Even if each knife looks the same, the craftsman is actually trying to make things better for every time based on communication with sellers and users all the time. Today, I present the letter from blacksmith Jiro so you can see how he spends his time to make his work better.
Letter from Jiro
It is already December and only a little is left in 2020.
I am sorry that I could make very few pieces each time. Recently, I discovered an interesting result from using a natural stone to polish the Hagane (core steel); there is a huge improvement in cutting performance! Previously, I have been trying to achieve this result, and finally, with your help choosing the right stone, everything came together and it was worth spending my entire savings to acquire them.
Even though the steel doesn’t look special because I use modern materials for both Hagane (core steel) and Jigane (cladded steel), I feel the natural stone edge cuts much smoother than before and I hope many people will notice the difference. I do everything conscientiously including choosing the right material, welding process, forging, quenching and polishing, even so, I find using a rare natural stone makes something truly special.
The other day, Jiro came to Tokyo, for the first time in over 10 years, to visit Morihei to find a natural stone that he can use if for his #200 in order to bring up the character of Jigane and Hagane. Mr. Oguro, the president of Morihei, prepared several options of natural stones to let Jiro choose one. Jiro spent 2 days testing them out and chose one because he felt “This is the one” right after he touches to stone with his test knife, he finds out it was the most expensive one in the options. Because of his way of knife making, he doesn’t make enough money and, he knew that buying that natural stone makes his life tough, however, he took the risk. After bringing it back to the workshop, he thought it is such a wasting that if he uses this stone only for #200, so he started to use it for regular knife polishing and find out that it makes the cutting performance much better than before. He said, “Steel doesn’t look special” on the letter because modern steel has very consistent contents and it doesn’t bring up any character of the steel unlike Watetsu, wrought Iron or Tamahagane. Jiro could tell the difference vividly while using that natural stone because he does everything by, his hand, by his feelings.
This is just one example, but I hope you can see a little scene of craftsmanship that changing small detail every time to make their best. I am happy if you see differently about knives from next time after knowing this.
The article was written by Hokuto with help of Brian (Tosho Knife Arts)