When it comes time to choose that new bowie knife, you’ll have quite a few things to consider. One of the most important is what type of handle material you want. While blade length and the actual style of the blade are certainly vital questions to answer, choosing the right handle is imperative. The right handle choice will give you a bowie knife that offers a great grip, the look and feel that you want, and will also play a role in the durability and longevity of your knife. What materials can you choose from?
First, you will find that wood is one of the dominant choices on the market today. These handles can be utilitarian, but they can also be beautiful. Some bowie knives feature solid wood handles, but most make use of a two-part handle, made of wooden scales held together by rivets run through the wood and through the tang of the knife. Knives that make use of wooden scales are usually “full tang,” while those with a solid wood handle use what’s called a “rattail” tang. Full tangs are preferable to rattails, as they provide better stability and longevity in your knife.
Metal – Metal is a popular choice for bowie knife handles, particularly for those based on militaristic themes. You will find metal handles offer excellent grip, thanks the patterning they bear. You will also find them available in a wide range of colors, from black to silver, blue and many other colors, as well. Of course, the metal used in the handles varies from knife to knife, ranging from steel to stainless steel and other options.
Yet another material used for bowie knife handles is bone. You’ll find antler and other bones used to create these handles, though these are often very decorative. While bone handles are quite functional, you might find that you don’t want to take the knife out to use it. As a note, some bone is unsuitable for handle construction, though antler is often a great choice that will provide years of use, as well as considerable good looks.
You should ensure that the knife you purchase has a full tang, rather than a rattail tang, as this provides better durability and solidity for your knife. You should also ensure that the bowie knife that you choose features a good grip – slick handles will betray you in the end and can lead to injury quite easily.