Tojiro Zen Santoku
Tojiro Zen Santoku
The santoku bōchō (三徳包丁) is a Japanese chef’s knife that combines the best features of the gyuto, the Western-pattern chef’s knife, and the nakiri, the Japanese vegetable knife. Its name, which means “knife of three virtues,” can refer either to its ability to cut meat, fish, and vegetables, or to the three functions of slicing, chopping, and dicing. Though developed in Japan, the Santoku has recently become a popular addition to many Western kitchens.
As its name suggests, the santoku is a capable and versatile knife that can handle a majority of common tasks in the kitchen. Its broad blade and gently curving edge, much like the nakiri, allows it to chop and dice produce more easily and comfortably than the gyuto. The downward-curving tip, a compromise between the square end of the nakiri and the narrow tip of the gyuto, facilitates fine cutting without sacrificing any chopping power. The santoku is a shorter knife than the typical gyuto.
The blade is made using the centuries-old san mai (“three-layer”) construction technique, in which a hardened steel core is forge welded to a jacket of softer steel for strength. Tojiro Zen and Zen Black blades are forged with a core of VG-10 cobalt alloy steel, a high-carbon stainless steel developed in Japan. Hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 60, it accommodates a long-lasting, razor-sharp edge. The core is clad in 13 chrome stainless steel, which strengthens the blade and guards against corrosion.
The handle is crafted from lightweight chestnut wood, which provides a secure grip without upsetting the knife’s balance. The wood is fire-blackened, enhancing its durability and water resistance, and secured with a ferrule (collar) of polypropylene resin. Its D-shaped shinogi profile maximizes comfort and ease of control.