The Shibata Kotetsu Bunka has an SG2 also called R2 core material and comes with an outer softer stainless steel cladding. The blade comes with a brushed vertical finish, which helps break down water content from food to stick less on your blade. The knife comes with a half-tang octagonal rosewood handle, which means that the blade is partially glued into the handle.
Knife Rockwell Hardness and Core Material
The knife’s Rockwell hardness is specified with a Rockwell of 63. If used at home, you can get away with 8 to 9 months before needing a whetstone touch-up if you regularly hone your knife with a honing rod. The SG2, also called R2 powdered steel, has excellent rust and corrosion-resistant properties.
Since Japanese knives prioritize sharpness over durability, you need to keep in mind that you can not do the following things. It should not be used to slice through frozen food, bones, cheese, or hard bread, or force your way through other through food like chocolate or nuts, and you should not twist or pry the food open with the knife since that can cause chipping.
What is a Bunka Knife?
The Bunka is a cross between the Japanese Gyuto, Santoku, and Nakiri. The knife maintains the tip of a Gyuto while having a similar blade profile as the Santoku and the same width as a Nakiri.
Blade aesthetic and food release
Since this is an SG2 or also called R2 powdered steel with a high Rockwell, he added a cladding to reinforce the blade. What makes the Shibata knife so special is the rough polish with deeper vertical scratch lines, which helps break down water content. It means that food will not resist your cut because it can’t use suction from the water content to cling onto the blade. Please don’t get me wrong food will still stick to the blade, but the majority of the cooks prefer that the blade goes smoothly without resistance.
The profile tapering is also very nicely done. It has a very thin cutting core that Shibata Takayuki sharpened at an angle of 12 degrees, which becomes slightly thicker.
The blade profile of his Bunka is the most interesting part of the complete knife. Shibata Takayuki went for a straighter profile than a Santoku, which will speak to people that prefer a straighter blade profile. If you find that the Santoku was too curved and you don’t like to rock, then the Shibata is a good alternative. If you missed the tip area on a Nakiri but want to maintain the width of the Nakiri for food transferring and the knuckle guide? Then a Bunka is an excellent solution.
Blade Profile Function
The Bunka from Shibatata has a gentle curve, which means a smooth roll during each forward chopping while maintaining a slight curve for slicing so that the complete cutting core still makes contact with the cutting board. However, if you like a more rounded profile, then the Shibata knife is not your best option.
Knife balance point
When it comes to the Bunka, I want a balance point in the middle, so neither front nor back is heavy at the point where you pinch the knife. The Shibata Bunka is balanced in the middle, so there won’t be any strain or force resisting your motion so you are in total control.
The weight of a Bunka with a traditional handle is very light, with a weight of 140 grams. This blade has a half-tang, which means that the blade is partially glued into the handle.
The handle is an octagonal handle, which is a well-balanced design for comfort and grip. Your fingers will naturally wrap around the handle, which provides you the extra grip. The top part will wrap around your palm for extra comfort. Once the handle becomes a bit dry, add a thin layer of mineral oil. This will help to maintain your wooden handle and prevent it from drying out and splitting.
The traditional handle often comes with a different colored top part on the handle. The handle of the Shibata Bunka knife comes with a black top part, which has a thin layer of resin this will help prevent water damage on the rosewood handle. The downside of this kind of handle is the sturdiness, and a traditional handle is less impact-resistant since it is partially glued into the handle. However, a Japanese knife with a high Rockwell isn’t impacted resistant in the first place. Therefore I recommend the pinch grip at the blade. This will reduce the glued area’s impact, and you have sturdier control over your knife.
Let’s start with the spine; the polish of the spine and rounding is the best that I have seen. Not only did he round the spine, he thought about comfort. The decision for the rounded and highly polished spine is because this knife is extremely thin, and he still managed to add a taper on the spine.
Distal spine tapering & Finish
The heel area has a thickness of 1.9mm, 1.8mm in the middle, and 1.7mm at the front. He rounded the spine area to keep the comfort and not have the thin blade digging into your index finger. It also held the same polishing across the spine, so there are no sharp edges at all. He also did not forget to give the knife a rounded polish at the choil. Even at the front, there are no sharp edges, and everything has been polished. There is also no noticeable flex during use. And you have enough knuckle clearance.
What makes Shibata Kotetsu Bunka unique?
The Shibata knives come without all the fancy stuff like hammered Finish or Damascus layers. It is simple but highly functional; every decision he made to create this knife is also practical which every cook can appreciate.
Maintenance and Care
Now on to the care and maintenance of this knife, it is not recommended to use a diamond honing rod or a coarse like an 800 grit ceramic rod. My recommendation is a ceramic honing rod with a minimum of 1000 grit. It is also inadvisable to use a bamboo cutting board since bamboo is quite hard and will dull the blade faster. You should always handwash and dry it after use since this prevents water damage on the blade and handle. It would be best if you also never used the abrasive side of the sponge or any abrasive material on the knife. It will destroy the polish of the knife, but you also remove the vertical lines that Shibata Takayuki added to break down water content from food.
The Shibata knives are only sold at select
few retailers in a select few countries.
🛒S H O P:
Retailers: Shibata’s official retailers list
N O T E S:
I personally like Shibata knives since they are straighter than other bladesmiths.
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