The Kiritsuke Knife Anatomy

The Kiritsuke Knife Anatomy

Posted by Ramon Elzinga on

The Kiritsuke knife appears like an elongated Bunka blade - long, strong and mildly intimidating blade with a commanding k-tip. The ability to slice over longer pieces of any vegetable, meat or poultry make the Kiritsuke the blade to add if you are looking to step up your kitchen tool kit. 

The Kiritsuke Knife Handle

1. The Handle / E

Given this is a half tang handle or a "wa" handle it is light in weight relative to the blade. This helps move the balancing point further down the blade making the pinching grip the grip to use to give the wielder complete control of the knife. This is important using a tool like the Kiritsuke due to it’s additional length.

2. The Handle Butt / Ejiri

The butt of the handle is often used to tap in the half tang into the blade. As a result a 45 degree angle at the butt of the knife is relatively uncommon. We have chosen an angled base both for the light weight and intricacy of the handle as well as the simple reason - it looks magnificent on the wall or in the hand.

3. The Handle Steel Section / Tang

The tang section of traditional Japanese knife is contained with thin the handle - not sticking in between the two handle pieces as seen on a full tang. This type of handle allows us to use a single piece of unique fused wood or burl. Once again there is a utility perspective - lighter weight, however much of it is created for beauty - a single piece of treasured wood.

4. Collar / Kakumaki

You will notice the collar on the photographed knife tapers toward the blade. Again this is relatively uncommon - as it takes a little longer to make. The tapering is the favoured shape for both Shannon and I as it makes it a little more comfortable for our pinch hold to glide up and down the blade as we undertake different cuts. 

The Kiritsuke Knife Blade

5. Heel / Ago

The heel of the Kiritsuke knife is similar to the Bunka - the place which is used to push down and cut things that are difficult to cut. If you want to come down with force lean the base of your non-holding hand onto the area of the spine which resides above the Heel. This allows you to easily apply a large amount of weight on a downward chop or roll.  

6. Spine / Muni

The spine of the Kiritsuke blade is slightly thinner than our bunka but much thicker than a gyuto or Santoku. The dimples coupled with the thick spine make this the perfect blade for starchy vegetables. When compared with the Bunka (both knives are fun to play with) we slimmed the blade a tad to allow the additional length without ruining the balance. Either knife can be used to chop starch. If you have a Bunka you probably don’t need a Kiritsuke. That said, if you have a porsche you probably don’t need a ferrari - but it’s quite fun anyway.

7. Belly / Tsura

Due to the length of the blade the Belly appears less than what it is. The belly length is long, deep and consistent across the blade making it perfect for long cut strokes and stronger cut strokes when comparing with a Sujihiki or Yanigaba.

8. Tip / Kissaki

The Kiritsuke, once again much like the Bunka, is finished with a “K-Tip.” Side by side they look a bit like a father and son. The bouncing Bunka and the crafty old Kiritsuke. 

9. Edge / Hassaki

The Edge of the Kiritsuke is the most used part of the blade when you are pushing forward with the blade. The cutting edge (below) is where you begin when pulling the stroke.

10. Cutting Edge / Kireha

The cutting edge of the Kiritsuke knife is that thick part of the blade nearer the handle which is used for powerful cutting strokes such as removing the head of a fish on cutting through a chickens bone. The wide spine above this part of the blade gives it far superior power when compared with a chefs knife or gyuto knife.

More Kiritsuke Knife components to consider....

11. Double Bevel blade

The Kiritsuke uses the classic western double beveled approach. This means it’s comfortable and easy to use in the hands of someone who hasn’t used single bevel before.

12. Weight

Big and relatively heavy. Great for downward power.

Lastly, what leads you to the Kiritsuke...

You don’t need one but if you like playing with different tools this knife is a cracker. The elongated Bunka shape with a matching K-tip make this an angry looking knife that performs a variety of functions.

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