Santoku knives are general purpose chef-type blades capable of cutting and chopping most ingredients. They get their name from the Japanese translation of three virtues. It is commonly thought that this refers to the three cutting techniques of slicing, dicing, and mincing. Santokus have a flat edge that slopes up into a sheep-foot tip. This geometry results in a shorter, lighter, and thinner knife than a standard chef or gyuto type. It also leads to a blade that can be successfully used by push cutters, rockers, or choppers.
The Ishikawa White #2 Black Santoku is made with White #2 carbon steel which has a soft iron cladding applied in the san-mai style of awase. These knives have a rustic sensibility that is enhanced the carbon forging scale that is left in place, thus creating the finish known as kurouchi. So while they may not be the fit and finish kings that other blacksmiths produce, it is obviously that Ishikawa-san places true value on shape and sharpness more so than on visual appeal.
Most importantly, this santoku is unusual in that it is a single-beveled design and thus comes with the customary inclusive edge angle of about 15 degrees, as opposed to a double edge where the angle is around 30 degrees. This enhances the cutting abilities, makes food release easier, and minimizes wedging. However, it does result in a knife that is restricted to right-handed users and a blade that is a bit more difficult to sharpen than a double bevel.
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