View Full Version : Which Heiji Santoku?

02-11-2012, 10:53 AM
I am thinking of buying a Heiji Santoku, but which one? On the Heiji site there are two outer finishes available, stainless and Japanese iron. What are the differences? Is this purely cosmetic? Is the Iron finish Kurouchi.

I might as well ask what sharpening is like for Special Swedish steel, is it easy enough?

Thanks in advance.


02-11-2012, 12:31 PM
On the site it lists each knife's "Steel" (core steel) and its "Iron" (cladding). It seems that on the stainless version both cladding and core are expressly called "stainless." The other is only called "japanese iron" and "heiji special sweden steel" so it is safe to say that he probably uses very pure Swedish carbon steel and Japanese wrought iron (or similar) cladding for the kuro-uchi version.

02-11-2012, 02:00 PM
Ahh. Thanks for pointing that out.

On Japan Tool he recommends Swedish Inox and mentions Iwasaki Special on the same page. I tried looking for info on the Swedish Inox and couldn't find anything on it, I then assumed it was one in the same. I've been doing so much background reading and saw a lot of good feedback about the Iwasaki Special that I got lazy and assumed they were the same.

Soooo, both are priced the same on the website. And I understand the differences in the cores and that high carbon steels will need more looking after than stainless steels, but I still don't understand the benefits of using an iron jigane over a stainless. Is it because it is softer and easier to sharpen the knife?

Also, since there is little hagane exposed is there really that much care needed to warrant considering a stainless hagane.

Opening a can of worms.


02-11-2012, 10:21 PM
Both types of cladding do the same thing. The stainless cladding will be very soft as well. I suppose it does help with sharpening ease, although I think that's more of a concern with single beveled knives. Mostly it's there to make a laminated structure to the blade. The soft and pliable outer layers lend toughness to what would be an otherwise brittle core. Think of a pencil. That graphite core would be super brittle all by itself.

I would guess that Swedish Inox could be 19C27, which is pretty good stuff. That said, I'm pretty sure Iwasaki's special Swedish steel is a carbon steel (The Heijis available at JKI are carbon steel and are said to contain "Iwasaki's special Swedish carbon steel"). I don't know if he has his own special alloy or not, but what's more important is: both Iwasaki and Heiji seem to do a damn good job with it from how well known and respected their work seems to be.

I imagine both santokus would be pretty darn good. I think you need to decide between kasumi vs kuro-uchi finish and stainless vs carbon steel.

02-14-2012, 04:58 PM
I still don't know what the differences are between iron and stainless cladding.

02-14-2012, 05:02 PM
Both are soft. Iron rusts (or patinas), stainless doesn't.

02-14-2012, 05:59 PM
Why bother using using Iron then?

02-14-2012, 07:03 PM
It's traditional. Might be cost, it might end up being slightly softer than the stainless. It might forge weld easier. I don't make knives so I have no idea but they've been doing it that way for quite a while now. Honestly though, I don't think it's any more/less "extra care" you have to give a knife if only part of the blade is non-stainless or all of it is. Plus you can make some really cool looking patinas on your knife. :D

02-15-2012, 07:23 PM
I've read about some peoples Shigs needing a lot of care. I may well give the Special Swedish a shot, that is if I can find a place to buy from at a decent price. Seems to me like they are marked up quite a bit by resellers.

02-15-2012, 07:27 PM
The swedish steel knife will be clad with reactive soft iron. if you are worried about reactivity, get the semi-stainless Heiji.

02-16-2012, 10:12 PM
I'm going to have to say it, but why a santoku? Get a gyuto.......

02-22-2012, 09:21 AM
Well I've been in touch with Heiji, now I just need to decide which size to get. This is essentially a multipurpose knife for home use, I was originally looking to get a 210mm but now considering a 180mm. More thought needed on this.

02-22-2012, 10:02 AM
A 210 gyuto or still a santoku? I've never seen a 210 santoku, that I can remember.

02-22-2012, 10:14 AM
I'm going to have to say it, but why a santoku? Get a gyuto.......

I was under the impression that a Santoku would be a good all rounder. You favour gyuto?

02-22-2012, 11:59 AM
Almost all of us here do. Santokus just feel stubby and like the tip is non-existent.
I love a good 210 gyuto, but most here like a 240.

02-22-2012, 12:06 PM
Well I've been in touch with Heiji, now I just need to decide which size to get. This is essentially a multipurpose knife for home use, I was originally looking to get a 210mm but now considering a 180mm. More thought needed on this.
If it helps I have a misono ux10 santoku that I absolutely love. It's 180mm. If you stay around long enough you will buy more knives. The typical all rounder consensus is a gyuto in around 240mm. I will end up with both and many more. Lots of people have a santoku including respected members. I certainly won't be selling mine. If you are literally thinking you can resist the force and buy only one knife. Then, look at a gyuto.

02-22-2012, 12:38 PM
If I wanted a shorter Heiji to use as an all around knife, I would consider this: http://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/kitchen-knives/heiji/gesshin-heiji-210-mm-semi-stainless-wa-sujihiki.html#. In fact, I am considering this, at the moment. It's a great cutter for probably 90% of what I do, the steel is a pleasure to sharpen and the edge it takes is sublime.

02-22-2012, 12:58 PM
As others have said, if you are going to buy one knife and don't want to be come super involved and buy loads, a gyuto is definitely a much better idea than a santoku

02-22-2012, 03:24 PM
I have thought about it some more and decided to go for a 210mm Gyuto. Larger than what I have already which is what I need, and it makes sense to stick to the shape I know for my first carbon steel knife. Also if I feel that I need something bigger it would appear that there is always someone looking for a Gyuto which I could maybe sell on and replace with a bigger one.

02-22-2012, 03:58 PM
Wise decision. Congratulations.