June 8, 2014

Five Custom-Made Shigefusa Kitaeji Knives/特注の重房鍛地包丁、五丁

Late last year, someone asked me to help him order some Shigefusa knives from Yoshizawa Riko. Eventually, he ended up ordering five, together with the saya (wooden sheaths) for the individual knives! In early June, I sent him the knives, and he kindly sent me some photos, along with some comments. He gave me permission to post the photos in my blog, so here they are.

Note that all these knives have kitaeji (laminated steel) blades. Shigefusa's kitaeji blades are known to be resistant to warpage and easy to sharpen. For a novice like me, a kitaeji blade is simply a thing of beauty, though. 
これらの包丁はすべて鍛地(積層鋼)です。重房の鍛地の刃は反りにくく、研ぎやすいと言われています。私のような素人にとっては、鍛地の刃は単にa thing of beauty(美しいもの)ですが。

1. 1-shaku 5-sun (approx. 300 mm) yanagi
1.1尺5寸(約300 mm)柳  
A yanagi is a slicer for making sashimi.

2&3. 7-sun (approx. 195 mm) deba and 7-sun (approx. 195 mm) mioroshi
2&3.7寸(約195 mm)出刃と7寸(約195 mm)身卸
A mioroshi (or mioroshi deba) is a type of deba with a slender blade. It can be used as both deba and yanagi.

2. Deba
3. Mioroshi
4. 150-mm wa (Japanese-style handle) petty (paring) knife:
4.150 mm和ペティーナイフ:
5. 240-mm wa (Japanese-style handle) gyuto
5.240 mm和牛刀
A gyuto is considered to be an equivalent to a chef's knife.
牛刀はchef's knifeに相当するものだと考えられています。

He commented about two flaws.

Visible teething at the tip of the petty knife

The other flaw was that the deba saya is tight. No photo.

Two other photos:

3&4: Mioroshi and petty
1&5: Yanagi and gyuto:

Due to these two defects, he says he is not 100% satisfied, but he says, "... enjoying receiving these parts, it is like a dream."

For the record, I received no money from either side. I solely acted as a volunteer. This is the sixth transaction between Yoshizawa Riko and a client, with me acting as a volunteer. 


Fräulein Trude said...

My knife also had a small nick / chip in the middle of the blade which I detected too late after arriving home from Tokyo. I had to do some work with the stones to get rid of it. The steel is really soft. But I am still very satisfied with the knife.

Hiroyuki said...

Kiki: That's too bad! You mean the nick wasn't there when you purchased it?

Still satisfied? You are probably one of the few women who know how to handle a carbon steel knife!

Sissi said...

Thank you for posting such beauties. I would probably treat the small chips like unique marks on knives which are produced in small numbers (I'm sure chips almost never happen in mass-produced stuff).
I think I have forgotten to tell you I also bought a big deba from Kai, the brand you have advised as the acceptable from the cheap ones (I pair raw chicken very often: actually every second week... so it proved very useful, but it's also great with fish filleting). I love both knives I bought thanks to you (the previous was a European shape: chef's knife). Thank you once more for the recommendation and very big help.
Maybe next time I go to Tokyo I can buy something more expensive, now that I know I enjoy so much the shape of Japanese knives...

Hiroyuki said...

Sissi: Big deba?! Well, I guess you want a big deba to cut a whole chicken. As for me, I wish I could get a small (120 mm) aji kiri.