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  • Modifly is Flytanium's way to bring you the finishes you want for the knife scales you want, when you want it! All made-to-order by our in-house artists!


  • May 03, 2024 5 min read

    G-10. Copper. Ultem. There’s a lot of variety when it comes to knife handles, and even more variety with custom aftermarket parts. Each material has properties that make it unique and suited for different uses. We’ll break down the different materials we use in our handles and inlays to help you make the most informed decision on what would best complement your build.

    Part 1 - The Classics

    At the core of every good knife is solid, sturdy metal. Using metal knife handles can help balance your blade and give you that extra oomph. When you need a heavy-duty option to get you through tough situations, you’ll be glad you have the heft of Titanium or Copper to back you up.


    Aluminum is a common, cost-effective metal. It boasts a high tensile strength to weight ratio, and different alloys help to improve its traits in various situations. Two common aluminum types, 6061-T6 and 7075-T651, have slightly different alloy compositions. 6061 is easily machinable and much more ductile, making it ideal for knife handles and other complex parts. 7075 more dent resistant, making it ideal for balisong handles, like the Talisong Z or the Zenith Trainer. It does not machine well and tends to snap or shear unlike 6061.

    As aluminum is quite light, it will dent or pick up scratches easily. Aluminum is also quite slippery and notoriously difficult to coat. Coatings can be too shiny without grip or be too chalky, both in texture and visual appearance. Thanks to years of innovation and collaboration, we were able to nail the perfect coating recipe as seen on our Arcade® - a grippy textured knife that strikes the perfect balance.

    Aluminum has recently surged in popularity within the blade community. Brands like Pro-Tech and Squid Industries set the gold standard of high-quality knives that use aluminum in their handles. These innovations have led to a lower barrier to entry with different knives and balisongs while providing a hardier product than reinforced plastic or the like.



    Going up a weight class, Brass is about 3 times heavier than Aluminum, making it perfect for weightier applications. Brass is an alloy of Copper and Zinc (Bronze is Copper and Tin). The most common brass, known as 360 Brass, boasts a composition of around 61.5% copper, 35.5% zinc, 3% lead, and other trace elements. Other types of brass have similar portioned ratios.

    Brass is a traditional metal, going back to as early as 3 millennia BC through the use of Zinc-rich copper alloys. However, it wasn’t until around the 1st century BC that brass production became a deliberate mix of zinc and copper, and in the 16th century it was discovered that zinc and copper could be alloyed directly via speltering.

    Brass is the perfect choice for a classic, refined look. Brass can give you that golden glow without compromising on strength. The high copper percentage gives it an antimicrobial effect. It’s corrosion resistant and durable, making it an ideal knife handle.



    Copper is the next heaviest metal, being slightly heavier than brass as it lacks the lighter alloy components. This is the only metal on our list that is not an alloy, as both aluminum and titanium have added elements to enhance their strength. It holds the distinction as the first metal humans discovered and used – and has been in use for around 10,000 years.  Ancient civilizations used it for coins and tools, among other things. In modern day we use copper in pennies and other electrical components.

    Copper is also well known for the patina it develops as it oxidizes – a green-blue color emphasizing the age and history of an object. The Statue of Liberty is perhaps the most notable example of a copper patina. The copper slowly oxidized over a period of around 30 years. A patina is similar to rust, but unlike rust it will not corrode the underlying metal and instead provide a protective layer, making it corrosion resistant.

    Unfortunately, copper can dent easily, due to the lack of alloy materials to strengthen it. It also has a particular smell, which can transfer to your hands. Some people might understandably find these drawbacks a dealbreaker. However, copper is a metal that has stood the test of time, has anti-microbial properties, and has a nice weight in your hand. Ultimately, copper can be a beautiful piece that will age along with you and display your history through a beautiful patina and battle scars from use.



    Titanium is around half the weight of copper but has a significantly higher tensile strength. Titanium is also extremely durable, highly resistant to rust and corrosion, and can be anodized. This means that titanium is ideal for lifetime parts and pieces. However, titanium often comes with a heftier price tag than copper, brass, or aluminum.

    We use two main grades of titanium – Grade 2 and Grade 5. Grade 2 titanium is one of 4 “commercially pure” available grades of titanium. Even though there are many minutely alloyed elements i.e. oxygen, the titanium is wholly α phase without the presence of any β phase titanium. Grade 2 titanium is weaker than grade 5 titanium but has a high corrosion resistance in many extreme environments and has a high formability – it can be changed into new shapes without compromising the integrity of the internal bonds. In short – Grade two titanium might not be the strongest, but it holds up incredibly well in stressful and extreme situations.

    Grade 5 titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) is the most prevalent titanium, used in everything from aeronautics to medical implants. It’s strong, can be formed into shapes easily, withstands corrosion in various conditions, and anodizes well. Grade 5 titanium is a mixture of α and β phase titanium, due to the presence of alloys. It’s about 6% Aluminum, 4% Vanadium, and 90% Titanium. It also has a constantly regenerating oxide layer similar to that of aluminum.

    Titanium is also considered the “gold-standard” when it comes to balisong (butterfly knives). It allows handles to be shorter thanks to its weight and doesn’t dent as easily as aluminum would. Today, true billet channel titanium balisongs are becoming more rare and costly due to both raw material costs and time needed to properly machine titanium.

    Titanium will add a good amount of weight to your knife with a significant amount of strength, and you can expect to pass it on for generations to come. It can be pricy, but it is a highly customizable product that’s meant to last lifetimes.


    In Conclusion

    There’s a lot of different pros and cons to different metals. It ultimately comes down to preference and what you want your knife to look like. Knowing the advantages and drawbacks of these materials can help you to make your knife the best it can be. We believe that every knife should be an extension of you, and we hope this guide helps you to find what you like!

    Stay tuned next week for our next blog covering synthetics and specialty materials.