100% handmade JP Kitchen knives

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by AGC8, Jan 10, 2020.

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  1. Jan 10, 2020 #1

    AGC8

    AGC8

    AGC8

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    I just happened to come across some YouTube videos of Japanese kitchen knife making where they smith actually hammered out the iron as they do their swords. I had a feeling this was still done...even though the market is mostly saturated with "machine involved" knives. Steel bought mostly from Hitachi and "Taifu"?

    Can some one give me some names of JP kitchen knife smiths? How much do their knives run? Are they all $1000+? :)
     
  2. Jan 10, 2020 #2

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    TFTFTFTFTFTF
    The steel for the Maboroshi and Denka knives from Teruyasu Fujiwara are forged in house from core steel bought from Hitachi, which TF clads with stainless steel to make their knives.
    The Nashiji line is made using pre-laminated steel.
    https://www.teruyasu.net

    If you're talking about making the actual steel, you should search for tamagahane steel.
    Yoshimitsu is one maker, but I don't think they are still making tamagahane.
    https://www.aframestokyo.com/yoshimitsu-wa-gyuto-210mm-tamahagane--watetsu-blade-chef-kn211.html
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2020
  3. Jan 10, 2020 #3

    ian

    ian

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    It would help if you posted a link to the video, since I’m not sure exactly what you mean. I’m no expert, so probably others can help more. That said:

    Do you mean the smith was making steel out of iron? I don’t really know, but I’m not aware of anyone doing that. Even tamagahane is made by a specialized group and then sold, no?

    If not, do you mean the smith was using a handheld hammer instead of a power hammer for the entirety of the work? That seems ridiculous too. Not sure why anyone would do that.

    If not, do you mean you saw a video where someone was using a hammer in the forging process? Most smiths discussed on this forum do that, and you can get such knives for <$200.
     
  4. Jan 10, 2020 #4

    ian

    ian

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    Re: TF. Is the distinction that you’re making, @parbaked, that TF does his own forge welding of the cladding to the core? (Both of these steels being bought from somewhere.) I mean, the core is White #1 from Hitachi, no? Not sure this is what the OP is asking, but then again, I’m not sure what the OP is asking.
     
  5. Jan 10, 2020 #5

    Xenif

    Xenif

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    Are you referring to Tamahagane? Which was traditionally made in a tatara? I know of two makers thats uses/used it: Yoshimitsu and Nigara

    Most knives today come in four main catagories:

    Stock Removal monosteel

    Pre-clad awase

    Hand forged awase

    Honyaki

    Unfortunately, if you are thinking of some master holding a red hot piece of metal while two of his apprentices continuously strike it with a huge hammer sending sparks everwhere .... I really can't think of anyone really ... and if they did the prices would be more like what you see with Nihonto (japanese sword)

    If you think about it further, why wouldn't a blacksmith use steel from a manufacturer like Hitachi or Takefu as they have all the facilities and equipment to make the steel to their exact standards. A spring hammer will apply the same force consistently, dosent get tired, and only require one person to operate.
     
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  6. Jan 10, 2020 #6

    AGC8

    AGC8

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    Didn't know ii was being unclear. Yes. I was referring to Smiths hammering tamahegane as they do making swords.

    Thanks for the links. $640 USD for a 8" gyuto want as much as I thought. But as someone mentioned.. They are probably using a hammering machine. No longer with an apprentice hand hammering.
     
  7. Jan 10, 2020 #7

    ian

    ian

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    About tamagahane, though: no knife smiths actually make it, they buy it, no? So I don’t get how this indicates a difference in what the smith is doing, rather than just what they’re buying...
     
  8. Jan 10, 2020 #8

    parbaked

    parbaked

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    The Yoshimitsu brothers make knives from tamagahane steel that they also make.
     
  9. Jan 10, 2020 #9

    lemeneid

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    Most swordsmiths I know purchase tamahagane.
    That tatara is really small scale though, perhaps it will only yield about 5-10kg of tamahagane. Quality will depend on the sand they get though. And probably the usable quantity from that is only 2kg or so.

    As far as I know, the best swordsmiths get first dibs on tamahagane, then it goes down the pecking order. Guys who make razors, knives and woodworking tools are pretty far down the line.
     
  10. Jan 11, 2020 #10

    AGC8

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    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  11. Jan 27, 2020 #11

    pgugger

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    I thought of this thread when I just came across a smith, Takahashi, who apparently does not use any machines, just handheld hammers: https://knifejapan.com/shop-by-maker/takahashi-kajiya-seihin-shimane-1/. But he does not work with tamagahane as far as I can see and his knives look a bit rough. Anyway, interesting to see someone doing it all by hand.
     
  12. Jan 27, 2020 #12

    Itsjun

    Itsjun

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    How about Yasha Yukawa?
    I believe he forges knife blanks/sword blanks.
     
  13. Jan 27, 2020 #13

    daizee

    daizee

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    I can't speak to Japanese practices specifically, but most of the bladesmiths (forging knifemakers) i know use a power hammer to get close to dimensions and then dial it in with hand hammers. This is similar to stock removal: belt grinder to files to sandpaper (which you frequently do for forged blades too). I don't see any advantage to hand-only forging except for romance and art - Totally valid, but understand the whys.

    I have hand-forged a handful of blades (don't own a power hammer) and will do more, and let me tell you, it's not cost-effective for anyone! Especially if you are reclaiming steel from an inconvenient shape. But it's a good time if you're not trying to make a living at it.
     
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  14. Jan 30, 2020 #14

    Jmcc

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    I forge by hand because it's all I have atm
    Forging down 1" round for integrals isnt easy but I absolutely love it
    That Japanese Smith might have one of those heritage craft certs or whatever they call them in Japan,where they only use traditional materials and tools,or he could be a mad ba£+@&d like me :)
     

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