Care and maintenance of Japanese kitchen knives

Proper care is crucial for maintaining the quality and longevity of your Japanese kitchen knives. Follow these guidelines to ensure your knives remain in top condition:

  1. Sharpening:
    • Use a whetstone to sharpen your knives, as it is the most suitable method for Japanese blades.
    • Avoid electric and pull-through sharpeners, as they can damage the delicate edge.
    • Honing rods, commonly used for Western-style knives, are not recommended for Japanese knives.
  2. Cutting Surface:
    • Opt for wooden or rubber cutting boards, which are gentler on the knife's edge.
    • Avoid bamboo or poly boards, as they can be too hard and cause damage to the blade.
  3. Maintenance:
    • Keep your knives clean and dry, particularly if they are made of carbon steel, which is prone to rusting.
    • If you prefer a lower-maintenance option, consider full stainless steel or stainless-clad carbon knives.
    • In case of light rust, create a paste by mixing lemon juice and baking soda. Scrub the affected area with the paste, repeating until the rust is removed. Flitz is also a good alternative for removing rust.
  4. Usage:
    • Avoid using your Japanese kitchen knives for heavy-duty tasks like cutting through bones or frozen foods. Japanese knives are designed for clean, precise cuts, featuring thinner grinds and harder steel that excel at delicate work. Instead, use a Western-style knife for tougher tasks, as its thicker grind and softer steel make it more suitable for handling such work.
    • When cutting, employ a smooth and fluid motion, avoiding any twisting or torquing of the blade. 
  5. Cleaning and Storage:
    • Never put your Japanese kitchen knives in the dishwasher. Instead, hand wash them with mild soap, ensuring a thorough clean.
    • Dry the knives completely before storing them to prevent rust and corrosion.

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