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Pizza can be eaten by hand or with the right cutlery.

And, according to a research team from the University of Maryland, the sharpest knives could soon be made of hardened wood.

In the first instance the soft part within wood – lignin – is partially removed. The remaining part is then treated with pressure and heat to get rid of the water inside.

That leaves cellulose, a molecule with a higher strength to density ratio than many metals or ceramics. Knives carved in this way are 23 times harder than natural wood and 3 times sharper than traditional knives.

A mineral-oil coating makes them hydrophobic, dishwasher safe and durable.

And, if they do lose their sharpness, perhaps this startup could help.

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