Well, just taken delivery of my replacement WS maple handled Woodlore knife. For those who are not aware, at least some of the first batch were fitted with handle slabs that weren't adequately sealed. They absorbed moisture/water swelled and shrunk. At one point, the slabs on mine lifted off the tang.
Woodlore were informed, who in turn looked at the issues with Wilkinson Sword. WS then ran a series of their own tests and confirmed that it may be an issue on some of the first batch. Out of good will, they have replaced ALL this first batch, while not asking for the original to be returned, until the owners get their new ones. Excellent customer service - well done WS.
My first impressions, the knife came via recorded delivery from Wilkinson Sword directly, not via Woodlore - the box included a hand written compliment slip and a letter from the WS marketing manager, apologising for the inconvenience and offering instructions for the return of the original. The knife was wrapped in thick paper and tape; bubble wrapped and boxed - no sheath. No surprise there, as they are only replacing the knife, not the sheath - there was nothing wrong with that. The knife comes with a postage paid jiffy bag for the return of the original, plus a cardboard sheath to cover the blade.
As soon as I took it out of the box, the strong smell of Danish oil (or whatever they use, but it smells like Danish oil) hit me. Clearly WS have gone to town on this. I could see straight away this was a different knife. The original "felt" like wood, this one has the smooth sheen and texture of well oiled wood - different altogether. I had planned on getting my own supply of Danish and soaking the new knife, but I donít think it'll be at all necessary. I havenít tested it yet, but I can see easily that the handle is well sealed - I will of course test it, but I'd be very surprised indeed, if it didnít pass with flying colours. The knife also came without those little rust freckles I had on the first one, no big deal but it was nice to see. The general finish is superb, the original was pretty good (aside from the handle issue), and this is just as good if not better. It is razor sharp, popping the hairs off my forearm with ease - it has a good, full zero edge bevels, absolutely no complaints.
Well done WS (and of course Woodlore), I'll need to live with it a bit to be totally happy, but on first impressions, the issues present with the first batch seem to have been thoroughly addressed. This looks to be an excellent tool worthy of the classic Wilkinson Sword marque.
"I feel I was denied critical need-to-know information!"
~ Burt Gummer