Japanese Knife

by John

In common with every modeller, woodworker, metalworker, boat builder, surgeon, “hands on” person that I have ever met, I love tools, particularly tools made with thought and care and passion for quality.

And, although I have never been a knife maker, I have been a frequent watcher of “how to” make knife videos. Who knows, maybe I will branch out into that hobby one day.

This post was prompted by my purchase of a new knife. Undoubtedly the sharpest knife I have ever used. At first glance, it has an attractive, basic shape, and I thought, “that will make a good kitchen knife”. It is long and slender, not for chopping sweet potato or pumpkin, but more for fine slicing of tomato, or coriander. (or meat/fish if you are a Neanderthal).

And sharp! It is sharper IMO than a surgeon’s scalpel. It passes the paper held at one edge slicing test with ease. I could shave with it, except with a 8″/200mm blade, that would be a bit terrifying. Even cutting up vegetables is an activity to be approached with caution. A touch on a finger would end up as a trip to the casualty department for stitches.

The knife is Japanese. Of unknown age. Probably handmade.

It was offered to me by GSMEE member Neil, who has a substantial collection. One glance at the photo he sent to me was enough for a “yes please”.

The knife, and its wooden sheath.
Can anyone translate this?
The handle, ferrule and blade are asymmetric. The grip is quite positive. Previously I have rejected asymmetric blades because they tend to deviate sideways while cutting, but this one, for some reason, cuts straight.

The wooden sheath is not Japanese. It was made by Neil, and the blade snicks perfectly into place. The pattern on the sheath is unique, and random. Looks the part, no? Considering the terrifying sharpness of the blade, the sheath is an absolute necessity IMO.

Japanese knives, chisels, saws and other implements are available from Tetsu, Ocean Grove, Victoria, tel 0403 549485. If you want a knife with a fitted wooden sheath (strongly recommended), contact Neil McMeekin at neilmcmeekin@bigpond.com. tel 0491 212 258.