The design of my knives has evolved as I have progressed, mainly to suit my needs and the way I use them, but also due to input from friends and colleagues whose skills and experience I respect. They have a Scandinavian type, single beveled edge which gives excellent control of cutting angle against the work piece. With this type of edge it is relatively simple to maintain the correct angle while sharpening.
I use O1 tool steel for the blades and a range of hardwoods for the handles. Synthetic handle options are available in the form of Tufnol, Micarta and G10.
O1 tool steel is a high carbon, non-stainless steel so requires more care than stainless steels. This steel will take and hold a very fine polished edge that is well suited to working with wood.
The main advantage in using this steel is the ease of sharpening, particularly important when having to maintain an edge in the field with pocket stones.
My preferred method of construction is to use a hollow ground or tapered tang with scales and liners fixed in place with epoxy resin and Loveless or Corby bolts.
A hollow ground tang is essentially a concaved section ground out of the tang, this serves to lower the overall weight in the handle and improve the balance and feel of the knife. It also improves the epoxy bond between scales, liners and steel of the tang. A tapered tang further reduces weight in the handle which works well with blades of 4mm thickness and over.
Loveless bolts are by far the strongest method I have found of fixing the handle in place. The diagram above show's a cross section through a handle and how the bolts secure everything in place. I also frequently use Corby bolts which have a cleaner look while maintaining a good mechanical joint.