A note about measurements: Handmade Japanese knives can vary in their dimensions, so these measurements are only an example.
About the shape - Santoku means 'Three Virtues' or 'To solve Three Problems'. The three virtues are meat, fish and vegetables, or slicing, dicing and mincing depending on your interpretation. This means that the Santoku is an all-around knife, suitable for the amateur home cook and the professional chef alike. The heigh means good clearance for big hands, while the relatively short blade can be wielded by anyone.
About Hinokuni Sakai - Yukihiro Sakai-san was apprenticed under Nishida-san in Kumamoto, a staunch traditionalist who strictly forge-welds his steel in-house. Sakai-san has learned everything from Nishida-san and continues the traditions of his sensei. Sakai-san recently started his own workshop in Kumamoto making his own knives.
Now he forge-welds everything in house, from hard carbon steel clad with soft steel, and the Shirogami #1 steel used in these knives is forge-welded in house by Sakai-san. This is a very traditional steel that can achieve incredible sharpness and has great edge retention, a favourite of more traditional blacksmiths.
Hinokuni means 'Country of Flame', an oldschool nickname for Kumamoto Prefecturedue to the famous local volcano Mt. Aso.
|Steel Type||#1 Shirogami (White Carbon Steel)
Wa (Japanese) Handle
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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