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.
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. 270mm gyuto is a popular size among professional chefs especially for those that need a knife to work with larger items/quantities at a nice quick pace. Due to the lightness of the knife despite it’s larger length it does not feel oversized, you quickly appreciate the extra blade. Kiritsuke gyuto are great for vegetable prep work where the flatter edge allows for greater contact with the board with a smaller motion, the opposite of rocking.
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.
Wa handle or Japanese style handle is a one piece octagonal Japanese magnolia Ho wood handle with a horn ferrule ring for added strength.