Many have standards when selecting a kitchen knife handle, it is the only component that we physically engage with a knife. Others however, can overlook the handle at all, seeing it as merely a small part of a kitchen knife and not important. Taihei San, a 3rd generation handle maker, shows a strong commitment to this aspect of kitchen knife creation.
As a child, Taihei remembers his grandfather crafting knife handles from timber and buffalo horn by hand, these fond memories helped him to decide to carry on the tradition from his father to the next generation, the year was 1992.
During mainstream manufacture, the handle component is not considered the main part of a kitchen knife, most manufacturers choose to cut costs by having the ferrule made at a different location, then joining the two parts and shaping the handle by machine. Taihei however, still cuts each part of the handle by hand from solid materials, understanding the differences between each piece of wood and horn. This knowledge and skill makes Taihei’s handles more durable than mass-produced models as he is making each piece to suit the materials in his hand.
Along with making traditional Ho magnolia wood handles, Taihei also challenges his work with many different timbers. Each piece of wood has a different weight, density and character, all important to consider when crafting each individual kitchen knife handle. Taihei still respects tradition, but challenges with new materials and design, focusing on looks and functionality.