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Sushi knife


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I was given a sushi kit for Christmas that included almost everything, except the knives. I find that you are supposed to have a vegetable knife, and a fish knife that is used only for slicing that fish and cutting the finished rolls.

I used my chef knife for everything on my first try, but I just had to have a long slender, Japanese fish knife. I ordered one on-line and was surprised that they come right and left handed.

I recieved the knife today, but all the instructions are in japanese. From the few illustrations I see that they recommend use a sharpening stone. Does anyone know if it is okay to use my steel? The knife is only beveled on one side, which is why there is a right and a left.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Chris

P.S. The darn thing is so sharp, I may never have to sharpen it anyway.

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Don't count on it being sharp forever. Some of my sharpest knives, I have to steel daily. Only use your steel on one side. You can look and see which side is correct. I will see a couple of guys making sushi tomorrow. I will check out their knives and get what info they are willing to share.

Edited by chefvic123 (log)
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If your knife is carbon steel you don't want to wash it with soap or water, or bleach for that matter. Washing it will remove the oil that keeps the blade from rusting. The thinnest part of the knife, which is at the sharpest part of the blade, will rust first, and your knife will be shot. Ever notice at the sushi bar how sushi chefs keep a towel handy to wipe the blade of their knife clean, but never actually wash it off?

This site has excellent tips on the care of Japanese knives: Japanese Knife dot com

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This site has excellent tips on the care of Japanese knives: Japanese Knife dot com

That site has a video clip demonstrating sharpening on a wet stone. I tried it with an old chef's knife and it was o.k., but left scratchy marks on the blade. Don't if that was just my poor technique.

Edited by Dstone001 (log)
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Japanese knives should never be sharpened with a steel -- they are made of a high-carbon steel that is too brittle to handle that sort of treatment.

The best way to sharpen them is on a Japanese waterstone ($20 or more from LeeValley.com). Waterstones come in grits ranging from very coarse (200, used for shaping severely damaged blades) to super fine (8000, used for polishing the edge of fine woodworking tools). The best grit for kitchen use is around 1000 -- it gives a very sharp edge but is coarse enough that the edge has some "tooth" to it (enabling it to cut like a saw).

If your attempts to sharpen it have left scratch marks there is a good chance you are using too coarse of a stone.

It is also important to sharpen only the bevelled side of the knife -- the flat side can be laid flat on the stone to remove the burr that forms from sharpening the bevel.

The website mentioned does have some good info but can make things more complicated than they need to be.

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Thank you all for the very usefull information.

Just for clarification, my knife is not totally one sided. The right surface, being a right handed knife, is beveled in 4 stages. First it is hollow ground from about the center to the cutting edge. Then about half of that is ground on a slightly steeper angle producing a wave effect like a samuri sword. Then it is honed to a still steeper angle for about a quarter of an inch and finally a little steeper yet for about 1/32 of an inch. This final honing is repeated on the other side which otherwise is totally flat.

Thanks again for all the help.

Chris

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With blade geometry as complicated as that you might want to get a knife honing guide (also from Lee Valley, or elsewhere, around $10) that clamps onto the back of the knife. It allows you to maintain a consistent angle while sharpening. You might also want to try marking the area you wish to sharpen with a felt marker -- as you sharpen the felt marker will come off and you will be able to see exactly where you have removed metal (i.e. if your angles are correct).

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