February 15, 2015

Funayuki Knife, Multi-Layer Steel/舟行包丁 多層鋼

I purchased a 21-cm multi-layer funayuki knife online for 9,750 yen.
ネットで21 cmの多層鋼の舟行包丁(9,750円)を買いました。
Funayuki = funa (< fune = boat) + yuki (< yuku = to go)
As the name implies, a funayuki is a versatile knife particularly useful in a boat. It can be used to fillet a fish, make it into sashimi, and cut meat and vegetables.

My first impression of the knife was not very good. I said to myself, "Is it really hand-made?" Is it really a "forged bladed tool"?
It looks made of a composite material.

The back of the blade is not rounded, and is not thick towards the tang.
Weight: 179 g
重さ: 179 g
Compare it with my 165-mm Shifegusa kurouchi nakiri.
165 mmの重房黒打ち菜切りと比べて下さい。

By the way, my nakiri is rather heavy, much heavier than most nakiri.
(You may love or hate a heavy knife, depending on who you are. I personally like this particular heavy nakiri. I can hold it steady, and it cuts right into the ingredient under its own weight.)

My 120-mm Shigefusa kitaeji ajikiri:
私の120 mm重房鍛地鯵切:

My 180-mm Shigefusa kitaeji petty knife:
私の180 mm重房鍛地ペティ―:

My 165-mm kurouchi santoku from Watanabe Blade:
渡辺刃物の165 mm黒打三徳:

As you can see, for all these four forged knives, the back of the blade is rounded, and thick towards the tang.

Maybe I'm asking too much, but I'm a little disappointed by the quality and the look and feel of the blade.

Anyway, I had to check if it would cut properly. One of the reasons why I bought this knife is that I wanted a 21-cm knife capable of cutting long vegetables with a single slicing motion.

Chinese cabbage:

Can you tell what it is? A head of cabbage.
Given to us by my father-in-law.
Good! I really liked the way it can cut with a single motion.

My 165-mm Shigefusa nakiri is too short for this carrot.
私の165 mmの重房菜切りでは短すぎです。

Great! I liked it!
It cannot compare with my Shifegusa kitaeji and kurouchi knives, but it's a good knife in its own way.

I think I'll buy some tomatoes tomorrow to see how it can cut them.

Edited to add the following on Jan. 17:

I bought some tomatoes today, and checked if the knife could cut them properly. It did!
Slightly less sharp than my Shigefusa nakiri and kitaeji petty, but I think with a little bit of sharpening, this knife will be as sharp.


Yubun said...

The Funayuki has a interesting profile and I may need to try that next. I'm sure once you sharpen it it'll perform well for you. One of my favorite knife was the first knife I got from Watanabe about 10 years ago. It was a no frill kurouchi santoku but I'm alway amaze at how well it cuts once I sharpen it. Enjoy the new knife!

Hiroyuki said...

Yubun: Thanks for your comment. I sharpened the funayuki tonight, and cut a tomato. I found it was as sharp as my Shigefusa nakiri and petty. I'm really glad about that.

Well, I had thought about ordering a 21-cm Shigefusa kitaeji gyuto, but I knew it would cost more than 80,000 yen...
This particular funayuki knife is a really a good substitute.

Do you know what I'm going to do with this knife? I'm going to sharpen it to a 8:2 (right:left) ratio, to make it a truly all-purpose knife (which can be used as a yanagiba and a usuba, too)!

okasan said...

I am re-reading all your knife posts, as I am going to Japan next week. I will be in the Shibuya area and I am thinking of dropping by 吉沢利工 and checking out the 重房黒打菜切り either 150mm or 160mm. But then I read about your review about the 舟行包丁 also sounds interesting as an everyday knife. Do you still enjoy it? I checked out their website and the price is very reasonable. I assume it is a hand made knife. I won't be able to visit the store and seems like most people just order online. If I read it correctly they can ship out the next day after payment? Would you know how many delivery day to Osaka because I have a friend there? I wanted to get a knife for my daughter; she has been wanting a hand made knife, which one would you recommend for a young cook?

Hiroyuki said...

okasan: First of all, welcome to Japan!

I would recommend a pointed blade one, not a rectangular blade one, because the former is more versatile.

飯塚重房 黒打剣型包丁
  五寸 (刃渡 約150㎜) 13,200円

Attention: Yoshizawa Riko is closed on every Sunday and every third Saturday.
BESIDES, you can never be sure that that particular knife is in stock unless you confirm with the shop. Shigefusa knives are so hard to come by these days.

In addition, I would not recommend a carbon steel knife in the first place, because it requires meticulous care.

I would suggest getting a stainless steel santoku knife, like these:

This particular shop says here
that they can ship a product on the day you place an order, provided that it's in stock and you place the order by noon on a weekday.


It also says that the shipping fee is 800 yen.

If you need any more information, just let me know.

Hiroyuki said...

okasan: Well, actually, since you say you have a friend in Osaka, I would suggest asking him/her to get a perfect knife for your daughter. Sakai city, the largest kitchen knife producer in Japan, is located in Osaka!!!

okasan said...

Thank you for the warm welcome! Your comment is very helpful. I particularly like the knife you got from 打ち刃物because of the price point for a beginner cook. I haven't done much research on knifes elsewhere because you are my 'go to'reference. I didn't know Sakai City is the largest kitchen knife producer, now I am on a mission. Is there a particular reputable shop you can suggest? My friend's husband owns a 居酒屋, I would assume he should know where to go; however, I wouldn't mind visiting a shop myself. I will take up on your suggestion and get a stainless steel santoku knife, would that be hand made?

Hiroyuki said...

okasan: Thank you for your compliment, but I'm not so knowledgeable about kitchen knives as you may think I am.

I still enjoy my 210 mm funayuki, particularly when cutting long vegetables, and I also enjoy my 165 mm Shigefusa nakiri. My wife, on the other hand, uses the Global santoku and the 100 mm stainless steel petty knife. I assume your daughter is like my wife (sorry if I'm mistaken). That's why I would recommend a stainless steel one.

The stainless santoku I mentioned above
is unique in that the blade is made of stainless steel but the edge is made of carbon steel called Yasuki hagane.
安来 鋼(やすきはがね)の白鋼
And, it's hand made although it doesn't look like hand made...
I don't know of any other knife that has such a construction.

Another suggestion I'd like to make is, why not forget about hand made knives?
A stainless steel Global santoku is a great option, so are many other santoku, such as Seki Sonroku of Kai Corporation:

I don't know of any good kitchen knife maker in Sakai. Well-known makers include Ikeda Hamono and Aoki Hamono:
Sakai is famous for producing kitchen knives for professional chefs, so you may find difficulty finding the right knife for a young chef at an affordable price.

Hiroyuki said...

If I were to present my daughter a kitchen knife for the first time, I would choose a stainless steel 165-mm santoku knife with an integral handle, like this one:
together with a sharpener.

Can you imagine what kitchen knife I bought for my son when he started to live alone in an apartment in Tokyo? A bannou (万能, versatile) knife I bought at a 100-yen shop! I was quite certain that it would serve the purpose for the time being. Of course, I am willing to buy him a better one (2,000-5,000 yen) if he asks me to.

okasan said...

ただいま!I finally made it to Yoshizawa Riko 吉沢利工 in Shibuya, what a compact little store. I spoke with the shop owner and inquire about the Shigefusa knife, he happened to have 2 in the window display, one is a santoku kurouchi 165mm 重房三徳包丁黒打and a nakiri kurouchi 165mm  重房菜切り黒打. I decided to go for the former as you suggested being more versatile, I also mentioned to the shop owner (forgot to ask him for his business card)that I learnt about his shop from you. After learning that he immediately went to the back and brought out a fuguhiki (?)knife that you had ordered, at least that's how I interpreted with my limited Japanese! So far I am very happy with the knife, it is a little heavier than my existing one. I like the rustic look and the weight of this knife. He suggested that I use tsubaki oil on the knife after each use. Tsubaki 椿 oil is very common in Japan but not where I am, can I use vegetable oil or mineral oil instead?

Hiroyuki said...

okasan: Just incredible! You went to the shop and bought a Shigefusa knife!? Now that you own a Shigefusa carbon steel knife, I really hope you take a good care of it!!!

I have never ordered a Shigefusa fuguhiki... Maybe Yoshizawa-san wanted to show you a Shigefusa's masterpiece.

Tsubaki oil is traditionally used to treat knives (and human hair). I would suggest using edible vegetable oil instead.

And, yes, a compact little store, as you say, and it's basically a carpenter tool shop.

okasan said...

I have been wanting to visit Yoshizawa san's store for many years since reading about it from your blog. I intended to visit his store last time I was in Japan in 2011 but as you remember things didn't work out because of the tsunami! Finally I made it! It is kind of incredible. The day of the visit happened to be Halloween day, the traffic was not too bad in the afternoon; however, by the evening it was a completely different picture!

The master piece he showed me was a very long knife, more like a sword! I think he said it took a year and a half to complete.

I am a little nervous using the Shigefusa knife! Can you offer me suggestions as to how to properly take care of carbon steel knife? I was so excited with the knife and I forgot to look for a saya. I think I find one online.

Hiroyuki said...

okasan: I didn't know you wanted to visit the shop so badly. Yes, I remember your story all too well. That was close!

I'm no expert on kitchen knives. I think this particular YouTube video provide the necessary information:

You may want to purchase these and other items:

As a whetstone fixer, I would recommend getting a diamond whetstone:

If you ever find it intimidating to treat a carbon knife on a daily basis, just put your Shigefusa knife in a showcase or something!

(I wonder if the Shigefusa knife is for you or your daugher.)

okasan said...

I have thought about putting Shigefusa in a showcase (笑)!

I am trading with my daughter, she is using my 昌景三徳包丁(Masakage) , it is a little lighter and is carbon steel clad with stainless steel. I think this is a better option for her as it is less maintenance than carbon steel.

BTW, forgot to mention that I found a jar of かんずり kanzuri. With nabe season coming up I can't wait to give it a try.

Hiroyuki said...

okasan: OK then just put your precious Shigefusa santoku in a showcase and show it off to your friends and family!

I would suggest that if you ever decide to use your Shigefusa, you get a much cheaper (2,000-3,000 yen) carbon steel knife first and feel comfortable dealing with a carbon steel knife and then start using your Shigefusa.

You found a jar of kanzuri!? Lucky you! (Well, just between you and me, I prefer yuzu kosho to kanzuri (laugh).)

okasan said...

Now you tell me! I love yuzu kosho.....well, I will have to lower my expectations now!