Wooden chef's knives

I have no idea if FDRL's "Maple Set" knives are practical or even useful, but they are extremely beautiful.

With this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day. The focus is drawn to the high polished blade, while the rest of the knife's Maple wood body sits warmly in the hand and blends in to its surroundings. The wood is sealed and food safe to allow for easy cleanup. The knife gives the appearance of being lightweight; however their weight is balanced to ensure that they can be used by any level of chef.

Maple Set (via Core77)


  1. Looks like a chisel-type edge on the blade.  That’s not normal for a chef’s knife, is it?  Seems like that would make these difficult to use.

    1. The chisel edge is weird.  Also, I doubt the cleaver has the mass needed to do what cleavers are supposed to do.

      But they are nice to look at.  Maybe they should do a full or partial tang version.

    2.  Japanese kitchen knives are commonly single ground, but do usually require separate left and right-handed versions depending on the user.

      1. And they cut quite differently from knives with symmetric bevels – I have a couple of big deba boning knives, they require some practice to make straight slices with. On the plus side, they are easy to sharpen, just like chisels.

        1. Yeah the single bevel/chisel edges tend to angle a cut toward the flat edge. I have one that’s hollow ground on the flat edge, and its nearly impossible to keep it straight.

  2. With this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day.

    Because the first thing I look for in my kitchen knives is emotion.  Actually, that’s the last thing I want my meat cleaver to inspire.

  3. Maybe it’s to reduce the amount of metal?  I would have used plastic for the handle.  It would last longer.

    Perhaps a ceramic blade would be a better choice.

  4. I’d be quite surprised if the cleaver held up, but I wouldn’t expect to have problems with the paring knife.   I’ve used plastic knives with steel edges before and I have a set of plastic scissors with steel blades that have lasted for decades.

    But more importantly now I have another inspiration source for what to do with the beautiful wood I’ve been riving out of an old plum tree stump.

    1. Well if the cleaver is intended to be a Chinese cleaver it shouldn’t be a problem. Intended to chop veg and boneless meat. But if they expect me to hack at any bones with the damn thing they’re dreaming. 

  5. Any serious tool user knows that for any cutting tool you want a full-tang design because it stands stress better.  The metal on these things is held to the wood by screws or rivets.  There’s no tang at all.  They have introduced multiple failure points where there don’t need to be any, and shouldn’t be.  With all due respect to the people who make and sell these things, which in this case is none whatever, the design of these things is idiotic.  Worse.  It’s reprehensible.  They have deliberately introduced weak spots into products that must be sturdy or they inherently endanger their users.  The sellers’ writeup on them would be laughable if they weren’t talking about something which they have made dangerous in order to make it pretty.  I wouldn’t use that parody of a cleaver on a bet.  They have strangled design sense to death and thrown its body out the window in their pursuit of pointless aesthetics.

    1. The connection of the metal to the wood looks a bit dubious.  It looks like it could work ok for cutting forces that are ideal.  But any pulling or wiggle motion could be a disaster.

      I have a different concern about the tang.  The “tang” is solid.  However, it’s solid wood.  Not nearly as strong as metal.

      What would fix your concerns and mine and make for a similar looking knife is if instead of making the blade smaller, the handle were larger.  Make the entire thing a sandwich with thin metal extending from the blade edge up through the tang.  Then layer wood over the handle and most of the blade except the edge.

      In the simplest form, the metal would be seen all along the handle.  But if the wood was pocketed, the metal could be hidden inside the blade and handle.  A full tang knife with wood covering everything except the blade edge.

      If you want the correct weight, make some holes in the blade and fill them with tungsten.  Or heck, use a sheet of 1 or 2 mm tungsten carbide instead of steel.

  6. I know people who have extremely beautiful, high end kitchens but who never cook.  These knives would suit them well.

    1. A friend of mine went to a party at his coworker’s house in the suburbs. They had installed a camp kitchen in their garage because their kitchen was too nice to use.

    2.  I know people who are perfectly happy to use my boning knife to make a goddamn sandwich…

  7. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t cut well provided that steal was any good. But all that wood, and the seams and rivets, are going to introduce some serious drag as the knife cuts through anything with some moderate resistance or with any sticking power. Like a potato, or fat. Both of which cause drag and sticking on my knives designed specificly to deal with that problem (hollow ground or otherwise super sharp and thin). Also I don’t care how well sealed or “food safe” the wooden portions are, the rivets and seams where the actual blade is attached are going to collect infectious junk. Rotting out both the wood and the steal, and causing serious contamination concerns. 

    Looking at their other designs as presented on the site, it seems they’ve got a pretty heavy disregard for common sense, base utility, and durability.  A stamped aluminium bird house that hangs from a leather strap. Leather rots when exposed to the weather, and birds will only use a birdhouse under specific circumstances, even the hole and interior need fairly specific dimensions. One that heats up in the sun hot enough to cook their eggs, doesn’t have a perch that isn’t a sharp edge, and waves about in the wind isn’t going to cut it. Then there’s a FIRE PIT on there made of wood, which is self evidently stupid. This is design wankery. None of this will ever be sold. If by some miracle it is it will be as over priced design objects for display by foolish urbanites.

  8. Never mind practical or useful, I don’t think they’re even real. Those are renderings. On their other projects they show the status as ‘Prototyped’ (past tense) when they have a real, physical device. This one is shown as ‘Sourcing Manufacture’ which leads me to believe it’s an idea they haven’t executed yet.
    Most if not all of their product design items are in-house projects too, only one of their UI/UX projects seems to have an actual client.

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