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Tamahagane San Knives

Constructed from VG-5 Steel

Tamahagane knives, originating from Japan, reflect a rich heritage of blade-making excellence that dates back to the crafting of samurai swords. The term "Tamahagane" translates to "jewel steel," a nod to the traditional, high-purity steel once used in sword making. Modern Tamahagane knives are crafted in Niigata, Japan, utilizing advanced materials like VG-5 steel, a type of high-carbon stainless steel known for its hardness and edge retention. This steel core is clad with multiple layers of softer stainless steel, providing both resilience and a distinctive layered pattern reminiscent of historical Japanese swords.

These knives are celebrated for their meticulous construction process, where skilled artisans employ both modern technology and age-old techniques. The VG-5 steel core is sandwiched between layers of softer steel and then meticulously forged and tempered to achieve an optimal balance of sharpness and durability. The result is a blade with exceptional edge retention and ease of sharpening. The handles are usually made from natural, fine-grained woods, offering a comfortable grip and enhancing the overall functionality of the knife. Ideal for both professional chefs and culinary enthusiasts, Tamahagane knives are a testament to the fusion of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary steel technology.

Key Features

  • ROCKWELL RATING:Approximately 58-59, offering a superb balance of sharpness and durability
  • CRAFTSMANSHIP: Each knife is meticulously crafted in Niigata, Japan, combining traditional forging techniques with advanced technology
  • HANDLE MATERIAL:Handles are typically made from natural woods like Micarta or Pakkawood
  • BLADE MATERIAL:Crafted using VG-5 steel, a high-carbon stainless steel renowned for its hardness and excellent edge retention, ensuring sharp, precise cuts


These knives employ a 3-ply stainless steel construction, with VG-5 steel at the core for superior edge retention and SUS-410 stainless steel outer layers for enhanced stain resistance.

The Tamahagane SAN knife series is a line of high-quality kitchen knives that are part of the Tamahagane brand, which is renowned for its use of traditional Japanese techniques and modern technology in knife making. Here are key features and reasons why the Tamahagane SAN series is highly regarded:

Features of the Tamahagane SAN Series

  1. Material: The blades are typically made from a core of VG-5 or VG-10 steel, known for its high carbon content, exceptional hardness, and ability to retain a sharp edge. This core is often clad with multiple layers of stainless steel, creating a beautiful, distinctive pattern on the blade and enhancing its strength and durability.
  2. Construction: The SAN series often employs a three-layer construction, with the harder core steel sandwiched between softer stainless steel layers. This combination offers a balance between sharpness and durability.
  3. Sharpness: Due to the high-quality steel and expert craftsmanship, these knives are known for their exceptional sharpness and precision. They are capable of making very fine, clean cuts, which is crucial in professional and high-end home cooking.
  4. Handle Design: The handles are typically made from a high-quality, comfortable material like Micarta or wood, designed for balance and ergonomic comfort. This makes the knives easy and safe to use, reducing hand fatigue during prolonged use.
  5. Aesthetics: Tamahagane SAN knives are not only functional but also beautifully designed. The layered steel creates a unique pattern on the blade, and the overall design reflects a blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern style.

Why Tamahagane San

  1. Performance: These knives offer professional-grade cutting performance, suitable for precise and demanding culinary tasks.
  2. Durability: The layered construction and choice of materials ensure that the knives are durable and can withstand the rigors of regular kitchen use.
  3. Edge Retention: The high carbon content of the core steel allows the knives to retain their sharp edge for a longer period, reducing the need for frequent sharpening.
  4. Balance and Comfort: The well-designed handles provide a comfortable grip, making these knives a pleasure to use, even for extended periods.
  5. Versatility: The SAN series includes a variety of knife types, each designed for specific tasks in the kitchen, making it a versatile choice for different culinary needs.

In summary, the Tamahagane SAN knife series is celebrated for its blend of traditional craftsmanship, modern materials, and design. It offers a balance of sharpness, durability, and aesthetic appeal, making it a favored choice among professional chefs and cooking enthusiasts.

Maintaining your Tamahagane knives involves several essential practices to ensure they stay sharp, durable, and in top condition:

  1. Cleaning: Always wash your Tamahagane knives by hand with warm water and mild detergent immediately after use. It's important to avoid using the dishwasher, as the harsh environment can damage both the blade and the handle over time. After washing, dry the knives completely with a soft cloth to prevent any rust formation.
  2. Honing: Regular honing is key to keeping your Tamahagane knives sharp and maintaining their edge. Use a honing steel before or after each use to realign the blade's edge. Hold the steel vertically and gently slide the knife down and across the steel at a 20-degree angle.
  3. Sharpening: In addition to regular honing, your Tamahagane knives will need periodic sharpening, typically once or twice a year depending on how frequently you use them. You can sharpen your knives using a whetstone, a handheld sharpener, or opt for professional sharpening services.
  4. Storage: Proper storage is crucial for the longevity of your knives. Store your Tamahagane knives in a knife block, on a magnetic strip, or within protective sheaths. This not only prevents the blades from dulling but also helps avoid accidents. Storing knives in a drawer is not recommended, as they can easily get damaged.
  5. Cutting Surface: To maintain the sharpness of your knife edges, always use wooden or plastic cutting boards. Cutting on hard surfaces like glass, metal, or stone can quickly dull your knives.
  6. Avoid Misuse: Remember that Tamahagane knives are specifically designed for cutting food. Avoid using them for any non-food related tasks, as this can damage the blade and potentially void the warranty.
  7. Handle with Care: Always be mindful of the knife's balance and handle it with care. Avoid dropping or carelessly tossing your knives, as this can lead to damage to both the blade and the handle.

As mentioned earlier, Tamahagane knives are primarily made in the city of Niigata, Japan. Niigata is renowned for its metalworking and knife-making craftsmanship. The region has a long history of producing high-quality cutlery and is considered one of the major centers for premium knife manufacturing in Japan.

Shop at Cotswold Knife Company with confidence, knowing we are a verified stockist of Tamahagane knives.

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