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Yoshiaki Fujiwara - “The Workhorse”
These beautiful knives are made by Mr. Kiyoshi Kato, born 1944 in Tokyo. He began swordsmith training in 1964, at the age of 20, and is currently a licensed sword smith. He now uses his incredible collection of very old, and difficult to obtain, Tamahagane steels to form his own sword masterpieces.
He entered the field of knife making in 1977 by creating his first hunting and kitchen knives, and currently makes knives in his new Hokuto City workshop, found in the Yamanashi Prefecture.
Mr. Kato uses a special quenching technique, utilizing charcoal and water, which imparts an extra degree of hardness not often seen in regular clad knives.This gives all of his kitchen knives a feel very similar to Honyaki, incredibly stiff with little to no flex!
I have been testing his kitchen knives for some time now, and must admit that they are incredible masterpieces in their own form and function!
It all began when I asked my source about a possible knifemaker similar to or possibly even better than Shigefusa. He quickly recommended Mr. Kato as he thinks his steels and metallurgical technique is among the best in Japan. Mr. Kato still hand makes all of his knives in methods more traditional than even Shigefusa uses. So, I asked him to send me a few prototype pettys and gyutos for an extensive test. The price was similar to Shigefusa so I expected to receive a pair of knives with Shigefusa personality- laser-like dimensions with extensive fit and finish. What I received, however, was more than a shock!!! After paying a Shigefusa price, I now had in my possession a pair of knives that were very thick, almost deba like, with ok fit and finish. This was indeed a disappointment, as my first reaction was, “I may have received the wrong knives”!!!
Then after touching up the edge, a miracle happened as I began to cut with one! From the first cut, I immediately realized what a huge mistake I had made, condemning these knives simply by the way they looked. In short, their performance is incredible, surpassing even that of Shigefusa. This is doubly surprising considering their thickness and finish. These knives are capable of quickly and easily tackling any job you throw at them. I wanted to independently verify my results, so I sold a few of the prototypes to some trusted customers and after a few weeks of testing, they were all in amazement as their initial impressions and successive observations were exactly the same as mine. So, I decided to have one last test at the June sharpening class. Again, these knives by look alone were disappointing to most, but by the end of the event almost everyone who had the pleasure of using these knives wanted to buy them!
The knives that JNS sells, as always, are not stock knives, they have been modified to our exacting design specifications to enhance performance on a variety of tasks. The knives we will carry are thinner than the prototypes, but still have the original and very unique grind, as well as the incredible steel, which feels like honyaki, but sharpens much easier. The final change was to add our own kanji to back side that translates "WORKHORSE"
Any knife that that cuts like a laser, while at the same time refuses to chip on the most difficult of tasks, not to mention takes and holds a super sharp edge, deserves my support.
So I bring you these super special knives....Yoshiaki Fujiwara The Workhorse!!!
Steel: Carbon Clad (can rust !! )
Handle: Octoganal shape chestnut wood and Buffalo horn
Handle Length- 140mm
Handle Width- 20mm
Handle to Tip Length- 440mm
Heel to Tip Length- 280mm
Blade Height at Heel- 40mm
Width of Spine at Handle- 5mm
Width of Spine Above Heel- 4,5mm
Width of Spine at Middle- 2mm
Width of Spine 1cm from the tip- 1,1mm
All knives JNS cary is handmade and made one by one, so they can vary in size and thickness. Unevenness in finish can occur.