1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

  2. Week 39 of the BladeForums.com Year of Giveaways is live! Enter to win a Cold Steel Tuff Lite & Cold Steel Prize Pack

    Click here to enter the drawing for your chance to win a Cold Steel Knives Tuff Lite & Cold Steel Merch Prize Pack , Bladeforums.com swag or memberships!
    Be sure to read the rules before entering, and help us decide next week's giveaway by hitting the poll in that thread!

    Entries will close at 11:59PM Saturday, Sept 28 ; winners will be drawn on Sunday @ 5pm on our Youtube Channel: TheRealBladeForums. Bonus prizes will be given during the livestream!


    Questions? Comments? Post in the discussion thread here

Japanese Kitchen Knife Time Periods

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by DanF, May 16, 2019.

  1. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
    In looking through japanese kitchen knives recently, I see some kitchen knives listed for example as, "Edo chef, Edo paring, etc".
    I see that the Edo period was roughly 1600-1860. The knife handles listed are a good bit different from the octagonal shaped japanese knife handles I see a lot of on the forums.
    My question is, is this just marketing, or a historical fact?
     
    Nick Dunham likes this.
  2. scott.livesey

    scott.livesey

    Nov 10, 2011
    Seems to be marketing by Shun. All the knives I find online with "Edo" in name are made by Shun.
    scott
     
    DanF likes this.
  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    It is sort of the same as Murimoto being used with a sword to try and convey a sense of "They made them better back then".

    Added - Edo means Tokyo ... or eastern Japan.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
    DanF likes this.
  4. Tenebr0s

    Tenebr0s

    353
    Jun 3, 2012
    Different regions of Japan favor different profiles, even on the same kind of knife. Usuba, for example, have a sheepshoof tip in western Japan, and square tips for eastern Japan. The eastern profiles are sometimes called "Edo style," with Edo being the old name of Tokyo.

    Another example would be the "Edo saki" eel knife, which is completely different from a Kyoto eel knife (which is different from a Nagoya one, which is different from an Osaka eel knife...
     
    DanF likes this.
  5. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
    Thanks at all, could someone recommend a decent book listing the basic Japanese kitchen cutlery styles? Not looking for a definitive work on this, just a brief explanation and maybe some pics or illustrations.
    Thanks again,
     
  6. Brock Cutlery

    Brock Cutlery KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 10, 2015
    "Japanese Kitchen Knives" by Nozaki is one I really enjoy studying. You might think it would be chock full of hundreds of J-knife styles, but no, only three. Yanagiba, Usuba, Deba.
    That alone I find a bit fascinating. It is a very good book.

    "Japanese Knives and Sharpening Techniques" has all the blade styles you might be looking for beyond the big three. Another very good book for understanding J-knives.
     
    Nick Dunham, Beanman13 and DanF like this.
  7. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
    Thanks Mark.
     
  8. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    +1 for Japanese kitchen knives. Good book.
     
    DanF likes this.
  9. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
    Thanks Stacy.
     
  10. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    It is full of knife techniques and recipes. The cutting techniques, especially the ones with cucumbers, are nice to know.

    About the three knife info - While there are hundreds of specialty Japanese knives, the vast majority of tasks are done with a yanagi-ba ( slicer) an usuba ( utility blade), and a deba ( break down knife). I might have added a santoku (three virtue - slice/dice/chop) blade. Basically, all other kitchen knives are versions of these blades. I make a set of three knives for customers of a yanagi-ba with 8" blade, a 5" or 6" usuba, and a thicker and heavier deba that looks like a heavy short chefs blade. A santoku is often added as a fourth knife.

    I'll tell you the story about my most used kitchen knife.
    It was a 10" vanadium steel wide blade slicer/chefs that my wife had, very thin … barely .060" at the spine .... and really sharp. Years ago, she tried to pry open a drawer that got stuck and broke 3" off the tip end. It sat in the block for years. It had belonged to her mother and she couldn't stand to throw it out. I took it out to the shop one day to re-grind it into a usable blade. I was thinking of making a santoku. I realized all it needed was to angle or curve the broken end down from the spine and it was a perfect usuba. Since the break was at a slight angle, I opted for angling the end in the Edo style. The job was done in minutes and since then I use it for 90% of all my cooking tasks. I have a block of other knives that are razor sharp, but this 1.5X5.5" blade laser is light and easy to use.
     
    butcher_block and DanF like this.
  11. scott.livesey

    scott.livesey

    Nov 10, 2011
    Justin Schmidt and DanF like this.
  12. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
    Good save, Stacy, I hate to see something like a good knife wasted, and I bet it made your wife very happy.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  13. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
  14. DanF

    DanF KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    509
    Apr 17, 2017
    Book arrived yesterday AFTER I had finished the knife (of course).
    The first thing that struck me was how thick the knives look. The second was the variations in the same style of knife (this had been mentioned earlier in this thread).
    I think I'll try a two layer with a single bevel next.
    Thanks to all for the book suggestion, I'll enjoy this one for years.
     
  15. John mc c

    John mc c

    293
    Aug 23, 2018
    Thanks Stacy. That's very interesting about a typical j knife 3 knife set
    I would have thought a gyuto would have been there but that combo would serve any purpose
    I'll get that book on the 3 knives
    Most of my favourite knives have been saved blades from broken bigger knives
    I have a small bunka with a big chunky bolster that I would never have put together but it's a style I will make more of.great in a pinch grip
    I'll just take out the step of it being briefly a gyuto when I redo it
     
  16. Brock Cutlery

    Brock Cutlery KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 10, 2015
    It is interesting that the three primary J-knives are all single bevel Urasuke knives. Not a beginner knife at all.
    I think the Gyuto, Santoku, Nakiri, Suji, etc... stem from the big three, but are all double bevel and easier for the less initiated to use and maintain.
     
    DanF and butcher_block like this.
  17. butcher_block

    butcher_block KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 6, 2004
    learn the double bevels and dabble in the singles cause they have a tricky set of details. singles are thicker at the spine and have hollow backs along with being made for right or left hand use. i have had to explain edge angles to many when the single bevel "wave" struck the kitchen knife forums. they talked about bias of single bevels making them sharper and that is nonsense total edge angle is what makes the cut. how a single bevel "wins" the sharpness contest is the way its sharpened. much like a straight razor
     

Share This Page