > Natural > Titanium > everything else!!! Now that I think about it a little more, this is a tough question.. seeing as I've forgotten about Micarta. Takes me back to the original Zowada's. Beautiful, just beautiful. Okay, throw Micarta in there as well. :/ Where did all the faces and spydie logo go?
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Postby Sht » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:46 pm

I dont think there is a best but I do love g10, micarta, & the cf coming out of Taiwan. I also really like nested SS liners over sandwiching stuff on top.
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Postby Waffle » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:47 pm

Sht wrote: I also really like nested SS liners over sandwiching stuff on top.
+1
I also like the nested!
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Postby JNewell » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:03 pm

Hmmm. My vote: variety is the spice of life. :) "Best" would have to be heavily dependent on use, in any case. :spyder: :cool:


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