ProSono offers knife makers in southern Africa high-quality knife scales and blocks, in a range of beautiful African hardwoods.
Our hardwood is also suitable for custom-made cutlery and unique collectors’ items, such as swords and axes.
In this article, we cover:
The right wood adds to the function and beauty of a finished knife.
The nature of a project will help determine which wood characteristics are the most important. Among the factors to consider are:
A number of African hardwood species are ideal for making handles for knives, axes, swords and other tools.
Mopane is rich in colour, with a fine, uniform texture. It is very dense and extremely durable.
Because of its hardness, mopane can be tricky to cut. However, it is excellent for turning.
Pink or red ivory, a protected species in South Africa, is sought after for its beautiful colouring, which ranges from light pink to dark red.
This rare wood doesn’t slit easily due to its high oil content. It works well on the lathe and with the chisel.
African or wild olive is popular for its pleasing grain patterns. It is hard, non-porous and heavy, and darkens somewhat with age.
Leadwood is a protected species in South Africa. It is characterised by great hardness and a blackish lustre when polished.
Camel thorn, also known in South Africa as kameeldoring, is a dense hardwood with an attractive reddish to purplish brown colour.
A popular choice with knife makers, camel thorn is strong and easy to turn, and polishes to a high shine.
African blackwood remains one of the world’s most coveted hardwoods.
It is extremely dense and, after polishing, has a dark, smooth appearance with almost no visible grain pattern.
At ProSono, we continue to offer limited supplies (subject to careful monitoring and regulation) of African blackwood. However, the availability of this hardwood is limited and, for a number of reasons, likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Many African hardwoods of high density and oily content cannot be stabilised.
For species such as African blackwood, mopane, leadwood, wild olive, pink ivory, tambotie and camel thorn, the wood must be perfectly dry before the process of making a handle starts. These species all have a density above 1.0 (heavier than water) or very close to it.
For softer woods, stabilisation can add hardness and make the wood moisture- and damage-resistant.
Stabilising wood involves injecting it with resin or polymers. Optionally, dyes may also be added.
It can also be used to create interesting changes in colour and appearance.
The stabilisation process typically involves using a vacuum to draw air out of the wood’s pores. High pressure is then used to force a liquid stabilising agent to penetrate the wood. Finally, the wood is heat-treated to convert the stabiliser into a solid.
ProSono offers knife scales and blocks in a range of dense African hardwoods.
All hardwood we offer is:
We routinely exhibit knife scales and blocks at trade fairs and guild shows – and many South African knife makers are regular visitors to our sawmills.
We also export knife blanks to customers around the globe. Buyers are welcome to request photographs of unique hardwood we have in stock that may meet their needs.
For more information about our hardwood knife scales and blocks, contact us with your requirements and we’ll do our best to assist.