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Sushi Knife – Making an Iconic Kitchen Tool

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Bladesmith Walter Sorrells presents Sushi Knife – Making an Iconic Kitchen Tool. In this video, Sorrells shares tips on how to make a Japanese sushi knife from a piece of antique wrought iron anchor chain. Check out his first attempt at creating one of the most complex and interesting cooking knives on earth!

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Unlike conventional Western knives, the sushi knife has a single bevel. The bevel of the knife comes right down to the edge, making it insanely sharp. Another feature of the sushi knife is that it is traditionally made as laminate, meaning that the cutting edge is made from a separate piece of hard steel that is forged into softer, backing steel.

Sorrells begins by cutting up the antique wrought iron anchor chain. He then takes one of the pieces and forges it into a bar. After that, he welds the wrought iron bar to a modern tool steel – specifically, the Hitachi #2 Blue Paper Steel. This is a high-carbon tool steel with tungsten, making it capable of very high hardness. Sorrells welds the wrought iron bar and tool steel together using borax flux. He gives the piece a few good taps and then uses a hydraulic press to draw it into a bar. He then moves on to form the long, slim shape of the sushi knife.

After shaping the bar into the form of the sushi knife, Sorrells leaves the blade to cool slowly inside the furnace. Once the blade has cooled down, he uses a belt grinder to clean and polish the blade surface. After he’s happy with the shape and form, the blade is heat treated to roughly 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. When the blade hits the right temperature, it is plunged into a tube of warm peanut oil. This converts the austenite to martensite, hardening the blade. After that, the blade is put in the tempering oven at 375 degrees for an hour.

With a light hammer and belt grinder, Sorrells does some final straightening and shaping. He uses pieces of wood to make the handle. He files a hole into the wood where the tang can be inserted. After the wood pieces are in shape, he glues everything together using Titebond III.

Using several Waterstones, Sorrells sharpens the knife. Finally, he dips the blade in a very dilute solution of ferric chloride that is neutralized with a bit of baking soda.

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