Knife Handles In Many Shapes And Sizes

Handle Types And Materials

Get a Grip on the ins and outs of Knife Handles

Kitchen Knife Handles

A knife's handle is just as important as the blade. It's what connects the user to the tool. Without a handle, a knife would be useless. A well-crafted, comfortable, and thoughtful design matters as much as the blade itself. Handles are attached to the blade's tang in different fashions. Either a hidden tang, full tang, or half tang. A wide variety of materials for the handle can be used, ranging from natural wood, stabilized wood, micarta, resin, bone & antler, and metal.

Once again, there are variables or trade-offs. Certain materials may be visually appealing but may require some amount of maintenance. Trust your gut and intuition with how the handle feels in your hand. Get a feel for the overall balance and character of the knife when choosing it. Understand that you may change your grip depending on what you are cutting. Avoid ergonomic handles that are exaggerated, as they tend to force you to hold the knife in one particular manner, not allowing for versatility. This purchase will be a tool that you will want to love holding, using, and admiring for years to come.

Variety of Kitchen Knife Handles


Common or exotic hardwoods

Common or exotic hardwoods that derive from deciduous trees are also used, such as walnut, rosewood, magnolia, mahogany, cocobolo, and ebony. Make sure to treat the wood with a food-safe oil (mineral oil or cutting board conditioner) from time to time. This will help keep the wood supple and not crack in arid conditions or overexposure to water. Avoid oils that are not food safe or that can turn rancid, like vegetable oils.


Pakkawood is made of quality hardwood laminates. These laminates are layers of resin-impregnated veneers. Pakkawood is durable and heat resistant. A natural look can be achieved, or the resin can be colored.

Stabilized Wood

Stabilized wood uses a pressure or vacuum process to impregnate the wood's structure at the cellular level with certain acrylics or resins to improve structural stability, offering more durability. It's common to see burled wood and bright colors used in this method.


Plastic handles such as polypropylene, PP, and POM (polyoxymethylene) are common. These offer an affordable, durable option. Another cost-friendly option is TPE (thermoplastic elastomers). This is a rubberized plastic that is durable and creates a good grip when the handle is wet.


Micarta is a resin-based material made from layers of canvas, linen, or other cloth. These layers are coated in resin and then compressed with heat. Micarta is lightweight and durable. Often micarta has a texture added which offers great grip.


Another resin-based material is G-10. Composed of a resin-based fiberglass laminate. Texture is often added as well. This material is very resistant to heat and water but tends to be a little heavy.