We are rolling out a new look for the Knifewear-exclusive Moritaka Ishime line. It now sports a new American cherry and pakkawood handle. The reason for the change is because the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has announced that the wood these knives once sported, rosewood, is now a protected species. Brazilian rosewood has been protected for years, but now all woods bought and sold as rosewood are.
Apparently, you can blame our second-favourite consumer good, guitars, for the shortage. Rosewood is a favourite material of instrument makers. Like most things humans hunt to extinction, Rosewood is gorgeous and useful. We as a species just can’t get enough of a good thing.
Knifewear had the option of doing a bunch of paperwork every time we wanted to import knives with rosewood handles, but in keeping with our values, we’d rather err on the side of sustainability. Plus, we didn’t want to end up like Gibson, having a whole warehouse full of dubiously-imported goods and no way to prove it was legal.
We’ve discussed the situation with our partners in Japan, and they all agree with us that the logical path is to shift materials and let the rosewood grow. So we’ve made the move to a more sustainable wood, American cherry. Cherry trees have a relatively shorter lifespan, which means they mature more quickly and are, therefore, a far more sustainable option. Plus, cherry is less porous than many woods, making it ideal for kitchen applications. Finally, we just think it has a clean, modern look. We already loved the cherrywood handles on the Masakage Koishi, so why not give some other lines a chance to share that good fashion sense.
In cooperation with our partners, we will be transitioning all lines that have traditionally had rosewood handles - Kotetsu, Takeda, Sasame, Haruyuki Kuma, and Masakage Kumo - to cherry and pakkawood handles made by the same stellar handlemaker they’ve been working with for years. You won’t have to worry about your favourite line having a different feel once the transition has been made; all handle shapes will stay the same.
An added benefit to this change is that our customers ordering from outside of Canada won't have any issues with customs possibly holding up orders because of the rosewood being flagged as an illegal import.
We will still be selling old rosewood stock, so if you’re looking for a matching handle in any of the lines mentioned above, there may still be some around. We think the new look is spectacular, and I for one welcome our new American cherry wood handles.