(Un)stabilized WoodSo.

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Paul6001

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Another newbie question. What will happen when I run out of them? Are there recovery groups? “Hi, my name is Paul and I have a Japanese knife.”

“Hi, Paul.”

So I’m reading about handle care, and I learn that, at a very basic level, there are two kinds of handles: Stabilized and not. But while I came across much learned discussion about the difference, I never found the answer to my newbie questions-

What does stabilized mean? How do I know if my handles are stabilized or not? What do I do once I find out? Is it fatal if I have both kinds?

You guys have been great about answering my very basic questions. I greatly appreciate it. Remember, there are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

(I feel safe and non-sexist using the word “guys.” I don’t imagine this board is the place I should be trolling for a date.)
 

Bensbites

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Stabilized wood starts as dry wood and is placed in a vacuum chamber with stabilizing monomer. A vacuum is pulled until bubbling has ended meaning there is no more air in the wood. When the vacuum is released atmospheric pressure pushes all the stabilization monomer into every little void. This is then polymerized. The simple version is cactus juice and is heat induced polymerization. What knife do you have? The description should help.
 

Paul6001

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A Wakui Gyotu. Still in transit.

I’m not technically astute and even your Everyman cactus juice reference got past me. So let me try again. Why are knives stabilized? What is the goal? Is it a good thing? Do you know if Wakui does it?
 

Sanchezi

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Stabilized woods will be very resistant to warps, cracks, etc with changes in humidity. As you go from summer to winter this can impact your knife handles and cutting boards and you will see them get dry and eventually crack if not taken care of. Taking care of non stabilized wood isn't difficult, you do need to take care of it though. I use mineral oil and bees wax to take care of my knife handles and cutting boards. It takes not even 5 min to do all of my boards and knife handles.

Not sure if there is also a bacterial/food safety benefit for stabilization of the wood - I have heard this depends on how the wood is stabilized, but I am not an expert.
 

M1k3

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A Wakui Gyotu. Still in transit.

I’m not technically astute and even your Everyman cactus juice reference got past me. So let me try again. Why are knives stabilized? What is the goal? Is it a good thing? Do you know if Wakui does it?
Cactus Juice is a brand name of the monomer.
They are stabilized to prevent moisture and other stuff absorbing into the wood. They are pretty durable, a lot like plastic, but, not plastic. It can also be used to dye woods and other material also. You'll know a stabilized handle from a just wood handle by the feel. If it feels hard like plastic, it's stabilized. Drawback is the additional weight added and not having the grain feel in hand.
 
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