There are many types of steel available that are excellent for use in knifemaking. I use A2, a cold working, air hardening tool steel. When properly heat treated and quenched, A2 holds an extremely sharp cutting edge and maintains excellent wear and abrasion resistance. A2 is a high carbon/high chromium steel that performs very well in the kitchen. It is not a stainless steel.
The handles on my knives are primarily cocobolo, CAS rosewood and bocote, tropical hardwoods from Central and South America that I have acquired over my years as a guitarmaker. These are all hard, dense, oily woods that make durable and beautiful knife handles. Additionally, well figured North American woods such as maple and walnut that have been resin stabilized may be available.
These are a few kitchen knives currently in production: