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Azai 257 Layers
The Azai Collection knives not only bewitch the eye with their intricately complex beauty but also provide a breathtakingly silky cutting action. The Azai Collection is the result of a liberty hall approach where all the usual cost, labour and time limitations were removed. It did not take long for us to settle on Masami-san as our maker. He is a master nokaji of extraordinary talent from the famous knife making area of Takefu.Masami-san works in his own workshop, as well as in a fascinating place called Knife Bridge, which is operated by the knife makers guild of Takefu. We already sell knives from the famous Takefu Knife Village Association made by other nokaji working in this co-operative – namely Saji, Sirou Kamo and Kitaoka.
Knife Bridge consists of a large; two story room with about a dozen work stations, each with its own fire furnace for working with steel. High above the working craftsmen is a long runway-like bridge, upon which guests can walk and view the amazing knife making process.
Having met, and worked with some of the best blacksmiths in Japan, we were so impressed with the work of Masami san that we decided to commission him to create JKC's most awesome collection of knives; the remit being very simple, all the usual limitations to be removed. He was to have total freedom to use whatever materials and methods available to create the most stunning knives possible.
With the aim of creating a blade that could outperform any knife we currently sell we settled on a new steel from Kobe Steel Company (Kobelco) called R2 and asked TSS to specially laminate a 128 layer soft steel bar so Masami san could sandwich a layer of the hard R2 in the middle of two of these layers to create a base material of 257 layers.
Also, where common wooden handles last only a few decades when used constantly in a wet professional kitchen, these handles are crafted from extremely hard Snakewood so they can outlast the extremely demanding life of the busy chef.
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