This small vegetable slicer or Usuba from the Henckels Miyabi 5000S series shaves vegetables and fruits perfectly and paper thin. Each 5000S knife is manufactured in Japan’s Seki City, the area where the best samurai swords were once made.
Iron Chef Rokusaburo Michiba of Japan helped Zwilling J.A. Henckels develop the knives in the series. Henckels provides the steel for the 5000S knives and sets the production standards. Using the same high carbon stainless steel as in Henckels’ Twin knives, Japanese craftsmen apply their own techniques and create a new hybrid knife with features from both traditions. Tempered to Rockwell 57HRC, the blades flex without breaking and hold an edge well. Forged bolsters reinforce the tang, securing the black resin Dyurakon handle between a solid steel bolster and a solid steel end cap. The handle is non-slip even if wet and holds up to temperature extremes.
The honbazuke edge of this usuba mimics the amazing cutting action of military katanas. With one hollow ground flat face and a single cutting bevel, the knife slices with the precision of a wood plane. The hollow ground back of the blade reduces friction as the knife cuts and makes cleaner work possible.
One of the advantages of German steel is that this softer and tougher temper sharpens with either a whetstone or a honing steel, but to keep the asymmetrical blade of the usuba working in top form, you’ll need a good waterstone. Using a honing steel on the flat face of the blade creates a micro-bevel which interferes with the usuba’s precise action.
See the Wusthof Nakiri Bocho for a Japanese-style vegetable cleaver with an easily maintained double bevel.
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