February 22, 2019 6 min read 0 Comments
Generally speaking, in the world of Japanese knives there are two kinds: double bevel and single bevel knives. Most knives you’ve ever seen are what we call double bevel knives. This means that the knife blade is ground and sharpened on both sides of the blade. This is the most common way to make a knife. You can see a cross section of a double bevel blade below, on the left.
In Japan there is a second style called single bevel knives. This blade is constructed differently, non-symmetrically. In fact it’s only sharpened on one side of the blade. The other side is flat (actually it is concave). A cross section of a single bevel blade is below, on the right.
Double bevel knives, or as they say in Japan, “ryoba”, are the most commonly seen knives. This style of knife is sharpened evenly on both sides of the blade, meeting in the middle. This would be the style of knife you are most familiar with. Let’s look at some of the shapes made in this style.The go-to knife in most kitchens around the globe, a gyuto can do everything. Known as a chef knife to westerners, the Japanese name gyuto translates to “cow’s sword,” this knife has a special place in its heart for cutting meat, but it can tackle virtually any task you throw its way. They range in length between 150mm all the way up to an impressive 360mm, with 240mm being the most common length. Most of the gyutos we sell have beautifully crafted wooden handles in the traditional Japanese style. These are sometimes called wa-gyuto.
The bunka’s younger sibling, these babies are making more appearances in kitchens as they’re perfect for small jobs like mincing garlic, shallots and herbs with insane precision. But don’t let its modest size mislead you, you can also use a ko-bunka to debone smaller meats, fish and birds, just be careful if your knife has harder, more brittle steel.
This odd shaped knife is essentially a thinned down version of a blade used traditionally for shoe cobbling. Like a nakiri, a kamagata has a flat edge making it perfect for chopping smaller vegetables like garlic, shallots, and herbs with lightning fast speed. For those with larger hands, its extended height keeps your knuckles from smacking against your cutting board. No more bruises!
A single bevel knife, called kataba in Japan, are a Japanese invention and are specialist knives used primarily by sushi chefs. Fileting and slicing raw fish is a tricky business and you need single bevel knives to achieve excellence. When used properly these knives can take a raw fish and turn it into perfect, beautiful, and delicate slices of sashimi, or in the case of an Usuba, you can turn a daikon into see-through, paper like sheets.
The secret to the these knives is that they are almost frictionless when they slice through food, oh, and they are sharper than double bevel knives. The concave back of the knife allows a pocket of air between the food and the knife to drastically reduce friction. The other side of the blade has very little surface area for food to stick. These are perfectly designed tools for their jobs.
Single bevel knives are most commonly made for right handed use but most manufacturers also make left handed models. I must apologise now, though because left handed knives are often sold by the maker at a 30%-100% premium.
Let’s look at some of the shapes made in this method.
Got more questions? Is there a shape we didn't mention you'd like to know more about? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll sort you out!
May 06, 2021 3 min read 0 CommentsRead More
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