Usuba knives are designed for cutting vegetables and rotary peeling. Their dead flat edge contacts the board at all points so that accordion cuts are avoided. The name usuba translates to thin edge. The fine blade and slender spine minimize the crushing of the vegetable's fibers, leaving a sharp shiny surface on the cut side. This is also the knife style used by experienced chefs to perform the difficult "katsuramuki" rotary peeling technique.
The Tani Shirogami 2 Usuba has a 'higashigata' style blade made popular in the Kanto area of Japan. This features a rectangular profile with squared-off corners. It has a completely flat cutting edge so that it ends up flush to the board when slicing. It is a fairly stout knife with a blade-heavy bias. This extra weight maximizes the efficiency of the cutting style called "utsu," where the blade is kept parallel to the board and moved to the far side while allowing the weight of the knife to cut straight down through the produce.
This knife is made with a core steel of Shirogami 2 and covered on one side with a soft iron layer. This is called ni-mai awase, or single-side cladding and the resulting blade is susceptible to corrosion so it requires careful drying after use. A traditional magnolia wood and buffalo horn handle with an octagonal profile completes the package.
Blacksmith: Mr. Tani
Location: Sakai, Japan
Construction: Hammer Forged, Ni Mai
Edge Steel: White #2
Cladding: Soft Iron
Finish: Migaki (Means "Polished" in Japanese)
Edge Grind: Even
Weight: 7.0 oz (200 g)
Edge Length: 168 mm
Total Length: 318 mm
Spine Thickness at Heel: 3.5 mm
Blade Height at Heel: 44.6 mm
Handle: Magnolia Wood
Ferrule: Buffalo Horn