18 Oct Ikeuchi Small Carving Knives from Infinity Cutting Tools
These small carving knives from Ikeuchi Knife Co. in Japan are hand forged in small batches at a facility operated by three generations of master craftsmen. Offered individually (starting at $24.90), or as a cost-effective seven-piece set with a tool roll ($147.90), they include an excellent variety of profiles for the beginning carver, or for someone who is looking to add a few more high-quality knives to their collection.
Ikeuchi Knife Co. has been making knives in Miki City since 1953. Founded by Shozo Ikeuchi, the business was later joined by his sons. Now his grandson, Hiromi Ikeuchi continues the tradition. Miki City itself has been renowned for its tool making industry since at least the Edo period (it’s like the Sheffield of Japan), and these knives are an excellent example of the high quality tools and hardware produced in the area. Made of premium Aogami #2 Steel, these small carving knives are extremely sharp right out of the box, and they have excellent edge retention. They are available individually in seven useful profiles, or as a full set with tool roll, and the unique shape of the Japanese Elm (Zelkova serrata) handle feels excellent in the hand.
Yoko (104-011) – Shaped like a right-handed marking knife, or an extreme skew chisel, useful for detail work and angled paring cuts.
Hira (104-012) – Standard chisel-like shape, useful for paring cuts and heavier stock removal.
Ken (104-013) – Pointed tip knife, similar in shape to a striking knife, great for marking out, getting into and cleaning out tight spaces, and starting small texturing details.
Kuri (104-014)– Narrow bladed straight knife perfect for inside detail work.
Mikaduki (104-015) – Crescent Shaped narrow bladed knife great for detail work and easing gentle curves in your piece.
Right Hand Knife (104-016) – General purpose carving knife excellent if you need to make a cut using your right hand.
Left Hand Knife (104-017) – General purpose carving knife excellent if you need to make a cut using your left hand.
Each knife comes with a leather blade cover, and the 7-pocket tool roll (104-010, $24.90) is available separately.
Sometimes called Blue Paper Steel due to the color of the paper the steel used in these knives comes wrapped in when sent to the blacksmith, Aogami #2 steel is generally considered the premier Japanese steel for high-end knife making. It is a high carbon steel that has very few impurities. Tungsten and chromium are added to improve wearability, setting it apart from other Japanese steels such as Kigami (Yellow Paper) and Shirogami (White paper). Of the three types of Aogami steel (#2, #1, and Super) Aogami #2 is considered the “toughest”, if not the hardest, due to its ability to resist chipping, retain an edge, and continue to cut well even as it begins to dull.
These knives have a single bevel “chisel grind” common to many Japanese knives, meaning they are flat backed on one side, and beveled on the other. This type of grind can make honing easier, and allows for more controlled cuts.