Honyaki & Collectors' knives

We love how these Japanese knives have a mythical vibe in them but basically just uber high level of craftsmanship. The combination of high demand and low supply/rarity explains the astronomical prices (and still increasing). Makers like Kato and Shigefusa have a backlog of 3-5 years! 

What is a honyaki? 

Honyaki (literally "true-forged") knives represent the highest level of craftsmanship; only a few skilled craftsmen in Japan can make them. These craftsmen employ techniques similar to that of traditional nihonto (Japanese sword) where a single piece of steel is differentially heat-treated. 

Making honyaki knives is a challenging and time-consuming process as it involves a high degree of skill in temperature control and forging. Failure rate is quite high---some blades will crack or will severely warp in the quenching process. The additional labor in sharpening and finishing also contributes to high prices. ⁣