The Daovua Bunka Style Knife is the most recent addition to a new line of knives from a young barefoot bladesmith we discovered working in Vietnam. He uses car and truck leaf springs as his steel of choice. This is not quite as crazy as it sounds because these car parts are made with some rather good high carbon steels. In fact most leaf springs are made from 5160, which is an excellent blade steel.
We asked him to make us some unusual shapes that resemble traditional knives and this fun bunka style blade is one of his responses. The blade runs approximately 170mm at the edge and has a very curved belly starting just a couple of inches from the heel. Obviously every blade is going to be slightly different in these dimensions.
Letís make no mistake here. These knives do not possess the best fit and finish in the knife world! Rustic is a word that definitely comes to mind when looking at them. But the other word that comes out when you experience them is SHARP! These knives have an amazing edge on them that if not perfect out of the box, gets there easily with a few strokes on your favorite stone.
While the handle is also not perfect, it actually feels really nice in hand. A bit of sanding and some varnish or oil will take it to a very acceptable level. We think these knives are perfect for projects, new sharpeners, or anyone looking for a really low-cost cutter that has personality and uniqueness in spades. Watch the video below to see how they're made. Please remember these are made under crude conditions with used steel so you should expect that they're rough and have imperfections that exceed most of our other knives. Expect dents, scratches odd sizes, different handles etc. If you're into great fit and finish or are overly particular run away! If you want to try a cool piece of living history and you're not uptight about a crude but cool cutting tool than you'll love it.
Weight: 4.2 ounces
Blade Length: 175 mm
Total Length: 310 mm
Spine Thickness at Base: 2.8 mm
Blade Height: 47.0 mm
Handle: Octagonal (Wood varies from knife to knife)
5Wow!, October 4, 2019
Posted By: Jeremy Bowen
I am very impressed with this knife and will definitely buy more from this line. Regarding the heat treat on my knife, I would say that it is around 60. I base this on sharpening the knife. It sharpens very much like my Shun classics. The balance is right on the pinch, the length perfect. F&F is great and I love the handle.It is a lot of knife for 50 bucks.
Posted By: Leigh - verified customer 1 people found this review helpful
I picked up the bunka as a line knife and I'm very pleased with it. Takes and holds an edge nicely, very light and the handle shape is surprisingly comfortable. So far it's been a great way to try out this style of knife while not paying out the nose, while also supporting a small business
I love the look and feel of the knife. The fit and finish is not as nice as my Yaxell or Shun knives, but it's perfectly acceptable. The knife balances right about where you would hold it with a pinch grip. Out of the box it was sharp enough to shave hair, but didn't do so great on the paper test. A few minutes on a 4000 grit stone followed by the strop and the edge was as good as my more expensive Japanese knives. After preparing a meal with it, the edge needed to be stropped again, so I would put the edge retention at about as good as a typical Western style knife. I will probably be getting a couple more knives from this maker.
Really happy with this knife. Feels like a great value for the money and I love the rustic finish. Takes an edge really, really well and is comfortable in hand. It's clearly not a $200 knife, but it performs well and is a great addition to the knife drawer.
Posted By: Ken Slaughter 1 people found this review helpful
OK, sure, the fit and finish isn't that of a $300 knife. The choil and spine needs some sandpaper, and the blade needs a few minutes on the stones. But this is a very light, nimble and serviceable knife. It's definitely not a chippy knife, despite the blade's thinness. Leaf spring steel is like a box of chocolates, you never know, well, you know. If I had to guess, I'd say either 5160 or 1095 steel, and a 54-58 HRC. As others have noted, it takes a screaming sharp edge. For the price it's awesome. And I got one of the Scratch-n-Dent ones at half off, because it has a little notch at the choil. But it's cosmetic and doesn't affect performance.
For what you pay, this is a really great knife. What it isn't is a Japanese blade. The steel is not especially hard, so while it'll take an amazing edge..it doesn't hold it particularly well. That being said, it performs great as a line knife since I dontd have to caudle it( it takes to a steel well). Overall I'd say ...it's less than 60 bucks..just buy it...I have a hard time seeing how you'd regret it. Also, it came with a complementary CKTG blade guard, which I thought was a classy addition and the service was great! Thanks!
I have to agree with everyone else if you are looking for a "perfect" knife, this isn't it, but if you are willing to put in a little work, you can't beat this deal! The knife arrived sharp, but not laser sharp, and the blade had a slight twist to it but it doesn't really effect the performance. There are a couple of spots where the grind seems to be a touch thinner, but I think they will become less noticeable after a couple sharpenings. The handle wasn't very comfortable with some sharp corners and raised spacers but after about 30 minutes with a file, a progression from 800 to 3000 grit sand paper and 2 coats of Danish Oil, the handle looks and feels great. I think for the price it is definitely going to become one of my favourite knives.
Canít beat it for $50 bucks. Itís my new go to line knife. I had the spine rounded out and the person that did that had an edge tester and after finishing on my stone and using a strop it measured out to 100 which is equivalent to a razor blade. Great knife especially for the price
4Great knife with lots of character!, February 26, 2019
Posted By: Nick - verified customer
When I received this knife the edge was sharp, but not anything special. A bit of time with the waterstones showed demonstrated how nice the steel is to sharpen. WIthout much effort, the knife became a terror to all of the onions in my kitchen. I like the "rusticness" of this knife, and it has a lot of character. I actually like the handle, which I understand was a complaint on the earlier versions of the Daovua knives.
My only complaint is that the grind on mine was slightly uneven, so one side of the knife was a bit thicker behind the edge than the other. This was a little noticeable in cutting through harder vegetables (butternut squash), but I seem to have improved this by spending some time thinning the knife on that side. The choil and spine also had uncomfortable corners, but that was easy enough to fix with some sandpaper. This is a great knife if your looking for a nice cutter with lots of character. As others have said, just be aware that the knife you receive might not have the level of finish as a more expensive knife, but this could make for a fun project.
Bought this knife as an afterthought while buying a much more expensive knife. It gets and stays sharper better and longer than the other "better" knifes that I own. As a chef I use this as my line knife , allowing me to keep my more expensive knifes in the bag. I plan on buying more from this line!
3Not as sharp as I thought it would be, but a cool knife., January 6, 2019
Posted By: A.T. - verified customer
Was exactly the size I was looking for and it works decently. This is my first carbon steel knife/ knife over $40 - so far, no rusting issues (but I have been quite diligent with wiping). I had CKTG finishing service (as recommended by some, the piece of paper said that it was sharpened to 12 degrees) and the sharpness is okay (it's not as sharp as my ceramic Kyocera knife) - I'm not experienced enough to say whether or not this is more representative of the service or the knife itself but here is why I chose to purchase it: 1) I needed a new knife and wanted to upgrade from grocery store knives, 2) I wanted a high quality blade without spending too much and it seemed like going non-stainless was the solution, 3) I wanted a flush ferrule (most japanese knives in my price range have a ferrule that is not flush with the handle), 4) I wanted a japanese style handle, 5) I didn't want to have to fill in the blade/ferrule with epoxy, etc). Overall, it does the job, but does it justify the $50 + $15 finishing service price tag? I'm not sure. Perhaps sharpening yourself is the answer here? Hopefully the edge holds up well and that will be the difference. Looks cool and makes me feel super cool to have and use it (the story and the aesthetics). To be fair, I'm comparing it to grocery store knives, kyocera, and a $150 miyabi I tried at a store... I guess it does fall somewhere between there.
If your not into the fit and finish as much as sharpness and easy of use. This knife is yours. It sharpens easily. When you get it sharpen it before use or have CKTG sharpen for you. You will be amazed. After honing WoW. It is not Dutiful but it is great also is lite and thin.
I was looking for a bunka; something versatile easy to pick up came across this knife and was sold by every piece of detail; its rustic thin and I can go hours on dice work with it; the metal was an adjustment in pressure while taking it to a stone but the retention is very nice honing once a week; glad to come across this piece of art i would buy two
Posted By: Timothy C. - verified customer 1 people found this review helpful
Honestly the story of the bladesmith sold this knife to me. Upon receiving it I honed it on a steel I had here and it made quick work of potato and tomato .Very good edge OOTB. I had to use a blowtorch and hammer to straighten the tip and the blade is in the handle at an angle so I had to hammer that back straight as well. Overall I am very happy with this knife and it cheap, amazingly sharp and its got a story like none other. Would recommend to anyone honestly its something that needs a little work but when your done doing the final touches it really becomes something you had to finish yourself and that makes it extra special .
Posted By: Andrew Manni 1 people found this review helpful
I love this knife, I bought it because I was intrigued after watching the video of the blacksmith making them. I use it during service as a line knife. It takes a decent edge and edge retention is good. Overall this knife is far from perfect but it's as close as a $50 knife can get.
Love the look and feel. And the fact that it was made by hand in a little shop in Vietnam, It is very sharp OTB and in my small kitchen it may just take the place of the CCK 1303. Personality and uniqueness is the perfect description here. Thanks for bringing us this product.
Posted By: Ben S 2 people found this review helpful
I also bought the nakiri. Like the nakiri this knife is very rustic in both feel and aesthetics, which I like. Out of box it has a decent edge, but it sharpens up nicely. It has more of a belly than a typical santaku,but I like that. It allows for more rock chopping. Overall, its definitely worth the money, as is the nakiri
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