What Makes a Pocket Knife - Handle Anatomy

What Makes a Pocket Knife - Handle Anatomy

Posted by Sam Flaherty on

When you think about cooking, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe it's the sizzle of onions in a hot pan or the aroma of freshly chopped herbs.

But what about the humble knife handle? It's easy to overlook, but it's pretty important. 

The handle is like the handshake of your kitchen tools. Just like a good handshake, a good handle sets the tone for everything else.

Materials that commonly bring style and substance to your cooking include the timeless elegance of ebony wood, the modern fusion of wood and resin, the industrial strength of metal, the natural charm of bone, and the versatility of plastic.

Each material has its own story to tell.

  • Ebony Wood Handles

  • Ebony wood is gorgeous. Its deep black colour with occasional lighter streaks makes each knife handle unique. The natural patterns in the wood create a special look that stands out.

    Superior Strength and Durability

    Ebony wood is very strong and lasts a long time. It can handle daily use in the kitchen without getting damaged. Whether chopping vegetables or slicing meat, an ebony handle stays firm and reliable.

    Excellent Moisture Resistance

    One of the best things about ebony wood is its ability to resist moisture. This means it won't easily warp or crack, even in a busy, humid kitchen, so your knife will stay in good shape for years.

    Ergonomic Grip

    Ebony wood handles are smooth and feel good in your hand. The dense wood adds balanced weight, making the knife easy to control. This reduces hand strain, even during long cooking sessions.

    Timeless Elegance

    Using ebony wood for knife handles brings a touch of timeless elegance to your kitchen. The deep, rich colour is a classic choice that always stays in style.

    Low Maintenance

    Taking care of ebony wood handles is simple. Just wash them with mild soap and water, then dry them well. Occasionally, apply some wood conditioner or oil to keep the wood looking its best.

    Unique and Prestigious

    Ebony wood handles are rare and special. Each handle is unique, making your knife one of a kind. Owning a knife with an ebony handle adds a sense of pride and luxury to your kitchen.

  • Wood/Resin Handles

  • Wood/resin handles combine the natural look of wood with the strength of resin and makes them strong and long-lasting. The resin keeps the wood from swelling or shrinking when temperatures change, so your knife handle stays in good shape, no matter the conditions.

    Aesthetic Appeal

    Wood/resin handles are very beautiful. Each handle is unique because of the burl wood patterns. The resin helps keep the wood from cracking, so the handle looks good for a long time. You get the warmth of wood with the added benefit of striking designs from the resin.

    Pros and Cons


    1. Resilience to Temperature Changes: The resin keeps the handle from changing shape.
    2. Durability: The handle is strong and lasts a long time.
    3. Aesthetic Flair: The wood and resin mix looks nice and unique.


    1. Potential Imbalance: The resin can make the handle feel uneven.
    2. Risk of Splitting: Some handles might still split over time.
    3. Aesthetics Coordination: The unique look might only match some of your other knives.

    Wood/resin handles blend beauty and durability, making them a great choice for many knife users.

  • Metal Handles

  • Metal handles are crafted from strong materials like stainless steel, titanium, and aluminium. Stainless steel is rust-resistant and long-lasting. Titanium is lightweight yet tough. Aluminium is light and affordable.

    Strength and Durability

    Metal handles are known for their strength. They can withstand heavy use without damage, whether chopping vegetables or slicing meat.

    Hygienic Properties

    Metal handles are easy to clean. They don't harbour bacteria, making them a safe choice for food prep. A quick wash with soap and water keeps them sanitary.

    Sleek Aesthetics

    Metal handles look modern and sleek, adding a stylish touch to your kitchen tools. Their clean lines and shiny surface enhance any kitchen's look.

    Pros and Cons


    Metal handles are very durable. They are easy to keep clean and look great in any kitchen.


    Metal handles can be heavy, making them harder to use for long periods. They also conduct heat, making them hot to the touch. Some may find them slippery when wet.

  • Bone Handles

  • Bone handles are crafted from animal bones, often cattle. They are shaped and polished to create a strong, beautiful handle.

    Unique Aesthetics

    Each bone handle is unique, with natural patterns and textures. These patterns make every knife handle particular, giving it a distinct look.

    Durability and Resilience

    Bone handles are tough and can last for years. They withstand regular use, making them reliable for many knife users.

    Comfort and Grip

    Bone handles provide a comfortable grip. They are smooth but not slippery and allow for easy handling during use.

    Pros and Cons


    Bone handles are naturally beautiful, durable, and comfortable to hold. They combine aesthetics with practicality, making them a favoured choice.


    Bone handles can stain over time and may be fragile if not cared for properly. They need regular maintenance to keep them looking their best and to prevent damage.

  • Plastic Handles

  • Plastic handles come in various types, such as polypropylene, ABS, and POM. These plastics are strong and durable and are widely used in kitchen tools.

    Lightweight and Affordable

    Plastic handles are light, making them easy to use for long periods. They are also cost-effective and fit well into most budgets.

    Hygienic and Easy to Clean

    Plastic handles are simple to clean and do not absorb food smells, making them safe and convenient for everyday cooking.

    Colour Options and Customization

    Plastic handles come in many colours and styles, allowing you to choose a look that suits your kitchen and personal taste.

    Pros and Cons


    Plastic handles are light, making them easy to handle. They are affordable and hygienic, as they don’t hold onto bacteria or odours.


    Over time, plastic handles can wear out and may not look as nice as other materials. They are practical but might lack the visual appeal of wood or metal handles.

  • G10 Handles

  • G10 is made by combining layers of fibreglass with epoxy resin. This process, called thermosetting, creates a strong and durable material. The result is a handle that can withstand much use and resist wear over time. 

    Famous G10 Handles

    Many top knife brands, like KOI Knives use G10 for their handles. The material is trusted for its toughness and reliability. Using G10 means knives can handle the demands of busy kitchens and professional chefs.

    Pros and Cons


    G10 handles are very durable. They have a high hardness rating, which means they last a long time. They are also water-resistant, making them perfect for use in the kitchen.


    Some people think G10 handles feel like plastic. This can make them less enjoyable to use. Also, the look of the G10 might not match the style of other knives in a collection. Despite these downsides, G10 handles are a strong choice for anyone needing a rugged and reliable kitchen knife.


    Your knife's handle is part of your cooking passion. To pick the right handle, know the strengths of each material—wood, resin, metal, bone, plastic, and G10.

    Choose a handle that feels good and lasts. It will make your cooking better and more enjoyable.

    ← Older Post Newer Post →

    Pocket Knives

    Pocket Knife Blade Shapes 101

    Pocket Knife Blade Shapes 101

    By Sam Flaherty

    Did you know that the natural world can inspire the shape of a knife blade? For example, some knife designs mimic birds' beaks, such as...

    Read more
    Pocket Protections - Keeping You and Your Pockets Safe

    Pocket Protections - Keeping You and Your Pockets Safe

    By Sam Flaherty

    Knife safety is important to protect you and those around you. Think about using a knife without understanding how to handle it safely—that's inviting danger!...

    Read more