Celebrity cooks and professional chefs are adapting a fine woodcraft tradition that originated in Japan: the saya. The term "saya" derives from the Japanese word for a scabbard, specifically refering to the scabbard for a sword or knife.
 
The saya in Japan are traditionally manufactured from very lightweight wood, with a coat of lacquer on the exterior. The saya sheath extends beyond the blade toward the handle, so a pin can be drop in to lock the saya in place. 
 

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Rocking K Creations, Buffalo, Wyoming

Keith Hahn, Rocking K Creation, shares a view of his woodshop. See his and other woodshops in the Show Us Your Shop Channel. 

 

Craftsmen around the world are making saya, frequently as part of a knife forging businesses, but also including some U.S. woodshops that are developing the craft, and extending it to fine wood handles for knife collections of celebrity and serious amateur chefs - as well as collectors.

One such business is WaBocho, operated by Greg (below), a cook and knife collector from Poland to the United Kingdom in 2005, where he began making sharpening and repairing blades and making handles and saya. Greg works in dyed maple, stabilized buckeye burl, spalted maple, and koa, among other species. 
 
Isaiah Schroeder Knifeworks is a small shop where quality is taken seriously. Isaiah Schroeder and Alton Janelle say they have a reputation for being fanatical about the details. Their woodwork in handles and saya is clearly up to the demands of the knives they produce and service.
 
Working in poplar and veneers, or in solid wood such as bubinga, curly ash, walnut and sapele, IS Knifeworks operates a full-outfitted woodshop in Madison, WI, to support its business producing handles and saya. Here's Isaiah Schroeder (below).  
 

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