Materials

In case you are not completely familiar with knife making materials I will tell you about some of the materials to help give you an idea on what your options are. The following is a list of some of the materials that I commonly use in the manufacture of my custom knives.

Metal

ATS-34

ATS-34 is the premier high quality stainless steel made in Japan by Hitachi. This high quality blade steel is considered by many to be the highest quality blade steel available today. ATS-34 is a high carbon chromium molybdenum rich stainless steel with very low impurities. ATS-34 is our favorite because of its corrosion resistance, edge durability and toughness.

440-C

440-C is an excellent high end stainless steel with high corrosion resistance and durability.

416 Stainless Steel

416 is a basic stainless steel that I use to make bolsters and hand guards I also use this steel in a 1/8 inch pin to fasten hand guards and handle materials.

304 Stainless Steel

304 in a non ferrous stainless that is very hard and highly corrosion resistant. I sometimes use this metal in the manufacture of pommels, hand guards and bolsters.

Handle Materials

Micarta

The phenolic Micarta is a laminated material with an epoxy resin binder and can have paper, canvas or linen as components. Micarta offers excellent strength and impact resistance while also providing a pleasing appearance when polished. Micarta comes in a variety of solid and mixed colors and its texture varies depending on the type of component whether it is paper, linen or canvas. Micarta is one of the toughest materials that can be used for a knife handle.

G-10

A type of Micarta also known as Garolite is a continuous glass woven fabric base laminate impregnated with an epoxy resin binder. G-10 has extremely high mechanical strength and impact resistance. G-10 looks and performs very much like Micarta and also comes in a variety of solid and mixed colors.

Carbon Fiber

Is a lightweight carbon/epoxy material and has a woven appearance with unidirectional carbon fibers for strength and durability as well as a consistent appearance. Carbon fiber is very tough but is also very expensive. I use it in 1/8 inch thickness on small tactical knives like the Fist Fighter neck knife.

Stabilized Materials

The word stabilized referrers to a process where a material, like wood for example, is saturated with a “polymer” or plastic resin. The plastic is pressed to the core of the material and the material then takes on the attributes of a plastic. So a hard wood that has been stabilized is stronger, tougher and more resistant to water than an ordinary piece of wood. When a stabilized product like wood is polished the plastic element makes the wood shine as it would if it were finished with a lacquer or varnish. In the stabilizing process color can be added to enhance the look of the material.

Hardwood Burl

A “burl” is a growth on a tree that looks like a large round knot or growth in the trunk of a tree. In this growth there is a swirl of the grain that gives very beautiful natural patterns in the wood. The burl is usually very dense and hard making it very tough. Stabilized hardwood burl makes for very dramatic and beautiful handle materials.

Screws

I use Corby type screws also know as a hidden bolt or rivet. This screw comes in two pieces with a male and female threaded center and a solid head with a slot to be tightened with a screwdriver. The heads are then ground down even with the surface of the handle material and then polished. This is probably the most effective way of securing handle material to the tang.

Pins

I generally use two types of pins. The first is the 1/8 inch pin that I use to secure hand guards and handle materials to the tang. I like to use stainless steel for this purpose as it does not tarnish as does brass and nickel silver.

The second type of pin that I use is a Mosaic Pin. Mosaic pins are made with a brass or stainless outside tube and various pins or smaller geometrically shaped tubes on the inside with epoxy resin as filler. The pins have a stylish design or pattern that enhances the look of a custom knife.

Kydex

Kydex is a thermal plastic with that can be molded with a heat gun to take the shape of a knife. Kydex is a light weight and relatively thin material that is sturdy and reliable. A Kydex sheath will have a smooth inner surface and a textured exterior surface. It is easy to conceal and can be designed to have multiple carry options with various belt loop attachment possibilities.