Nakiri shape question.

Edwardshandmadeknives

Well-Known Member
So every nakiri I have seen so far has a pretty universal shape. Pretty much a rectangle, with the front having an angular face where the spine is longer than the edge, and slopes back toward the edge. Does anyone know why this front edge is not simply square with the edge? Does it serve some purpose, or is it just aesthetic? In using one, I can’t imagine how it would make anything “better”, other than how it looks.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
That slope is a natural result of grinding a tapered blade with a round nose at the front of the cutting edge. It does not have to be there, but if you don’t you’ll end up with some funky shape.
 

Brad Anderson

Well-Known Member
Iv'e seen them 3 ways. Angled back, straight 90 degrees, and angled forward. Astatically I think the slight angle on the front may look a bit better to my eyes. I have also seen them with a slightly curved cutting edge and a dead flat cutting edge. The rounded nose at the cutting edge is so it doesn't accidentally dig into the cutting board. Different makers have different styles, do what works for you and test it. I am in the process of making a bunch of nakiris now and all of mine have a 90 degree front edge with a small radius at the front of cutting edge. I may change that now that you have given me reason to ponder it a bit more.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Ya'll have got me interested in a Nakiri knife. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but.... :)

Since I've never used one I don't see the big advantage over a good petty, but who knows. It looks like the typical blade is about 160 to 165mm along the cutting edge and a tad over 53mm (2") wide. Does that sound about right? A problem with me is my dewar will only take a 1.96" wide blade. Would a 160mm X 50mm be considered a suitable Nakiri? I see on the japanesechefsknife.com site none of the Nakiri have a traditional Wa handle, but more of a western style. Is that normal?
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
We have several nakiri, Ken. From 3 makers, all have blade widths right at 1-13/16" despite 4, 5, 6" lengths. (Must be a common metric size?) Two have rounded cutting tips. We prefer wa handles on nearly all our knives. My wife uses the big knife, a SS clad HAP40core Kohetsu (chefknivestogo.com) as her primary along with a 4" petty.
I push-cut, so they are a great style for me, as is a "sharp license plate" Chinese cooking knife.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
a nakiri is simply a vegetable knife. like a chef knife, the height of the blade is to give you knuckle clearance when cutting on a board and to give you the ability to cut stacks of veggies easily. There’s no right or wrong height or length. A traditional nakiri is super thin which doesn’t hold up well as a general purpose knife in a western kitchen, so I make mine the same thickness as a chef.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the comments and guidance. My wife likes shorter knives in the 5 to 6" range. I went thru the Wa handle phase for a while and we both LOVED the Wa, but I think it was because it was new to us. We've sorta moved back to the western style handle now. Got both in the rack, but most of time we reach for the western style handle. Even with a 1.95" wide blade I tend to "angle" the cutting edge a tad for more handle clearance - I've got fairly large hands, XX to XXX size gloves. I've got a piece of 2" wide .079" 14C28N laying on the table. I think I'll do a Nakiri with it.
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
A quick question, I normally do a full flat grind. I like the cutting angle it gives, but I see a Nakiri only has a narrow bevel extending up about a 1/3 of the blade width. Is there a major reason for this? Seems like for a "laser" cut the FFG is more ideal? Would it be too much sacrilege if I do a FFG?
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
A quick question, I normally do a full flat grind. I like the cutting angle it gives, but I see a Nakiri only has a narrow bevel extending up about a 1/3 of the blade width. Is there a major reason for this? Seems like for a "laser" cut the FFG is more ideal? Would it be too much sacrilege if I do a FFG?
Some nakiris may be thinner than say a typical gyuto, so no need for a FFG. . Of course, a number of Japanese double bevel knives are thinner than their western counterparts.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I have seen them both ways. I personally don’t like single bevels and i full height grind just about everything. The Japanese traditional nakiris are THIN. There’s no need to full height grind them. That’s also a benefit to single bevel on a very thin blade- you get the same inclusive cutting edge angle but the entire blade doesn’t get thinner.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I restored a Nakiri that my friend brought back from Japan. He tried to use it like a typical westerner and chopped carrots with it. He wrecked the edge so bad that I had to profle the entire edge back 1/4 inch to get past the broken out chips.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
I restored a Nakiri that my friend brought back from Japan. He tried to use it like a typical westerner and chopped carrots with it. He wrecked the edge so bad that I had to profle the entire edge back 1/4 inch to get past the broken out chips.
That may be a good argument for using something tougher like 52100 instead of Hitachi white for such a knife made for 'Muricans. :D
 

KenH

Well-Known Member
Yea, but when you've got a really thin edge with 64 Rc it's bound to get a bit "chippy" with rough treatment. In years past I tended toward around 60Rc, but now realize AEB-L and 14C28N can handle 62 Rc just fine - and the edge tends to last a tad longer between sharpening.

When ya'll talk about "THIN", just how thin are ya'll talking? .060"? .040"? I've used this .079", finished is around .075 or so for 9" chef knives with FFG and been happy with them. Since I use them for softer materials I've never had a problem with flex due to thin blade. Of course a .098" with FFG works just fine also, but does have a bit more weight in the blade.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
Yea, but when you've got a really thin edge with 64 Rc it's bound to get a bit "chippy" with rough treatment. In years past I tended toward around 60Rc, but now realize AEB-L and 14C28N can handle 62 Rc just fine - and the edge tends to last a tad longer between sharpening.

When ya'll talk about "THIN", just how thin are ya'll talking? .060"? .040"? I've used this .079", finished is around .075 or so for 9" chef knives with FFG and been happy with them. Since I use them for softer materials I've never had a problem with flex due to thin blade. Of course a .098" with FFG works just fine also, but does have a bit more weight in the blade.
Steels like 52100 and Cru Forge V are tougher even a those higher hardnesses than Blue, White, 1095, the German tungsten steels, etc, So is good 1084, but you cant get it quite as hard. Of course, the caveat is that the steels have to be of good quality to be comparible and that is one thing that you are always guaranteed with the Hitachi stuff. As for thickness, the typical starting point seems to be like /93 to say 1.10 with the idea that you are going to grind some of that away. If you look at say the typical drop-forgeish German knife, They tend to be at least .110 at the heel and maybe thicker.
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
The 6" nakiri Nancy uses is 0.115" at the heel end of the spine and tapers to 0.094 at the tip. It is FFG and convex edged 50/50. very nice knife; I bought it for me and had it for ten minutes. "Ohhh, I liike thiss..." oh, well. I get to keep it sharp at least. Nice knife.

The 4" Takeda Hitachi AS with an "iron" cladding and kirouchi forge finish is 0.082" at the "heel" of the spine and tapers to 0.045". Turns out I'm not real big on forge finished carbon steel for cutting veggies.

Never had a chip on either knife.
 

Edwardshandmadeknives

Well-Known Member
The 6" nakiri Nancy uses is 0.115" at the heel end of the spine and tapers to 0.094 at the tip. It is FFG and convex edged 50/50. very nice knife; I bought it for me and had it for ten minutes. "Ohhh, I liike thiss..." oh, well. I get to keep it sharp at least. Nice knife.

The 4" Takeda Hitachi AS with an "iron" cladding and kirouchi forge finish is 0.082" at the "heel" of the spine and tapers to 0.045". Turns out I'm not real big on forge finished carbon steel for cutting veggies.

Never had a chip on either knife.
Carbon steel can be in the kitchen, but it should be ground smooth. Weather for veggies or not, they’re just easier to keep clean. I have a bunch of .100 52100, might be making some nakiri from that pretty soon.
 

fitzo

Gold Membership
I don’t mind carbon in the kitchen, but I prefer it for meat. The forge stuff on the kuroichi finishes has held up surprisingly well and cleans easy immediately after use. They get scrubbed, dried, and oiled with mineral oil after every use, blade and handle. A bit OCD I suppose, but there I am. I am pleased to say I’ve never had a spot of rust on any of them after years of use.
 

jmforge

Well-Known Member
I don’t mind carbon in the kitchen, but I prefer it for meat. The forge stuff on the kuroichi finishes has held up surprisingly well and cleans easy immediately after use. They get scrubbed, dried, and oiled with mineral oil after every use, blade and handle. A bit OCD I suppose, but there I am. I am pleased to say I’ve never had a spot of rust on any of them after years of use.
If we go by Murray Carter's videos, the kuroichi finish is not a "pure" forge finish like some of the "brut de forge" finishes you see. He at least sand blasts and "cold forges" to pop the scale off. What you end up with is perhaps more a "heat treat" finish. They just don't grind above a certain point.
When I get set back up, I want to try an old school rust blue finish on some blades including some kitchen knives.
 

Edwardshandmadeknives

Well-Known Member
If we go by Murray Carter's videos, the kuroichi finish is not a "pure" forge finish like some of the "brut de forge" finishes you see. He at least sand blasts and "cold forges" to pop the scale off. What you end up with is perhaps more a "heat treat" finish. They just don't grind above a certain point.
When I get set back up, I want to try an old school rust blue finish on some blades including some kitchen knives.
That’s not too bad, at least the scale is off. I did a couple and left a forge finish, but pickled them till they were clean.
 
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