Question for honyaki owners

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Senior Member
Apr 2, 2012
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For those who use their honyakis regularly - how quickly does the mirror finish above become noticeably imperfect? Do you take any precautions when sharpening them like taping the mirror part above the shinogi line (for knives that are only mirror finish partially) so it won't be scuffed accidentally?
It is easier for single bevel like Yanagiba, Usuba, etc.. because you won't scratch the HIRA part, only shinogi line down touching the stone for awase (ni mai) construction. For Honyaki you need a lot of high grit super fine finishing stone to maintain the finish. Some people just use whatever higher grit stone they have because they need to sharpen their knife everyday or 2-3 times a week, so maintain the finish on the kireha (blade road) is not a priority.

Normally at the end of the shift I will use koyo blue compound (metal polish) to maintain the finish, clean the blade and look shiny like new. You can do that either with honyaki or partial mirror finish awase construction. Japanese chefs always do this every day either using daikon (radish) & koyo blue or just using a microfiber cloth or towel with koyo blue. You can use a cotton pad too if you want.
I don’t do a damn thing, but let ‘em brown up.

Though, neither of these were ever mirror polished while in my possession

I don’t do a damn thing, but let ‘em brown up.

Though, neither of these were ever mirror polished while in my possession
Yea, for regular (or even occasional) use in the kitchen, I can't imagine the amount of work to maintain a mirror polish. Aside from the nice patina (that I like anyhow), I get minor scratches from wiping the knife with a towel, or natural impurities in produce.
First use.

Despite how hard they are, they will also pick up scratches from towel drying almost from day one. One particle of sand in your produce will show up instantly. Gotta prepare mentally.

Embracing one of three things will help with sanity. All are valid.
  1. Polish every day (the "pride" path)
  2. Let the patina run wild, which also reduces stiction (the "practical" path)
  3. Sand it down to clean 800 grit satin after scratching it during a dumb sharpening accident and never worry about patina or scratches again, realizing knives still look finished when they're satin (my path)
Don't use regular towel, you can use good quality microfiber cloth. I use microfiber cloth for drying all my knives, including stainless steel. Stainless steel easy to scratch too, so how you maintain the knife depends on the knife's owner.

I saw someone just bought a white #2 Yanagiba brand new and the next day that knife is full of rust. Some take care their knife and can use it for years without developing any rust.

So I think the question "how quickly" it depends on the knife owner themselves.

Surely over time the knife will not look the same as new.

Add: You can always send them back to the knife maker or sharpening factory to get your knife overhaul and look like a brand new knife.
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I use microfibre towel & metal polish to clean my honyaki knife after shift.