The Watanabe Finish

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SilverSwarfer

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I have been enjoying my new 270 Pro in Blue 2, iron clad, Gyuto by Watanabe. Very very much.

I have also been studying the finish on the cladding near the core, where jigane meets hagane. There is a hazy effect that shimmers or moves, giving a 3D effect when the blade is tilted under light source. I’ve achieved similar effects off JNATs but this is different/better than results I’ve achieved in my current polishing capacity.

I can’t figure out what gives the effect- I’m guessing it’s a JNAT finish? The hagane is mirrored while the cladding has an awesome silver haze. There’s a pic attached.

The goal is to periodically restore a finish approaching the OOTB presentation. Any advice? Is this a polish given by stones?
 

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Matus

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No, it was most likely sand blasted or some similar method. On the photo it looks very similar to how my Itinomonn StainLess looked before I had to do some light repair work and consequent thinning.
 

Matus

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The main reason is to let (optically) the high and low spots on the grind disappear. Knife looks better, but this kid of finish causes more drag on the food as necessary (especially if it is on the rough side)
 

idemhj

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You can get a somewhat similar finish with fingerstones (uchigumori). It will not be nearly as pronounced, but it will not cause much drag either.
 

Corradobrit1

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The new Konosukes have similar interface and yes, there is a lot of drag in that area. Looks nice but detracts from performance.
 

Matus

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I prefere when JP makers do not use this finish. I like to see the actual condition of the knife I am buying. I know that knife is going to have low sport and grinding marks. The sandblasting sometimes goes as far that it is used to crate a faux lamination line - and will make a hand forge-welded blade look like it was just rolled from a pre-lamitate. See the recent Yoshihiro Mizu Yaki Blue (those knives are actually made by Zakuri/Tadayoshi) and are hand forge-welded, but the sandblasting makes them look like they were barely forged at all.
 

Dave Martell

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I believe it's a finish achieved by using a wire wheel (brass?) spinning in a mud/water bath.
 

labor of love

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It’s a cool looking finish. I feel like I’ve owned a lot of sanjo knives with a similar finish. Enjoy it while it last!
 

SilverSwarfer

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It seems mimicking the effect would be possible. Likely with finger stones.

<I may be wrong> I feel like if it was sandblasted then it would have to have been masked- but there is no real “straight” line evidence- it’s more of a faded in/out effect. In my imagination for this effect it seems like this process would be inefficient and time consuming, with several steps involved.

The brass wire wheel and muddy water explanation resonates in my mind. It makes sense for the application of the effect.
 

ojisan

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using a wire wheel (brass?) spinning in a mud/water bath.
Anyone knows the name of this technique or have pictures? Sounds very interesting but google didn't show up anything with those words. I cannot imagine how it looks like.

I was believing that they would "draw" these finishes freehand just like spray painting.
 

nutmeg

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His knives are generally sand- oder bead blasted ( I saw this at his place but can't remember exactly).
That gives a cloudy clad and the core remains shiny. Many many makers use this technique and as time and money are an important issue, this helps getting a clean, even and nice looking surface extremely fast.
The Shigefusa kitaeji are finished like this, I guess even Kato so it‘s not really the poor man‘s finish..!

When you get a knife otb with a very cloudy finish and sharpen it on a trusty or even a middle-of-the-road natural finisher. If you get a totally different surface with low spots.. you know the original finish doesn‘t come from a stone!
 
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nutmeg

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My guess is even that there is no knives with full Jnat finish on the market.. That would make the finish more expensive than the knife itself and the concurrence doesn‘t sleep.. ;-)
That‘s why you guy Never get the same finish with your Jnat as OTB.
 

nutmeg

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Yes, I may have missed something but in my knife life I can't remember having seen a knife OTB with a finish that could remind me of a finish made on Jnats.
Just look at those expensive honyaki knives: very coarse finish with tons of etching or at best high glossy with etching on the hamon and sometimes a light touch with finger stones. High glossy with Jnat is not impossible but it takes ages (1k$ per age!) and truly impossible on the jigane.

I made this video last year:

Why?
Not in order to show some awesome alien skills.
Only in order to show that the results comes with much time and patience. This was really my goal while making the video. That's why I wanted it to be long.
For a professional, this amount of time has a cost: He has to feed his family, pay for raw materials, stones, electricity, some kind of silly taxes..
 

nutmeg

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I remember a Shigefusa KU nakiri used to cost $200 and a Kitaeji $400 or$ 500 five years ago..
No place for a Jnat finish at this cost!
The finish is the same now in 2019.
So, the knife may have seen a stone or two, but for the whole finish: never.

Kitchen knives makers and (sword) polishers are two different crafts.
 
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labor of love

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What about KU knives? Do you think sometimes a jnat might be used to finish the blade road? Or best case scenario it’s a synthetic?
 

Corradobrit1

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What about KU knives? Do you think sometimes a jnat might be used to finish the blade road? Or best case scenario it’s a synthetic?
Not sure about Japanese makers but Halcyon Forge and Comet finish their kasumi knives on Jnats.
 

JBroida

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the vast majority are sand/bead blasted... those that arent may be done in a variety of other ways that are not sharpening on natural stones. In sakai, some natural stone mud is used for one part of the kasumi process, but it looks nothing like sharpening on water stones. I know a few craftsmen who do indeed polish with natural stones on wide bevels, so its not impossible to find... just rare. I know one well known guy who sharpens using synthetic stones to a high polish and then uses fingerstones to create the kasumi, but they are very expensive knives.
 

nutmeg

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What about KU knives? Do you think sometimes a jnat might be used to finish the blade road? Or best case scenario it’s a synthetic?
I don't know.
But I've never seen a blade OTB without low spots. And an even surface finished on Jnats with low spots is quite uncomfortable to explain..
Anyway, Jnats and synthetic OTB doesn't make a any difference for the cutting experience once you have put the knife on a stone, even for a couple of strokes.
 

JBroida

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I don't know.
But I've never seen a blade OTB without low spots. And an even surface finished on Jnats with low spots is quite uncomfortable to explain..
Anyway, Jnats and synthetic OTB doesn't make a any difference for the cutting experience once you have put the knife on a stone, even for a couple of strokes.
i know a couple and its also possible to order this way from a couple of makers, but you're right in that its not common
 

nutmeg

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the vast majority are sand/bead blasted... those that arent may be done in a variety of other ways that are not sharpening on natural stones. In sakai, some natural stone mud is used for one part of the kasumi process, but it looks nothing like sharpening on water stones. I know a few craftsmen who do indeed polish with natural stones on wide bevels, so its not impossible to find... just rare. I know one well known guy who sharpens using synthetic stones to a high polish and then uses fingerstones to create the kasumi, but they are very expensive knives.
Sorry.. words like "impossible" are kind of exaggerated. Possible but rare and expensive is more exact, like you're saying.
Anyway, sand blasting a blade takes less than a minute and the result is not soo interessant but nice and clean so, why not?

BTW, every times I received a knife from the Watanabe Pro serie I was kind of knocked out by the nice sand-/bead blasted finish. And after two strokes on a stone, I wished the knife has stayed in original condition! :)

Sorry to hijack the thread!
 
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labor of love

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Yeah Toyama looks pretty ootb. Not a problem at all.
I don't know.
But I've never seen a blade OTB without low spots. And an even surface finished on Jnats with low spots is quite uncomfortable to explain..
Anyway, Jnats and synthetic OTB doesn't make a any difference for the cutting experience once you have put the knife on a stone, even for a couple of strokes.
I don’t mind being proved wrong here but I feel like Heiji (carbons Atleast) might have a synthetic stone finish and very few high/low spots.
Again I could be very wrong about that. I’m also referring to direct order KU heijis.
 
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milkbaby

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I thought Tsukasa Hinoura finished his knives on natural stones? But of course, you're paying a premium.
 

ojisan

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I remember some pages say (some of) Heiji knives are finished with JNats, and Hinoura Tukasa-san finishes his knives himself with whetstones (but not sure if they are Jnats)

I once saw a video that showed Shugefusa knives being finished with Sen and whetstones. They were using king-ish stones and Shapton glass stones.
 
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