Sakai Takayuki Knives
Sakai Takayuki Japanese Knives
Sakai Takayuki Japanese Knives, direct from Sakai Japan
Discount Canadian Prices, Great Service & Fast and affordable Shipping!
Incredibly sharp and thin knives, suitable for home or professional use.
These are truly beautiful and high quality knives, made with precision and care in Sakai, Japan, under the watchful eye of such renowned master craftsmen as Mr. Keijiro Doi (view slide show of Mr. Doi making knives by hand!), his son Itsuo Doi, custom knife master Keido Sugihara, and master grinder (for sharpening and finishing) Yukinori Oda. These are extremely sharp knives, guaranteed to perform at a high level, and since I bring them in direct from the manufacturer in Japan, the prices are fair. I worked hard over many months to bring these knives into Canada, so YOU can get the benefit of hundreds of years of traditional Japanese knife-making for your money, and just NOT celebrity endorsements and marketing hype like so many European and North American knives now being sold in stores at inflated prices.
Try one today -- you will be amazed at how sharp, easy to handle and beautiful they are!
About the different lines:
Grand Cheff and Grand Cheff SP
Yes, there is some confusion about the name... apparently there was a trademark conflict and that's why the extra "f" is there on "Cheff". With the settled, these are GREAT knives, and superb values. The big deal here is that they're made with a high tech stainless steel from Uddeholm Sweden: AEB-L. This is hardened to a range of 58-60 HRC, so it's very hard, and takes an amazing edge! Yes, this is one of those "wonder steels" or "super steels" that you'll hear knife makers talk about. And the factory edge is superb, ground very fine and very thin, so you get performance near that of the Misono UX10 but at a substantially lower price. The SP are the same as the standard knives, but with dimples. Do the dimples make much of a difference? A little maybe on slicers, but probably not much on the others, but they don't hurt and they're not that much more expensive so if you like them then go for it! The handles are standard European style and very light and comfortable, so these knives are also comfortable and easy to use and maintenance is not a problem at all (I highly recommend the 10" fine ceramic hone which will let you easily and safely maintain a razor sharp edge). Here's what the manufacturer says about this special steel they use:
The Uddeholm company manufactures the steel used in the Grand Chef Knife series. Established in 1670 in the Munkfors district, Sweden, Uddeholm has a history of more than 1300 years. In the field of precision rolled steel products, the company leads the world. Since quality iron ore excavated from company mines contains an extremely low amount of phosphorus and sulfur, the special steel is reputed to be of the finest in the world. The Grand Cheff Knife series products use the special Swedish steel manufactured by Uddeholm and offer exceptional sharpness and abrasion/corrosion resistance for many years of service.
Damascus Hammered (17-layer / 33-layer)
These are the most popular knives in the line simply because they look GREAT and they're very affordable. They're high quality knives with beautiful pakkawood (wood fiber, impregnated with epoxy so they're durable and watertight) handles, and the blade consists of a hammered "damascus" style stainless steel cladding over a VG10 steel core and cutting edge. VG10 is a very, very good choice of steel for the cutting edge (many very high end Japanese knives use this same steel), so you get great performance and great looks -- a winning combination! It's a hard steel (about 60 HRC) and so will take a very sharp and thin edge. Please remember though that despite what you might hear from some manufacturers and enthusiasts and stores, the damascus/layered look is purely aesthetic and has no impact at all on performance. Nothing wrong with looking good though, so if you like the look, you should love these knives! This knives are sharpened 50/50 right/left so they're fine for right or left-hand use. Note that the 17-layer knives are being phased out and have been replaced by the new and improved (better finish, even better-looking) 33-layer series.
These are very high end knives, with superb fit and finish on the big and beautiful handles, and a core of a very hard (60 HRC/Rockwell hardness) special steel alloy around a 63-layer stainless steel alloy. These are a bit heavier and more heavy-duty than the hammered versions... they're clearly a step up and have had more TLC put into them by the maker, and of course the price reflects this. If you're looking for a top-grade damascus/layered-style knife with incredible good looks and top notch fit, finish, edge and handle quality, this is it. The looks AND performance will astound you. This knives are only for right-hand use.
What can I say -- these are the real deal. These are NOT mass-produced factory assembly-line affairs... these are individually handmade and hand-finished by the guys shown in the photos on this page. Really. The man in the top photo is 82 years old and he personally forged most of the Yanagibas below (he specialises in these long blades, that's why he didn't make the other styles). Those are photos of them at work making these knives in the real working location. The steels used are from the Hitachi Yasugi-Works (Yasuki) series of super-hard high-carbon steels used by all high-end makers now. The "white" steel is a pure carbon steel (not an alloy -- no other added elements) which is difficult to work with but which theoretically can yield the hardest and sharpest edge. The downside to this is of course brittleness -- the harder and sharper something is, the easier it'll be to chip it (like glass!). The "blue" series steels are almost the same as the white, but they are an alloy with a bit of tungsten and chromium added for a little extra resistance to wear and toughness. The reality is that virtually nobody could ever tell the difference in performance in real life while working in a kitchen. So please don't be fooled by what you might encounter out there with one steel being "better" than the other... they're not different in quality, they're just different, and the masters who make these knives will choose the right steel for the job and budget, so don't get caught up in worrying about one or the other. Note that the models I carry are all "kasumi" in that they're wrapped in a layer of softer iron to make the knives less likely to crack and chip and to make sharpening easier (the carbon steel core is exposed, as you can see in the photo, just near the edge). While they do make "honyaki" pure carbon steel knives (water quenched), they're VERY expensive (they're hard to make and lots of knives get discarded before one actually makes it through to the customer) and the fact that they're entirely made of this hard steel means they're a nightmare to sharpen and they are much more likely to chip or crack than a standard kasumi model. And so I do NOT carry their honyaki models... if you're a professional sushi chef and you know that you want one and are prepared to pay $650+ contact me about special ordering one (delivery generally takes at least 2 months). And yes, they're all sharpened in the traditional manner, almost completely on the right-side only (so they're only for right-hand use), with a slightly concave backside. So with all that said, these are special knives to own and use, and they offer incredible performance, but I wouldn't recommend them for everyday use. I do sell some to professional Japanese chefs and to home users, but they require careful care, they must be kept dry and clean (the carbon steel will rust very quickly and easily), and you must take care to not chip or crack the edge or tip (it's the nature of the beast, so it can indeed happen). It's like owning a Ferrari -- you wouldn't drive it on winter pot-holed streets in the snow and salt to get the kids to school... So yes, they're fun and very special to own and use, but this is definitely a cutlery case of caveat emptor!
|Review (of the hammered damascus santoku) from my professional chef customer R. Abanes from Delta, BC: "Paul, I received the Sakai Takayuki knife last Friday. My friends & I immediately put it to work (prepping veg, fish & line duty). Everyone who saw it was impressed with its beauty, I'm very impressed with its surgical accuracy. Thank you so much for your impeccable service. You have my recommendation to anyone who's in the market to buying a knife (even if its not Japanese they're looking for)."|
DIMPLES: Since so many people ask: in my opinion, dimples (a "granton" edge) on a santoku or chef's knife do nothing (or VERY little at least). They were designed for thin slicers, but manufacturers put them on everything now because they look cool and help sell knives. Fact: dimples do NOT reduce "suction" and "sticking" like some people and sellers claim -- it's really just about reducing friction: since there is less material for the food to contact with as it passes the cutting edge, theoretically you should be able to get paper thin slices a bit more easily and without the slices bunching up as much on the blade (they should move across and fall away a bit more easily). But a good chef just needs a good sharp knife to get precise and thin slices, not gimmicks. If you like the look and it's not much more money (and it's not with these Sakai Takayuki models where it's available: the Grand Chef SP line, and the rectangular dimples to look pretty cool!), then fine, but I wouldn't let dimples affect my decision on a particular knife purchase. Get the best knife you can for your budget that suits your needs and personal preferences in terms of materials, shape and handle styles, and don't let dimples factor into the decision until the end!