what is pakkawood

What is Pakkawood?

Unlock Why It Makes Amazing Knife Handles

By Bobby B.  |  June 13, 2019  | Blog

Pakkawood is an engineered wood/resin composite that makes for a strong and ultra-durable material.  It is quite dense and more water-resistant than its real-wood counterparts.  Pakkawood is most notably used in knife handles because of these resilient properties and how it holds up to lots of daily wear and tear.  Many high-end kitchen knives are meant to be your “knife for life” and last a lifetime.  Of course for this to happen, the handles need to last under the same conditions as well.

pakkawood examples

Composition & Appearance

Pakkawood is formed by selecting hardwood veneers and impregnating them with phenolic thermoset resins, and sometimes dyes.  This composite material becomes very solid and dense through extreme heat and pressure.  The finished product can appear to be very similar to real, natural wood in some cases, depending on the intent of its creator.  In most cases, pakkawood used in knife handles are made to look as much like natural wood as possible and some dyes can even be added to imitate common hardwoods like oak, walnut, and more.  

in a more whimsical category, pakkawood can even appear like a new species of wood when certain dyes are added to create funny patterns or colors.  Some examples are mutli-colored products or even those that appear like camouflage.  Depending on the dyes used, they can even give the appearance of an out-of-this-world, almost alien-type wood product. 

Through sanding and polishing, pakkawood provides the knife with a glossy finish naturally, without the need for a spray-on product.  Ultimately, pakkawood gives you a similar look and feel as finished wood, but performs with characteristics not found in nature.  Its durability, water resistance properties, and beauty make it an attractive alternative to natural wood in many applications.  

Other Pakkawood Uses

We’ve established that pakkawood is commonly used in knife handles due to its durability and resilience against constant wear and tear.  But where else is this composite material used in our everyday lives?

  • Military Equipment
  • Kitchen Utensils 
  • Premium Shaving Razors

Where Are Pakkawood Handles Most Common?

Japanese kitchen knives, steak knives, and even pocket knives are all knives that commonly use pakkawood handles.  Certain kitchen knife brands use pakkawood more than others.  It’s a material that’s often used in higher-end knives that will be heavily used.  This is why steak knives and professional Japanese-style knives are popular uses.  For example, Shun Cutlery makes many of their kitchen knives with pakkawood handles due to its durability. 

pakkawood handles

Pakkawood Utensils

As mentioned in the “other pakkawood uses” section, kitchen utensils are also sometimes made from this material.  These pakkawood utensil sets are quite exotic looking with lots of bright colors.  For the reasons mentioned above, they are both water and heat resistant, so they make great tools in your kitchen.  In addition, they tend to be scratch-proof on non-stick cookware, so they’re a winner!  If you’ve never seen these before, you gotta click the link below and check them out.  They’re amazing!

Pakkawood Care

Now that you know how pakkawood is made, you’re probably wondering how to care for your knives.  A common question we see in the kitchen knife industry…Is pakkawood dishwasher safe?  The short answer is no.  While it’s a material that is largely water-resistant, it still does use wood veneer in it and it’s just not good practice to soak it with water (worse yet, soapy water) and let it set for an extended period of time.  Like all fine knives and any wooden-handle steak knife, we recommend that you always rinse and dry your kitchen knives by hand immediately after use.  

In an effort to try and quell some confusion, pakkawood is often split into two words and spelled “pakka wood”.  When you see this, it’s more than likely referring to the same material being discussed above.