A note about measurements: Handmade Japanese knives can vary in their dimensions, so these measurements are only an example.
About the shape - Under utilized in the western kitchen, the nakiri’s flat blade is meant for the push/pull chopping of vegetables. Since the entire flat edge of the knifetouches the cutting board at once, you won't be turning the vegetable into an 'accordion', still connected like a paper doll after you've cut them. The added weight of the blade allows it to fall through food more easily while you chop, so the knife does more of the work for you!
About Mazaki San - Mazaki-san is a relatively young blacksmith from Sanjo, but he originally hails from the island of Hokkaido. Unsure of what to do with himself as a young man, he left to travel Japan on his motorcycle. He made a stop in Sanjo, and was fascinated by the knife making & blacksmithing industry in the area. He got an apprenticeship with Yoshikane which lasted about 5 years, but he decided he would like to pursue a more traditional, hands-on way of making knives. Now, he forge-welds all of his carbon steel knives in house, and finishes his bevels with a variety of different whetstones, all by hand.
Mazaki-san prefers the more traditional Shirogami #2 to craft his knives, and leaves a rustic finish on many of his blades. Shirogami is capable of insane sharpness and edge retention. His knives have a distinctly traditional look, while still standing out from the crowd as his own creations.
|Steel Type||#2 Shirogami (White Carbon) with carbon steel cladding|
|Handle||Wa (Japanese) Handle, Octagon Cherry wood with black Pakka wood collar|
A NOTE ABOUT RUST
Carbon steel is an awesome material to make knives out of. It’s easy to get sharp and stays sharp a very long time. But this comes with a trade-off; It will rust if you let it. To avoid “bad” rust (orange rust) Wipe the knife dry with a dry cloth after use. Over time, the blade will begin to protect itself with an oxide layer (grey to dark grey “good” rust), this will slow the reaction time but not inhibit the rust entirely. Maintain the good habit of drying off your knife.
• Only cut food you can bite through with this knife. Hard foods can chip the blade. No olive pits, bones, lobster shells, woody stems or parmesan rinds. Cutting frozen food is especially bad because the cold will make hard steel even more brittle. If you wouldn’t chew it with your own teeth, don’t cut it.
• Your cutting surface is the biggest culprit of dulling your knife. Use wood. End grain wood is especially good. Plastic can be fine too, but certainly not glass, granite or bamboo.
• The edge of your knife works best sliding forwards or backwards. Scraping the knife edge sideways will dull or damage the edge. Instead, use the spine of the knife to move foods across the cutting board. Do not twist the edge or pry with the edge, this is the worst screwdriver you ever bought and these motions will certainly damage the edge. Listen to the knife! If you can hear the edge making a “tink” sound on the cutting board, change what you are doing.
• After use, wash the knife by hand with regular dish soap, rinse with hot water and dry by hand immediately. Dishwashers are very bad for knives.
• Wood handles may dry out over time and exposure to water. Simply treat them with some food safe mineral oil or beeswax.
• If you see orange rust, remove it. The scrubby side of a sponge can do the trick. If it’s still not coming off try baking soda and water mixed into a paste or a product called Barkeeper’s Friend.
• Protect the edge; for your safety and to avoid edge damage. A simple blade cover will do the trick if you keep knives in a drawer or travel case.
• A convenient wall magnet made with wood is a great way to show off your knives. Be sure to put it back spine first, then roll it onto the blade face. This will keep the edge from contacting the wood first.
• The good-ol’ counter top block can keep knives at the ready and protected. So can drawer inserts. Whatever the method, keep the edge from touching anything else.
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