Zanmai Elite Collection
Our quest for the ultimate knife continues and the addition in February 2009 of the Zanmai Elite Collection is amongst our proudest acquisition of that particular journey. One of our steel suppliers, during a discussion on how traditional Japanese blade making methods were being influenced by modern technology and recent innovations in steel production, mentioned a blacksmith called Yasuhisa Hasegawa. Now in his mid-sixties, it seemed here was a blacksmith who made some of the finest sporting and recreational knives being produced in Japan, using traditional methods in total harmony with modern technology and materials. Based in one of the 4 cornerstones of Japanese knife making - the city of Seki in Gifu Prefecture renowned for the purity of its water and pine charcoal the 2 qualities essential in fine knife making. So together with another 2 knife dealers – one from the USA and another from Japan we commissioned him to produce a modern kitchen knife but with the aesthetics and uber qualities of a traditional Japanese knife.
The result is our Zanmai Elite Collection. These 33 layers Damascus blades have a very thin specially forged VG10 steel central core protected by the 16 layers of alternating High Nickel, Low Nickel soft steel on each side.
These blades are totally handmade; they are continuously pounded creating a wider and longer mass, which is then cut away by laser. This process is repeated several times resulting in a very light and thin blade with exceptional strength as a result of the multiple hammering, heating and cooling process. This very expensive process requires a large quantity of the material to be discarded resulting in a lighter blade with a thinner central core and an edge which is thereby keener and substantially easier to re-hone.
The handles of the Zanmai Elite Collection are composed of hard wood using a rounded base for comfortable grip and Hexagonal top part for a secure purchase. The full tang and mid bolster give outstanding balance and comfort.
This collection of 9 shapes - 110mm Paring, 150mm Utility, 165mm Nakiri, 180mm Santoku, 180mm, 210mm and 240mm Gyuto, 225mm Slicer and 255mm Sujihiki Slicer cover the culinary tasks of every demanding kitchen.