Please mind the machi gap

Ermmmm.... the blade on this knife isn't quite lined up with the handle. That, my friend is called a machi gap.

Japanese knives are made in two parts, the blade and the separate handle. The tang of the blade goes in to the handle and often a small notch is left between the two where the tang is exposed - the machi. It makes the installation of the handle slightly simpler as there is less risk of the handle cracking. It also creates space between the handle and the blade for your finger, important if the neck of the knife doesn't leave much room.  

While a machi gap is intended to allow adjustment in the length of the blade, there is definitely a stylistic preference for and against. Machi gaps are really pronounced in some blades, for example the masamoto range. You often see a really pronounced machi with yanagiba and usuba, and makers from Sakai-area aren't shy in using them. Overall they are a bit like marmite with people either loving or hating the look. We've quizzed Saunders on his views and apparently a couple of millimetres is very easy on the eye.   


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