1. What is the difference between all the different Takamura lines?
All the Takamura knives that we carry have the signature core of High Speed Powdered Steel (HSPS). Besides theobvious appearance, the Hana Damascus, HSPS Pro (black handle) and HSPS (red handle) have their differences.
64 layers of HSPS and soft stainless steel, with a HSPS core
Resin-treated compressed superior wood (Brown, octagonal)
The closest thing to a Japanese style knife without the single bevel
HSPS stands for High Speed Powdered Steel. High speed steel is the material used for saws that cut through other steel. Blades are hammered during the forging process to break down and evenly disperse carbon and chrome molecules, and powdered steel already has evenly dispersed molecules. Powdered metal technology also allows much higher amounts of alloying metals such as vanadium, which is responsible for the superior edge retention.
As in any case, even with a high quality material, the skill and technique of the blacksmith will determine the end result.
Takamura Cutlery coined the name “R2” for the type of steel that they use.
3. How is it that Takamura knives have such a high HRC but are not brittle?
The secret behind this is the powdered steel and the skill of the blacksmiths who can properly temper the blades to have a hard edge without it becoming overly brittle.
4. I heard that renowned chefs like René Redzepi of Noma use Takamura knives but how come I’ve never heard about this brand before? If it’s so good, how come it’s not as famous like other Japanese brands?
Takamura is a relatively small, family run business. Even in Japan, their knives are not widely distributed or advertised.
They prefer to produce quality rather than quantity, and they actually only make their knives to order (they don’t keep a stock).
Chef Narisawa of Les Créations de Narisawa, a two star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo, asked Takamura Cutlery to provide custom made knives for the participants of Cook it Raw in Ishikawa, where 15top avant-garde chefs from all over the world collaborated with traditional food producers.
5. Can I sharpen Takamura knives on any stone?
We suggest that you use a ceramic stone since these knives have a high HRC. You could use a baked ceramic stone but it would just take longer.
Terukazu Takamura, one of the blacksmiths at Takamura Cutlery recommends that you lay them at a shallower angle than other knives to maintain the exceptionally thin edge.
Sharpening other knives in this manner may cause it to chip but Takamura knives have a high enough HRC to maintain the thin, superior edge. We strongly advise against using electric sharpeners.
6. Does Takamura make Japanese style single bevel knives?
Yes. They have taken special orders for Japanese style knives such as a yanagi in the past. But they take the production of a yanagi very seriously and actually stop all other production at the factory to make the one yanagi.
Isamu Takamura only can start making a yanagi when his mind and soul are in the right place so you should only request a yanagi if you are 100% committed and willing to wait up to one or two years.
There are only a select few top chefs in the world who own a Takamura HSPS yanagi.
7. I want to see and hold these knives. What stores sell Takamura knives?
MTC Kitchen (New York Mutual Trading) is the sole official authorized distributor of Takamura knives in the US.
You can visit our showroom at 711 Third Avenue (on 45th between 2nd and 3rd Avenue) in Manhattan, New York.
Please call ahead (212-661-3333) to make sure that the item you want is in stock.
8. I bought a Takamura HSPS Pro from you earlier but the logo doesn’t say “Pro”. Why is that?
We initially only had the black handle knives and when we started carrying the red handle knives, we wanted to change the name to differentiate the two because the difference is not just the color of the handles. After discussing it with Takamura Cutlery, we decided that HSPS Pro was a suitable name since it is the more superior line.
9. In your description you mention that Takamura knives are only for professionals. So nonprofessional cooks shouldn’t use these knives? Why?
For the Hana Damascus and HSPS Pro, Takamura Cutlery recommends them to people who have a certain level of knife skills.
These blades have an exceptionally thin and sharp edge and should not be used for rough chopping.
Of course, anybody is free to purchase these knives, but those with a certain level of knife skills will be able to fully appreciate and enjoy the quality of Takamura knives.
10. I saw on another website that the HRC is higher?
The HRC is 63-64 according to Takamura Cutlery.
11. Is this made with R2 steel?
Yes. R2 is the name coined by Takamura Cutlery for the specific high speed powdered steel that they use.
12. Does Takamura take custom orders? I want the same knife that Chef Redzepi and Narisawa use…
Yes. No guarantees since they are a small family run business and it depends on how busy they are, but we can request it for you.
My Takamura knife got a stain. How can I remove it?
Or if you have dish detergent with abrasive, it may work if a stain is at early stage.
Takamura knife which I have been looking to purchase has been out of stock. Do you have ETA
Unfortunately we do not have any sort of ETA when it comes to Takamura knives. It has been taking over 6-12 months for us to receiving knife orders from Takamura because they are a fairly small family run business so production is quite limited. They are working hard day and night but it is very difficult for them to keep up with the demand for their knives.
I can put you on the waiting list and reach out to you when it is back in stock. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does Takamura offer a custom made knife?
It would probably take years for them to make because The Takamura family is extremely busy making just their standard knives, and they cannot afford to stop production of their regular knives do a custom made knife.
How to take care for a handle?
The handle is made with compressed wood so you don’t really need anything to maintain it like regular wood.
I got my knife blade chipped.
It’s not uncommon for any knife to be chipped after usage (even after just two months).
Would be great if you can send us a photo, that way we can determine if it’s something unusual or whether it’s just a regular chip.
If it’s a small chip, all you have to do is sharpen it with a coarse stone (around 500 grit) and then finish it with a medium to fine grit stone.
If you are based in NYC you can actually get your knife sharpened at the store.
Takamura blades are very thin compared to other knives, so even though the material has a high HRC, it is more suited for fine knife cuts rather than rough chopping.