Watanabe Nakiri 120mm(4.7")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Watanabe 120mm(6") Nakiri

Usage, edge ~20°

- Initial edge was roughly 10° per side, which gives 20° included. I can't say I've used this knife a lot, but it did receive it's fair share of use considering that I now have 3 nakiris, 4 gyutos, Takeda Cleaver and Tojiro Santoku, that's just the knives designed to cut veggies. Other knives are still in process of making or rehandling. So, I do have to try to split my cutting work evenly somehow. Anyway, smallest nakiri due to its size is very convenient and efficient for some types of cutting tasks and not so good for others. It's obvious that 120mm blade works well for the small items and has troubles handling larger pieces. My main use for 120mm nakiri was mincing red radish, garlic and shallots. Those are the ones I mince most often for salads and various dishes, and as usual those are the biggest trouble because they're so small. I can do all that either with gyutos or with cleaver or santokus, however the speed and ease of operation is what matters, otherwise why have 15 different knives. Because of its thinner blade and edge, plus quite polished blade surface, it just glides through those pesky radishes and shallots. And because it is small, it's also very light, thus making cuts while holding the knife parallel to the cutting board is very easy. Well, it's much easier than with Takeda Cleaver, which is almost twice as big and more than 3 times heavy.
    I don't want to make an impression that red radish and garlic is the limit for this nakiri though. Anything that is small, or let me rephrase, suitable size can be sliced, diced and minced just fine with this little bugger. As usual, once I get the new knife I always try to go through variety of cutting mediums, even if sometimes I know it won't be convenient most likely. Who knows, may be I'm in for a good surprise ;). The results were very good for bunch of veggies. Green onions, or even leek are no problem for small nakiri. Same goes true for chiffonade with small/medium leaves like Basil. Batonnet from carrots was rather inconvenient unless I'd cut them up into shorter pieces first, with bigger nakiri or chuka bocho(cleaver) I just cut long carrots in two and then proceed with batonnet. For small nakiri I'd have to cut the same carrot into 3-4 pieces to get it into manageable state for 120mm nakiri. However, if I just want to dice something, like the same carrot then smaller size of this nakiri is no biggie, since the diameter of a single carrot isn't that large. Heavier blade would make things easier, that's true, but sharpness is far more critical in this case and I do keep my knives very sharp.
    I've tried to cut other veggies with this knife too. Obviously if you need to shred a cabbage or something of that type you'd be far better off with a good vegetable cleaver like Takeda Chuka Bocho or a good gyuto. So, I gave up those things quickly. No good surprises there, but no disappointment either. I just had my expectations at the right level :) Overall I am very happy with this small nakiri and once I have it back with the new handle I'll be lowering the edge further down, ideally to 5° per side. That should make a very serious cutter. Updates will be posted as I go with modifications.

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  • Blade - 120.00mm(4.72")
  • Thickness - 1.80mm
  • OAL - 235.00mm(9.25")
  • Steel - Aogami 63-65HRC
  • Handle - Burnt Chestnut
  • Acquired - 09/2008 Price - 160.00$

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Last updated - 05/19/19