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A Complete Guide to KOTAI Knives

Japanese Sharpness, Western Robustness.

KOTAI is an independent knife maker, dedicated to handcrafting high-end knives. KOTAI means “solid” in Japanese. Durability and performance are the defining values behind all our creations, and we uphold these values by backing all KOTAI knives with a lifetime warranty.

KOTAI knives are a hybrid between Japanese and German blade profiles, the slightly curved belly allows a rocking motion for effortless chopping and mincing, while the lowered tip makes precision work easier.

This complete guide has been carefully designed to help you get the most out of your KOTAI knives so that you can enjoy your culinary journey with accuracy, efficiency, and fun.

Types of Knives and Tools

KOTAI offers a varied selection of kitchen knives and tools to equip your kitchen including Gyuto (Chef’s Knife), Santoku, Kiritsuke, honing steel, sharpening stone, knife roll up bags and more. 

KOTAI knives feature partial bolsters that allow sharpening of the entire length of the blade. The hidden full tang is one of the best features, where the blade extends all the way to the bottom of the handle for superior durability and balance. The blades are made with Japanese 440C high-carbon stainless steel combining traditional knife-making methods with advanced technological processes, such as vacuum heat treatment and cryogenic cooling, to optimise the mechanical properties of the steel. 

KOTAI manufactures accessories tailored to meet the specific needs of your knives, ensuring unparalleled protection. To explore our collection, please visit our shop

Knife Handling and Safety

Safety First: For a safe cutting experience, we are sharing the best practices to lower the possibility of mishaps and injury when using your kitchen knife.

Knives should always be used with a cutting board, since it keeps the knife's edge sharp and extends its life. Cutting directly on a hard surface, such a plate or a tabletop, will quickly dull the blade, reducing cutting ability and needing more regular sharpening. Additionally, using a cutting board reduces the danger of accidents or injuries when cutting and prevents possible damage to kitchen surfaces. KOTAI’s naturally antibacterial, pre-dried and deep-oiled with food-grade mineral oil cutting board is built to last.

Knife Types and Purposes: It is crucial to understand the multiple functions of each knife due to their distinctive features, they cannot be used interchangeably. For instance, the chef's knife is ideal for jobs like dicing, slicing, and cutting a range of materials due to its broad blade and balanced shape. The paring knife, on the other hand, is perfect for off board cutting tasks like peeling, trimming, and shaping due to its smaller size and pointed tip. To help you better understand, here are a few articles at your disposal. Article Santoku or Gyuto talks about the similarities and differences of these knives, and article 3 Essential Kitchen Knives introduces the different knives that one needs in their kitchen to be fully equipped. 

Knife Care and Maintenance

Your knives require attention to ensure their longevity and top performance. Sharpening, cleaning, and storage are all necessary components of proper knife care.

Knives must be sharpened frequently to preserve their cutting effectiveness and increase their longevity. Even the sharpest blades can get blunt over time through repeated usage, leading to ineffective and possibly dangerous cutting. The force needed to cut through ingredients with a dull knife increases the likelihood of slips and mishaps. Regular sharpening improves both cooking efficiency and general safety by maintaining the edge's sharpness and ensuring precise and smooth cuts. Furthermore, a well sharpened blade requires less force to cut, which puts less strain on the hands and wrists. This procedure also extends the knife's usefulness because well-kept blades are less prone to chip or shatter before their time. In the end, investing in sharpening knives is essential to preserving culinary accuracy. Please refer to the article Our Best Tips for Maintaining Your Knives to learn more. Now you can make the most out of our sharpening services to give your knives the
attention they need. We will handle the sharpening process for you so that you can spend more time doing the things you love.

Knives should be kept on a special knife holder for convenience as well as to maximise their usefulness, safety, and longevity. KOTAI’s Magnetic Bamboo Knife Holder is an essential tool in your kitchen to safely hold your knife collection. It will conveniently hold your knives in place thanks to its powerful hidden magnet, without scratching the blades. Not only that, a knife holder also prevents damage to the blade edges, lowering the frequency of sharpening requirements. 

In order to preserve the edge sharpness and general performance of the blade, knives, regardless of their quality, occasionally require both sharpening and honing for various reasons.

Sharpening: Sharpening involves removing metal from the blade to produce a fresh, cutting edge. Knives naturally lose their cutting edge over time due to use, and the minuscule teeth along the edge start to misalign. 

Cutting precision and efficiency suffer as a result. In order to realign the edge and regain its sharpness, sharpening includes rubbing the blade against an abrasive surface, such as a sharpening stone or water stone. Regular sharpening improves cutting effectiveness while also extending the knife's lifespan by reducing the need for using too much effort when cutting, which can damage or bend the blade.

KOTAI offers you two different sharpening stones with different levels of abrasiveness. One 400/1000 combination whetstone and the other 1000/6000 combination whetstone. To learn more about the sharpening process, please read our article A Simple Guide to Knife Sharpening

Honing: Honing, on the other hand, realigns and straightens the microscopic teeth along the edge rather than actually removing metal. In order to retain the blade's straight edge during honing, these teeth are carefully realigned using a honing rod or steel. A good honing steel will help you realign your knife’s edge to make cooking safer, faster and more enjoyable.

KOTAI’s Honing Steel Knife Sharpener - 30 cm rod is long enough to sharpen your
longest knives. Its magnetised rod collects steel dust to keep your kitchen tidy, and a built-in 15° guide on the finger guard helps you hone your blades at the correct angle.

Carrying your kitchen knives Safely - For a number of reasons, a roll-up bag for kitchen knives is necessary. It offers a secure and convenient way to transport and store your knives, guarding against wounds to your hands and the blades. Since the knives are kept apart by the bag's pockets or slots, their sharp edges are shielded from nicks, scratches, and other damage.

Additionally, a roll-up bag keeps your blades organised and conveniently accessible, which is particularly useful for chefs and food enthusiasts who need to transport their knives to various locations. It's a practical solution for both commercial kitchens and household kitchens, enabling you to keep your favourite knives close at hand while keeping your kitchen clutter-free.

KOTAI offers you two different types of roll-up bags, one handmade with waxed canvas and full-grain leather, and the other handmade with thick 16oz cotton. 

KOTAI’s leather knife roll-up bag carries up to 7 knives and a honing steel, protected by the waxed canvas and cotton lining. They are securely held to ensure that they remain safe and still during transportation. The leather roll-up knife bag is easy to open and close with brass buckles. It includes a large zipper pocket to store additional accessories. 

KOTAI’s 100% cotton knife roll-up bag carries up to 6 knives and a honing steel. The slots inside the bag are made to fit the different knives with the Saya on, including the cleaver chef knife (our widest knife). It is easy to open and close with a tie-on system; includes a flap for extra protection and 2 handles for secure, upright transportation.

Tips to your Kitchen Knives

  • Always hand-wash your knives, with soap and water, and wipe them immediately before storing.
  • Apply mineral oil from time to time to take extra care of your blades
  • Store your knives on a knife holder to protect their edges, and for a better display
  • Always use a cutting board, either of wood or plastic
  • Use the right knife for the right kind of task
  • Maintain the sharpness with the help of honing and sharpening
  • Carry your knives in a knife roll-up bag to protect your knives as well as yourself
  • Make sure that the stone is completely dry before putting it back on its bamboo base
  • Machine wash your 100% cotton knife roll-up bag at 30° or
    40° with other cotton fabrics of the same colour.
  • Hand wash your sharpening stone and allow them to dry naturally

Things One Must Avoid

  • Putting your knives, cutting board & knife holder in a dishwasher
  • Storing your knives unprotected
  • Using any chemical to clean your leather knife roll-up bag or washing it in the machine
  • Machine washing your cotton knife roll-up bag over 40°
  • Putting the sharpening stone back on its bamboo base when it is wet
  • Dropping the honing steel

Your safety is our top priority, so we made this tutorial by stressing the significance of appropriate knife use and important safety advice. Developing your knife handling skills will make your culinary journey more joyful by ensuring smooth cutting and lowering the danger of mishaps.

We dedicated an article to knife care and maintenance because we think that information is essential to extending the life and performance of your knife. We hope we were able to walk you through the required procedures to maintain the perfect state of your KOTAI knives, from honing and sharpening to cleaning and storage.