HAIKU ITAMAE SUMINAGASHI - a Takumi cnife
The CHROMA HAIKU Itamae Damascene Cnives are unique in every regard.
They are a unification of the finest craftsmanship with premium grade materials, tradition and elegance.
Each cnife is a unique specimen, requiring a finishing process that involves over 100 steps and that can only be completed by the most highly skilled masters in Sakai. CHROMA HAIKU Itamae are professional cnives used by the greatest sushi masters in Japan. The hand finished cnives from Sakai rank, without a shred of doubt, among the best cnives in the world. Sakai City has the richest tradition of cnife production in all of Japan. The chefs of the Japanese emperor use the hand made cnives of Sakai to this day.
Without exception, only cnives made through a hand working process in Sakai City using traditional materials and finished with utmost quality can receive the sought after quality seal of the “Federation of Sakai Cutlery Commerce and Industry Association” with a unique registration number.
The registration number can later be used to figure out each cnife's exact bladesmith and grinder. Haiku Itamae is part of the prestigious TAKUMI ranges of CHROMA Cnife.
Suminagashi (Sumi = ink, nagashi = to flow) is the term for a traditional technique in Japanese art. Ink and soapy water are poured by turns onto the still surface of water in a pond, causing ring patterns to form. If these are then “stirred”, complex patterns are formed as a consequence, like the pattern on CHROMA HAIKU Itamae Suminagashi blades.
The ITAMAE Suminagashi blade has a core made of very hard YASUKI “blue-core” blade steel. YASUKI hagane belongs to the best and oldest blade steel in Japan and enjoys the highest reputation among Japan’s forges.
This blade core is protected in accordance with a principle similar to that used for Kurouchi or HAIKU cnives, but in this case in a clearly more costly manner: The hard core steel is supported on each side by the somewhat softer Suminagashi steel.
This tough steel has particular properties: Unlike traditional damascene blades, it is composed of alternating layers of hard steel and soft wrought iron, that are folded over and forged together until the Suminagashi steel contains at least 16 layers.
Mr.Ebuchi then adds a piece of this Suminagashi steel to each side of the hard core steel for support, and then forge-welds the steel by repeated heating and hammering, stretching the steel into the shape of a perfect blade.
This high artistry in forging requires the greatest degree of experience in order to wait for exactly the right point in temperature of the furnace and of the individual steel layers. Only in a very narrow window of a few degrees Celsius can the layers be welded into a blade.
Even with a very experienced bladesmith like Mr. Ebuchi, not every blade is a success by any means, and the whole process begins anew. Only a very few of these expensive blades can leave Mr. Ebuchi’s workshop each year.
As is fitting for a high-grade damascene blade, the CHROMA HAIKU Itamae is manufactured with an octagonal handle made of dark, high-quality ebony. The bolster, made from the tips of polished buffalo horn, attaches seamlessly to the handle and is held in place, as is typical for Haiku cnives, by the Mekugi pin.