The Buck 110 is an American tradition, at this point. When most people think knife, they think Buck (or Rambo, but he used a Buck too), and when they think Buck, they think of the Buck 110 folding knife. But it has come a long ways from its simple wood-handled origins in 1964. Buck now offers the 110 in several different handle materials from wood to synthetics (which is better than it sounds). So we’ve compiled the different options here so you’ll know what to look for out there.
When you’re choosing between wood-handled knives from Buck, you’re mostly picking color. They’re all made from hardwoods that have been stabilized and laminated, so they’ll have about the same durability and you won’t have to worry about them bloating from moisture, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few different things to consider with each option.
If the 110 is classic, then oak might as well be a founding father. It has a rugged, simple look, it’s cost effective, and it’s hard as hell. The grip is comfortable and won’t slip easily, and it’s simple to maintain and clean thanks to the lamination process.
This has a slightly smoother look and feel compared to oak, but essentially the same characteristics. The walnut 110 is probably the most common color you’ll see on a Buck 110 because this darker color gives it a richer look than oak without being too flashy.
Some enthusiasts complain that the Cherrywood Bucks doesn’t look like actual cherrywood, which is a fair judgment since the color mostly comes from dye, but it looks great regardless. The Cherrywood 110 is a great choice for people who want a knife with a little more depth and luxury to its color without having to pad the price tag.
Now we’re getting into the fancy stuff where the price starts going up a little. If that scares you, go ahead with one of the wood handles. For you die hard collectors and gift givers out there, some of these will be worth the extra money.
Water Buffalo horn has a sleek black shine that you can’t really find in any other material. The grip will be a little more slick than a wooden handle, but it’s still plenty comfortable for your everyday carry. The caveat here is that a Water Buffalo handle usually raises the price of a Buck 110 by almost fifty dollars. This is a beautiful, hard material, but if you just need a simple, high quality knife, oak or walnut might be the better options.
Bone is a little more common in the knife world, (and don’t worry, it comes from animals that have died naturally). The grip has a lot of texture, and the bone-white color adds a nice unique look. Typically with a bone handle you have to worry about eventual splintering, but since the handle is encased in a metal (either brass or nickel), this bone should hold just fine.
G10 isn’t the best looking choice for a knife handle, and it certainly isn’t traditional, but it’s hard to beat in terms of function. It’s lightweight and very durable. G10 is basically layers of fiber glass soaked and compressed in resin to create a dense material that feels somewhere in between plastic and metal. That might not sound like the recipe for a solid knife handle, but G10 can stand up to a lot of abuse and reduces the overall weight of the knife. It is also easy to grip even when it is wet.
If You’d Like a Smaller Knife…
If you like the look of the 110, but have smaller hands or just don’t like hefty knives, the Buck 112 Ranger is a slimmer and shorter option with essentially the same shape and choices in materials. Any kind of handle from Buck will likely give you a lifetime of use, but it can take a while to find what you like and what feels best in your hand. You just have get out there and start trying them.