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Types of knives
Masatomo has a very versatile collection of knives, which includes Japanese and Western-style knives. Their knives are made using a wide range of steels and have under gone an extensive hardening process to enhance their strength, sharpness, and durability. The main series from the company include:
Masomoto VG Series
The blades in this series are made using Hyper Molybdenum Vanadium stainless steel which has a hardness of HRC58-59. It’s corrosion resistant and offers very good sharpness and edge retention. The knives have thin blade geometry and feature full tang construction with stainless steel bolsters and fully contoured handle scales (black-colored) made from Duracon, a durable and anti-bacterial thermoplastic resin. There are around 11 different types and sizes of knives in this series including Santoku, Gyuto, Yanagiba, Petty, and Sujihiki boning.
Masomoto ST Series
Knives in this series feature Chrome Molybdenum Vanadium blades, a high-carbon stainless steel with a hardness level of HRC62. It has also been Sub-Zero quenched during heat-treatment to make the blades much tougher and highly resistant to damage, and to improve their edge retention. The knives have a full tang construction, stainless steel bolster, and black Staminawood handle scales, permanently riveted to the tang. The edges of the bolster and handle have been rounded-off for a comfortable, secure grip. It’s not a very large series. It consists of just a couple of different types and sizes of knives that include Santoku, Gyuto, Petty, and Sujihiki boning.
Masamoto CT Series
The CT series knives feature high carbon steel blades with hardness level of HRC58-59. Their edges remain super sharp for a long time and can also be re-sharped with relative ease. They feature full tang construction, a seamless bolster, and attractive red sandalwood handle scales. The edges of the bolster and handle have been nicely rounded for comfortable, secure grip. Masomoto offer these fine knives in 18 different types that include Santoku, Gyuto, Petty, Sujihiki boning, Yanagiba, Hankotsu, and Garasuki.
Masamoto HC Series
HC series blades are made using pure Japanese virgin carbon steel and have been heat-treated to HRC61-62 to provide excellent edge sharpness and edge retention. The knives have full tang construction, a seamless forge-welded stainless steel bolster, and black pakkawood handles. The bolster and handle scales have also been rounded-off for a comfortable, secure grip. Like the ST Series, it’s not a large series. It features just a few different knife types that include Santoku, Gyuto, Petty, and Sujihiki boning.
Masomoto KK Series
This is Masamoto’s most affordable series of handcrafted Japanese traditional-style Kasumi knives. They are basically laminated knives with a blade core made of Hitachi White Steel No.2 Carbon Steel, which has been forge-welded with soft iron. The blades have a hardness level of HRC62-63 and offer very sharp edges and good edge retention, plus are easy to sharpen. Each knife features a traditional Japanese D-shaped handle made of magnolia wood with a water buffalo horn collar/ferrule. Each knife (except for the Nakiri knives) also features a matching magnolia wood sheath (Saya) for safekeeping. Deba, Usuba, Yanagiba, Nakiri, and Ko Deba are the main knife types found in this series and they come in different sizes.
Masamoto KS Series
This is Masamoto’s range of Hon Kasumi Japanese-style knives. Like the KK series, the blade core is Hitachi White Steel No.2 with a hardness level of HRC62-63 and has been forge-welded with soft iron. However, the KS series uses Hon Kasumu knife-making process which provides extra edge sharpness as well as a more refined finish compared to the Kasumi process of the KK series. The knives have the same D-shaped magnolia wood handle and a water buffalo horn collar/ferrule, plus they come with matching magnolia wood sheath. The series has the largest range of Masamoto’s Japanese-style knives. It includes Kiritsuke Yanagiba, Sakimaru Takohiki, Yanagiba, Usuba, Kama Usuba, Mukimano, Kiritsuke single edged, Kiritsuke double edged, Ko-Deba, Deba, Wa Slicer, Wa Petty, Wa Gyuto.
Masamoto KA Series
The KA series is another Masamoto’s range of Hon Kasumi traditional Japanese-style knives. The knives feature a blade core made of Hitachi Blue Steel No.2 (Ao-oko #2) that has been forge-welded with soft iron. The Blue Steel No.2 has a hardness level of HRC62-63 and offers edge sharpness that’s comparable to White Steel No.2, but with improved strength, and toughness, plus it offers greater edge retention. However, it takes a bit longer to sharpen. The knives in this series have the same handle design as the KK and KS series, and include the matching magnolia wood sheath. It’s a small series comprising of Yanagiba, Usuba, Deba, and Santoku double edged knives, all of which come in different sizes.
Masamoto KH Series
KH series knives have special hand-forged Damascus blades, produced by forge-welding 8 layers of Hitachi Blue Steel No.2 (HRc. 62-63) together with several additional layers of soft iron. These beautiful and strongly patterned Damascus blades are very strong and tough. They offer excellent edge sharpness and edge retention. They are all Hon Kasumi Japanese-style knives and their handle design is similar to the KK, KS, and KA series. The collection includes Yanagiba, Usuba, and Deba knives, which are available in limited quantities and made by special order request.
Masamoto HS Series
This is Masamoto’s range of Honyaki knives, which are handmade from solid piece of White Steel No.2 that has a hardness level of HRC64-65. They are made using the same method used to make traditional Japanese swords and feature outstanding hardness, edge retention, sharpness, and durability. However, they are difficult to sharpen and tend to get easily damaged by incorrect use. The handle design and material is the same as the KH series knives. The production is very small and the knives are mostly made by special order request. The series includes Yanagiba, Usuba, Deba, and Kiritsuke single edge knives.
Masamoto HA Series
This is yet another Honyaki range of Japanese-style knives from Masomoto. The blades here are made of Blue Steel No.2 (HRc. 64-65) which makes them a little less fragile compared to the HS series Honyaki knives and they also offer slightly superior edge retention. The design of the handles is a bit different too. They are octagonal not D-shaped like the HS series but they are still made using magnolia wood and have a water buffalo horn collar/ferrule. Each knife also comes with a matching magnolia wood sheath for safekeeping. This is the smallest Masamoto series. It consists of only Yanagiba and Usuba knives that come in different shapes and are made only by special order request.
As we mentioned earlier, Masamoto has a very broad range of Japanese and Western-style knives that are made with both standard and superior-grade materials.
Their price range is broad too, starting from $100 to as high as $1000 or more depending on the type of knife you pick. Their Honyaki (HS and HA series) and Hon Kasumi knives (KH series) are by far the most expensive, with prices ranging from $800 to over $1000.
However, their Santoku knives are slightly less expensive compared to Shun Cutlery. Their prices range from $150 to $300 depending on the blade material and the knife-making process.
For instance, the Masamoto KA series Wa Santoku knife (6.6-inch) which is made of Blue Steel No.2 (HRc. 62-63) using the Hon Kasumi knife-making process is the most expensive compared to the other Santoku knives from the company. It costs around $234 while all the others are priced lower than $200. The Masomoto CT series Santoku knife (7-inch) which is made using Hyper Molybdenum Vanadium stainless steel (HRc. 58-59) is the cheapest, costing around $155.
Their Nakiri knives are also fairly priced, although, there aren’t many options to choose from. In fact, they only offer two types of Nakiri knives both of which are in their KK series. There is the KK-3716W Nakiri knife (6.4-inch), which is the most expensive option at $186, and the Kurouchi KK-3616W Nakiri knife (6.4-inch), which is the cheapest, at $175, and this is because the upper half of its blade is unpolished.