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Kobayashi Hontan Seikon Dojo Deba 180mm(7.3")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Kobayashi Deba 180mm(7.3") Deba

This knife with really long name - Hontan Seikon Dojo Professional Deba, was one of the first high-end Japanese kitchen knives purchased as a part of my 2008 kitchen knives upgrade program. I did some research, found this knife on epicedge.com, than asked about it on knifeforums, the answers were positive, so I went for it. Matter of fact, this was my first Deba knife or using Japanese terminology - Deba Bocho ever. By the way, there is an argument that knives ending with Ba postfix don't really need the word Bocho after it. Still, plenty of places use the term Deba-Bocho or synonymous Deba-Hocho. Not being a Japanologist I can't really tell one way or the other, so I just state the fact. I was really interested in a new type of knife the fact that it was made out of Aogami II steel was making it even more interesting. Plus it was a chisel edge blade, thus one more point of interest.

General

- Kobayahsi's professional deba arrived packed in a box, with their logo on it. Wrapped in a plastic wrap and with the saya strapped to the box. As usual, saya and the handle are made of the same material. In this case both were Magnolia wood. Initial inspection was conducted immediately. No defects or problems were discovered, which was a good news. Not that I was expecting any, but things happen. As far as fit and finish go, it was very well done knife. Blade grind lines were even and well defined. Kasumi line was clearly visible and smoothly ground. Handle was well fitted, dead center, and the tang entry hole sealed with epoxy. Ferrule and handle wood also fit together perfectly, no gaps and the transition is very smooth. Overall, this is a very heavy blade for its size, weighing in at hefty 384.00g(12.98oz). For the knife with just 180.00mm(7") that's really a lot. By design this knife apparently is a Hon-Deba or a true deba, which is the thickest deba knife of then all. Let me remind you that Japanese have over a dozen of different deba types and you can find a lot of them in Japanese Kitchen Knife Types And Styles database. Overall it is a quality piece, really heavy and designed for harsh works, which it performs perfectly, but about that in the usage section.

Blade

- Hontan Seikon Dojo professional deba features 180mm long,8.35mm(!) thick, around 55mm wide blade. That's more of a Kukri caliber blade in terms of thickness than anything else :) Blade geometry is typical Deba blade. Stubby, drop point blade with medium belly. The initial sharpness was very high. I'd guesstimate the angle around 30°-35°. Which is quite high for Japanese knives, but not for Deba, and quite low for western knives where typical edge even on the paring or slicing knives is above 40°. As I said above, this deba classifies as Hon-Deba, which explains its thickness. Generally those debas are intended to cut through the fish and poultry bones during filleting and butchering. I've tried both with it and the knife performed very well. Details below. The blade is single bevel or chisel grind. Which means, the edge is ground only from the right side(for the right handed knife) and the back side is flat. Well, not exactly flat, as the Japanese kitchen knives feature Urasuki, concaved back surface. It does reduce the drag during cutting significantly. Urasuki also makes sharpening the back side much simpler and easier. Less metal is in contact with the sharpener and you don't have to worry about consistency of the angle, at least not with the back side, just lay it flat on the sharpener and proceed, of course with caution ;)

Steel

- The steel used in this knife is Yasuki Specialty Steel (YSS) Aogami II also known as Blue #2 and Aoko II. It is a high carbon, very pure steel with addition of Tungsten(W). All that makes Aogami II slightly less wear resistant than Aogami, but at the same time it is tougher compared to Aogami. For deba knife that makers perfect sense, since it will be used for much harsher works than simply vegetable or soft meat cutting. For the same reason, i.e. hard mediums, impacts, etc the hardness of the blade isn't taken to the maximum. This particular line of knives from Kobayashi is hardened to 61-63HRC on Rockwell Hardness Scale. Softer it might be by Japanese kitchen cutlery standards, it is still a lot harder than a typical western kitchen knife with 54-56HRC average hardness. Anyway, so far I am very positive about that steel. I've got Watanabe Miroshi Deba made out of the same steel, for exact same reasons and for both knives edge holding has been very good. Clearly it is levels above any western knife I've had, and those are much better than Japanese Globals knives as well.

Handle

- The original handle was made of very popular handle material in Japan - Magnolia or Ho wood, plus the water buffalo black horn ferrule. Saya is made of the same wood, which is also a tradition. Anyway, I figured that this knife needed a better handle and asked Stefan Keller to make me a custom handle for it. After some discussion I've decided to take African blackwood and golden amboyna handle. For the record, I have no clue about wood types, I just know Ebony is dense and expensive, and that's pretty much it. Stefan, on the other hand can name and tell by looking at it probably thousand kinds of wood, which is crazy if you ask me. Anyway, I picked the thing because it looked really nice and Stefan said it'd work ok on the Deba of that size. That's pretty much all I needed. The handle is around 140mm long and rather thick, to accommodate or counterbalance heavy blade. Still, the knife is blade heavy, which it is supposed to be. As for the handle, it is standard octagon shape and as I said in many other reviews I find it very comfortable for all types of kitchen knives. It is my preferred handle geometry for now. Maintenance-wise I didn't have to do much. After use I wash and wipe the whole knife clean and dry. Every 2-3 week or even less, depends on use, I coat the handle with mineral oil sealant. Gives the handle very fresh and crisp look, plus protects the wood from moisture and dust. So, even after one year the handle looks just as it was after day one.

Usage (Original Edge)

- Pending.

Specifications:

  • Blade - 180.00mm(7.09")
  • Thickness - 8.35mm
  • Width - 55.00mm
  • OAL - 305.00mm(12.01")
  • Steel - Aogami II 61-63HRC
  • Handle - Magnolia Wood
  • Weight - 384.00g(12.98oz)
  • Acquired - 06/2008 Price - 175.00$

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Last updated - 09/01/11

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