Can anyone help me rank in terms of resistance to moisture, strength,
or durability, which is best. I am choosing a knife handle but is
unfamiliar with the woods quality. which is usally the most dense?
I don't know anything about Olive Wood, but Hickory is the hardest and
most dense of the other woods listed. It was the wood of choice for
handles for hammers and axes, etc.
"The best things in life . . . aren't things."
ANy of the woods you have listed abve will work for a nice handle. Of
the woods listed, Walnut will make the most attractive and will wear
well. If you finish the handle with polyurthane there will be no
Oak, will be somewhat moisture resistand and is a very strong wood.
WHITE oak is somewhat moisture resistant. Red oak is not
and will probably blacken if it is left damp for any appreciable
length of time.
Because it is commonly used for kitchen impliments
I suspect that olivewood has good moisture resistance.
After that, from the above list, walnut would be a
Locust is very hard and very moisture resistant,
the same is true of osage orange aka hedge.
Among those you list, hickory. If you want the n'est plus ultra wood for
the ALL characteristics you list, use lignum vitae...not always easy to find
but most knife supply places will have it.
If you DO use lignum vitae, don't be surprised if it turns either sky blue
or a bilious green when you apply a finish. That color will disappear in a
day or two and the wood will be a rich, nutty brown. That brown can be
anywhere from pretty light to almost as dark as walnut depending on the
particular piece; regardless of the main color there will be darker markings
Mahogany is one of the most water resistant woods out there (along
with walnut), but not many people use it for outdoor furniture or
decks because of the expence. If I was making a knife handle however,
it wouldn't cost very much.
Strength really wouldn't play a part as a knife handle, but the other
characteristics would. Regarding resistance to moisture, no knife with a
wood handle should be soaked nor cleaned in a dishwasher as this will
destroy any wooden handle. I would prefer wood that doesn't have pores, as
these could collect moisture and other contaminants within the pores
depending on the uses you intend.
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