Moritaka Supreme Yanagiba Knife, 240mm (9.5"), Aogami/Blue Super Carbon Steel, Octagonal Walnut Handle
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. 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 walnut 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 walnut handle should be longer-lasting than the softer and lighter magnolia wood usually seen on traditional Japanese knives. 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 Idahone 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.