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Thread: Which Heiji Santoku?

  1. #1

    Which Heiji Santoku?

    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.


  2. #2
    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.

  3. #3
    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.


  4. #4
    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.

  5. #5
    I still don't know what the differences are between iron and stainless cladding.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Wales, UK
    Both are soft. Iron rusts (or patinas), stainless doesn't.

  7. #7
    Why bother using using Iron then?

  8. #8
    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.

  9. #9
    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.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Wales, UK
    The swedish steel knife will be clad with reactive soft iron. if you are worried about reactivity, get the semi-stainless Heiji.

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