Engraving Names on Knives - Techniques to Personalize Your Knife

Making a knife that is uniquely yours is a wonderful experience. And one of the easiest ways to accomplish that is by getting your name engraved onto your new knife. It becomes one-of-a-kind!

It's something we do in-store, and is free with all knife purchases from us. This is great not only for your own knives for a variety of reasons such as anti-theft, but makes a present even more personal and wonderful to use.

There's a variety of styles of engraving available, depending on personal preference, the script being used and the steel the knife is made of. This article will show you precisely what we can offer.

Engraving something special on a knife just for you

If the knife is a gift for someone we recommend getting the recipient's name engraved on it to enhance the gift experience, but if this is for yourself putting your own name on the knife allows you to have a much stronger connection to it. It turns your new item into something truly special for personal reasons, and not just because it cuts well, is Japanese or holds an edge for a long time. In Japan, we sometimes believe items have a "soul" and this personalization can increase that attachment.

A skilled craftsperson or engraver etches a name letter by letter using a chisel and a hammer. Since this is done by hand, it creates a unique appearance each time that machine engraving simply cannot replicate. Plus in our case, you can watch the engraver do it in real time!

A name on your knife added stroke-by-stroke

An engraving is added to the blade using just two tools - a chisel, normally a metal rod with a sharper or pointed edge, and a small hammer.

In the world of kitchen knives, we refer to this as meikiri, as this involves cutting a name into the knife, rather than carving a name out.

Depending on the knife, there are sometimes certain places we can't put it. For example, with single-edged knives we can't put any engraving on the back of the knife (the concaved side). But we'll always help you choose where it should go - and whether your name should be written horizontally or vertically, which depends normally on what script you're using between English or Japanese characters.

A unique texture on your knife

The angular chisel cuts through thanks to the the power of the hammer hitting it, making the font and characters appear extremely sharp and deep.

This has a different texture compared to writing with a ballpoint pen, and looks especially cool and traditional when done with Kanji (Chinese Style Characters). You should be able to feel the engraving with your fingers if you trace over it.

We can translate your name from English into Japanese characters!

Using an electric hand grinder/Leutor

In recent years, more and more non-Japanese people have been buying Japanese kitchen knives. This may include you, as you're on our global website reading this article!

Naturally, this also means we see many more requests for names to be written in English alphabets, and sometimes cursively. Sadly, due to the nature of how chiselling works this is very difficult. Chiselling is designed for straight lines, and you need to force it with your other hand when trying to cause a curve, which creates jagged letters that don't always look good. A master engraver can get past this issue to some extent, but it won't be perfect. It is also easier to get done via hand-chiselling still if only capital or block letters are used. Of course, some block letters like "S" are difficult no matter what.

Additionally, many Western-style knives, especially stainless steel ones use an all-steel composition (read more about all-steel technique steel here!) tempered throughout, which can be too thin or brittle for engraving. Hand-chisel engraving may be possible on the bolster, but otherwise there is now also electric hand grinder engraving.

This even allows for cursive script to be written and is still done by hand.

Using an electric hand grinder allows for significantly more flexibility, due to the ability to easily add curves to the engraving.

There are some drawbacks to going with this style though. Firstly, it does not look the same as the traditional engraving you may seen on your knife. Additionally, it doesn't go nearly as deep as hand-chiselling, which makes the engraving visibly harder to notice. This is a very flexible engraving style, allowing you to have more options for cursive font on your knife.

Letter stamping for uniformity

We have recently started another form of engraving as well, which we refer to as letter stamping.

In this case, we have a series of English alphabets that all are pre-stenciled, so when engraving your name on a knife it is nice and uniform.

Some people look for this when they want English alphabets that still penetrate deep into the knife, as you get the depth of hand-chiseling, with the capability of curves like the electric hand-grinder.

While this look lacks a traditional touch, it does leave a name or phrase that is very easy to read.

At this time, we only do this with English alphabets.

A variety of choices await you whenever you get a knife from us. Remember, engraving is always free - and quick! Our team does it in five to ten minutes per knife, and if you're in the store you're welcome to watch along or take photos and video.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us concerning it and we are always available to help!