What is a Santoku? All about the knife...
The Santoku is everywhere. In professional and home kitchens, on Food Network, you can even see them at the hardware store or on sale standing in line at Whole Foods.
100% American Made Fusionwood Santoku from New West Knifeworks
How is a 'Santoku' knife any different from your Grandma's chef knife?
Well, to start with, the Santoku originated in Japan. Sort of. People think of the Santoku as a "traditional" Japanese knife, which isn't quite true. Actually, the Santoku is a relatively new style of knife that is the result of the intermingling of Japanese and Western cultures. This knife really started to appear around the end of World War II. Different kinds of cuisine and cooking styles were introduced to Japan and they required a new kind of knife. So, the Santoku is actually the Japanese version of a Western chef knife. Whereas a "Yanagi (sashimi)" knife is truly a traditional Japanese knife, the Santoku is something of a hybrid.
What's it good for?
"Santoku" literally means "Three Virtues" or "three uses." There is some debate about what exactly these three virtues are. Many people think it refers to the fact that a Santoku is good for Chopping, Dicing, and Mincing. Another theory is that the knife has three parts used for different jobs. The tip for detail work, the main edge for grunt work, and the heel for more intense chopping. Another theory is that the knife can handle meat, vegerables and fish. Whichever one you like, the Santoku has many virtues. This means it fulfills multiple roles and can make a great all around chef knife.
About the Santoku's specs…
The Santoku features a "Sheepsfoot" blade. This means, well, it looks like a sheep's hoof. Unlike a German chef knife that has a lot of belly (curved tip) the Santoku knife has less of a curve. Whereas a German knife relies on more of a rocking motion in chopping, the Santoku uses a slight forward motion and then more of a vertical chop, straight down. Once you get the hang of this motion, it actually affords you more control. A Santoku can perform this kind of motion because it tends to be made from harder steel and its shape and make up allow it to be thinner and therefore sharper than its Western counterpart. The Santoku also has a wider blade than a typical German chef knife, and is therefore, great for scooping things up from the cutting board to put in the skillet or prep bowl. The shape of the blade and handle size are balanced for optimum comfort. This makes the Santoku a great knife for people who find an 8 or 10 inch chef knife to big for their hands. The Santoku is used by many female chefs as their main knife for this reason.
The Fusionwood Santoku
New West's Fusionwood Santoku uses powder metal technology to create a superior knife that transcends the traditional limitations of working with high carbon or high carbon stainless knives. CPM S35vn steel has a very high carbon content of 1.40. This is almost 3 times as much as a Wusthof Trident, and 50% more than VG10 which is the steel used in high end Japanese Shun knives. In the past, this much carbon would result in a knife that is highly susceptible to chipping and rust. It would also be extremely brittle. The powder metal process lets us mitigate these limitations with the addition of alloys in a stable, homogenous way. The result is a razor sharp blade with elite edge holding that is also tough, stain resistant and easy to sharpen. The Fusionwood features more 'belly' than most Santokus, and therefore, will have a little more rocking motion.The weight of the blade is well balanced, because of our 2.0 blade design. This design features a tapered edge and tip which takes full advantage of the toughness of the steel. The result is an extremely thin, light knife that is tough and durable. The closest thing you'll get to a lightsabre for the cutting board.
New West commissions and carries one of a kind, handforged knives by some of the world's top knife makers including Devin Thomas, Michael Rader, and Peter Martin. These knives are always unique and sell very quickly. So, keep an eye on our website and sign up for our newsletter for up to date information about our custom knives.