Sakai Kikumori in our eyes make some of the best knives on the market. They aren't the most popular name. I believe because its not a blacksmith name to the face, but that doesn't mean they aren't handmade, or high quality. Kikumori knives have such great attention to detail. Grinds are near perfect. We at RealSharpKnife.com are honored to sell them.
If you have some time read their process to making the best knife they can.
The blacksmith The blacksmiths work in order of (1)Forging, (2)Annealing, (3)Cold forging, (4)Shaping, (5)Quenching, and (6)Tempering. This time, we explain how to make the single-edged knives. Some processes may be different for double-edged knives.
(１)Forging Heat the soft iron bar in the furnace and hit is with a hammer to create flat surface. It is heated to 1,000 ℃. The borax and iron oxides are put on the bar. Carbon steel is put on and heat them. The borax has a role to bond soft iron and carbon steel. At this time, if the temperature of iron is too high or low, some scratches will occur. The blacksmith looks at the color of iron and forge at the appropriate temperature.
(２)Annealing The blade is rest in the straw ash for one night to cool down slowly to make the blade softer and to remove the internal stress. It takes one day, but it is not good for the knives because it is in the state that the distortion is firmly in the inside if this process is not firmly
(３)Cold forging The knife is hammered at room temperature to remove hammer marks to flatten. It is important hammering the iron well to make strong iron.
(４)Shaping The blacksmith forms the knife by the cutting machine. It is easy for sharpeners to work when it is closer to the finished shape.
(５)Quenching The blade is covered with mud which protects it from sharp changes in high temperature and make the entire blade at an even temperature. It is heated again to 750-850℃ to toughen the steel and quickly cooled in the water bath to ensure hardness. The temperature varies depending on the steel. Some blacksmiths use pine charcoal as a heat source. They work in the evening when the area gets dark, because they can distinguish the temperature by the color of iron.
(６)Tempering To give strength and toughness to the steel, it will be heated about 170℃ for about 1 hour.They also do other detailed work. They do a lot of work to make one knife.