Ashi Hamono was established in 1948 in Sakai City Japan, a major center of traditional knife making. Ashi makes knives utilizing a one piece (rather than forge laminated 2/3 layer blade) or zenkou construction. Ashi’s Ginga line is famous for it’s thinness and precision, utilizing top quality Japanese carbon steel and Swedish stainless steel. Ashi knives have an excellent attention to detail from their forging, grinding, heat treatment and hafting.
White steel is a high grade carbon steel loved for it’s fine grain and ability to take a very fine razor sharp edge and to hone easily. Named for the color of the tag put on the billets at the Hitachi steel mill. White steel is a low contaminate steel (sulphur and phosphorus being the main ones) which is a favorite of sushi chefs for knives in which a very fine finish is essential. Not the easiest steel to forge and temper properly, white steel done well is a testimony to a smith’s skill.
The Japanese version of the French chef knife, gyutos are most at home with vegetables but can be used for a wide range of jobs, thin and precise they cut smoothly and wedge less than thicker knives. 210mm gyuto is the size most familiar to users of European and American chef knives, long enough for most jobs and comfortable for most users.