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Yanagiba • 270 mm • white #3 • Japanese magnolia with buffalo ferrule • for right hand use
This yanagiba is hand forged from Shirogami white #3 carbon steel. Traditional yanagiba for delicate slicing of mostly raw fish. The classic D handle gives a lot of control and hand feel.
This traditional steel is not named after its colour, but named after the colour of its paper wrapping, in which it is stored in the Hitachi steel factory in Japan. There are 3 grades of Shirogami white steel: #1,#2 & #3. From these 3, #1 contains the highest amount of carbon and #3 the lowest. Generally we say at our knifeshop, grade #1 can be made extremely sharp, but will be a little more fragile as #3. While #3 is a little softer, also easier to resharpen, but has less edge retention. Grade #1 & #2 is most common in white steels. White steel is a refined steel with a low percentage of iron, loved by many, as it is relatively easy to maintain. In practice it can be maintained with a whetstone and in a short amount of time it will become very sharp. This does not mean that these knives never have to be resharpened by a professional, even all knives in Japan need to be refurbished at a certain moment. This Shirogami steel is embraced by sushi chefs who demand extreme sharpness of their knives. White steel oxidates relatively quick and therefore needs to be maintained more often, but on the other hand you will get all benefits of this beautiful steel characteristics.
We usually start our trips to Japan in Osaka, from where we take a Shinkansen ( a bullet train) to Seki, in Gifu prefecture. We start in Sakai, in south of Osaka, where we always recieve a warm friendly welcome from Aoki san and Ogawa san from Sakai Takayuki. In recent years the customers in our shop have been asking for special Japanese traditionally forged knives: Yanagiba, Sakimura, Kengata: all the names of models which are used in Japanese kitchens for preparing various sorts of fish. Sakai Takayuki is my key which opens the door to the world of traditional Japanese knives and to top it all, their product range is targeted for the western market. For making of the traditional Japanese knives Sakai Takayuki employs the best of the best: Itsuo Doi and Kenji Togashi, among others. The blacksmith Yamatsuke san, with his stable hand on the Kaiten Toshi (Japanese water stone), is a guarantor of an exceptionally sharp finish. Sakai Takayuki buys lots of their steel from the Aichi steel (their headquarters are situated close to Nagoya) and works among other with carbon steel shirogami white and aogami blue. A nice detail: the colours in the names of the steel have nothing to do with the colour of the steel itself- it's just the colour of the packing in which the raw steel is being stored in the factory. The western models are manually finished at the company's quarters in Osaka (sharpening), but largely manufactured in Seki, in Gifu prefecture. The finish and the quality is sublime- just what we can expect from Takayuki.