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my take on japanese kitchen knives


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Hi all, great to be a part of the knife making community. i've been dabbling in the craft for around 6 months now and feel like my skill set is finally up to a level I can be happy with.  I love the clean lines and simplicity of Japanese knives and am drawn to kitchen knives for some reason(probably my love for cooking).  I thought I would post some of my recent work and get your opinions/ feedback for future endeavors.  I am currently only working in stock removal because I cant afford a forge setup at this time.  Im sorry to the forging purists in advance.  some day I will join your ranks.  both knives are done with 5160 and maple for the handles and sia. enjoy.  

p.s. I would also appreciate input on what reasonable pricing for these items would be in your opinions given the fit and finish and my level of experience.  I know they are not perfect but i tend to undervalue my work because I only see the flaws.        

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Here is a second honesuki I neglected to include in the first set of pics.  same as the others, 5160 with maple handle and sia.  this particular handle and sia set were taken from the same log respectively as they sit in there current form. All of my handles and sia are done from wood cut from a maple growing in my backyard.  The blades are also edge hardened with acetylene and have visible hamon.  sorry, they didn't show up in the pics. also the shorter blade is a ko-bunka. I may end up selling the ko-bunka and one honesuki as a pair in the near future.  please let me know if there is any interest here on the forum.  

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Welcome and very nice intro! 

Not to be a smartass but I was told 5160 is a deep hardening steel and will not make a true hamon but rather a differential hardening line. Beautiful work nonetheless! I also love the grain in the Sia's.

P.S: For a true hamon you might consider 1070, 1095 or W2 instead.

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5160 is a through hardening steel because of chromium content I believe, around 1-2%. Im still very novice in most of this but I believe your assessment is correct. They are not Hamons but rather differential hardening lines. Thanks for the correction

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I was told manganese is the main culprit. 1084 steel also has a non negligible amount of manganese and it won't make a very nice hamon :/ 

Edited by Joël Mercier
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Manganese probably does help with that. Now that I think about it I remember the chromium content helping with the rusting characteristics of the steel. 5160, being used for leaf springs benefits from an even rust layer. Steels without chromium tend to pit more heavily which can lead to failures. The chromium resists pitting thus making it a safer steel for leaf springs. I've really enjoyed the ease of heat treating,  very forgiving. My next knives will be made from 80crv2. 

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Thanks. The longer knives are traditionally used for boning poultry where the thin but rigid tip can be easily and quickly ran through joints and following bones.  the heel portion is ussually given a small micro bevel on the backside of the chisel grind to add thickness to the edge for mild chopping capability without risk of chipping the edge. the shorter knife is a short version of an advanced chefs knife. One sign of great skill in japanese cooking is to use the shorter knife to do a sort of rotary shaving technique of Daicon radish or cucumber into a continuous paper thin sheet. I have no such skill myself. The shorter knife is also a chisel grind

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5 minutes ago, David Forsman said:

Thanks. The longer knives are traditionally used for boning poultry where the thin but rigid tip can be easily and quickly ran through joints and following bones.  the heel portion is ussually given a small micro bevel on the backside of the chisel grind to add thickness to the edge for mild chopping capability without risk of chipping the edge. the shorter knife is a short version of an advanced chefs knife. One sign of great skill in japanese cooking is to use the shorter knife to do a sort of rotary shaving technique of Daicon radish or cucumber into a continuous paper thin sheet. I have no such skill myself. The shorter knife is also a chisel grind

I practiced that technique with my small Japanese paring knife. It's not that hard, you can do it :D

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I might give it a shot then although i've been afraid to use these knives because of a combination of lack of good technique and they are very sharp. Ive been cut several times this year deep enough to need stitches and dont want another "incident". My crappy big box kitchen knives although relatively junky are far safer with there duller edges. My first time using the honesuki to dice an onion I shaved the tip of my thumb skin cleanly off without noticing. No blood but still alarming

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