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I'm guessing you could subclass Slider to create a class SliderKnob.
At some stage in the process, not sure where (perhaps after calling super in the constructor), you could look up the slider region's child thumbnail and track and call setVisible(false) and setManaged(false) on them, create an ImageView for your knob, add the knob ImageView to the slider's region and bind the ImageView's rotateProperty to the slider's valueProperty(). Not sure that that is any better than using the SkinBase stuff, but at least it is an alternative idea.
Everything to create your own controls has not been added to the public API, so if you want to make your own controls in the same way the JavaFX does them (i.e. with Skin's and Behaviours and stuff like that) you have to make use of com.sun classes unless you can subclass and modify the workings of existing controls similar to what is proposed in the preceding paragraph.