Since ancient times, the Japanese Katana has been admired for its ability to take an extremely sharp edge and function without bending or breaking. Mizuno Tanrenjo’s Honyaki knives are being crafted using similar traditional methods to achieve the same functionality as the legendary Katana.
Generally, the harder metal becomes more brittle it gets. However, Mizuno’s special forging technique uses repeated light hammer blows to improve the microstructure of the steel, making it stronger and tougher than before. Consequently, Honyaki knives generally have a smoother surface than forge-laminated knives and a higher quality blade that provides superior cutting performance .
Just like Japanese swords, Mizuno Tanrenjo’s Honyaki knives are also heat-treated using a special clay coating that is applied to the blade by hand. The Hagane is heated up to 800 °C and then quenched in water to increase its hardness and is then placed in rice-straw ash to slowly cool down to room temperature. This detail is important since it helps to prevent uneven tension from developing in the blade. A skilled craftsman then carefully applies a special mixture of semi-liquid clay to the blade, using a thin layer of clay on the cutting edge and a thicker layer on the spine. By varying the thickness of the clay, the craftsman can control the speed at which the steel cools when it is quenched during the tempering process. This process, called Tsuchi-Oki, allows the craftsman to manipulate the hardness of individual parts of the blade (Differential hardening) and can also be used to create a variety of beautiful Hamon patterns in the steel of the blade. Japanese bladesmiths often recount the saying “Doro-nuri san nen”, which conveys the belief that an apprentice requires at least three years of study and practice before they are ready to perform Tsuchi-Oki on a professional basis.
The inheritance of these traditional swordsmithing techniques allows Master Mizuno to bring out the maximum performance and beauty from the Hagane used to create these Honyaki Wa-Bocho masterpieces.
We are proud to introduce Mizuno Tanrenjo’s wonderful Honyaki Series (White No.2 Steel) and Honyaki DX Series (Blue No.2 Steel) knives.
Whilst the hardness, edge retention and sharpness of Master Mizuno’s Honyaki knives is truly remarkable, they are also difficult to sharpen and can be easily damaged by incorrect use. In Japan, they are normally only used by very experienced top-star Chefs, and similarly, we only recommend them for people who have extensive experience with traditional Japanese knives, or to knife collectors.