Miki Kamagata Usuba Shirogami 180mm (7.1")
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Miki Kamagata Usuba Shirogami in 180mm (7.1") blade length is a 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. The single bevel blade is suitable 🚨 for right-handed users only!
|Japanese cuisine emphasizes the importance of seasonal ingredients, for which there is a specific term "shun". Shun is the essence of the season, food that can be enjoyed locally and seasonally and there is an emphasis on creating dishes that use such ingredients in cooking all over Japan. For the preparation of fresh and quality seasonal food we, of course, need a knife so sharp and precise that it minimally damages the cell walls of vegetables and avoids reducing the quality, taste, and appearance of the prepared dish. And this is where Usuba comes into play.|
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.
Kamagata refers to a semicircular blade head that is suitable for more precise work and precise cutouts. This style of Usuba is most popular in Japan around Kyoto, where the diet is more heavily based on vegetables than elsewhere in the country.
Miki Hamono uses the purest carbon steel available, produced by the Japanese steelmaker Hitachi. Shirogami steel #2 or “white steel 2” with a hardness of around 62-63 HRC, which is then forged welded with a second layer of softer steel. A two-layered blade construction, also known as ni-mai.
White steel can produce the highest level of sharpness and cutting ability from all Japanese steels, but it comes at a price. Very high maintenance is needed, rust resistance is very low so it will develop patina very fast, the blade has to be wiped dry after every use and oiled regularly to prevent rusting. Edge retention is a bit shorter than with some modern steels, especially compared to powder steels.
When you ask Japanese blacksmiths or sushi chefs why they all like white steel so much, you always get the identical answer: “Because it has a GREAT EDGE!”
»Great edge« in Japanese terminology translates as:
- very high hardness and toughness (not being overly brittle)
- very fine and homogeneous martensite steel structure (steel structure after heat treatment) which will after polishing produce a very fine/smooth edge
- very easy to resharpen.
🚩 Because Shirogami steel does not contain chromium, such a blade will develop some patina during use. The advantage of this steel, however, is that it has a very fine, gentle sharpness, is easy to sharpen and stays sharp for a very long time. Knife maintenance oil is recommended for the care of such blades.
The blade is polished and hand engraved with the blacksmith’s signature. The transfer between jigane and hagane has a nice kasumi finish created by whetstones. The out-of-the-box sharpness is 7/10 because Japanese chefs like to put the final edge by themselves. If you prefer, we can sharpen it for you free of charge, just let us know when placing the order (leave a note in the cart).
Handle is a simple traditional round Wa handle, made from magnolia wood. 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 and it is easy and cheap to rehandle as there is an abundance of magnolia handles on the market. The ferrule is made from water buffalo horn.
It can also serve as a wonderful gift!
About Miki Hamono:
Miki Hamono is a small-scale blacksmith from the Miki area in Japan. Miki is a very famous blacksmithing area located in Hyogo prefecture in the center of Japan. They use an old Japanese forging technique that originated from making samurai swords (katanas). Miki Hamono is mostly known among Japanese sushi chefs for forging traditional single bevel shirogami (white) steel knives. Their knives are the perfect example of the Japanese traditional knives where every part of the knife is made the »right way«, like in the old days, but separates them from other similar blacksmiths by a very good price performance.
|Steel type:||Shirogami White #2|
|Hardness (HRC scale):||62-63|
|Overall length:||340mm (13.4")|
|Blade length:||180mm (7.1")|
|Spine thickness:||4.0mm (0.2")|
|Weight:||210g (7.4 oz)|
|Handle length:||140mm (5.5")|
|Handle type / wood:||Japanese / Magnolia, Water Buffalo Horn|
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.
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