In April, 2006, we have introduced Mr. Itou’s custom kitchen knives, hand crafted from the special R-2 powdered high-speed tool steel core blade edge hardened to HRc.62, and forge-sandwiched with 32 layered stainless Damascus steel.
You can see the details at "Mr.Itou Custom Kitchen Knives" on JCK (Our Kitchen Knife Web Shop).
The reputation and demand were terrific! We had so many good words from the users for the extremely sharp cutting and edge retention ability. The secret of this is the finest powdered steel R-2 and the forging process. He said he was first using Hitachi Blue steel (Aogami), from which he could obtain a good cutting, but it was rusty. He has then used R-1 from Kobe Steel, but it was brittle. Finally, he worked with Kobe Steel to develop new formula, R-2 that has improved and exceeded over R-1 steels.
He also found his special forging process makes it sharper and longer edge retention. Another secret is he uses a large water stone wheel with slow rotating to grind his blades, unlike the normal belt sander grinding. This will prevent over-heating the blade to ruin the proper hardness and its chemical characters.
He is also an avid hunter, and makes some Hunting knives with same R-2 blade and finish. He is also a leather craftsman, and each leather sheath is hand formed to fit each knife perfectly and hand stitched and custom engraved by him. This will be a great opportunity to obtain his superb knife for your outdoor activity.
Mr. Itou becomes 80 years old in 2022. In late 2020, we have introduced his last batch and announced he will retire from knife making for his age and health condition. However, the good news is he will slow down and continue to make some knives as long as his health condition and knife-making passion allows. It is like his lifetime hobby!
As the matter of fact, Mr. Itou brought us some new knives on the year-end, that was a big X-mas present for us, because the last batch was almost sold out and we were regretting to miss Mr. Itou knives from JKD collection. However, he told us the quantity he can possibly make would be 50 knives in a year at the most, maybe less, and asked us to increase the price. It is a big increase, but we have no way to refuse it (better than nothing and it means appreciation of the value for those who bought in the past). He also explained the material costs (blade steel, handle etc) have been raised in these years. We can well understand his skills and time-consuming process in the limited time and capacity, and respect his work and value.
Anyways, we are proud to be able to continue to offer his limited knife in 2022.