I had the chance to visit their factory and learn more about the process of making these amazing knives, and now I’m here to share it with you.
During my trip across Japan, I visited a place called Echizen, and there I got in touch with people from Ryusen Hamono, a small family-owned factory that has been producing high-quality Japanese kitchen knives for several decades.
The factory is located a little bit outside of town in the rural part; it looks quite interesting from the outside thanks to a large statue of two knives.
The shop itself is the first thing you notice when you enter the factory area; it is a small but well-stocked shop with beautiful knives on display. All of the walls are covered with knives in many different styles and colors.
That in itself is worth a visit just to admire it because each knife is like a work of art. Of course, you can buy any of the knives or cutlery collections that you want.
There, I met with the owner and some of the employees who took me on a tour of the factory. I met many of the workers who specialized in different parts of the manufacturing process, but each was a skilled artist in their own right.
There are many steps in creating a knife. First, the metal must be shaped into a rough knife shape and then adjusted to a mold.
This is a fascinating process since the artisan stands close to a furnace and holds the metal shape of a knife in with another metal tool and constantly heats the knife. The metal is then placed under a machine that beats it into shape. It takes a lot of skill and it looks really spectacular.
After a knife has been roughly shaped, it then enters a procedure of continuous sharpening and polishing with many different types of tools. From wet stones to restaurants and different types of techniques, it needs to be made perfect in shape, with perfect sides, stickiness, edge, and tip.
Of course, it needs to be polished as well, which is also achieved through several different techniques. One of which is sand-polishing, where small, tiny grains of sand are pushed at high speeds onto the blade, which reveals the different metal layers and gives it a beautiful pattern.
A lot of consideration is given to the sharp edge which needs to be perfectly polished and sharpened. Another step is the production of the handle, which is usually made out of wood, and needs to be perfectly shaped and polished as well, and finally assembled with the blade itself.
Different markings are also engraved on the knife itself, depending on the designer.
And after all this long process, you get a beautiful, artistic knife which is of course immensely sharp. I got to test out some of the knives I watched being made, and I have to say they are sharper than I expected.
Just gently placing the knife on paper cuts right through it; you can really see that blades like these are designed to last for decades. It should be an essential tool in the collection of any chef — both amateur and professional.
I really enjoyed this visit to the factory and I learned a lot from the people here, which made me really appreciate the work and skill that needs to go into creating such spectacular knives. And now I have a desire for acquiring a really good one myself, one day.
If this looks like a place that you would like to visit, or get your own knife from, check out their website.