In 2013, Masashi Yamamoto started his own workshop after working alongside his brother, Kazuomi, at Yoshikane Hamono. An exception to the rule that all the great blacksmiths are old men, Masashi-san is just a young’un but just as awesome. His knives are beautifully polished, incredibly sharp and a tonne of fun to use.
The Masashi Koi is the third line created by Masashi so far and is influenced by some of the knives that he made with his brother, the Yoshikane Tsuchime, which are now discontinued. The hammered finish gives the impression of large fish scales and helps prevent food from sticking to the blade. Eric in the Ottawa shop swears that they look like a dragon made them. Who knows, maybe Masashi-san is part dragon. We’ve seen him work, and he does handle heat rather well.
The blade is made of VS1, a relatively new steel from the Metal Wizards of Takefu, and is clad in a softer stainless. VS1 is very similar to SKD12 and will develop a patina as time goes by, but is relatively resistant to rust. Expect a hardness of 60-62 HRC, which in normal-people terms means it’s wickedly sharp with great edge retention.
This line is similar in profile to the Masashi SLD, tall blades with a bullet-like shape. The handle is oval-shaped chestnut and would comfortably fit in either a large or small hand. I had been holding out on getting a new knife until I saw these. Now I know what my next one will be!