Stag bone handles?

91
16
Joined Jan 7, 2018
Hi everyone,
Im planning on buying a utility/petty knife and I fell in love with a stag handled one I found by chance in a store nearby. I was wondering if anyone had any experience or opinions on stag bone handles. Is there anything I should be wary about with this sort of handle? Also is it made from actual bone or the antlers?
Thanks!
 

phatch

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9,556
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It's usually just resin impregnated, jigged, and dyed bone. Hand wash should be fine.
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Mar 29, 2002
What I remember reading from AG Russell was that it's mostly giraffe bone any more but it's not criminally or unethically harvested. Anything with authentic stag will usually be sambar stag out of India with a pretty high price tag.
 
91
16
Joined Jan 7, 2018
Thanks!
And yea the knife is an old stock thiers issard. It costs double what the normal one does. However, it's a stainless one. What's your take on old stock stainless sabs? I didn't know they even existed honestly.
 
4,166
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Joined Dec 18, 2010
it's all about the hygienic issue.
You really need to say more than that for a credible response. :)

Sure, People should be washing their hands a lot anyway... as a hygienic issue. I have never seen anything to imply that a natural animal source of knife handle material has any inherent health risk. Seems like natural animal materials have been used for many years without ever drawing any noticeable concern.
 
2,563
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Joined Apr 25, 2014
If you work in a kitchen, you should be washing your hands. HOWEVER you don't need to wash your hands more often then if you used any other knife handle material.
 
2,854
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
You can find lots of vintage knives in "stag bone" on ebay, nice pre-war carbons at that, but I believe most will actually be in Bakelite (plastic polymer, actually quite fine and expensive compared to other kitchen plastics). These will be more desirable than relatively modern ones made of more ordinary plastics. It's a very good bet your sab is one of the latter, stainless kitchen knives didn't make their appearance till about the mid-fifties. And of course stainless sabs are pretty mundane performers.
 
91
16
Joined Jan 7, 2018
You can find lots of vintage knives in "stag bone" on ebay, nice pre-war carbons at that, but I believe most will actually be in Bakelite (plastic polymer, actually quite fine and expensive compared to other kitchen plastics). These will be more desirable than relatively modern ones made of more ordinary plastics. It's a very good bet your sab is one of the latter, stainless kitchen knives didn't make their appearance till about the mid-fifties. And of course stainless sabs are pretty mundane performers.

I don't use my utility knife a lot so I'm fine with how stainless sabs perform. It's more than enough for me. And yea the knife is from the early 60s, around what I expect it. But I didn't know about the Bakelite. I'm fairly certain it's the real deal, it's certainly looks and feels right. Do you think it's not worth it then?
 
2,854
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Joined Nov 15, 2012
Sure they're worth the relatively small amount paid if they snap buttons for you. All the ones I've seen from the 60's (and 70's even) and before are well finished and very attractive, usually with nickle silver fittings. They were coveted in the day and I can recall seeing them in many homes.
 
91
16
Joined Jan 7, 2018
Sure they're worth the relatively small amount paid if they snap buttons for you. All the ones I've seen from the 60's (and 70's even) and before are well finished and very attractive, usually with nickle silver fittings. They were coveted in the day and I can recall seeing them in many homes.

http://www.thebestthings.com/knives/sabatier_old_stock_misc.htm

The one before the last knife is what I was looking at, just to get a better idea. Do you think it's not real bone?
And thank you for putting up with a newcomer with way too many questions!
 
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Ask the owner, he'll come to the phone if you call, I've spoken to him and he seems to only tell you what he knows. You do realize these are carbon knives, not stainless. They'll patina well, they're on the soft side, relatively speaking, but sharpen to a screaming edge real easy. They have a soul and are certainly worth the money, regardless of the actual handle material composition.
 
91
16
Joined Jan 7, 2018
Ask the owner, he'll come to the phone if you call, I've spoken to him and he seems to only tell you what he knows. You do realize these are carbon knives, not stainless. They'll patina well, they're on the soft side, relatively speaking, but sharpen to a screaming edge real easy. They have a soul and are certainly worth the money, regardless of the actual handle material composition.
If only it was carbon. It would've been the perfect knife. They're not all carbon I'm afraid. If you look at the description of the one I'm talking about (the utility knife) it's stainless.
 

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