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Recommendation? Antler for an EDC/Work Knife?

Discussion in 'General Knife Discussion' started by cgunning17, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. cgunning17


    Mar 26, 2019
    Hello I have been considering getting a work/edc knife with an elk handle and I have heard many people would never do that. Is there a reason other than the cost of elk handled knives? I have heard that verdigris can cause the scales to become stained. Is elk easily ruined in dirty/work environments?
  2. justjed


    Oct 23, 2010
    I believe there are ways to seal stag handles, but that takes away some of the natural warmth and feel of the material, in my opinion. Natural materials are going to stain. That's just how it is.

    It probably depends on the handle, too. Slabs would probably be more susceptible by virtue of more contact area between different materials.
  3. Crimson Cloud

    Crimson Cloud Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 9, 2018
    CVamberbonehead and Dr Heelhook like this.
  4. Danke42


    Feb 10, 2015
    Natural materials like horn antler or bone are more fragile than other choices for a daily use knife.

    Most knives in that EDC or work category get dropped, banged around or otherwise used in a way that will damage the scales.

    Add in that the natural materials are more expensive when done right it's not the ideal choice.
    cgunning17 likes this.
  5. justjed


    Oct 23, 2010
    That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad choice. I don't think it is. Reasonable care. Accidents happen, of course, but stag is pretty tough, if you don't abuse your tools.
    CVamberbonehead likes this.
  6. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I've built many hundreds and hundreds, if not more, of elk/antler handled knives.


    In the box in the foreground alone I'm counting 9, it's a very popular handle material for me:


    Counting 14 in this batch ready for the handles to be hand sanded:


    Five out of twenty here:


    The vast majority of my sales are to cowboys/ranchers, guys that aren't particularly easy on stuff.

    Ya can see my own personal elk handled EDC there on my waist with the thongs hanging down, if ya look close. I carried this knife about 3 years doing active cowboy stuff:



    Here it is posing in some no name cowboy bar in the middle of nowhere AZ.


    I have found elk/antler to be a very durable material and practical as well as good looking. Is it bullet proof? No, but this one survived the lawn mower:


    Had to build the customer a new sheath though. Many folks say that the synthetic handle materials are bullet proof, they're not:


    Anyhoo if ya like elk or antler, it'll work for ya. I don't recall every repairing or replacing an elk handle and thats on a lot of knives that have seen a lot of life.
  7. McFeeli


    Feb 13, 2017
    I don’t see any issue with doing that. Of course because it is a natural material, you’ll just have to take care of it. That could be said for most knife scales out there, except maybe the plastic variety. Most of my traditionals have wood covers and I’ve yet to damage them from daily use. As long you know that something could happen, I don’t think there is any reason you shouldn’t carry it if you want to.
  8. CVamberbonehead


    Nov 6, 2017
    Antler is some really tough stuff. As far as staining, I wouldnt sweat it. I have been using a Silver Stag slab handled skinning knife for a couple of years now and it doesnt stain. Blood just washes off. Antler seems to be the most durable natural handle material in my experience. I think it holds up better than some man made materials, like delrin for instance. Youll be just fine with a stag handled knife.
    cgunning17 and Crimson Cloud like this.
  9. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I have a Buck 110 folding hunter stag handle I got new in 1989. It has field dressed and processed many deer throughout the years as well as other outdoor activities and still looks as good as new the day I received it. No discoloring or any kind of damage. I’m sure there’s some normal wear but that’s the great thing about antler it doesn’t show wear like some other materials do. It is a good durable natural hard working material.
  10. cgunning17


    Mar 26, 2019
    A custom buck 110 hunter with the nickel frame. I have heard that the brass frame can develop verdigris and stain the stag green. I also want to own a custom fixed blade with stag handles in the future.
    does it have nickel or brass bolsters/frame? May I see pictures?

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