HAP-40 Wide Gyuto Black 240mm (9.5")
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HAP-40 Wide Gyuto Black 240mm (9.5") is our second all-rounder made of powder steel that we designed in collaboration with the Japanese master blacksmith Osamu-san from the Yoshida Hamono smithy. With the HAP-40 series, we fused an optimal blade shape that matches the versatile nature of Western cuisine, Japanese tradition and knowledge of blade design and materials processing. What came out is a multi-purpose kitchen knife made of powder steel that is simple to use and maintain. To top it off, it boasts incredible properties, characteristic of only the best performing and most practical Japanese blades!
HAP-40 Wide Gyuto Black embodies the best characteristics we could possibly expect from a kitchen knife:
Gyuto is the Japanese version of the classic Western Chef’s knife. It can be used with a variety of different cutting techniques to take on a wide range of kitchen tasks. Wide Gyuto, however, has a little twist to its shape: with a pronounced curved belly and a very wide blade, it sets itself apart from traditional Japanese blades and is suited to Western cutting and chopping techniques. The spine of the blade tapers towards the tip, creating a slight curve between the tip and the midsection. The standard gyuto shape thus transforms into a blade that looks like a deba but is readily used for precision cutting, where you need really thin cuts (this makes it unsuitable for cutting through bones or making more robust cuts). A slight curve between the tip and the midsection makes the belly great for rocking the blade back and forth when cutting, while the pronounced tip, triangular design and an enviable length (240mm / 9.5") will make quick work of larger chunks of meat.
HAP-40 line features the most traditional Japanese wooden handle (Wa) there is - magnolia wood with buffalo horn ferrule. A universal, octagonal shape comfortably fits in the hands of both right- and left-hand users.
Magnolia wood is a soft, light-colored wood that needs some extra maintenance as it can stain easily, so we recommend having clean hands before using the knife. It is the preferred wood of Japanese sushi chefs due to its antiseptic properties, plus it is easy and affordable to rehandle as there is an abundance of magnolia handles on the market.
The secret of this knife lies in extremely (68 HRC!) hard core made of a somewhat exotic and currently one of the most mysterious and attractive steels produced in Japan (at least as far as kitchen knives are concerned): Hitachi’s HAP-40 steel that fits into the category of modern and technologically advanced steels. HAP-40 is fine-grained enough to sharpen very well, and knives from this steel keep their sharpness three to five times longer than traditional knives. An interesting fact is that, considering it is a powder steel, it has an extremely small content of chromium (around 4%) and can react as a high-carbon steel in specific circumstances.
This steel is heat-treated to an incredible 68 HRC, yet it can still be relatively easily sharpened on whetstones. It is extremely tough, and so not as likely to chip along the edge as the steel used in traditional knives.
🦉 As the technological development progresses, many new types of steel (ZDP-189, HAP-40, R2, Super X etc.) have come to light. They rate as high as 64-68 on the Rockwell scale (HRC) and possess staggering properties. Knives carefully crafted from powdered steel are the crème de la crème of kitchen tools and offer incredible cutting performance and edge retention.
Higher hardness value in knives means..?
✅ Higher hardness value ➨ long-lasting sharpness
→ More about HRC and hardness here!
Blacksmiths counter the brittleness of material with special composition of the knife. The blades are laminated, which means that they are not composed of only one type of steel, but several layers of different steels. In the case of this HAP-40 Wide Gyuto, Osamu-san chose a san-mai (also called “sandwich”) method. A layer of the core steel (HAP-40) is laminated between two external layers of softer, stainless steel. This creates a highly durable kitchen knife with a slightly more pliable core. The main advantage of these knives is that they are thin, sharp and retain their edge very well.
Lamination is a very challenging process in steel processing, therefore most blacksmiths buy already laminated steel sheets which they made into blades. HAP-40 is known as an incredibly demanding material to process, forge and quench and so remains a rare component in Japanese knives despite its stellar characteristics. Yoshida Hamono has a wealth of experience in processing powder steels and is also the only smithy that laminates its own ZDP-189 and HAP-40 steels, allowing it to adjust the method of lamination to the shape of the blade.
→ Are you interested in learning more about blade construction and lamination? Read our article Blade construction: Lamination
Regardless of the high HRC value of HAP-40 steel, its chemical composition ensures decreased brittleness, while a low content of chromium means that it can acquire a patina!
COMPOSITION: 1.27–1.37% carbon (C), 3.70–4.70% chromium (Cr), 5.60–6.40% tungsten (W), 4.60–5.40% molybdenum (Mo), 2.80–3.30% vanadium (V) and 7.50–8.50% cobalt (Co).
If your work in the kitchen calls for a knife with good edge retention, HAP-40 steel offers a good alternative and an upgrade to ZDP-189 steel. We mostly had in mind professional chefs when choosing the material, but undoubtedly it will be a joy to wield by all serious knife enthusiasts, especially those who appreciate exotic and collectors’ items.
It has a double bevel (symmetrical) blade and, according to its cross-section and the location of the shinogi line (where the angle of the surface changes), its shape is concave:
→ The part of the blade below the shinogi line is of concave shape. This kind of concave or hollow grinds finish in a very thin and extremely sharp point, so the blade remains sharp for a very long time despite frequent sharpening. This thin profile gives the impression that a knife is sharp even though it’s already ripe for sharpening.
The blade has a dark finish which is the reason why this look is also called kuro-uchi - the word “kuro” means black. This look is traditional and robust, with an unprocessed top part of the blade that has already developed a dark patina.
🦉 During the forging process, the knives are exposed to tremendous heat and flames so that the iron on the surface oxidizes and turns black. During the later processing, the surface is thinned and polished to bring out the reflective and shiny nature of the blade. If the desired end results is the kuro-uchi finish, the upper part of the blade is no longer polished in the later stages of the process.
This look is somewhat robust and organic, but it has a purpose – it will minimize the reactivity of a carbon steel knife and reduce the risk of corrosion compared to knives with a high polish finish. This dark “patina” is also applied to knives made of stainless steel and its sole function is style and aesthetics.
→ You can find out more about the final look of the blade in article Blade construction: Blade finish
Knives made of HAP-40 steel were made with professional users in mind. We took advice from our chefs to heart and drew on their extensive experience in using Japanese knives. They are the ones who exactly know what properties a blade must possess so they can prepare food efficiently and effectively. When choosing the material and also design of the blade, we put together our knowledge, our user’s requests and the Japanese tradition in the forging of most demanding materials. And what is the final result? An unsurpassable quality and versatile use in just one, perfect blade!
About Yoshida Hamono:
The knife is manufactured at the smithy of Yoshida Hamono in Japan, a family company with an age-long tradition in manufacturing state-of-the-art tools and Japanese swords, i.e., katanas, by hand. Yoshida Hamono has a great deal of experience forging ZDP-189 steel in the traditional manner.
|Hardness (HRC scale):||68
|Overall length:||385mm (15.2")|
|Blade length:||240mm (9.5")|
|Spine thickness:||2.5mm (0.10")|
|Weight:||215g (7.6 oz)|
|Handle length:||140mm (5.5")|
|Handle type / wood:||
Japanese / Magnolia
Use & Care:
- Handwash in warm water and towel dry
- Use a sharpening stone (not a honing steel!) to sharpen your knife
- Do not cut frozen foods and meat bones
- Do not put the knife in a dishwasher
- Read our comprehensive guide on proper Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.
Still doubting which type of Japanese knife should best fit your needs? We created a quick, 5-steps quiz to help you find the perfect knife based on your cooking skills and the type of food you prepare.