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Santoku with “Old School” Handle

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I haven’t had a ton of knife making time lately, especially for projects other than custom orders, but I managed to squeeze this one in. A 6” santoku made from White #2 and 1018, the handle is nickel silver and basswood to emulate the handle construction commonly found on vintage Japanese kitchen knives. 







The grind is slightly asymmetric and it has a roughly 70/30 edge which I’m interested to try out. 


Pre heat treat and coated with a slurry prior to water hardening along with a 300mm yanagiba you may be seeing more of. Being able to easily straighten after HT is really nice for thin knives like this. 




The ferrule process. The strength of the metal makes the fit up much easier and also let’s you develop significantly more compressive force (I fit it ~50% down before driving it home). It’s nickel silver and hard silver solder. 

Thanks fie looking!

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Nice work Aiden. Is that a Peddinghaus 1Kg Swedish cross peen I see lying on the floor?

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Thank you Joshua, and yes, it is. I’ve been pretty busy lately with non knife stuff so I didn’t re hang it when the head started wobbling. I have plans for a (slightly) heavier Japanese/cutler’s hammer as well though I hate to admit I’ve forged my last half dozen knives with the crusty old hammer I use to hit punches/top tools. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/12/2021 at 6:59 PM, Aiden CC said:

I hate to admit I’ve forged my last half dozen knives with the crusty old hammer

I only asked because I have the same hammer and it is my primary forging hammer.

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Mine usually is as well. 1000g I’ve been thinking about making something with a little more mass for the heavy forming stages of hearth steel, laminated blades like this, etc. I borrowed a 3-3.5lb rounding hammer from a friend for a forging session and it was a nice feeling to have the weight for big stuff!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I realized that I never posted the progress on the nakiri. I just wrapped it up, so here it is:




Trying a slightly different process here. It still starts with drilling a hole in the horn and expanding/tapering with a round and jeweler’s ring files. Next is cutting the tenon with a saw, chisel, and rasp. This time with a matching taper plus a very small undercut. 


Here’s the new thing I’m trying. Heating the horn to reduce the stiffness and hopefully get a bit of plasticity. No glue, just drive it home after fitting to where it is in the previous picture. I’m pretty happy with how it worked! No visible gap other that one place where I goofed with the original sawing and no cracks!


Without further ado, the results:


The blade is white #2 and 1018. The handle is horn and honoki which I managed to find two small boards of after several years of casually searching. The grind is asymmetric and maybe ~70-30 with a convex right side and flatter left. It doesn’t show to well in the photo. 

I’m still undecided on how I want to finish these san mai knives, so this is straight off of a scotchbrite belt. Any suggestions of a kitchen ready finish to up the contrast would definitely be welcome. I want to experiment with stones, but it feels like a lot of effort for something which after one use will already be discolored. 

Thanks for looking at what ended up a two-knife thread!


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That is a knife I would be proud to have in my kitchen as it is.  I'm don't think you need anything more on the blade finish than what you already have, but if you insist, maybe some sort of patina finish.  Mustard?


You mentioned a small undercut in the tenon.  Was that just to relieve the corner so that the mating horn corner wasn't crowded, or did you actually file a matching feature into the horn?  If so, how in the heck did you manage that? :blink:

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Thanks Brian, with the finish my main concern is that the sanmai isn't really "shown off," although I have a number of my machine-finished knives in my kitchen and as they naturally patinate, they actually get etched by food and the layers become readily apparent, which is kind of neat (hopefully pictures to come this evening).


As for the undercut, it is for the former purpose. Because there was no dry fit with this, and no real way to get one of these ferrules off once it's most of the way down (ask me how I know :unsure:) I really didn't want that corner to get hung up 95% of the way down. An internal undercut would be pretty neat, especially on the blade side since it would go a long way to ensuring a gap-free fit where you can see it. That may be worth looking into.

Edited by Aiden CC
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This is an extreme example of what I am talking about. This is one of my knives after 10 months of use by someone less careful with carbon steel than me. It looked the same as the above knife finish wise out of my shop. 

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