Watanabe question

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Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2020
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Hi, I was searching some sites yesterday checking out some knives. I've been looking for a gyuto. Anyway I ended up at Watanabe blade. There are a few knives with tamahagane core. Which got me a little excited. I have Watanabe santoku and really love how it cuts. I would love to know if anyone here has any experiences with any Tamahagane core knives. How they feel cutting, how they wear etcetera etcetera. Thanks
In terms of performance, there isn’t anything magical about tamahagane. In fact, most of it is probably inferior compared to modern low-alloy high-carbon tool steels. That said, the good stuff can be very high carbon and low in everything else and is very pleasant to sharpen. Watanabe not far back sold some seconds of tamahagane that he didn’t get full hardness on. Compare that to his blue and white which is known to be excellent… so don’t expect magic performance from tamahagane.

That said, there are some great reasons to buy it! It’s unique, rare, full of history and generally just a cool thing to have around. My two favorite steels to sharpen have both been tamahagane. If all I cared about was performance, I’d have fewer knives and no jnats, but we’re here to have fun and I like my rocks and wrought clad blades so why shouldn’t you enjoy a nice tamahagane Wat?
I've had a couple tamahagane blades and don't expect them to be magically better. . . A yasha yukawa tamahagane knife had really really great steel but the grind was like a sword, so it was basically a deba, when it was supposed to be a yanagi.

I've had a tamahagane razor, iwasaki that cut hair super readily and more than any other razor but didn't shave with my preference. It wasnt as crisp as other good carbon steel kamisori that I've tried, that don't catch into hair quite as readily but go through it easier for me. I've also had another tamahagane kamisori, and 2 tamahagane Kanna. . . I have regular carbon steel knives whose steel I like more, so buy makers of you want, or steel I guess.

Takagi for example had thick edges but thin blade faces, and he made my favorite honyaki steel I've tried.

Anyhow, good tamahagane is supposed to sharpen like or easier than white steel. And to me, tamahagane feels different, almost plasticky or hammered (?) compared to white steel.
I have some knives from Watanabe. (Note: no tamagahane)

It doesn't feel like they're from the same smith/grinder. (But I am happy with all of them). Don't extrapolate characteristics (e.g. grind, profile, etc)
Thanks for the great advice guys. Now I have to weigh up my options. All part of the journey :)