Fujikawa use a specially selected grade of Hitachi White Paper Steel No1 to make the hagane layer that forms the back and the cutting edge. There are three main grades of white steel, No1 having the highest carbon content, and a myriad of sub grades within each. It took 10 years of experimentation to find the perfect grade, but they can now produce blades which have similar hardness and edge retention to blue, but retain the higher fracture resistance of white.
Mr Fujikawa insists on absolutely traditional methods. His smiths work in a darkened blacksmithing shop so that they can see the colour of the steel they are working, and use coke forges to minimise carbon loss as the steel is heated. Quenching is done in water as this provides the fast quench needed for highly pure steels. The soft water in Miki city is particularly well suited to the job. The blades are cooled in straw ash to retain as much carbon as possible as the steel structure changes after the quench.
After hand grinding, the blades are fitted with premium grade red oak handles and deeply hot blued hoops.
The manufacturers recommend honing a single flat bevel, following the optimal 34 degree angle that the tools are ground to when supplied.
The full set is presented in a fitted box made from lightweight kiri (paulownia) wood. Kiri is a lightweight, very stable, sustainable timber with excellent natural humidity regulating and anti-corrosive properties.
Material: Selected White Paper Steel No.1 C 1.4%, Si 0.1%, Mn 0.2%, Ph 0.025% or less, S 0.004% or less.
Overall Length: 225mm
Handle Material: Hon Akagashi (premium Japanese Red Oak)