View Full Version : Dishwashers + Custom Handles = Don't Mix

Dave Martell
01-13-2014, 03:44 PM
I just got finished working on a rehabilitation of a custom handled Artisan gyuto that was sent through the dishwasher by mistake.

I had done the initial rehandle on this knife in a premium AZ Ironwood Burl and thankfully we went with a wood this hearty as I think most others would have been toast.

The left scale had buckled (shrunk) slightly away from the bolster/tang but all over the wood was reduced in thickness exposing sharp surfaces from the pins and tang as well as some minor cracking was seen at the middle pin. I decided to keep the wood and fill in the gaps & cracks with CA glue and then sand everything flush to see what I had to work with. Surprisingly, little evidence of damage could be seen at this stage so I decided to press forward.

The problem appeared in that the wood was extremely dry, so dry that when sanded I got very little of that orange ironwood like dust and little to no orange oil would appear on a wet rag. I then dunked the handle in a cup of teak oil and was amazed to watch the handle drink this stuff up like a sponge - yes literally - like a sponge. I soaked it for a couple of hours and then went to hand sanding and hand rubbing oil into the surface. I continued on this process for days, over and over again until the handle didn't want anymore oil. I can't say how many coats it took overall, something like 40+.

I finished with two hand rubbed coats of my (new) top secret oil formula-mix and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. Yes it's not as orange as it once was, it's actually a tad darker too, but overall the look is nice and the feel is buttery smooth which I believe is even better in this respect than it was originally.

Now the owner can once again hang this on the wall (or in his block on the counter) with pride and his wife doesn't have to live with the shame anymore. :)









Chef Andy
01-13-2014, 03:51 PM
Wow! That's quite a difference. Looks awesome.

01-13-2014, 03:55 PM

01-13-2014, 04:06 PM
who put it in the dishwasher? wife? girlfriend? mother in law?

01-13-2014, 04:11 PM
I assume this was the knife Dave posted about? Sounds like a fair amount of work was required but it looks fantastic. I'm sure he will be ecstatic.

01-13-2014, 05:08 PM

You are a patient man. That looks great, hate to think what you made an hour fixing it:bigeek:

01-13-2014, 05:20 PM
Yes, that one is mine. Dave did the rehandle job not long ago and I did my best to keep it out of the hands of my wife. No matter how careful I was she managed to find it and it hit the dishwasher, not once but twice.

Dave did a terrific job repairing the dishwasher damage and I am looking forward to having my knife back. Thanks Dave! It looks simply amazing!

Now that it has been repaired, I am going to experiment with a magnetic knife block so it will have a place to live in the open with the Fish handled nakiri I have and the paring knife I just received from Del.

01-13-2014, 05:24 PM
David, you have to set up some alarm that goes off when your wife reaches for your knives ;) Easy for me to say, I don't have a dish washer... In any case, glad to see what can be done when a Knife has gone through this.

And then the words '(new) top sectret oil formula-mix' caught my attention :D


Dave Martell
01-13-2014, 10:28 PM
Thanks for the kind words. :)

01-13-2014, 10:50 PM
Great job restoring them dave, look just like new. he will sure will be happy when he get it back

01-14-2014, 12:30 AM
Nice save, Dave!

01-14-2014, 02:22 AM
Literally back from the dead !

Can appreciate that the Chemicals and temp can ruin the finishing. But sucking out ,most of the oil in the wood is surprising and new to me.

I will never have this problem as I do not own a dish washer and can't verify te above mentioned point.

Fine workmanship.


01-14-2014, 07:18 AM
Never would have expected that the handle could be saved!

Dave Martell
01-14-2014, 10:36 AM
Literally back from the dead !

Can appreciate that the Chemicals and temp can ruin the finishing. But sucking out ,most of the oil in the wood is surprising and new to me.

I will never have this problem as I do not own a dish washer and can't verify te above mentioned point.

Fine workmanship.


I was surprised myself in how dry the wood was. I knew that the surface would be dry but to see oil getting sucked into the wood like a waterstone was something I didn't expect to see, especially on ironwood which normally won't even hold onto oil on the surface all that well.

01-18-2014, 08:03 AM
I'm a litle late responding here. Better late than never.

I received the knives back from Dave, wrapped and packed carefully. Actually they were wrapped so well it took me about 15 minutes to finally get to the knives. The handle rescue was even better in person than what was shown in the photos Dave supplied earlier. In fact the rescued handle may look better now than it did before. TERRIFIC job Dave!!!!! I am not a knife nut like most of you guys but I can appreciate good workmanship and this is a great representation.

He rescued the handle then sharpened the knife to a scary sharp edge. He even found time to sharpen my nakiri to a scary sharp edge.

Thanks again Dave. The results were superb!

Dave Martell
01-18-2014, 10:22 AM
I'm happy that you're happy Dave. Enjoy! :)