15 Best Wood for Knife Handles

15 Best Wood For Knife Handles

Table of Contents

A knife blade can only function well when paired with a strong handle that offers the perfect grip during the cutting process.

A superior-quality steel blade crafted within a sturdy handle is what every knife user looks for before adding one to their collection.

Though a knife handle can be made of various materials, wood is probably the most preferred and common natural material used for making knife handles.

That is because wood is a natural ingredient; it has an aesthetic appeal. A user can comfortably hold the handle.

It is long-lasting, and it is available abundantly all across the globe.

The knife handle should allow you to grip it tightly while using it and never compromise on the tool’s precision and strength.

Knife handles are also called scales if two pieces are attached to form the handle.

Before we move on, we will discuss the benefits of wooden knife handles, and the best woods for knife handles in this article. 

Benefits of Wooden Knife Handles

Benefits of Wooden Knife Handles


Knife handles made of wood are remarkably tough and can sustain for years. Timbers offer strength and durability, making them the ideal choice for making knife handles.

Also, they can withstand regular use easily without cracking while allowing you to cut and chop meat and vegetables easily. The resilience offered by wood makes it an excellent raw material for manufacturing knife handles.

Comfortable Grip

Proper care increases the longevity of a wooden knife handle.

As the wood tends to dry out, applying a few drops of oil on the surface and allowing it to soak would prevent it from cracking and keeping it strong.

However, if the knife handle is made of stabilized wood, you would not require to do so as it has already absorbed stabilization resin before, and it would sustain for long. 


Proper care increases the longevity of a wooden knife handle. As the wood tends to dry out, applying a few oil drops on the surface would prevent it from cracking and keeping it strong.

However, if the knife handle is made of stabilized wood, you would not require to do so as it has already absorbed stabilization resin before, and it would sustain for long.

Aesthetically Beautiful

Knife handles made of natural wood often look very attractive. Also, wood carving is easy, giving the knife handle a beautiful shape while ensuring a tight and comfortable grip.

Knives made of wooden handles are a perfect choice for regular knife users, but knife lovers who prefer an exotic collection of custom knives also prefer wooden knife handles.

Wide Price Range

Knife handles made of wood are available in a wide market range. From being very cheap and affordable to very expensive, knives with wooden handles can spoil you for choice.

Also, knife handles made of high-quality wood can be your permanent partner for all your cutting, chopping, and slicing needs.

Your wooden knife handle may last for many years without a hitch with a little care and regular maintenance.

Now that you know the importance of wood for making knife handles let us bring you a list of the best wood for knife handles.

1. Natural Oak Wood

Natural Oak Wood

Natural oak wood is considered the best wood for knife handles by many knife users worldwide.

Oakwood can be carved easily, giving it the required shape for proper grip in the handle.

The oak timber is a fine grain wood, and it offers enough toughness and durability to withstand prolonged use.

A knife handle made of natural oak wood may last for thousands of years. Also, oak wood is cheaper than any other category because it is so widely used.

Knife handles made of oak wood are generally light in color and light brown to brown in the shade.

2. Rosewood


Rosewood is another preferred choice for making knife handles. It is somewhat darker in the shade than oak wood and very similar to ebony.

Rosewood is found abundantly all over the world. However, Indian rosewood is the most preferred variety among all other varieties of rosewood found in other parts of the world.

Apart from being gorgeous and affordable, this wood is tough, durable, and extremely resistant to termites and other pests.

Rosewood can be ideal for making handles for kitchen knives, ornamental knives, and outdoor hunting knives.

No matter how frequently you use your knife, it will last longer if made of a rosewood handle.

3. Ebony Wood

Ebony Wood

Ebony wood is strong, durable, and incredibly gorgeous in looks.Ebony wood is almost blackish, having dark brown and grey streaks.

Knife users praise this wood for being extremely good-looking and offering the perfect grip while holding it.

Custom knife users consider it to be the best wood for knife handles. Apart from being tough, this wood is resistant to termites and other insect infestation, making it long-lasting.

For being extremely elegant, ebony wood is used to make ornamental and custom knife handles. Owing to the very high demand, ebony is very expensive than other woods.

4. Cocobolo


Cocobolo is very high in demand, especially for the toughness and resilience this wood offers in wet and dry conditions.

The toughness of this wood is because of the presence of natural oil. It is highly resistant to insect infestation, and hence, it makes for one of the most durable woods for making knife handles.

Cocobolo is available in various colors, ranging from yellow, orange, red, purple, brown, and black.

Though cocobolo falls under the expensive wood category, knife handles made of cocobolo are bound to last for many years, even with extensive use.

5. Bocote


Found in Mexico and Central America, Bocote wood is a preferred choice of many knife lovers who want a comfortable yet gorgeous handle.

Bocote is among the exotic range of wood used for making knife handles, being yellowish with dark brown to black stripes throughout its length. Bocote wood generally darkens in color with age.

This wood ranges from being moderately durable to durable owing to the tree species it is made of. Bocote falls under medium to very highly-priced hardwood, especially for the beautiful appearance.

Also, this wood is susceptible to pest infestation; however, with proper care and maintenance, Bocote can last longer.

6. Bloodwood Satin

Bloodwood Satin

Bloodwood satin, also called cardinal wood, belongs to the exotic range of woods and originates from Central America and Caribbean countries.

Knife handles made of bloodwood satin offer a comfortable feel. It is a beautiful-looking wood and comes in intense deep red. This wood is tough with very dense and linear fine grains.

This wood tends to darken in hue with age and becomes very beautiful. Bloodwood satin is very stable and durable; hence, it lasts for many years if used in making knife handles.

Though this wood is not a popular choice for making knife handles, knife fanatics prefer this wood above many others in a similar range.

7. Olive Wood

Olive Wood

Olive wood is another preferred choice for knife handle manufacturing. It comes in a light yellow and light-toned brown shade, with darker brown or black streaks running through the length.

As the wood ages, the color darkens and offers a rich look to the knife handle. Olive wood is moderately durable and prone to insect infestation; however, this wood can last for many years if proper care is taken.

Applying oil on the wood surface helps it withstand probable damages due to the knife’s excessive and prolonged use. Also, olive wood is not very expensive and can be easily carved into shapes.

8. Birch Laminate

Birch Laminate

Birch laminate is a very common kind of wood used for making knife handles and other furniture.

Found in regions like America and Europe, this wood is very much used for carving into various shapes.

Birch laminate is counted among the best wood for knife handles as it can withstand frequent use even with excessive contact with water.

Birch laminate makes for the best choice for kitchen knife handles.

9. Amboyna Burl

Amboyna Burl

Knife handles made of amboyna burl fall under the most expensive and rare category. Also called padouk, this wood is excellent and resists oxidation, making it a stable wood.

People looking for an elegant-looking knife handle may opt for such a product. Amboyna comes in various colors, such as red, yellow, and golden brown.

Owing to the high price, amboyna burl is mainly used in custom knives and other ornamental knives rather than the most commonly used kitchen knives.

However, do not worry about its availability; if you want to add such an expensive knife to your collection, you can find it almost everywhere.

10. Walnut Wood

Walnut Wood

Walnut wood is gorgeous. Black walnut is native to eastern and North America. This wood is a true heartwood, is heavy and robust, yet flexible enough for easy carving.

This wood can be used in manufacturing knife handles, primarily ornamental and unique handles.

Knife enthusiasts who use their knives occasionally and want to flaunt a pretty-looking knife can opt for such a product.

11. Desert Ironwood

Desert Ironwood

Desert ironwood is also a prevalent wood for making knife handles.

This wood is native to Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora Mexico and comes in a dark brown shade, which turns darker (almost blackish) with age. Being a very fine-grained wood, this makes for rigid knife handles.

Previously desert ironwood burl was used in knife handles, but plain hardwood is used for knife handles due to its unavailability.

No matter what type of desert ironwood it is made of, it would indeed offer a great look.

12. Birch Bark

Birch Bark

Birch bark is commonly used in the form of knife handles in Northern Europe. This wood offers a comfortable grip when used as a handle, and they are exquisite in looks.

Birch Bark knife handles can be manufactured even without the use of glue. Also, this wood is water-resistant and does not decay quickly, making it an ideal choice in kitchen knives as it comes in frequent water contact.

Knives made of Birch bark material can last for many years with little care and maintenance.

13. Cherry Wood

Cherry Wood

Cherry wood is also a preferred material for making knife handles. The wood has a fine grain offering it a lovely texture.

Also, the wood becomes darker in the shade with age, making it look even more beautiful. The cherry wood is red-brown, and it offers a polished and elegant look when used in a knife handle.

Cherry wood is moderately hard, and it provides a firm grip and makes the handle last for many years.

Many knife lovers who want a knife for frequent use while not compromising on the looks may opt for one made of a cherry wood handle.

14. Hickory


Hickory wood is a good choice for making a knife handle. Hickory is used in making various tool handles, including knife handles.

Being very tough, strong, flexible, and shock-resistant, hickory wood can be carved into the required shape for a tight grip.

The hickory color is a light cream with brown streaks throughout the length, giving it a contrast look when attached to a steel blade.

15. Maple Burl

Maple Burl

Maple burl is one of the most commonly used materials for making knife handles. The wood is obtained from an abnormal outer growth called burl on the tree.

The burl wood is stabilized with resins to prevent it from cracking and then dyed in various colors before turning it into a knife handle.

Maple burl wood is preferred as a knife handle for the comfortable grip, ease of use, and superior looks.


Knives have been in use for centuries with handles made from various natural and synthetic materials. However, wood has been the preferred choice for making knife handles by all knife users.

Being naturally available in all parts of the world, wooden knife handles range from being the most commonly used ones to overly ornamental and custom-made ones offering superior looks.

Wooden handles provide a comfortable grip; hence, it lets the user work with their knife without worrying about the tool slipping off their hand.

Knife users can choose knife handles made of different wood types by considering the kind of use and longevity they desire.

Whether you want a knife for heavy usage or just to add one to your collection of exotic and ornamental knives, check your needs first before jumping to a conclusion.

So, before deciding on the best wood for knife handles for your next purchase, consider the utility, looks, comfort, frequency of use, and sustainability.



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