Tojiro Shippu Santoku
Tojiro Shippu 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.
Damascus steel was first developed in India over 2,000 years ago and quickly established a reputation not only for its beauty, but also as one of the greatest metallurgical innovations in history. Swords forged in Persia and sold in the Syrian city of Damascus inspired legends of their ability to slice through a gun barrel or part a hair falling across the blade. Although the ancient technique was lost to history around 1900, modern metallurgists have succeeded in reproducing the effect with state-of-the-art alloys to bring performance to the next level.
Tojiro Shippu and Shippu Black blades are forged from 63-layer (all larger knives) or 37-layer (paring, peeling, and petty knives) Damascus steel, which is made by repeatedly folding and forge welding two stainless steels with different carbon contents. The resulting material bears the elegant, wavelike pattern produced by its many fine layers—a testament to its strength, flexibility, and durability. This Damascus envelops a core of harder VG-10 cobalt alloy steel, a high-carbon stainless steel developed in Japan. Hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 62, it accommodates a long-lasting, razor-sharp edge.
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.