Knife handles are made from different materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Handles are made in various shapes and styles. The handle is often textured to improve grip.
Wooden handles provide a good grip and are surprisingly warm in the hand, but the downside is that they are difficult to care for. They do not resist moisture well and can crack or warp when exposed to water for long periods of time. Modern stabilized and laminated wood technologies have largely solved these problems, and many beautiful exotic woods are used in the manufacture of custom knives as well as mass-produced knives. In some countries, the use of wooden handles for table knives is prohibited for hygienic reasons.
Plastic handles are easier to care for than wooden handles, but become slippery and brittle over time.
Handles, injection molded from high quality plastic, are composed of polyphthalamide and, if sold under brand names such as Zytel or Grivory, are reinforced with Kevlar or fiberglass. These materials are often used by renowned knife makers.
Rubber handles such as Kraton or Resiprene-C are preferred over plastic handles for their durability and cushioning.
Micarta is often used to make knife handles due to its strength and stability. Micarta is practically not afraid of water, holds tightly when wet and is an excellent insulator. Micarta is made from polymer fiber. There are many varieties of micarta. One of the very popular is a fiberglass impregnation resin called G-10.
Leather handles are often seen on some hunting knives and sabers, especially KA-BAR knives. Leather washers are usually placed on leather handles. Russian manufacturers often use birch.
Skeletal handles are the practice of using the keel itself as a handle, usually with some of the material trimmed to reduce weight. Skeleton-handled knives are often wrapped with paracord or other wrapping material for added grip.
Stainless steel and aluminum alloy handles are very durable and hygienic, but a bit slippery. To combat this, quality knife makers make indentations, bulges, and grooves on the handles to provide extra grip. Another problem with metal-handled knives is that because metal is an excellent conductor of heat, these knives can be very uncomfortable and even painful for the user when working without gloves or other protective gloves in very cold climates or dangerous environments.
Exotic materials normally only seen on artistic or ceremonial knives include: stone, bone, mammoth tusk, mammoth tusk, fossilized whale baculum, walrus tusk, antlers (usually deer), antlers, buffalo horn, teeth, and mother-of-pearl or pearl. . Many materials are used here to make knife handles.
A non-slip handle is a good option for people with hyperhidrosis of the palms.