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Japanese Steel – Making the Cut

20 Apr 2022
by Chef's Play

Any experienced chef will tell you, a good set of knives makes all the difference to your work in the kitchen. Whether you’re a chef by profession or simply a keen cook at home, a good set of knives will always improve your overall results.

The Japanese have long been praised for their craftsmanship when it comes to blades. Throughout history they’ve specialised in swords, saws, chisels and tools of similar nature. Using modern advances coupled with traditional knowhow, Japanese knives are world renowned for their long lasting, high functioning qualities.

A Range of Steels

One advantage the Japanese knife craftsman has is the availability of a large range of high-quality steel. Precision manufacturers such as TSS and conglomerate Hitachi support the industry with some of the finest steels known to mankind. From traditional carbon steels to newer steel cladded with nickel and iron Damascus for optimum performance, the industry has many friends.

Tougher Than Most

Centuries of working with steel has refined the quality. A typical Japanese knife has a hardness rating of around HRC58 – 65, using the Rockwell hardness scale. Compared to European blades which tend to be somewhere between HRC48-56. The tougher the blade, the less sharpening it will require.

Thin and Nimble

Of course, the thickness of a blade plays a large part in its sharpness. Japanese blades are traditionally thinner that a European blade and much better than slicing than chopping. It’s usual to have a range of knives and the more-heavy set can be used for cutting through bone or something tough like a turnip.

Harness the Sharpness

The other benefit to harder steel is the ability to sharpen the blade at sharper angles. The finer the angle, the less friction is caused between the blade and the food. This means less work on the chefs behalf and cleaner cuts in your preparation.

The Forge

Japanese knives are formed usually through two different methods, Honyaki and Kasumi. Using a carbon rich steel, the Honyaki knives are forged by hand in a similar process to swords. This makes them tougher with greater potential when it comes to sharpening. The Kasumi blades use a compound of carbon steel and iron, leaving them more flexible and easier to maintain. The Kasumi, notably cheaper for their simpler process are usually enough for any professional chef.

Our range of Japanese knives have been selected to compliment any kitchen.

You can browse them by clicking here.

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