He is now 80 years old. His knife making career has started at the age of 18, when he joined his farther's kitchen knife factory "Masahiro" in Seki. In 1971, he has opened his own workshop and started producing his own brand high quality kitchen knives and hunting knives. The "Hattori" brand knives have quickly gained great reputations from the end-users both in domestic and overseas for the finest workmanship.
In the final finishing work, he gives his special care to check every detail, blade grinding and polishing flows, warping, angles and handle shaping, fitting etc etc.... Every knife that does not meet with his strict quality standard, is returned to be reworked from the beginning or thrown away.
His "Never Compromise" attitude to seek the finest workmanship has made him called as "World's Best Knife Craftsman". He was also honored to receive "Excellent Skilled Craftsman Award" from Seki Knife Industrial Association. When you hold his knife in hand and actually use it, you will know and admit that he really deserve it.
We would like everyone to experience his fine work, but his production is very limited due to the time consuming hand works.
Factory Report !!
He told me this is one of the most time consuming process in the Forums production. He pays special attentions to grind each side symmetrically. Each time he grinds a little by little with different sizes and angles wheels, he holds it and grinds repeatedly to ensure the most comfortable grip.
While watching this long process, I felt his insistence to every detail and realized this is why his knife differs from others and the production is very limited with longer leadtime.
His same insistence goes to the blade finishing too. He showed me 3 different grits buffing belts which he uses to finish the blade surface (he called it "Shira-Togi" finish).
This is only a few steps I saw in hundreds of the manufacturing steps to complete and deliver your Forums knives. When I had more chance to see other steps in future, I will report it's exciting moment again.
There were so many important factors explaining his special approach and attention in his knife making process. One of the very important steps he emphasized was the blade adjustment to perfect alignment and straightness. Any warping blade prevents to cut straight and affects to cutting performance, so you need to pay attention when selecting and purchasing knives.
Hammering the blade for straitening the blade. Now he is making the Hattori FH Knife.
The blade warping can happen after the processes of heat treatment, grinding and hand waterwheel whetstone sharpening, so Master Hattori does this hammering adjustments 3 times after each process. This process requires the craftsman’s experienced skill and technique.
Master Hattori is 80 years old now. You will always see a sophisticated beauty and perfection on this knives. These are the result of his long knife making experience and his ultimate insistence to make the best knives.