The deba is one of the trio of knives that you will find in most professional Japanese kitchens. The yanagiba and usuba are the other two. These knives are customarily made with a single bevel grinds, as is the case with this fine example. Deba knives are designed and used for processing fish. Some users adapt them to poultry parting and cutting vegetables, but fish preparation is the real raison d底tre of this iconic knife.
Debas run the gamut of lengths from about 100mm to as big as 210mm and over. Obviously one of the criteria behind the length choice is the size of fish being processed. They are very stiff and heavy in their construction with a thick spine and a tallish profile. The single bevel design results in an edge that is very acute and sharp. Single bevel blades require a knowledge of sharpening and use that is outside that required for regular two-sided blades.
Itsuo Doi fashions this beautiful example from Blue #2 carbon steel. He uses the Ni-Mai method of awase to clad the blade in a soft iron to protect and strengthen the inner core, or hagane. The result is a strong and hardy blade that needs care in daily use due to its reactive nature. The cladding is polished on the upper surface. The primary grind area is given a lovely satin finish which contrasts beautifully with the upper blade and exposed jigane. Some of the nicest hand chiseled kanji elements we have seen adorn the front of the blade.
This is a wonderful example of the deba breed which will find favor with the most discriminating user or collector.
Location: Sakai, Japan
Blacksmith: Itsuo Doi
Construction: Japanese Traditional Single Bevel Grind, Hammer Forged
Cladding: Soft Iron
Finish: Mirror Polish
Edge Steel: Blue #2
Weight: 9.8 ounces
Blade Length: 183 mm
Total Length: 340 mm
Spine Thickness at Base: 6.7 mm
Blade Height: 54.1 mm
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