In February 2009 we introduced the Zanmai Elite Collection, made by an outstanding blacksmith called Yasuhisa Hasegawa. The collection was an instant success especially amongst cooks favouring lighter tools; they loved the deftness these delicately beautiful handmade blades lent their cutting techniques. However, some customers found these multiple beaten blades too delicate and light having used heavy European knives for most of their lives and being accustomed to a more conventional Western-style handle. So we asked Hasegawa-san to produce a knife of similar quality and performance but with a Western handle and more weight. The result is a firm sturdily balanced blade with an amazing edge. We felt it was time to give credit to their creator thus have christened this the Hasegawa Collection. The increase in weight has been achieved by beating the blade only once instead of several times. Whilst this lesser beaten blade has a slightly narrower steel crystal/molecular structure than the Zanmai Elite Collection the blades are extremely durable and, needless to say infinitely easier to maintain than any western knife.
All steel and other construction details are the same as the Zanmai Elite Collection these 33 layers of Damascus blades have a very thin specially forged VG10 steel central core protected by 16 layers of alternating High Nickel, Low Nickel soft steel on each side. The knives are totally handmade using a hydraulic hammer creating a wider and longer mass, which is then cut away by laser.
These collections have what is known as a Hamaguri (Clamshell) grind which means the side of the knife is very slightly curved adding immense toughness to the blades – the edge sharpening is the same as other knives.
Hasegawa handles are composed of stunning Desert Iron Wood with three steel rivets to fix the handle onto the full tang. The Bolster has a very gentle, deep and long curve to minimise calluses and strains during prolonged use.Naikiri: The edge of this shape is almost flat for the entire length and is the consummate knife for the preparation of vegetables. The wide rectangular blade is ideal for scooping and the best shape for vertical chopping of hard and dense foods like cabbages, celeriac etc. Function – Vegetable knife. For Slicing, Dicing and Mincing of vegetables. Normal length – 160mm to 180mm Tip: A few models have a completely flat edge with no curve so if you need to roll cut as well as vertically chop (to Julienne or Chiffonade herbs) select a model that has a slight curve towards the tip. This is the ‘uber’ knife for vegetables.