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Dec 28, 2009 08:24 AM

Suggestions for an Usuba Bocho (single bevel)?

I am thinking about getting an Usuba. I do not need it, but like to have one. I don't expect I will use it alot, so I need something which is functional, but not too expensive. I do prefer a traditional Japanese wood handle.

On Japanesechefknife, I really liked the Fugiwara FKV Nakiri with traditional handle and VG (probably VG-1) stainless steel, but it is a Nakiri -- 50/50 double bevel. JCK customer service suggests me to shop for a forged Mizuno Tanrenjo Usuba instead, but those cost more than what I want to pay (>$200).

On Japan Blades, there is the G-16 Kanemasa Honso Usuba 165mm.

On BluewayJapan on EBay, I see the SAKAI Carbon steel Usuba -- inexpensive and great sharp. It states it is made of "carbon steel", but I have no idea what kind of carbon steel. It may be good or it may not.

Or what about the Hon Kasumi Usuba here from Epocirean Edge (EE)?

Or should I just get a Shun Pro Nakiri just to be safe? Although it is stated as a Nakiri, I believe all Shun Pro knives are single bevel.

Let me know if you have any suggestion or an Usuba. Thanks.

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  1. Let me rephrase my question: Any suggestion for an Usuba or a Nakiri bocho? Or what to look for? Thanks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      I have a Watanabe 180mm pro nakiri- it's like the Hiromoto AS line in that it's blue steel wrapped in stainless. The Watanabe has the kurouchi finish (blackened), however. Since I'm a lefty and my wife isn't, it's good to have 50/50 instead of single bevel. I like it a lot and it's about the sharpest knife I own.

    2. Check with Kevin at Knifewear in Calgary. The website is He carries a line of Masahiro single bevel blades that includes a 165mm and 180 mm usuba. Both are roughly CA$ 100.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Richard L

        Thanks Richard L and Ted,

        I will check out the websites a bit more. Thanks again.

      2. I searched and am interested in this one:

        It is a single bevel 180 mm awase usuba, white carbon steel edge jacketed with iron, traditional (Wa) handle.

        No idea who is the maker since "Hon Kasumi" is really a method and not a person. Is this a knife I should go for? Thanks.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          I finally figure out that knife from EE:

          This usuba above is the same knife as the one sold on

          They have exactly the same Kanji.

        2. All really nice choices. I have not used a Usuba so can't give feedback on it's use. Don't play it safe with another double beveled knife. The Usuba will bring something new to the cutting board.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scubadoo97


            Thanks. That is what I am thinking too. I want a very different knife. I already have a double bevel Chinese chef's knife. As you know, Nakiri and Chinese chef's knife share a common root, which is why they are both called "vegetable knife" in their respective languages. If I get a double-bevel nakiri, it may not be too similar.

            At this point, I am leaning toward:




            The epicurean edge one will be my conservative choice. The ebay Hidemune looks great on paper, as it is cheaper and it is made of the more expensive blue carbon steel (as opposed to white carbon steel). Problem is that eBay picture does not tell much and last time I contacted the seller, he/she does not seem to know too much about this knife either. I am always slightly worry about eBay purchase.

            If I have a good experience with my usuba, then I will upgrade, but I do not feel like spending over too much for my first usuba.

          2. My Tojiro Usuba has arrived. For awhile, I thought it was lost in the mail. Very excited for receiving it today. I will update more.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Congrats, let us know how it's working for you

              1. re: scubadoo97


                Thanks. SO far, I only use it once. It is pretty good out of the box. It has a fairly straight edge. It is dead straight for 4.5" from the heel. The blade is 1/8". Edge is sharpened at 15o, single bevel of course. The flat side of the blade is slightly hallowed out -- as in uraoshi.

                As expected, there is some drifting when cutting large item. This is a right-handed knife, so it drifts toward left as I cut. Now, I tend to cut at the opposite angle to counter that. It discolored to yellowish after the first cutting session. I tried to wipe it down as fast as I can, but it still discolored very quicly. I also tried to use Bar Keeper's Friend (acidic) to remove the tarnished color (patina), but I only managed to lighten the discoloration. I am not able to remove it. This is different from my carbon steel CCK Chinese chef's knife. For the Chinese CCK knife, I can easily remove the patina if I want to. I don't, but if I want to, it is very easy.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  If it's not rust I would leave it. The patina shoud be protective.

                  The Tojiro is white steel, correct?

                  1. re: scubadoo97


                    Yes, I am very picky. :) I like patina, but some time patina development is more uniform and sometime it is more spotty. I like a more uniform patina development, so sometime I like to clean off the spots. I don't know if this makes any sense. Anyway, yes, it is white cabron steel and the discoloration is not rust as far as I can tell. It is very smooth, yellowish/brownish color. On my CCK Chinese chef's knife, I also get brownish patina, but usually with a bluish at the edge. Vert beautiful. I like blue. I wonder if I can control that.