View Full Version : kitchen knife handles

03-23-2003, 04:00 PM
any suggestions out there from someone with more experience than me about what the best treatment/coating for kitchen knife handles is? They will need to survive repeated washing etc...


Ray Rogers
03-23-2003, 06:29 PM
There is no treatment you can do to a wood handle that will allow it to survive a dishwasher. Further, I can think of no better way to ruin a fine handmade knife and dull an edge than by putting it in a dishwasher.

I make a lot of kitchen knives for professional chefs. Many are fairly fancy and use stabilized wood handles. Each one comes with a piece of paper describing proper care and saying that dishwashers are a big no-no. So far, I have never met a chef who didn't already know that.

If you must make a dishwasher proof knife, then use a plastic handle. Delrin is the best choice I can think of. It isn't very attractive but it doesn't get much worse for being in the dishwasher. Even Micarta loses it's looks very quickly in a dishwasher.

If you must use wood, then either something stabilized or Dymondwood will be likely to hold up best. You'll probably only have to refinish it after every two or three passes through the machine if you want to keep it looking like new.

As you can probably tell, this is a sensitive subject for me....sorry


Chris Daigle
03-23-2003, 06:41 PM

So are you saying don't put your kitchen knives in the dishwasher? :confused:
Sorry, couldn't resist. Even the Henkels that we have here in the kitchen don't see the inside of a dishwasher. I can't imagine one of your customs seeing that kind of treatment! :cool:

Not to get off the subject, but I have a couple profiled after you and I spoke last. They both call for bolsters. Do you apply anything underneath them, i.e. epoxy or JB Weld before peening? The reason I ask is 'cause a kitchen knife will certainly get washed often and any moisture in direct contact with the steel (over time) is bad, to say the least. Is it just me? Am I worrying too much?


Ray Rogers
03-23-2003, 08:48 PM

No, I don't think you are worrying to much. It is essential to do your best to make sure that there is no place on the knife where food particles can build up. Moisture build up is bad for the knife but food build up is very bad for the person who eats the food prepared with that knife! That is why I choose not to use bolsters on my knives although I will use a ferrule on stub tang knives.

So, if you use bolsters you must put something under them to seal them. I think that is probably the biggest reason why many commercial knives have forged bolsters. Lately, a lot of makers seem to be using JB Weld and I have started using it to seal ferrules and it seems to work well. If you can't use solder or don't want to use solder, JB Weld seems to be the next best thing. Epoxy isn't the best choice as many of them will soften over time with exposure to water......