All Japanese knives should be handwashed. Washing a Japanese knife in a dishwasher will destroy the knife. The dishwasher salts, high temperature and movement of the knives in the dishwasher destroys the cutting edge of the knife. Once used in the dishwasher the surface of the knife is altered and we can usually spot a knife that has been treated in this way. Using a knife in the dishwasher voids the guarantee, so please hand wash only.
Our stainless steel knives are more resistant to rust, but still require drying immediately after washing. Knives that are ‘carbon steel’, i.e. low alloy are particularly susceptible to rusting. We suggest adding a little camelia oil after each use.
Knives should ideally be stored in a way that keeps them safe, where the blades are kept in a fixed position. Blocks, magnetic racks or chefs’ cases are the most practical way. Sayas and knife guards can also be used.
We do not recommend storing knives in a drawer.
Western cooking emphasises chopping, whereas Japanese cooking emphasises slicing. Your choice of chopping board is important. Hard surfaces will cause knives to go blunt and wear faster. We recommend wood or plastic chopping boards and avoiding glass or marble.
For the best results, always use a Japanese whetstone. Japanese whetstones, when used correctly can produce far superior edges to any other type of sharpeners.
Pull through sharpening systems are easy to use, but really put on a basic edge and need repeatedly used but do get good results for the home.
Japanese steel is hard, any “butcher’s steel” should be made from ceramic or corundum to work with Japanese knives.
We do not recommend using electric sharpeners, which tend to be very aggressive towards your knife, strip a lot of metal off, can put on very average edges and overheat the blade. They can lower the life expectancy of your knife and ruin the edge. There are some good electric sharpeners available from Catra and others which have specially designed wheels, but expect to pay considerably more than for a cheap Chinese model.
Generally speaking, avoid ‘gimmicky’ sharpeners on Amazon such as AnySharp.
With all sharpening systems, much depends on the skill of the person sharpening.
There are many good sharpening services available throughout the country, but many services will treat a Japanese knife the same way they would treat a £5 knife. The best sharpening services will be clear about the methods they use and will generally use slow turning water grindstones like Tormek or will sharpen on whetstones for a premium. If you would like us to sharpen your knives, please bring them into our store.