Deba knife, shirogami 1, kurouchi finish - Nishida


Nishida-san is one of Japan’s up and coming blacksmiths. He has been blacksmithing for 12 years and started making hunting knives. Unusually for Japan, he undertakes all of the knife making processes himself including forge welding the steel together to make a layered blade.

SHAPE: Deba. This is one of three quintessential single bevelled Japanese knives and is used for fish breakdown and preparation. Unlike a western filleting knife, this thing has no flex at all and is substantial in weight. This is to aid in bone cutting and allows the edge to be sharpened to hair popping levels while still giving in strength. These examples are single bevelled so are only suitable for right handed users.

STEEL: Shirogami (white paper) 1 steel. This steel has the highest amount of carbon out of the paper steels so will get crazy sharp easily. It is a very reactive steel so best kept dry although the kurouchi finish will help inhibit rust. These blades are also clad with soft iron which is also susceptible to rust.

FINISH: Kurouchi. This is a traditional, rustic finish achieved by leaving the furnace scale from the forging process on the blade rather than polishing it off. It has the advantage of reducing the reactivity of the surface of the knife and gives the blade a stylish, matt black finish.

HANDLE: Octagonal Rosewood handle with a pakkawood ferrule.

LENGTH: 90mm or 120mm in length.

MAKER: Daisuke Nishida - Minamiseki, Japan

BEST FOR: Those wanting medium to heavy weight knives that are very traditionally forged. 

SAUNDERS SAYS: "These knives are really beautiful and, at only 35 years old, I think Nishida-san is someone to watch in the future."

These knives are hand-forged so there may be slight variations in measurements and finishes.

Traditional Japanese knives, such as this, should exclusively be sharpened by hand on whetstones.