We've put together a slideshow for you on the various steps of making a
Japanese Kuro-uchi Funayuki kitchen knife. Grab your popcorn and drink, click on
the photo below, and sit back for a very interesting and thoroughly educational
All the knives
in our latest production group of kitchen cutlery, the Stainless
Fukugozai Riveted Handle (SFGZ-RH) Series, have been posted. Take a look at
those if you haven't already. There are quite a number of knives in the 5- to
6-sun range, an ideal size for doing all-around cutting tasks. We also have some
shorter ones that are great for taking on a picnic or campout.
Our next batch
of knives to be posted will be an assortment of Neck Knives in various styles,
including quite a few Wharncliffes. Keep an eye on our Neck
Knife Category Page for upcoming additions.
big show, Blade
Show West, will be
held right here in Portland, Oregon, September 26 - 28. We'll be featuring some
of our latest kitchen and outdoor knives,
plus a number of other one-of-a-kind blades and cutting tools. If you are able
to attend, we'll meet you there! We still have a few VIP passes left to give to
our loyal patrons that will allow them free admission and an early shot at the
nicest knives. Contact us either by
email or by phone and
we'll send you a VIP Pass. Hope to see you at the
Ian Rabin, one of our
customers, carries a Carter. Ian sent us this photo of him and his Carter neck
knife which appeared in the recent issue of Blade Magazine. Click on the photo for a
image. Thanks, Ian,
for sharing and showing all of us, and the whole world wide web, the knives you
carry. Glad to see you are another proud owner of a Carter
The Hard Truth About Steel:
Defects in Japanese
We received the
following questions recently:
Could you shed some light on the types of makers who contribute
to the knife-making process in Japan, and how the quality of their product is
viewed within the context of Japanese culture?
To clarify, it is my
understanding that there is a spectrum of knife makers. One might work in a
small village. Their product might range beyond kitchen knives to anything that
needs to be forged with metal.
When they make knives, what types of knives would they
traditionally make, who would be their customers, what types of steel, and how
many parts of the knife-making process would be under their responsibility (i.e.
forging, finishing, handle making, saya making, sharpening, etc.)?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are areas where the
knife-making process is divided among many different artisans. The forger only
forges the rough blank of the knife. The sharpener/finisher grinds the knife
into its final shape and polishes it to it desired finish, etc.
Generally, are there any other types of knifemakers in between
the two ends of this spectrum? How are the products of the different types of
makers viewed by chefs, knife collectors, and the general public? Where do you
feel you sit on this spectrum?
This is an
astute observation by the writer. As he mentions, there are small Japanese
village bladesmiths who will conduct every aspect of knife production
themselves, either to fill out a custom order or to fill his meager shop display
of goods for sale. On the other hand, cutlery centers such as Seki City or Sakai
City tend to operate on the principle of specialization -- the bladesmith, the
heat-treater, the grinder/polisher, the assembler and the marketer.
products are completely made 'in-house,' with the exception of the raw steel
used and a few traditional Japanese kitchen knife handles which are sourced from
cutlery is judged by chefs, knife collectors and the general public by how it
performs for them, rather than by the manufacturing process.
Finally, how are defects handled and viewed?
I have handled hundreds of knives by various makers and I have
found a high percentage of what many people feel are defects, namely, poor
grinding, so that the edge is not perfectly straight, curved or bent blades, and
poor attachment of the blade to the handle. All of these have been in
single-beveled yanagis, debas, and usubas ranging from the inexpensive to the
very expensive honyaki.
Are these considered acceptable in Japan, or is something else
going on? If a user has enough experience, a bent blade can be made straight and
one can sharpen the edge until it is straight. Am I nit
there are inherent imperfections in every piece of cutlery made by the human
hand (and perhaps even more in automated cutlery production). However, most
imperfections go unnoticed. Let me divide defects into three
Do you have
questions about steels, knifemaking, or just cutlery in general? Shoot
us an email and Murray
will be happy to answer them for you.
2) obvious but not relevant to the performance of the blade
and/or are correctable
3) defects subtracting from the performance and/or
value of the knife
Barely perceptible defects include all blades which
are not ideally straight (in other words 99.99% of blades), all blades which are
not perfectly symmetrical or which have imperfect blade geometry, or blades
which are not heat-treated to perfection. These defects exist, yet most
customers will never notice them without a properly trained eye.
defects might include any of the following: a bent or twisted blade, uneven
grinding, discrepancies in the blade profile, evidence of slight slag inclusion
between two forge-welded layers, rust/discoloration and inconsistencies in the
hardness of the blade from one area to another.
These blades can usually
be used (to cut things) "as is," but slight tweaking by the experienced user
through sharpening and straightening will greatly improve them.
that subtract greatly from a blade might include a severely bent or twisted
blade that cannot be easily remedied, gross forge welding errors, and blades
that are either not hard enough for normal cutting, or are brittle from large
grain growth that comes from over-heating it during manufacture. This is not to
be confused with the two other causes for blade chipping, namely, a) improper
tempering or b) improper edge geometry.
Until our next
Stay Sharp and
may God richly bless you!
Vernonia, OR 97064
Carter Cutlery ~ Home