how to make a knife handle

how to make a knife handle

The handle of the knife must provide the user with the security that the hand does not slip and that an accidental cut does not occur. To achieve that grip, as important as the material is the shape and ergonomics of a knife. The good balance of weights between the handle, the blade and the bolster is what gives a perfect balance to the knife and avoids fatigue after prolonged use.


Throughout history, a huge variety of materials have been used to make knife handles. We are going to leave aside the natural handmade materials that are no longer used today for kitchen knives. Just as an example we will say that horns, antlers, mother-of-pearl and animal bones have been used. We are going to focus on 3 basic materials: Woods, Synthetics and Metal.

The woods

Wood is the quintessential material for making knife handles. Here we have three options:

1-First of all, the varnished natural woods. All types of wood have been used: olive, walnut, wengé, palisander, beech, ebony, birch and many more.

2-Secondly, the Pakawood . They are natural wood pressed to improve resistance to temperature.

3-Finally, stabilized wood . They are natural woods to which thermosetting resins are injected . These resins seal the wood and give it extraordinary resistance, greater hardness and impermeability. In addition, it maintains the beauty of the wood and improves performance.

Synthetic Materials.

The evolution and development of plastic materials have revolutionized handle materials: ABS, POM, PP, PA, Nylon, Elastomers … are examples of these materials.

POM is the abbreviation for Polyoxymethylene. It is a thermoplastic material resistant up to 150 degrees.
ABS has excellent shock resistance and low water absorption.
PP is polypropylene, a very economical plastic polymer that is easy to inject and very difficult to break.
Mikarta , a material made from fabrics and resins, which provides an infinite number of designs and colors.
G10 another material made from fiberglass and resins.
acrylics. Transparent thermoplastics of different very beautiful colors.
Composite. Material composed of natural wood fibers and polymers.


Some models of knives use the metal of the body to form the handle, or the handle is welded to the blade so that it appears to be all in one piece.


The shape of the handle is what should give the knife its grip and security for the user. Sometimes the handle is designed with the specific function of each knife in mind to give that touch of security when using it.

The defense or handguard is sometimes formed by the ferrule itself as seen in the upper drawing. On other occasions, it is formed in the handle itself, as we can see in the photo below. Conversely, if a knife does not have a forend, it can be dangerous in some types of cuts.

The spike or heel and the belly of the handle should prevent the hand from slipping when pulling the knife towards oneself.

The distance between the handle and the horizontal cutting plane must allow the knuckles not to touch the bottom to allow the balancing effect when cutting vegetables.

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