Sointu USA is the exclusive distributor for Masahiro knives in the United States. Masahiro knives are produced by Masahiro Co., Ltd. in Seki, Japan. Masahiro together with Masamoto and Misono form an elite group of the most prestigious brands in Japan commonly known as the three Ms. Masahiro produces several different ranges of knives. They produce a Pure Carbon Series, which has carbon steel blades rather than stainless steel. They also produce the high carbon stainless steel MV series, and the high carbon stainless steel, lightweight MV-H series. The MV-H range is the top of the line and is best suited for light work in the kitchen.
THE MASAHIRO KNIFE EDGE
As is the case with any knife, the edge is the most important feature. Masahiro knives have an 80/20 asymmetrical edge that is polished to a mirror finish. What we mean by 80/20 asymmetrical is that 80 percent of the edge is ground on the right side of the blade and 20 percent is ground on the left side as in the diagram below. This asymmetrical edge is derived from traditional one-sided Japanese knives which are also 80/20 asymmetrical. The 80 percent side on the MV-H is only 1/8" high as compared to 3/4" high on a traditional Japanese knife, but the idea is the same. The idea being that an asymmetrical edge is approximately 35% thinner than a 50/50 straight edge. If comparing the 80/20 edge to a beveled edge, there will be no comparison. The beveled edge will feel like you are cutting with a stick when compared to the Masahiro.
Masahiro knives are all light weight, yet perfectly balanced.
MASAHIRO PURE CARBON SERIES
These knives are made of virgin carbon steel as the name suggests. Not as practical and higher maintenance than stainless steel knives; however, no knife gets as sharps and is as easy to keep sharp as a carbon steel knife. Masahiro's pure carbon knives reach a hardness of 59-60 HRC. These knives are definitely for the purist and for those who take great pride in keeping their cooking tools in top notch condition. To keep your carbon knives performing to the best of their ability, it would be best for you to learn to sharpen them using a sharpening stone.
These knives will develop a patina over time similar to cast iron cookware, so do not be surprised if they darken. They can also rust if not dried thoroughly after washing. Any rust can easily be removed with a metal cleaner like Barkeepers Friend.
The carbon knife handle is riveted and has a full tang. It is made of laminated wood. The laminate is comprised of thin layers of stained black wood pressed in a matte polycarbide.
MASAHIRO MV AND MV-H SERIES
Both of these series are made using the same high carbon stainless steel. The steel is MBS-26. MBS-26 is proprietary to Masahiro; however, it comes from the VG family like the VG-10 that the Kasumi Pro and Damascus knives use. It is important to point out that these knives are solid MBS-26 stainless steel, and not just a thin layer clad with layers of inexpensive stainless steel.
The MBS-26 stainless steel is treated by three stages of quenching, sub-zero treating and tempering until the steel reaches a hardness of 58-60 HRC. This makes Masahiro's stainless steel kitchen knives among the hardest you can buy.
The MV handle is made of laminated wood. Like the carbon knife handle, it is riveted and has a full tang. The laminate is comprised of thin layers of stained black wood pressed in a matte polycarbide.
The handle for the MV-H series is a heat, moisture and solvent resistant resin which is remarkably durable. It is much more practical and longer lasting than a laminated wood handle. The composite handle is also resistant to bacteria which keeps the knife very hygienic in daily use. The handle is a three rivet design and uses a very wide full tang almost as wide as the handle itself. This provides plenty of room for the rivets and still allows room for the handle to cover the tang for an incredibly smooth rounded handle that feels great in your hand.
Overall the MV knives are heavier than the MV-H knives making them more appropriate for heavy duty use than the MV-H knives.
To learn how to care for your Masahiro knives, please go to PRODUCT CARE.
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