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Frequently Asked Questions

Broad Questions

Q. Choosing a chef's knife

A. One of our customers pointed out that he was lucky to find us among the sea of knives out there. It's true that there are so many knives and brands to chose from that it can quickly become overwhelming. We will share some guidelines with you and help you to make an educated choice because possessing a good knife is extremely important to your cooking.

There are so many terms flying around like stainless steel, carbon steel, damascus, western knives, Japanese knives, full tang, half tang, stamped or forged, rockwell hardness etc.

For simplicity's sake let's break thing down:

The knife: we will focus our attention on the Chef's Knife, the truly essential knife everyone needs

Category: we describe the 3 categories of knives in the next question. Each category has its pros and cons. We recommend the 3rd category, Japanese-made Wester-style knives.

Gyuto: this also means that we recommend Gyuto over traditional Chef's Knives. They are made of thinner, harder steel and have a sharper edge. This means high performance, great edge retention, less efforts, the best of the Western and Japanese world.

They also have a higher HRC or rockwell hardness, usually around 60. Western knives are made of softer steel, we recommend an HRC of at least 56, anything lower should be avoided.

VG10: VG10 is produced in Japan and is a wonder kitchen steel. It has a high carbon content and also contains cobalt (only found in VG10 or ATS55) among other things You can't go wrong with VG10 steel.

Full tang vs half tang: You are looking for a kitchen knife not a survival knife so it absolutely doesn't matter if your chef's knife is full or half tang. In his book, An Edge in the Kitchen, Chad Ward writes: '' In direct contradiction to nearly 9000 years of metal knife and sword making, many knife manufacturers claim that you absolutely must have a full tang for your knife to be any good. You don't. A full tang is pretty, but hardly necessary, especially in the kitchen. '' 

The half or hidden tang is cheaper because no metal is used/wasted to make the tang and it can also be placed in the dishwasher, unlike a full tang knife.

The main difference between the full and hidden tang is the style of the handle, yes an aesthetic concern nothing more. If you like the way a full tang looks go for it, but if you like a knife that happens to be a hidden/half tang don't worry, you are good. 

For more interesting details on the subject we recommend you read  An Edge in the Kitchen.

Conclusion: Go for a VG10 Gyuto knife. Should the one that pleases your eye without emptying your wallet.

Q. What is a  "Japanese Made Western Style Knife"?

A. You can basically divide kitchen knives in 3 categories: 

  1. Western or European Knives --> the knives we are most familiar with in the US. They are found everywhere and are made by Victorinox, Sabatier, Wusthof, Henckels, Lamson etc.
  2. Traditional Japanese Knives --> often single-sided edge bevel. Very sharp they are specialized knives. The Yanagiba for instance is ideal for Sashimi. They are usually manufactured by small, specialized knife makers.
  3. Japanese-made Western-style knives --> includes Gyuto knives. They use the same shapes and grind (double bevel, 50-50 ratio) as Western Knives but with a lighter and harder steel that allows for a very acute edge and thus extremely sharp knives. Okami is making such knives and so are famous brands like Shun, Global, Yoshihiro, MAC etc.

Q. Chef's knife vs santoku knife or difference between santoku and chef's knife

A. They differ in shape. This has aesthetic and also practical implications.

The Chef's knife is longer (8 to 10'') and has more belly than the Santoku knife which usually comes with a straighter 7''blade.

The Chef's Knife is more versatile and perfect for the French cutting technique (rocking motion). The flat edge profile of the Santoku on the other hand makes it ideal for the Chinese cutting technique ( "push cutting", forward and down slice).

Technically if you possess or want to learn good knife skills the Chef's Knife would be the best choice as it is more productive, versatile and able to perform jobs requiring precision (pointy tip) or a long blade. The Santoku would be the good choice for someone who wants a nifty and easy to use knife. The Santoku can be used right away by most people. Also it is incredible with vegetables and short meat/fish cuts.

The Santoku's popularity is not only due its efficiency but also to its modern, cool and unique shape. The blade of the Santoku often features ovals (called kullens) that create air pockets between the blade and the food in order to reduces the sticking effect. The second benefits of this kullens are aesthetic.

To summarize, both knives are really good and versatile knives. They differ in size, look and cutting style and ultimately it is a personal choice everybody has to make (isn't it always?). Ideally you want both of them. They are very complementary and the Santoku is a great back up to the Chef's Knife for roasts or large vegetables.

Personally I like the Chef's Knife because I prefer to cut using the rocking motion but I often switch to the Santoku knife when I need to cut a lot of vegetables because it gets the job done extremely fast and also because have a lot of fun using it.

Q. Santoku Knives - Why Are They So Popular?

A. Because they look awesome, allow its user to make short work of large stacks of veggies, are the perfect knife if you like the Chinese cutting technique ( "push cutting", forward and down slice), are easy to use even for beginners and are incredibly fun to use.

Q. What do you use a santoku knife for ?

A. According to Wikipedia, '' the word Santoku refers to the three cutting tasks which the knife performs well: slicing, dicing and mincing. The Santoku's blade and handle are designed to work in harmony by matching the blade's width/weight to the weight of blade tang and handle, and the original Japanese Santoku is considered a well-balanced knife.''

The Santoku is pretty versatile but we find it especially well suited for vegetables. It sometimes feel like you are wielding a small Chinese cleaver, it cuts through vegetables at record speed. 

 

Questions about Okami Knives

Q. Where are the Knives Made?

A. Our knives are manufactured in China by our international team of experts. They aren't just made anywhere in China but in Yangjiang, a city famous for its swords and knives for close to 1500 years. It is an important and world famous knife production center, the equivalent of Solingen, Thiers or Seki. The pool of talents available in Yangjiang,  combined with the historical passion for knives in the region,  is what allowed us to built such a great team. On top of that we only use high quality steel imported from Japan. We operate in a state of the art facility equipped with cutting edge technology. Our procedures are constantly evolving and following the best practices and innovations in our field. Of course working from China has cost benefits compared to manufacturing from France, Germany or Japan. These cost savings are what allows us to offer high quality knives at such a good price.

    Q. What is the Rockwell hardness of an Okami Knife?

    A. The hardness is Rockwell or HRC scale is between 60 and 62.

    Q. What are the dimensions of the Gyuto Knife?

    A. From the tip of the blade to the handle: 7.8 inch or 20cm. The handle counts for another 4.7 inch or 12 cm. The total length is: 12.6 inch or 32cm. 

    For Japanese Knives the metric system is used.  So the Nakama is in fact a 20cm Gyuto knife and when the length is converted to the American system it is rounded up from 7.8'' to 8''.

    Q. What is the edge angle of an Okami Knife?

    A. Our knives have an extremely acute edge angle, comprised between 12 and 15 degrees per side. Typical kitchen knives usually come with a 22-26 degrees per side angle. If you are only used to heavier, thick bladed European knives you will be amazed by what can be achieved with a Santoku or Guyto knife and with less effort on your part!