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.
Also called sujibiki, a double beveled “western style” slicing knife in the traditional yanagiba geometry, generally used as a western style slicer (or French style tranchelard) for meat and boneless fish. Popular with sushi chefs for making rolls, the yanagi is better for cutting sashimi but is too thick for cutting rolls and the harder blade of the yanagi can chip on hard nori. A sujihiki can be used for carving cooked or raw meat, or as a narrow chef knife as the blade is wide enough to contact the cutting board along it’s entire length.
Carbon steel and iron will pick up a patina with use which need not be removed, you will find a variety of opinions and attitudes towards the patina from a religious reverence to a meticulous removal.
Wa handle or Japanese style handle is a one piece octagonal Japanese magnolia Ho wood handle with a horn ferrule ring for added strength.