Moritaka Supreme Yanagiba Knife, 240mm (9.5"), Aogami/Blue Super Carbon Steel
Excellent razor-sharp carbon steel yanagiba ("sushi knife"), hand-made in the Moritaka family workshop in Japan. Keep in mind that this knife is not finished in a traditional yanagi format: the edge is 50/50 bevel so it's MUCH easier to maintain, and it's fine for right/left hand use (though the handle is D-shaped and so more suitable for right-hand use). It's also thin (not thick-bladed like traditional yanagibas). Basically, it's the same as their chef's knife and slicer, but in a yanagi shape, so just think of it as a "narrow slicer". Blade is made of Aogami/Blue Super carbon steel, with a permanent seasoned rosewood handle and a stainless steel tang. These blades should take a super sharp edge and the added toughness of the Blue Super steel should help with edge strength and resistance. The rosewood handle should be MUCH longer-lasting than the softer and lighter magnolia wood usually seen on traditional Japanese knives, and the stainless steel tang inside the handle means that any moisture will not result in premature pitting or damage to the handle. The finish is kuro-uchi (black) with a lacquer coating -- this helps protect the steel and should not be polished off. Edge is 50/50 bevel, so it is fine for left or right-handed use, and is easily sharpened with any stone or hone or gadget suitable for Japanese knives. For regular everyday maintenance I suggest a fine ceramic hone (see below). I really love these knives -- I'm sure you'll be thrilled and amazed by the quality, good looks, and high performance of these carbon steel blades! Comes packed in a nice cobalt-blue gift box.
IMPORTANT: Moritaka knives are very sharp and high-performance knives. To achieve this, the edges are ground very thin, and the steel is very hard. This results in a knife that is potentially fragile. As such, CHIPS OR CRACKS TO THE EDGE OR TIP ARE NOT COVERED UNDER ANY WARRANTY. It is the nature of such a knife that it is potentially fragile. If you are a beginner, not confident in your knife handling skills, or looking for an all-purpose knife, do NOT purchase this knife. I love my Moritaka and use it almost daily, but I only use it for precision slicing, dicing, and mincing (great for onions, garlic, ginger, boneless meats) as I’ve certainly chipped edges on other high-performance Japanese knives over the years, so I know it's always a risk. It is important to NOT use a rapid up-down rat-a-tat style chopping motion (where you are smacking the edge down rapidly on the cutting board). While cutting also remember to use good controlled technique -- hard steel will not tolerate "tweaking" (any sideways twisting) and just like any hard material this can result in a chip or crack. You should let the knife do the work, and not lean down and apply pressure to the edge. Cutting surface is also important: only use plastic or maple, NOT bamboo, stone/granite or glass. I also only recommend using these knives with boneless meats and regular veggies (onions, garlic, ginger, etc.) -- never hard/tough materials like root vegetables (turnips, etc.) and certainly nothing where you'd hit a bone. Finally, since they are made of carbon steel, do NOT try to keep the knife shiny. Think of it like a carbon steel crepe pan or a cast iron pan, which both benefit from a "seasoned" finish which will develop a natural yellowish discoloured patina. This is normal and will help protect the carbon steel from rusting. Do not leave these knives in a sink or sitting in water. After use, wash with warm soapy water, dry well, and store in a wooden knife block (do not store in a drawer or on a magnetic knife holder). So in conclusion, yes, this is a high-performance knife, but as with any high-performance tool or machine, this means it requires extra care and skill. A Ferrari will require MORE care, skill and maintenance than a Toyota Corolla, not less.