Ian Murchison and Rohan Thakar are the industrial designers behind FDRL, a/k/a The Federal, an Ottawa-based design consultancy. Their forthcoming line of kitchen knives definitely demonstrate some outside-of-the-box thinking: As the name implies, the Maple Set knives are made predominantly from maple wood, with a dimunitive sliver of metal for the blade.
With this project we wanted to explore an alternative emotion to the standard kitchen knives you see every day. The focus is drawn to the high polished blade, while the rest of the knife's Maple wood body sits warmly in the hand and blends in to its surroundings. The wood is sealed and food safe to allow for easy cleanup. The knife gives the appearance of being lightweight; however their weight is balanced to ensure that they can be used by any level of chef.
There's no question that they're beautiful, but a valid question is whether they're practical. What say you hardcore chefs? Would the added thickness of the wooden blades complicate fine slicing? They mention the wood is sealed, but wouldn't you still need to periodically oil these, as with a cutting board? And hard though maple might be, would you feel comfortable hacking away with a wooden cleaver?