Spotted recently: kitchen knives with handsome wood handles for a rustic look. Knife enthusiasts would be well advised to pay a visit to Chef Knives to Go, a Madison, Wisconsin-based outfit. According to owner Mark Richmond, "We carry 39 different brands, which I believe gives us the widest variety of knives of any online store and perhaps any regular retail store. I have added hard to find hand-crafted Japanese knives like Takeda, Moritaka, and Tanaka, while still carrying a wide selection of traditional knives such as Wusthof and Henckels."
N.B. Wood-handled knives must be hand-washed and should not be left to soak, which could cause the handles to crack. Yes, it's a hassle, but the truth is all high-quality kitchen knives should be hand-washed for longevity.
Above: Set of three Sabatier Olive-Wood Parers; $77.40 directly from venerable French company Sabatier.
Above: French company Opinel has been making knives since 1895; the Opinel Kitchen Set includes a set of four essential kitchen tools with beechwood handles; $49 at Brook Farm General Store.
Above: The Opinel Bread Knife features an 8-inch-long blade and beechwood handle; $39 at Brook Farm General Store.
Above: Sur La Table recently added Japanese Miyabi Birchwood knives to its offerings. Each knife features blades made of 101 layers of steel with birchwood handles; prices start at $149.95 for the 3.5-inch Miyabi Birchwood Paring Knife.
Above: The Tamahagane 3.5-Inch Paring Knife is made of three-ply stainless steel with a compressed laminate wood handle; $75.95 at Chef Knives to Go.
Above: The Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef Inox Wa-Gyuto has a 9.5-inch blade made of Swedish steel and is made according to 600-year-old Japanese traditional techniques; $189.95 at Chefs Knives to Go.