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Thread: What makes a good Usuba?

  1. #1

    What makes a good Usuba?

    Can a good one be obtained for less than 500$? According to Murray Carter the usuba is one of the most difficult culinary blades to forge. I have absolutely zero experience with single bevel knives and have recently started to learn how to sharpen double bevel knives, also finally understand the concept of stropping micro bevels.

    The usuba will be used to make healthy thin paper cuts of food. I am interested in peeling function. How does one tell a good one from a bad one...I gather a poor grind will make peeling impossible, yet I have no technique yet.

    Any advice on an usuba that doesn't break the bank would be appreciated. I'm looking at the Yoshihiro Yauji Usuba from chefs knives to go. Not because I care for the damascus but simply because it looks like it might be nicely ground for the price...How does one visually inspect an Usuba for quality?

  2. #2
    Senior Member mametaro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Eugene, Or
    Just out of curiosity Umberto.. Are you referring to Katsuramuki when you are talking about peeling? A good one can be obtained for much less than $500 for sure. I personally would call Jon at JKI and ask him for some recommendations.

  3. #3
    I'll have to see what he has. Shipping will be fast. Yeah I'm looking to practice that. Also do decorative carrot cuts.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    For 500$ you will get an amazing usuba .The gesshin hide from jon are meant to be great.However seeing this is your first single bevel and your still practicing sharpening it might be advisable to get something cheaper at first.Talking to Jon at JKI would be a good idea i am sure he will be able to suggest something that will suit your needs.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cheflarge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Detroit, Michigan USA
    Plus 1 on JKI

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Los Angeles
    $500 will buy a killer usuba. In my opinion what matters with an usuba is the size and flatness/trueness of the blade.

    A 180mm will be easier to learn with, its smaller size makes katsuramuki simpler and less fatiguing. And they are less expensive. A larger knife usually requires more practice to develop the skill/strength to manipulate, I've found this true for all single bevels.

    When purchasing, making sure to buy from a reputable seller is key. Due to the thinness of usuba, many blades suffer from twisting or warping. Its important to have flat and straight usuba (and cutting board) to prevent "accordion" veggies and make line-straight "ken" cuts. The type of tip is personal preference, kamagata and mukimono knives have tips for detail work if you want a more versatile knife.

    I would highly recommend Gesshin Uraku usuba from JKI for an entry level knife. My friends and I have all had great experiences with Gesshin uraku single bevels. Or for a bit more coin there are a lot of solid options like Gesshin Hide, Suisin or Masamoto. $500 or more will buy you top shelf knives like Shigefusa or Doi. No experience with Yoshihiro Yauji, but in my experience damascus and cheap is a combination to avoid.

    Good luck in your search, let us know what you get!

  7. #7
    In his video, Jon seems to enjoy Gesshin Hide Usuba Grind very much.

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