Handle MaterialĀ Info

Arno Bernard Knives has the unique position in the knife industry in that we have access to an incredible array of wonderful handle material literally at our fingertips. We feel that South Africa and the Bernard family is blessed with the natural resources that make our knives both beautiful and functional.

Our bone handles are from legally harvested wild game throughout the southern part of the African Continent. The sheep horn is locally purchased, our warthog tusks are from sources that the Bernard family has worked with for many years, and our woods are hand-picked and dried locally. One of our best-selling materials is the crocodile Hide handle that is purchased from South African farming operations and is one of our most renewable and easily obtained materials.

We are sometimes overwhelmed with the opportunities presented to us daily and while we now offer 9 material selections for our knives, we continually test and develop new materials and processes. The future holds many exciting new products for Arno Bernard Knives.

While the raw materials are crucial, equally important is the years of experience the Bernard family has in gathering, drying, stabilizing, and cutting knife handles. We know what it takes to have the proper density, look, feel, and other characteristics to make a quality knife. We have the human resources to gather the materials as found in their natural state and develop it to the proper condition to be used as knife handles.

Look for new and innovative handle materials from South Africa in the near future.

Current handle material options:


The warthog is a wild member of the pig family found in Africa. Its ivory tusk resembles elephant ivory in density, texture, and quality. Warthog tusk is capable of being polished to a high gloss and takes scrimshaw well. Due to the size of the tusk, this material is unavailable in the Giant and Predator series. Warthog tusk is available on the Grazer series in limited quantities and as a special order.

The giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal. It is admired as an icon of wild Africa, a much sought after game animal, and a food source for both humans and predators. Its shinbone is among the strongest bones of any animal and is very dense. As a knife handle it is both durable and beautiful. The handles are stabilized and dyed with natural shades and the different amounts of fat inside the bone causes a variety of patterns.

South African farmers use the wool and meat of Merino Sheep, it is a major food source throughout South Africa. Sheep horn consist of layers of scales that lend an interesting texture when made into handles. Sheep horn is one of the strongest natural handle materials.

G10 (XX05)
G10 is our only synthetic handle material. It is a glass epoxy composite laminate and is lightweight, waterproof and durable. We use it because of customer demand and acceptance in the industry.

Ebony is a dark, dense, and very hard African wood. It has an intricate grain pattern only seen after it is polished and seems to grow more beautiful with age. This material will provide many years of service.

Crocodiles are the largest aquatic reptiles that live in Africa. Its rigged back armour (part of the hide) is used to create a beautiful and durable handle that feels great in the hand. Our handle material comes from farm raised crocodiles that are one of our most renewable resources.

The mammoth is an extinct mammal that belonged to the elephant family. The remains of these giants are found throughout the world. The fossilized molars are stabilized and polished to create a beautiful and unique handle. Since it is fossilized it is basically stone which makes it very challenging to work and shape. As the tooth becomes a fossil it absorbs the minerals in the surrounding earth so the colors are as varied as our earth. Knives made of this material are truly a unique treasure as each handle is a piece of the history of our earth.

The coloration patterns in Spalted Maple are highly sought after for their ability to stand out next to other woods. The winding black lines give each handle made from this wood an extra boost of uniqueness.

This is a wild olive tree native to South Africa. The wood has a rich color, shows lots of grain, is dense and oily, and makes a durable handle. We stabilize the wood and polish it to a high gloss.