Worldwide, especially in developed countries, there is a growing interest in using Samurai kitchen swords.
And with good reason. These knives are made in the same, millennia old traditional fashion as the world’s finest swords ever known to man: the swords used in combat by the fierce and incomparable Japanese warriors known as the Samurai.
It is a small wonder, then, that chefs and home-cooking enthusiasts are discovering the satisfaction of using Samurai kitchen swords in their kitchens. They simply cannot be beat. The sharpness of the edge they can be honed to, the length of time and use they hold that razor sharpness, and the ease with which they can be resharpened make them superior cutlery against all others.
For anyone unfamiliar with this high grade of cutlery, there are certain precautions to be aware of, and some usage and maintenance skills that are needed to be aware of and learned. This post is to provide that, as well as more, information about using Samurai kitchen swords.
Let’s get right into it, okay?
A Primer on Using Samurai Kitchen Swords
First, a bit of background history, and what makes Samurai knives so superior. There is no chrome used in a Japanese kitchen knife. They are made, nowadays, using two different methods.
The older, more traditional method is called Kasumi. It mimics the ancient way of making “katanas” – the blades
carried by the fierce Samurai warrior caste of antiquity. Kasumi method uses two different metals: high grade, high-carbon blue or white steel (called hagane), mixed with iron (jigane). Combined, these two metals are pounded and folded together multiple times. And the more folding and pounding, the better and pricier the knife will be. This combination forging produces a knife that takes an incredibly sharp edge, and yet is malleable enough to be very easy to resharpen.
More often in production today, is the modern method, called Honyaki, which is a “true-forging” of one metal – a very high grade, knife specific blue or white steel. These knives are harder than the Kasumi style, and many feel they maintain their sharp edge longer. However, the trade-off is, they are more difficult to resharpen.
With either method, the “class” of a Samurai kitchen sword is determined by the quality of the material and the method of forging used. There are some Japanese master sword and knife makers who make such magnificent and revered blades, they command prices (for one kitchen sword or knife) in the thousands of dollars.
Here is a short (less than 2 minutes) video that shows just how easy basic kitchen prep work becomes, when using Samurai kitchen swords:
Impressive, eh? Can you imagine slicing a ripe tomato without having to even hold it in place, braced against the forward motion of the cutting edge of your knife?
A few things you should be aware of, when using Samurai kitchen swords:
- Properly sharpened, those edges are extremely dangerous. Handle with care, and always slice and chop away from your hands and fingers.
- If you are using Kasumi knives, they will rust, if not properly maintained. After each use, clean them (again, being very careful), wipe them thoroughly dry, and place them back in their sheaths. Actually it is a good practice to do this with the Honyaki style knives as well.
- You will need to learn how to sharpen them. Whether using the Honyaki knives, which will hold their sharp edges a bit longer, or the softer steel Kasumi knives, sharpening these knives requires learning a skill. And they must be sharpened using high quality water-stones, not the oil-lubricated whetstones that are more common to American and European cultures.
Here is a very good visual tutorial on how to sharpen your Samurai knives, with Japanese Master Chef Mino Tsuchida
That wraps up this post on using Samurai kitchen swords. If you already have a set, I do hope this information was helpful for you. And if you are finding yourself desiring to try them, and would like to purchase some, you can on our online store – just Click Here.
You can also get high quality Japanese waterstones for sharpening your Samurai knives, just Click Here.
Chow y’all, please leave a comment, I will respond to all comments, questions, and suggestions. And come back soon!
My Best Always, Your Friend,
Marvin D Wilson
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