Sakai Takayuki Traditional Japanese

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 life-long experts in Japan. 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 normally carry their honyaki models. 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!

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