Recommendation? Where to get handle material

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Diego_B, Nov 5, 2020.

  1. Diego_B


    Aug 17, 2020
    Hi all, I just got through heat treating a couple knives and have them finished to where I like them and am moving on to putting handles on them. Until I realized I haven’t ordered material for them yet :(. Anyhow that’s what my post here is about. So where do you guys order your handle material at? I’m particularly interested in cocobolo or rosewood for the two I have right now but I’m talking about in general where do most of you guys go to get your handle material wood, g10, micarta, etc. Is there a specific place to look for? Also I understand that some people buy their wood bigger than standard 5in knife scales because apparently it’s cheaper to do so at most places? Like buying a $20 board of it rather than paying $15 for two scales. I’m really just looking for some place other than amazon to buy material from that has a larger selection.
  2. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    I'll suggest checking out the Knifemaker's for sale area:

    Most of the knifemaking supply companies carry them (AKS, K&G, Pop's, etc..) Have you done a web search for knifemaking supplies?

    Also, look at the stickies at the top of the forum page. The thread titled "All the good info you want in one place" has resources.

    Here's an older thread, but a lot of the info is still good:

    (PS - @Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith - The above link has not yet been fixed in the stickies in the Count's Standard Reply v36 - Suppliers list)
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    Alpha Knife Supply and Storm W like this.
  3. Storm W

    Storm W

    Feb 19, 2019
    I can recommend spalted maple from weo if he is still making it for sale. I bought a pile from him a couple of years ago and every knife I put it on the new owners were super exited. In fact I had family visit and my cousin who does woodwork for a living told me she definitely didn't want a burl block and she wanted that spalted maple.

    One place that isn't mentioned is Atlas Billiards
    They have fantastic prices on some stuff. I got some cocobolo from them and it looked old and had a brown color but still looked great though not a super fancy block. To top it off he is a cool dude and is more than fair with his pricing. And hey he lives in the pacific northwest where all the best people come from. I did the smart thing and moved to NY where the best people don't come from. I love NY and especially NYC. Go NYC you are the best yeaaaayyyy...........hhhhuuuuuaaaa.....definitely not sarcasm . Go Cascadia, Yes Please. I don't mean to diss people in NY. I'm just a bit homesick and didn't care much for 12 hour days with a unpaid 4 hour commute unless the traffic is bad.

    Pop's is always my go to and I only shop other places if they don't have what I want.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  4. FredyCro

    FredyCro Basic Member Basic Member

    Jan 11, 2019
    Hey, for good deals check out your local carpenters, instrument builders and wood workers. You might get scrap or larger pieces for bargain prices or a six pack of beer. Mind you that wood processing can be a drag so if possible look for square and dry pieces ready to cut to size and use.

    I also got micarta scraps from a local industry supplier for some coffee money. Google is your friend, make some calls and you might have a heap of handle material the same afternoon.
    Storm W likes this.
  5. Shane Csepp

    Shane Csepp Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2019
    Pretty much any of the online knife supply places will have a reasonable assortment. (AKS, USA Knifemaker, POP's, Etc.)

    I have had pretty good luck from a few sellers on eBay as well. Just have to be a bit careful.
    Alpha Knife Supply likes this.
  6. Scaniaman


    Jun 15, 2012
    The next time I need to stock up on G10 and Micarta I am going to @Alpha Knife Supply they seem to have a great collection, and good prices.
  7. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    I have bought a few boards of tropical from woodcraft. If you are picky, you can get some reasonable grained pieces. They also have turning blocks. Either of these you would need a bandsaw or similar to turn in to scales (they will have the likes of cocobolo, bubinga, purpleheart, leapardwood, and more)
  8. SBuzek

    SBuzek KnifeMaker Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 7, 2006
    reevestx and Alpha Knife Supply like this.
  9. anvilring


    Nov 29, 2000
    Here's some absolutely beautiful figured oak I found on a pallet: out behind home Depot! Sometimes handle material is where you least expect it. This stuff turned out beautiful.


    Link to the rest of the pics:[email protected]/6c1s60
    Busto, Maelstrom78, scherf68 and 2 others like this.
  10. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I too have used Home Depot wood. Black walnut left over from a shelving project. Re handled this knife for a local guy with it:




    A customer in AK sent me some bubinga cutoffs he had from a cabinetry project he'd done:


    I traded with a custom rifle maker for several boxes of his stock cutoffs. All exhibition grade Turkish walnut:



    Traded a Dr out of some of his firewood. He lives where firewood is ironwood:



    I trade with local folks for elk sheds that they find:


  11. imill3567

    imill3567 KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 5, 2014
    I’ll agree with others for a quick purchase like this check out the knife suppliers like popsknifesupply or alpha knife supply my two favorites. For longer term stuff keep an eye out on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace for figured wood/micarta. I’ve gotten an 8ft board of tight curly maple for something like $1.50 a handle block and my best find yet was a slab of micarta worth about $1200 for $20 (plus $70 to ship it to me, worth it). These types of deals are especially nice as you learn so there isn’t so much money in each handle you might screw up or giveaway for free.
  12. Diego_B


    Aug 17, 2020
    Thank you guys for the suggestions, I’ll be sure to keep an eye out on some of those places. Lately I’ve found a lot of variety on eBay I’ll just have to make sure it’s a verified seller.
  13. gagned


    Aug 31, 2008
  14. Fred T.

    Fred T. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 11, 2020
    Check out
    They have all kinds of different handle materials, among many other supplies. Only thing is shipping from Finland can be expensive, especially if you order often. Great place if you're a puukko maker.

  15. i4Marc


    Oct 19, 2011
    Lots of places to get handle materials. Many of them mentioned already. Everytime I go to the home improvement stores I look down the wood isle. I have found some very curly maple boards. Sometimes a nice piece of curly oak shows up. At 3/4" they won't make bowie handles but good for scales.
    Storm W likes this.
  16. Phydeaux


    Mar 4, 2006
    When I worked in San Francisco, there was a building materials recycling place. They would recycle and resell used building materials. I got some birdseye maple flooring pieces for cheap, also some walnut, sugar maple and ipe for cheap.

    See if there are any local cabinet shops around. A lot of time they have some nice left overs that they throw out, but are suitable for scales.
  17. Cushing H.

    Cushing H. Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 3, 2019
    slight resurrection of this thread .... I dropped by woodcraft this morning just to see what they had in, and came across this piece of Bocote. Not perfect, some cracking (which can be worked around), and resonable grain (especially for larger handles). Not thick enough for Wa handles, but just thick enough if I carefully resaw, to get many, many bookmarked scales out of (NOT like I really **need** any more wood, especially with a bunch just now going out for stabilization .... but I could not resist :-( ). As others have said above, just keep eyes open, and grab what looks reasonable....
    Hengelo_77 likes this.
  18. Diego_B


    Aug 17, 2020
    Nice grab! Thanks for the ideas.
  19. Richard338

    Richard338 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 3, 2005
    For woods that don't need stabilization I have been happy with Bell Forest products.
    They have a nice set of images of all the wood types on their website with some data such as density, hardness, fineness of grain...
  20. Alpha Knife Supply

    Alpha Knife Supply Always Innovating Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Dealer / Materials Provider

    Oct 14, 1998
    kdnolin and Ron Raducanu like this.

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