Glossary of knife shapes and terminology

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(From left to right)

Yanagiba, Yanagi: Kansai style sashimi slicer. It is used to slice boneless fish fillets into sashimi and sushi toppings. The thin blade cuts the fish into beautiful, neat slices. The blade is long to cut down the fish in one long stroke.

Takohiki: Kanto style sashimi slicer. Takohiki also cuts long, straight slices with the long blade. The thin body especially makes cutting slices of sashimi easy.

Deba: Japanese raw fish carver. It is designed to behead and filet fish. The thickness and often a more obtuse angle on the back of the heel allow it cut off the heads of fish cleanly. The rest of the blade is used to scrape against the fish bones, separating the meat away. The Deba is also used to cut meat.

Edo Usuba: Traditional Japanese vegetable knife. Usuba literally means” thin blade” indicating its relative thinness compared to the other knives, great for cutting through firm vegetables without cracking them. The Kanto style has a square blunt tip.

Kamagata Usuba: Kamagata knives are traditionally from the Kansai area and this style variation has a spine that curves downwards at the tip, allowing the usuba to do fine, delicate work such as “katuramuki” which is shaving a cylindrical vegetable into a thin sheet.

Fuguhiki: It is used especially for cutting Usuzukuri /thin sliced sashimi , much like the Yanagi knife. The back of the knife is thinner and the width is slightly more narrow than the Yanagi.

Gyuto: The Gyuto is a multi-purpose chef’s knife, that originates from Europe. It has a double-beveled edged blade making it a versatile knife that is good for cutting meats, vegetables, small fish and slicing through raw fish . The blade of the Gyuto is thinner and has more acute bevel angle and therefore a sharper edge than chef’s knives from other countries.

Honesuki: It is a poultry boning knife. Because you need to move this knife among bones, the blade of the knife is thick in comparison with the Gyuto. However it will not cut through the bones.

Sujihiki: It is used to slice boneless meat and fish fillets. The blade is thin for a slicing knife making it an easy to use tool.

Santoku: It is used for chopping, dicing and slicing meat, fruits and vegetables. The knife is designed to be well balanced and is a perfect knife for using at home.

 

 

How to Measure

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Study of Knife

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Honyaki

Honyaki knives are made from one single high-carbon steel such as blue or white steel. The same method is used in making Katana which are very difficult to forge and require a high level of skill and experience and because of this reason Honyaki knives are expensive in general. Honyaki stay hard and sharp for a long time, however sharpening and maintaining the knife is difficult and for that reason we recommended Honyaki knives to experienced, professional chefs.

Kasumi

A misty finish created on a knife where both the hard and soft layers of steel are clearly visible; the cladding normally has a matt surface finish with the hard steel having more of a polished look.

Kurouchi

Kurouchi knives have the firescale from the forging left on the top of the blade, if the blade is made from carbon steel then this will act like a protective layer and won't discolour as easily as the ground area making them easier to maintain.

Nashiji

A Nashiji finish is when the fire scale is removed from a knife but the rough uneven surface underneath is deliberately left unpolished.

Damascus/Pattern welded steel/Suminigashi

Layers of alternating metals forge-welded together and repeatedly folded, this method produces striking patterns across the blade and can in cases increase the performance of coreless damascus blades.

San-Mai

A laminate of 3 layers of steel, the outside layers being soft cladding with the core being the hard steel that forms the cutting edge.

Warikomi

A core of high carbon steel is jacketed by soft iron, warikome differs from san-mai in that the bladesmith always performs the forge welding. Japanese bladesmiths sometimes buy pre-laminated san-mai billets.