For many years I’ve been using my trusty Wusthof cook’s knife for all things kitchen and food related. It has been a wonderful and faithful tool, and especially since I learned how to sharpen it properly. But for the last two weeks, I’ve changed over to a Japanese style kitchen knife by Murray Carter. And it has been awesome.
A while back Carter Cutlery had a massive sale before moving to a new location. I had my eye on a couple of knives for a long time, and this seemed like the time to secure them. However, the sale was opened to members of Carter Cutlery before the public, and many knives were snapped up before the public could get the dirty little browser buttons on to them. This, combined with frustrating online payment issues and a feverish urgency to grab what I wanted, meant I was unable to get anything I hoped for. Sad face.
Fast forward a year or so and more knives were available to purchase. Especially the Kuro-uchi Slim Wabocho which I now own. This knife was a little bit (5mm) shorter than I had wanted, but I was not ready to wait another year. So I made the purchase, and I am extremely pleased.
This knife has been forged by Murray Carter himself using traditional Japanese methods. It is made by hammering steel laminate onto both sides of a carbon steel core. This gives it a super sharp edge with awesome edge retention properties, but with flexibility and strength. It is not pressed out of a sheet of steel like my trusty German friend, as well as most stainless steel mass-market knives, are. I love this fact.
Being quite thin, and without a solid steel bolster like my Wusthof, it’s much lighter that I expected. Being used to the robustness of the German knife over so many years made me a little hesitant of the knife’s feel and capabilities, but progressively over the last two weeks I’ve found the knife a pleasure to use and handle.
The sharpness is out-of-this-world. I’ve been using for about 80% of my kitchen cutting and it can still shave hair of my arm! I’ve not yet sharpened it as there has been no need. I’m slightly nervous about when the time comes to sharpen it because a) it cost about 200 bucks!, and b) I know I won’t do as good a job as Murray did, meaning the knife might not feel as good as it does now. If I think of it as just a chunk of steel needing to be honed for use, I might do a good job. We’ll see.
The only down side to this type of knife is it’s susceptible to rust. The carbon steel used has superior metallurgical properties (for cutting) to a typical stainless steel knife, but of course isn’t stainless. This means in day-to-day use the knife needs to be washed clean with water and dried thoroughly shortly after being used. According to Murray’s site for this style of knife:
… Blade is unpolished but retains a black patina from the heat-treating process which resists rust.
That’s for the black part of the blade, which is good news. More good news is any rust that develops on the shiny part of the blade can be easily cleaned and/or polished off. Overall it’s not a big issue for the knife itself, but it does make a knife like this a little less user-friendly. You can’t leave this sitting in the sink until after dinner to clean it. I feel this is a fair trade off for the quality and feel though; I’m happy to rinse it several times during a dinner prep. This knife is amazing to work with for general cooking.
It looks fucking cool too!