As the design statement explaining the raison d’être behind FDRL’s Maple Set cutting tools lays out, “with this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day.” In order to second that emotion, we’d need to know if they’re really serious. As a thing of beauty, we’re all in. A single block of hand-crafted maple that celebrates two otherwise fairly mundane kitchen tools…what’s not to love? But if the creative minds at the Ottowa design consultancy intend these blades for actual food preparation use, that’s another story . . .
Leave aside any weight or handling issues. They probably feel great in the hand and, if you believe the web site, both are “balanced to ensure that they can be used by any level of chef.” Okay then.
But wait! Wood? It’s naturally porous, meaning that yummy stuff like pork blood and onion juice will seep right in, right? Au contraire, we’re assured. “The wood is sealed and food safe to allow for easy cleanup.” Yes, but for how long? One use? Maybe a dozen? Whatever the sealing process, it won’t stand up to any kind of serious use for very long. Can you say, “cross-contamination”?
And then there’s that blade, the composition of which they don’t disclose. It extends up into the wood and the whole thing’s held together with four rivets. Peachy. Until, inevitably, the wood gets wet. Then dries. Lather, rinse, repeat. Again, that bond won’t last. Not as firmly as you’d need it to. At which point you’ll get a Weeble-like wobble when you lean into a cabbage head or something similarly solid-ish. Should make for some interesting chiffonade, no?
This was obviously a blue sky, “because we can” kind of project. The web site calls it a prototype and indicates they’re “sourcing manufacturing,” apparently looking for someone to actually produce these things. Good luck with that. Again, as a work of art in our dream kitchen, maybe mounted on a wall? Yes, please. But taking up slots in our knife drawer, ready to be grabbed when it’s time to break down a duck or turn out some mirepoix to start a soup? Thanks, but no.