Tatsumi Wooden Handle Works : Handcrafting wooden handles of Japanese knives

Tatsumi Wooden Handle Works produces wooden handles for Sakai Takayuki knives and the handles of other famous knife makers. Presently, automated production techniques using machinery are employed in handle-making but at Tatsumi Wooden Handle Works, each handle is carefully made by a craftsman.

Various types of wood are used in wooden knife handles but the most common one is Magnolia wood which is water-resistant and feels natural to the touch. I was able to observe part of the handle-making process using Magnolia wood – please watch the video below.

a600IMG_3799 The handle is shaved so that the bolster can be attached.

a600IMG_3812 I saw a water buffalo’s horn that was kept for display. The part that is used for a knife’s bolster is just a very small portion of the tip of a water buffalo’s horn. A glossy, beautiful water buffalo bolster can be made through shaving and polishing.

a600IMG_3802 The shape of its hole is adjusted by using the tip of an iron rod heated in a kiln.

a600envonywood Japanese yew wood which is harder and more water-resistant than magnolia wood is also used for the wooden handle, as well as Ebony wood which is the hardest and most water-resistant of all. Processing Ebony wood is difficult, and it is expensive because it is a prized wood. But it is beautiful and elegant, and is also highly durable so it is mostly used in upscale knives.

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