Hiroshi Kato is one of the foremost blacksmiths in Japan and a founding member of the famous Takefu Knife Village Cooperative. His 50-plus years of making outstanding knives qualifies him as a master craftsman in every respect.
The line represented here is a new addition to his collection. The core steel he uses is the highly regarded Aogami Super
Steel. It is an alloy that has found favor with many makers and users for its high edge retention and its ability to take a very fine edge on sharpening. Since it is a medium-wear resistant steel, it is also fairly easy to sharpen.
Kato-san hammer forges these knives using the san-mai technique of laminating a softer iron outer layer over the AS core. San-mai roughly translates to three flat objects. The outer layer, or jigane, is only applied to each blade face. It does not wrap over the spine. As both the hagane (inner core) and jigane are reactive, care must be taken with cleaning and drying the blade after every use. To aid with this maintenance the outer layer is given a great looking kurouchi finish.
The Kato nakiri
is an average size blade measuring approximately 162mm at the edge. It is, like all nakiris, completely flat along the edge with a rounded tip and blunt end. This is vegetable cutter and as such it is ground quite thin with a tall profile. In this case, 52.9mm tall at the heel. Like all Kato knives it is a high performer, with a high level of fit and finish. The oval handle is constructed from rosewood with a black pakka wood ferrule.
Brand/Blacksmith: Hiroshi Kato
Location: Echizen Japan
Construction: Hammer Forged, San Mai
Edge Steel: Aogami Super Steel (AS)
Cladding: Soft Iron
Engraving: Hand Engraved
Handle: Rosewood Oval
Ferrule: Black Pakka Wood
Weight: 5.6 ounces
Blade Length: 162 mm
Total Length: 310 mm
Spine Thickness at Base: 2.4 mm
Blade Height: 52.9 mm