The Shun Nagare series of knives from Kai is a masterpiece of Japanese workmanship. The complex manufacturing process used to make these blades is known as Dual Core, a dual layering of two different steels - a flexible and resistant VG2 steel with a particularly hard VG10 steel that are bonded into a 72 layered piece of Damascus steel. This complex layering of the two different steels results in producing a knife of exceptional durability and sharpness. The blades are highly polished and highlight the flowing pattern of the Damascus layers. The riveted handles are ergonomically shaped with a Western grip and made of mottled grey pakkawood.
The newest addition to our Kai range is Kai Shun Premier, a series inspired by the popular German chef Tim Mälzer. The blades have a core of corrosion-resistant VG MAX super steel. VG MAX steel includes additional carbon to improve its strength and durability and has more chromium for wear and corrosion resistance. Additionally, there is more cobalt to enhance strength and increased tungsten which enables the steel to be very fine-grained and extremely sharp. Damascus layering - 32 layers - supports the core and provides additional stain resistance. Finally, it is embellished with a hand-hammered surface known as Tsuchime, that acts as a series of hollow-ground cavities to reduce drag. The blades have a hardness of 61+1HRC. The pakkawood handles are ergonomically and symmetrically shaped to provide optimum grip and are suitable for both right and left-handed use. The embossed end cap adds balance. All knives in the Premier range come packaged in a wooden box.
Classic is one of the most comprehensive damask steel series worldwide and highly regarded by top-class professionals as well as ambitious home chefs. The blades are forged from 32 layers of folded Damascus steel and a core layer of VG MAX steel. They are then polished to a mirror finish showcasing elegant patterns unique to every knife. The fine laminated Pakkawood handle in this series is designed for right-handers, however, we offer special left-hand models of the Chef’s, Santoku and Utility knife.
Made of high-quality stainless steel, Kai Select utensils are a great addition to any kitchen. Each of these practical and elegant kitchen helpers offers easy handling due to their ergonomic design.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the different types of Japanese knife blades?
The main Japanese blade types are santoku, nakiri, yanagiba and deba.
Santoku is Japanese for ‘three advantages’ or the three cutting tasks which the knife performs well: slicing, dicing and mincing. It is the traditional Japanese shape for a universal knife, akin to the European Chef’s knife.
Nakiri is Japanese for ‘vegetable chopper’. This blade shape is mostly used for cutting all kinds of vegetables. In spite of its cleaver shape, this knife is not suitable for dissecting bones.
Yanagiba is Japanese for ’willow blade’. Traditionally used in Japan as a slicing knife, it’s particularly suitable for wafer-thin cuts typical in the preparation of sushi and sashimi.
Deba is Japanese for ‘jutting blade’. It is traditionally used in Japan as a cleaver. This stable and heavy knife has a strong, wide blade with a single cutting edge. The front of the blade is mainly used to fillet fish. The rear part of the blade is stronger and is used for dissecting small chicken or fish bones.
How do I clean and care for Kai knives?
High-quality knives need a certain amount of care so you can enjoy them for a long time.
After each use, wash your knife under running water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth; do not use harsh detergents and do not allow knives to sit in water. Rinse off acidic agents like lemon or tomato juice directly after use. For your own safety always wipe the blade with a towel or cloth from the back edge towards the tip.
Never put knives in a dishwasher. This not only impairs the material, but also the sharpness. Never cut on glass or granite cutting boards as they will ruin the edge of even the hardest steel. Use only boards made of wood, wood composite or synthetic material of medium firmness.
How do you sharpen Kai knives?
We advise sharpening your knives with a whetstone to keep them in peak performance.
Soak the whetstone in water for about 10 minutes before using it. When little air bubbles no longer appear, the stone has absorbed the optimum amount of water. Keep a cup of water nearby so you can make sure the stone is always slightly wet during the sharpening process. The water combines with small particles released from the stone to create the gritty substance that allows the sharpening to happen.
Use the non-slip rubber base that comes with the stone for stability. Using the coarse side first and applying light pressure, move the blade away from and towards the body at an angle of approximately 15° across the entire stone. Begin at the tip of the blade, pull over the stone through to the middle and down to the base. A fine edge will develop after a short time; turn the blade over and repeat on the other side. Always maintain the same angle and repeat the entire process as necessary.
To finish, turn the stone over and wipe the knife with a towel. This will prevent you from transferring any of the coarse grit to the fine grit side of the stone. At the same 15° angle, pass the blade once or twice on each side to polish the edge.
Rinse off the whetstone and leave to dry before storing. Rinse the knives carefully in hot water; dry thoroughly.
For hands-on instruction and practice, join us at one of our ongoing complimentary Knife Sharpening Tutorials.