Furaibo Kakugata Usuba Shirogami #2 180mm
Furaibo 風来坊 - vagabond, wanderer
Just like a vagabond wanders the earth without rest, seasons flow into each other and bring change on their way. The sun shines and turns to rain, wind blows past us and we weather the storms, nature perpetuating itself. And in the same steady flow, tradition and convention progress slowly and either give way to new ideas and inventions or reinforce the established status quo.
Centuries of Japanese tradition of sword and blade manufacturing have allowed for such natural processes to play out and birthed many iterations of different blade shapes, sizes and materials they forged them from. Japanese kitchen knives serve as a sort of time capsule, preserving this spirit of excellence and tradition, and the blacksmiths, acting as amber around fossilized remnants of history, passing them to the next generations to keep them alive.
With our previous designs and collaborations with Japanese blacksmiths, we focused heavily on multi-purpose knives to fit the needs of the contemporary chef. We felt that the next move should be a step in the opposite direction, focusing instead on the truly quintessential knives that showcase both the masterful craftsmanship and a rich culinary tradition those contemporary knife shapes were later built on.
Furaibo Usuba, ever wandering from recipe to recipe, is forged from Shirogami #2, one of the purest and most traditional steels used in Japanese knife manufacturing. Birthed from fire in the historic Tsubame-Sanjo region in Niigata prefecture, and fitted with colorful handles to commemorate the passing of seasons that gave way for this beautiful craft to evolve and thrive. The blade’s finish was kept within the confines of the Japanese concept of negative space (ma 間)* and given a sleek polished migaki look, and a kasumi finish on the kireha. Adorned with a hand-chiseled kanji, three symbols, one word – vagabond.
*the Japanese concept of ma or negative space is a philosophy that guides their approach to design, as well as other, everyday things – the core belief being that absence can be just as important as presence.
Usuba in Japanese means thin, which is an appropriate description of this knife designed for preparing vegetables, where a thin blade is very important. When cutting firm vegetables such as carrots, it is important that the blade cuts, not split, as can often happen with thicker knives.
Kakugata refers to the specific rectangular shape of this knife - kaku means square in Japanese. The single bevel blade enables precise chopping of vegetables on the kitchen board, and due to its height and straight edge, it can also be used for peeling larger tuberous vegetables, such as daikon, into long and thin slices. This process is called “katsuramuki” and is one of the most difficult and complex Japanese cutting techniques.
Shirogami #2 is a traditional high-carbon steel in Japanese knife manufacturing, and #2 is the most frequently used Shirogami steel. Due to its high carbon content, it can reach a hardness of over 60 HRC, which means that blades forged from it will have excellent edge retention. The blades will sharpen easily and will be able to achieve a very fine sharpness, owing to the steel’s very pure composition. For the same reason, the steel isn’t corrosion resistant and the blade will develop a protective patina over time. Therefore, it’s recommended you wipe the blade dry between and after use and oil it regularly.
→ Learn more about knife maintenance here.
Ni-mai lamination method is used on single-bevel knives, where a sheet of softer metal is forge-welded onto the shinogi (front) side of the blade’s hard core. This reinforces the blade’s structural integrity and consequently makes it tougher.
It has a single bevel blade and a concave primary angle (the surface below the shinogi line).
This knife sports a minimalistic migaki finish, meaning the blade has been polished. The kireha, or “blade road” is adorned with a matte kasumi finish that marks the transition between the jigane (softer outer layer of steel) and hagane or the blade’s hard core.
Handles are made of natural maple wood, which undergoes a special procedure of stabilization with resin. This ensures a long service life of the handle. During this process of stabilization, a color pigment is added which penetrates the wood in different ways, creating unique patterns. This makes every handle one-of-a-kind.
Blade shape: Usuba
Steel type: Shirogami #2
Blade construction: Ni-mai / hamaguri (convex) / migaki
Hardness (HRC scale): 61
Overall length: 325mm (12.8")
Blade length: 175mm (6.9")
Blade height: 50mm (2")
Spine thickness: 3.9mm (0.15")
Weight: 250g (8.8 oz)
Handle length: 139mm (5.5")
Handle type / wood: Japanese (Wa) / Custom
Kanji on the blade:
Location of the smithy: TSUBAME-SANJO / Niigata Prefecture / Japan
☝️ Japanese kitchen knives in our store are handmade from natural materials. Slight variations in color, texture, weight and other dimensions are possible. We try to give a good photographic representation of our products, however computer screen resolution and colors do vary, so products might not look exactly as they are seen on screen.
☝️ THIS KNIFE MAY DEVELOP PATINA
Knives made of traditional Japanese carbon steels can, due to their low chromium (Cr) content, discolor and develop patina. The knife is the most sensitive when it is still new and a patina had not developed yet, but later, patina will protect the blade. These types of knives require a touch more care:
✔ Wipe it regularly with a clean and dry cloth (you can also do this during use).
✔ After use, rinse it with lukewarm water and wipe it dry.
✔ Coat it regularly with knife maintenance oil or plain refined sunflower oil.
✔ Store the knife by wrapping it in paper which will absorb moisture and protect the blade.
A patina is a thin layer that forms on the surface of oxidized steel and protects it from further oxidation. The patina should not be confused with rust. Patina protects the blade, while rust causes corrosion and deterioration of material, so it should be removed (see Rust erasers).
→ For in-depth information about patina, read our dedicated post on patina.
GENERAL KNIFE CARE TIPS:
Blade wear depends on the quality of steel, usage and maintenance of the blade. Japanese knives are made of high-quality steels. Follow these tips to keep your Japanese knife in top-notch shape:
✔ Use a wooden, plastic or rubber cutting board.
✔ After use, wash the knives and wipe them dry.
✔ Use a magnetic rack, knife blocks, or use protective knife sheath (saya).
✔ A good cutting technique is your best bet to prolong sharpness.
✔ Use sharpening stones to sharpen the knife.
❗️Don’t leave the knife in the sink. Wash it by hand.
❗️Don’t wash the knife in the dishwasher.
❗️Don’t use the knife on glass, ceramics, marble or steel surfaces.
❗️Don’t scrape the food off the cutting board with the edge of the blade. Use the spine of the knife instead.
❗️Knife is a tool intended for specific use - cutting food. It is not a can opener, screwdriver, trowel, wire cutter, hammer etc.
→ For more details, read our guide on Maintenance of Kitchen Knives.
🤙 Contact us if you need some help. We reply within 1 business day.
- €10 - flat worldwide rate with DHL Express (express delivery, 2-5 business days).
- FREE - all orders over €300 (DHL Express).
- United Kingdom - shipping to UK costs €15. All orders are shipped with UPS Express (2-3 business days). Free shipping on orders over €300.
- Russia (currently not available) - shipping to Russia costs €40. All orders are shipped with EMS postal service.
DUTIES AND IMPORT TAXES:
We ship all orders DDP (duties & taxes paid). This means you will not be charged for any import fees and taxes (including VAT). All our prices are final. The price you see at checkout is the final price, no hidden costs.
- Europe: 1-2 business days
- US & Canada: 2-4 business days
- Rest of the World: 3-5 business days
Our return policy lasts 30 days. If more than 30 days have gone by since the day you received your order, unfortunately we can’t offer you a refund or exchange.
We paired this blade with our traditional custom-made maple burl handles
select your favorite
→ TOKYO NIGHT: The color of these handles varies from light to dark grey, with soft or deep hues of red and swirls of cream.
→ OKINAWA REEF: A soothing, emerald green color named Okinawa Reef. It feels like immersing your hand in shimmering coastal waters during summer.
→ KYOTO SUNSET: It feels like holding something smooth and warm in your hand – a glow in the sky at sunset or a burst of bright autumn color.
→ TOTTORI SAND: A sandy brown color named Tottori Sand. Inspired by the infinitely swirly Tottori sand dunes found in the western part of Japan.
→ NIKKO MOSS: These hues remind us of the ancient moss covering the stone walls of the old temples of Nikko.
If you like a particular color hue, please contact us before placing an order.
Each knife comes with:
✔️ Instructions and knife care leaflet.
✔️ A preventive Band-Aid – the knives are very sharp! 😉
✔️ Original box from the blacksmith, which we wrap in an old Japanese newspaper sheet – so every knife is ready to be passed on as a gift as soon as it hits your doorstep!
✔️ We also offer a special gift wrapping option with the traditional Japanese washi paper.
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.