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sakai kyuba classic cherry nakiri vegetable premium japanese knife

Wooden handles: Maple burl vs Cherry wood

Before we can go into the details of each wood type, we must identify what makes wooden handles so good. So why opt for wooden handles?

Wood is natural material that is warm to the touch, comfortable to hold and long lasting. Therefore, it is no surprise that wood has been widely used as a knife handle. A beautiful wooden handle can add a lot of value to a quality knife blade. It is a classic yet elegant choice for any kitchen knife. 

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We have identified three main benefits of wooden handles:

Beauty: A wooden handle adds beauty and character to kitchen knives. As a material, wood is easy to carve and handle which makes it possible to add beautiful designs to a kitchen knife. 

Comfort: Wooden handles are very comfortable to hold. It allows for a good grip of the knife, preventing it from slipping out of your hand. Therefore it is very easy to work with and gives you precision in cutting for both chefs and home cooks. 

Durability: Wood is a material that, if taken care of properly can last a lifetime. 

Here at Oishya the wooden handles in our Sakai Kyuba (Sakai Kyuba and Sakai Kyuba Classic) ranges are available in two different wood types: Cherry wood and Stabilised Maple Burl. Both types of wood are cut into octagonal shaped ambidextrous handles, giving you a firm grip on the knife. They are both perfectly balanced and light, allowing for maximum precision and more controlled movements during use. Let us identify their characteristics:

Stabilised Maple Burl

Maple wood is known for being a strong and durable wood with good resistance to decay. Our Sakai Kyuba range features a premium-cut, waterproof stabilised maple burl wooden handle. Well, you might be asking yourself what does this mean. Let us explain:

Burl wood

A burl consists of wood in which the grain knots around, going randomly in every direction, thereby resulting in unpredictable unique figures. Burls are rare and hence much more costly than plain wood. Each piece of burl is complex and unique. 

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Stabilised wood 

All burls have to be stabilised. This is a process in which the burl is impregnated with resin at very high pressures, to fill the wood throughout. This results in a very dense, tough and solid wood handle that is waterproof. So, simply put stabilisation prevents moisture movement within the wood and the potential of resulting splits and bacteria growth. 

The resin used in the stabilisation process can also be dyed to change the wood’s colour. This is exactly what we do with our Sakai Kyuba range which comes in Olive Green (dyed), Mediterranean Blue (dyed) or Natural Brown (not dyed) colour. 

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This whole process takes time. The limited European Maple Burl has to be dried for two years before it undergoes the process of stabilisation (and colour dying). Ultimately, this makes a very durable wooden handle with a unique pattern and colour. 

Cherry Wood

On the other hand, our Sakai Kyuba Classic range features a classic premium-cut, water resistant cherry handle. Cherry wood has a smooth, closed grain pattern (similar to maple wood). It is a reddish-brown hardwood with an excellent, smooth finish. Depending on the tree growth, a cherry wood board can have many contrasting grain patterns. 

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In the case of the extremely limited European Natural Cherry, the wood is dried well before it undergoes the process of handle forming and blade mounting. Consequently it has a high water resistance and is able to last generations.

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