The allure surrounding Tamahagane knives is both justified and intriguing. Tamahagane steel is made from iron sands, which come in two basic types: Akome Satetsu and Masa Satetsu, the latter being of higher quality. These sands can be mixed to obtain any given result desired by the blacksmith, and the mixing is done by a Murage, an expert mixer.
The sand mixture is placed in a clay tub furnace called a Tatara. It is dried and heated to about 1000 degrees Celsius. Then carbon, in the form of charcoal, is added to the mix. This takes anywhere from 2-7 days, all the while more iron sand is added. Tamahagane steel usually has a carbon content of about 1% but older steels were taken to as high as 3-4%.
True Tamahagane is only made by a few remaining specialists, most of whom are located in Yokota Village, Shimane Prefecture. The process is controlled by the NBTHK organization, which also controls the sale and distribution of the ore. But there are a few outliers that make Tamahagane from other sands and in other locations. The five brothers at Yoshimitsu keep their handmade furnace burning brightly and they are now one of the only kitchen knife makers that employ this steel for kitchen cutlery use.
We are always so happy to receive another knife from them and the nakiri featured here is a fine example of this rare breed of blades. It is a classic nakiri featuring a very flat profile and thin grinds. The cladding is also made by the brothers and is hand finished, so hammer marks and other scratches are par for the course.
We have mated this work of the blacksmiths art with another work of art in the form of a fine handle made by one of our favorite woodworkers.
Location: Nagasaki, Japan
Construction: Hammer Forged, San Mai
Core Edge Steel: Tamahagane from iron sands
Edge Length: 170mm
Handle: Custom Octagonal
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