Introduction to Japanese Kitchen Knives Part 4

Final Finish of a Japanese Kitchen Knife

Part 4- The Final Finish of a Japanese Kitchen Knife


After the Quenching , Normalizing and Heat Treatment have been completed

the blade is ready to be handed over to the polisher and sharpener.

The process can be quick for basic lower end knives or

very long and complex for high end Japanese Knives.

The Sakai Ichimonji Mine Wa-Santoku knife's dark black Kurouchi finish , contrasts with the frosted edge of the sharp blade.

The Sakai Ichimonji Gokujo Wa-Santoku's beautiful Suminagashi pattern floats across the steel.

Produced only by the skilled Sakai Ichimonji craftsmen.

Types of Knife Finishes

At this point there are a multitude of polishing styles, blade finishes and sharpening angles that could be used to finish the blade.

All will involve some sort of abrasive, such as sanding belts, whetstones, polishing powders and large electric grinding wheels.

These abrasives will be used to refine the blade shape and edge. The amount of time spent polishing and sharpening a blade can directly correlate to its cost.

If a blade has a pristine mirror finish, it will cost a lot more than something with a very simple machined finish.

Some finishes may use special hammers or dyes to make some very unique patterns on a chef knife.

Common Japanese Knife Finish

Migaki – Polished. This is a basic polish conducted with abrasives, it's the most common, especially on Western Style Kitchen Knives.

Tsuchime- The craftsman will hammer a pattern into the blade. This is a traditional finish for Japanese Kitchen knives and is believed to reduce drag on the blade,similar to the effect of a Granton edge on French and German Kitchen Knives.

Kurouchi – The craftsman will leave some of the forge residue on the blade, this also helps prevent rust on Carbon Steel Blades. This is a very traditional Japanese style blade finish.

Mirror – The Mirror finished knife has gone through many difficult and time consuming processes by hand to achieve it's ultimately beautiful shine. This finish is highly prized among Japanese Chefs.

Damascus – Technically the Damascus Steel has been forged welded to the blade and the craftsmen will polish and possibly dip the blade in a chemical solution to bring out the pattern.

Suminagashi - These knives are in Sakai and are very similar to Damascus, but the pattern may continue through the blade rather than just the outer core. The pattern itself closely resembles the flow of Ink on paper. Which is where the name comes from.

The Sakai Ichimonji Akaro Yanagiba features a beautiful Mirror finish.

Produced by the hands of skilled Sakai Ichimonji craftsmen.