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.Sujihiki & Slicers: The classic slicer. Long and thin, this is the best shape for the preparation of any flesh (meat or fish – cooked or raw) without bones. The slim profile presents a smaller are of contact with the flesh and thus reduces the strength of the vacuum between the blade and the food resulting in a smoother and easier cut. Function – Slicing and carving of meat and fish without bones. Normal length – 240mm to 300mm (a few smaller 180mm and longer 330mm are available) Tip: Whilst the 240mm or the 270mm lengths are the most popular select the longest length you are comfortable with. The longer the blade, the lesser the pressure required to cut the food and thus increase the ability to cut thinner slices. As this is one knife that is often taken to the table for carving in front of the diners, apart from the functionality, aesthetics should be an important consideration.
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