The Shibata Kotetsu Type III Gyuto has a simplistic look with a cladding that will become more visible over time. It also comes with a Wa-handle, which is a traditional Japanese handle.
Rockwell Hardness and Edge retention + (HRC)
The knife’s Rockwell hardness is 63. With regular honing sessions, 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 and if used at home.
Shibata Kotetsu Type III Core Material
The Aogami Blue Super core material has excellent sharpness and edge retention, and it is easy to resharpen. Remember that you will sacrifice durability, and the Aogami Blue Super rust resistance is not good. Even exposure to the humidity in the kitchen will form rust on the core material. You can reduce it by forcing a Patina, but you will have some side effects even with a Patina more about that later. Therefore high carbon knives from Japanese ships with some VCI paper prevent corrosion and rust forming.
What you can not do with this knife
Aogami Blue Super is more brittle and should not be used to slice through frozen food, bones, cheese, or hard bread, or force your way through other food like chocolate or nuts with it. It would be best never to twist the knife or pry the food open with the blade. Please do not use the knife to tenderize meat.
Blade aesthetic of Shibata Kotetsu Type III
The blade has a san-mai construction with stainless steel sandwiching the core material, leaving a cladding line that will become more visible if you form a patina.
Blade profile of Shibata Kotetsu Type III
Normally the Shibata Takayuki knives have a straighter profile than most other Gyuto’s. While the profile is very gentle and still straight for the most part, there is a slightly more curved front part. The added slightly more curved front part makes it easier to work with the tip of the knife.
Weight and Spine tapering
The knife’s weight is around 140 grams. The knife also comes with a spine taper. The heel area has a thickness of 2.3mm, 2.0mm in the middle, and 1.7mm at the front (4cm away from the tip). The blade is very stiff, and there is no noticeable flex during use.
Knife balance point
The balance point is just past the neck area. If you pinch grip at the blade, the knife will be middle balanced. The knife will be front-heavy with a fingertip grip, which is excellent for slicing with the knife’s tip.
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. It 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 top part, which has a thin layer of resin, will help prevent water damage on the rosewood handle.
Fit and Finish
The spine and the choil are rounded and nicely polished. There are no sharp edges at all. From the profile tapering to the spine taper, everything has been done precisely.
Patina and food oxidation
With high carbon knives, you will notice how prone the blade is to rusting, and that is when many chefs like to form a patina. You can force a strong patina by cutting acidic types of foods. A patina layer will give the high carbon multiple colors and make the steel less prone to rust.
High Carbon and Food Oxidation
While a strong patina build-up helps to make the knife less prone to rust, the acidic food, on the other hand, will oxidize a lot faster and will discolor faster. Even with a forced patina, food will deteriorate faster. If you are a professional cook, you have to consider what types of food you should and should not cut.
Forcing a Patina
There are multiple ways to force a patina. You can slice acidic food like citrus fruits and more to form a patina from different colors. I like to add a light, thin patina layer with vinegar over the entire core and focus on the heel area that I often don’t use. Over time you will build thicker, more visible darker patina patterns that protect the knife more and more from corrosion.
What makes Takayuki Shibata knives unique?
In general, Takayuki Shibata knives have a unique profile that is a lot straighter but still maintains a gentle curve so that the complete profile always makes contact with the cutting board. His knives are also very thin, and therefore highly specialized for the more experienced cooks.
Suitable for home cooks?
If you did not know about steel-type, patina, and food oxidation and what you can and can not do with it, I can’t recommend this knife to home cooks or professional cooks. If you already know how fragile the edge can be, and how easy it can rust, and oxidize particular food, then only you can decide if it is worth it for you or not.
Suitable for professional cooks?
Professional cooks were not aware of the oxidization of high-carbon knives on a particular food. Your head chef would have probably talked to you about it, so make sure you know what you can and can not cut with it. Even with a patina layer, food will still oxidize faster, which is not good if your prep work needs to survive the next day.
Maintenance and Care
It is not recommended to use a diamond-coated honing rod or a coarse one like an 800-grit ceramic rod. My recommendation is a ceramic rod with a minimum of 1000 grit. The higher you go, the less material you remove with each honing session. You can also use a whetstone as your regular honing stone. It is also inadvisable to use a bamboo cutting board since bamboo is quite hard and will dull it faster. You should always handwash and dry your knife after use since this prevents water damage on the blade and handle. You should never use the sponge’s abrasive side or any abrasive material to clean the knife.
Final Conclusion and my Recommendation
The unique signature profile from Shibata Takayuki grew on me and why I like his knife so much. His thin blade also makes this knife perform very sharp, and there is less splitting of food because of the thinner blade. The knife’s narrow tip and front area are excellent for slicing work and reducing the drag from food. But the High Carbon material of the Aogami Blue Super is something you should consider before buying this knife. Worth it or not for you, that is what only you can decide.
The Shibata knives are only sold at select
few retailers in a select few countries.
🛒S H O P:
Retailers: Shibata official retailers list
N O T E S:
I personally like Shibata knives since they are straighter than other bladesmiths. I highly advise you to buy Artisan knives from a local retailer. (they are hand made so measurements will not be the same for each knife, it is advised to visit the store in person rather than ordering online).