Sujihiki knives with African Blackwood handles now limited to 150 only.

We launched our new product, the 10¼” / 26cm ‘Sujihiki’ (Carving) knife 筋引き just before Christmas 2016 and it’s gone down a storm with pros (including Sat Bains, Anthony Demetre and Adam Handling) and home cooks alike.

The first batch of 300 was made with African Blackwood handles, supplied by our friends at Sound and Fair. The reason for choosing this material was that African Blackwood, being the 3rd densest wood in the world, provided a little more weight and slightly better balance to long blade of this knife than the Kebony used in other TOG knives. However, on 2nd Jan 2017, regulations changed and a licence is now required to export this timber outside the EU. Unfortunately this means it’s not practical for TOG to carry on using it. We made the decision to remove the handles from 150 of these knives and replace them with Kebony ones, so that our distribution partners and ourselves can easily export the Kebony version worldwide. We still have a limited number of African Blackwood knives available to customers within in the EU, but this product will never hit the shops.

If you wish to get one of these Blackwood knives while stocks last, please order here.

If you wish to be one of the first to get a TOG Kebony handled Sujihiki, please email and you can reserve one. They should be available by the end of June and will match the rest of the TOG range.

Neil Bridgland, founder of Sound and Fair explains here why he set up the company and how the law has changed when it comes to exporting African Blackwood. We are currently working with Neil to explore more options so watch this space!

Sound and Fair was set up in 2009 to promote the newly available supplies of FSC 100% ethical hardwoods from community-managed forests in Tanzania. Our initial focus was music industries, most significantly clarinets, oboes and bagpipes, for which African Blackwood is the primary material, and which if properly managed and harvested sustainably could generate substantial revenue for development programmes in communities where poverty is ingrained. Sound and Fair was set up as trading company in 2012 and from our community based sawmill, located close to the FSC certified forests in Southern Tanzania, we now supply a range of FSC 100% wood species which share the same forest habitat as African Blackwood.

We had mixed emotions when it was announced on 2 Jan 2017, that CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) was going to list African Blackwood, along with around 300 other rosewood species, as Appendix 2 species, meaning that any shipments would requires a CITES certificate showing that they originate from a legal and sustainable source.

From a conservation and trade regulation perspective the move was good as there are certainly problems with these species. However, we were aware that for a lot of manufacturers, CITES certificates for every product containing African Blackwood was impractical – TOG’s experience being one example. Our challenge now is to find an alternative wood species that will work for TOG but without the restrictions, something we’re confident we can achieve as there are many interesting species in the Tanzanian forests.