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  1. #1
    Senior Member Namaxy's Avatar
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    Honyaki?

    I realize this is likely an 'it depends' and 'varies by personal preference' type of question. For single bevel knifes, especially of the thin slicing ilk, are Honyaki constructed knives considered more classic or traditional? Are there peformance advantages associated with them, or it it more that since it's a difficult, hand made process, they are revered for how they are made and they tend to be found only at the higher end?

    Thanks

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    My own $.02 is that honyaki blades are admired for their craftsmanship, and have few if any real performance advantages over "standard" blades.

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    Honyaki or "true-forged" knives are constructed entirely out of one piece of virgin carbon steel. So unlike Kasumi knives, which are constructed out of soft iron and carbon, they aren't flexible at all. However, because they are made out of a hard steel they are sharper and have a longer kirenaga (duration of sharpness). They are difficult to forge and shape so they are often expensive. Craftsmen require a great amount of skill to forge honyaki knives and chefs need a lot of experience to use and care for them. Honyaki Japanese knives chip, crack, or break easily if used or sharpened improperly, therefore they are mostly geared towards highly advanced users. Japanese chefs have told me that there is nothing that could beat the kireaji (literally means the taste of the edge, but in this case means sharpness) of a honyaki knife, and most top sushi chefs prefer them.

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    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    I think I must be confused...I thought honyaki was soft spine for flex and hard edge for cutting...fairly difficult process to get right? In other words...not a single piece of steel, but more of a homogeneous blade?

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    @ Chinacats...The soft steel is made from the same steel as the edge, the reason it is soft is because clay is applied during the heat treatment process, which changes the way the spine hardens. Keep in mind I know absolutely nothing about metallurgy, but I have read about the process of creating Honyaki knives many times on these forums and others.
    Twitter: @PeterDaEater

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    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stereo.pete View Post
    @ Chinacats...The soft steel is made from the same steel as the edge, the reason it is soft is because clay is applied during the heat treatment process, which changes the way the spine hardens. Keep in mind I know absolutely nothing about metallurgy, but I have read about the process of creating Honyaki knives many times on these forums and others.
    Thanks SP, I stay confused and there is much here to aid my confusion! Your explanation helps!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    I think I must be confused...I thought honyaki was soft spine for flex and hard edge for cutting...fairly difficult process to get right? In other words...not a single piece of steel, but more of a homogeneous blade?
    The blade is monosteel that is differentially hardened, it will overall be harder than a kasumi knife. The process of differential hardening is also where the hamon comes from.

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    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Why would honyaki be sharper than kasumi, if say both are hardened to 63RC and made of the same steel and heat treated comparably, water quenched?

    I do agree that honyaki knives are more difficult to produce (mizu honyaki that is) and that the failure rate (warping and cracking) is higher, and that sharpening 64RC blade, particularly yanagi where surface is wide, is difficult. All that adds to cost and becomes a necessity to offer them as premium knives with greater finish and materials, so they become a status symbol.

    But all things being equal (same steel, same hardness, same heat treatment), there should be no difference in sharpness or edge retention.

    If honyaki chips and breaks if dropped, that is a sign of higher hardness and that alone can contribute to better edge holding, but not sharpness.

    M


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    What about Suisin INOX honyaki, is it not honyaki?

    -AJ

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    Marko Tsourkan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajhuff View Post
    What about Suisin INOX honyaki, is it not honyaki?

    -AJ
    Good question, AJ!


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