Is brass outdated?


Well-Known Member
I am working on a pair of framed handle bowies on for a client and one for the Blade show. I am using higher end materials such as damascus,Musk ox and mammoth ivory. My question is I have not seen may higher end knives with brass, why is this? I was planning on using some thin brass in the frame for color and some brass coined spacers again for color and contrast. Is this acceptable in todays higher end knives? I was told by another maker that brass has its time and place, but is becoming obsolete as a material in knife making. Should I proceed or look for another material to add that contrast and color. if so does anyone have any recomendations?

kevin - the professor

Well-Known Member
I can't speak for higher end modern customs. I can only say that brass is appropriate for anything made to resemble period pieces from China (e.g., dao or jian). it is also appropriate for several other period remakes. Whether it is a hot commodity in the modern marketplace, I have no idea.

It is a joy to work, except bronze forges better.


Mark Behnke

Well-Known Member
Good question.
I don't have the answer.

Bronze seems to be acceptable and bronze is a type of brass.

Bronze= copper tin alloy
Brass =copper zinc alloy
Nickel silver= copper nickle alloy

I've heard some say it's because it tarnishes, to me that's the beauty, patina.

Many bowies of the 1800s used brass, Scagels, Randals , older Loveless of more recent times, but maybe as you said, out dated?
Last edited:

Mike Martinez

Well-Known Member
I like brass on carbon steel since it patinas like the steel. On stainless, well, I like stainless. :D just my $0.02

Brad Lilly

Moderator and Awards Boss
I like and use brass but I have been told it is not popular, by more than one guy. I probably will use less brass in the future, I don't like to disregard good advice. I have this knack for knowing and building what everybody dose not like:)


Well-Known Member
I like brass , it's easy to work with , but it seems like stainless is what most people prefer ..


Well-Known Member
On a period piece where poeple want the look, brass is right at home.
On modern and especially culinary using brass is is just asking for problems.

One current trend i have seen of makers using using brass as liners for full tang knives is a recipe for disaster.
If any mostiure gets under those brass liners the green crud will grow and seperate the scales.

Just my two cents,
Brass is out dated unless you are building a dated knife! :biggrin:

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
Just from what I've picked up on these boards and the few knife shows that I've been too, brass and bronze aren't looked on with much favor by knife collectors. It's sort of like knives with antler or horn handles sell better than knives with wood handles; just the way it is.


Tom Lewis

Well-Known Member
Around 25 years ago, Bob Jones, a member of the Knifemakers Guild told me, "Brass is out".
You might look in the "Knives 2014" book and see what is being used.
I think brass goes good with a Bowie knife.


If you're making a R@ndall style knife with alum butt and all the spacers I think it looks good but a straight up brass guard on a knife otherwise looks
outdated and not very classy. Agree that on a bowie looks good-


Well-Known Member
So what are you all using instead of brass?

Bronze, stainless steel, wrought iron?


Well-Known Member
I still use a lot of brass on bolisters on scale handles,it's customers choice on almost all knives I've made with antler scales.I like using mild steel on my bowie's and then blue them.I can't stand the look of the pre made brass s gaurd you see on some bowie's.I also like to use nickel silver for bolisters especially with mammoth ivory scales.But brass has its place on EDC hunters,lots of folks want that old school look.

Joel Brazzoni

Well-Known Member
I think brass is gross looking, nickle silver on the other hand has some class, and you definitely can't go wrong with stainless.
That's just my strong opinion.

Keith Willis

Well-Known Member
I will use brass for things such as spacers on my knives. However if I were going to make a higher end knife such as what u are making I would use Bronze .... Just my opinion

God bless