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Read more details about these manmade wood products and see a color chart and comparison on my "Manmade Knife Handle Materials" page at this bookmark.
Back to Topics Woods that are stabilized are woods that are usually too weak, too porous, or too plain to be used without treatment.
They must be durable, able to hold fine curves and thin sections like the high points of finger grooves, flutes, and bolster dovetails without breaking, chipping or splintering.
They must be smooth to the hand, polish well, and fairly close-grained so debris, staining, and contamination is kept at a minimum. Another point not often considered is their tendency to expand an contract with moisture and temperature changes. Good knifemakers strive to use stable woods and minimize movement that can loosen the wood handle from the metal knife tang.
I've worked hard to illustrate and describe the woods used in custom knife handles, components, stands cases, scabbards, sheaths, and fittings.
Although I'm better known for my gemstone custom knife handles, I've worked extensively with woods in this field for over 30 years.
These stabilized laminates are very durable, polish brightly, and are long lived.The comments are based on my personal experience with these woods.Remember, woods vary in appearance and texture even within the same board, so there is no absolutely uniform dictate on a particular wood's performance.The heartwood is almost always harder and more durable than the sapwood.
The sapwood is the living layers of the tree, is almost always lighter in color and density than the heartwood, and is more permeable to liquids and susceptible to decay.In knives, they have been, and will always be a standard.