Blacksmith: Kisuke Manaka
Region: Sanmu-shi, Chiba
Profile: Kiritsuke Gyuto
Type of steel: High Carbon Stainless Clad (Warikomi)
Blade length: 210mm
Duration: 63-64 HRC
Finish: Kurouchi, Tsuchime
Only two materials, steel and ferrite, are used in the traditional Japanese manufacturing method called Warikomi. The specific steel and ferrite used are selected according to the purpose of each individual blade.
The ferrite is divided and then heated and inserted into the steel blade. The Blacksmith refines and forms the construction of the San Mai with the Ferrite. Thanks to additional refining, the materials will be solidly assembled.
In order to unify the irregularity formed in the particles during the stages and create a functional shape, The blacksmith heats the blade until it reaches 760-800 degrees. Then the blade is cooled slowly in a “Warabai” for a day.
According to the blacksmith, he employs one of the two methods of tempering Mizu (Water) Abura (Oil). After heating the knife to an optimal temperature of 790 to 830 degrees Celsius, it quickly places the knife in water or oil to cool it quickly. This allows the steel particles to tighten and creates an extremely hard structure. The process of maintaining temperature during the soaking of a red-heated knife requires years of experimentation and dexterity. Water soaking is the most difficult to achieve, it requires additional expertise and makes the knife even more efficient. The dip can fail if the timing is not run to the nearest second, which means that the process is a serious feat to accomplish.
Since its creation in 1872, Manaka Hamono, a historical blacksmith, has been making Japanese swords. To meet the needs of the present era, kitchen knives and agricultural tools have been manufactured since the beginning of the fourth generation. Manaka Hamono has tried to preserve the old way of carving forge welding (Mizu) without using convenience materials. Although it is said that it is hardly possible to weld stainless steel with this technique, Kisuke Manaka is one of the few blacksmiths who has the skills to do so.
Generally, welding different types of stainless steels is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Welding by the forge can be done under machine management system in a high-temperature oven, as its melting temperature is very high. In addition, the temperature range in which a blacksmith can operate is very limited.
Kisuke Manaka having traditional facilities, managed to weld by hand the different types of stainless steels by doing research and development of certain metals, which is literally a miracle of skills. He makes all his knives and handles to measure, performing almost all the forge processes by hand until the sharpening finish.
We can feel that his heart and soul is governed in every knife he produces.