The Preferred Material for the Chef Knife Handle
Chef Knife Handles are made of 4 main materials:
The Wood Handle on your Chef Knife:
Wood handles probably look best on a chef knife.
But there are several things to keep in mind when getting a chef knife with a wood handle.
A wood handle uses a varnish coating and if left in water it may wash off in time, the same can happen in a dishwasher. When that happens the wood handle becomes a breeding ground for germs and other nasty stuff.
If you do decide to get a chef knife with a wood handle, it is advised to re-varnish the handle at least once every year.
Chef Knife with a Plastic Handle:
Chef Knives with plastic handles are used mostly in fast food kitchens, or food factories.
And there are three main reasons for that:
The production is cheaper, and so is the knife.
The plastic handle prevents germs from forming.
The production is much cheaper.
There are a few draw backs though:
Due to the fact that the plastic handle is lighter the wood or wood composite, it is hard to make the chef knife well balanced.
Working with an unbalanced chef knife may be tiresome and even cause pains in the long run.
Another disadvantage is that the plastic handle will probably dry and break after a while.
Composite Material Handles on a Chef Knife (Pakka wood, Stamina wood, Micarta):
The most common, and probably the best chef knife Handles are made of Laminated wood composites integrated with resin.
It is agreed by most chefs, that this is the best material for the handle of the knife.
The composite material, also called Pakkawood, or Staminawood, or Micarta, feels like wood, and has the same weight, so it gives the right balance necessary for the Chef Knife.
Germ wise it acts the same way as Plastic handles.
It is very easy to care for the Composite wood handle.
Easy to clean and can be washed in a dishwasher. Re-varnishing is not necessary.
Metal Handles on a Chef Knife:
Some chef knife brands and non-brands will use a metal handle on their blade.
Usually these knives are stamped (a process of creating the handle by cutting out its shape from a sheet of metal) and not forged.
But that is not a rule, forged knives may have a metal handles.
A metal handle is quite heavy, usually making the chef knife unbalanced and so harder to use.
Metal handles become slippery when wet.
Manufacturers do try to work around this by making grooves and hinges on the handle for better hold.
So these are the four main types of chef knife handles, make sure you make the right decision before deciding on your favorite one.