Posts Tagged ‘White Steel’

Of White Steel and Japanese Bowies…

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Today I’m going to talk about a knife that is both simple, beautiful and yet highly functional… In a traditionally Japanese kind of way. When we talk about bowie knives, a Japanese knife might be the very last thing that might spring to mind, but believe me, as knives go, I would swap a bowie for this beaut any day. The “beaut” to which I refer is the Akatsuki Bowie, made by Kanetsune of Seki, Japan. Here… Have a gander:

Akatsuki Bowie

Akatsuki Bowie

This ostensibly simple looking knife is unique in several different ways. The makers, Kanetsune, are old Japanese knife makers who make traditionally designed knives that are both aesthetically pleasing as well as fully functional. The Akatsuki is just one of many unique and beautiful knife designs they make. I plan to talk about some of their other knives in the future.

Now if anyone is familiar with the old Jim Bowie knife design, you may well be thinking that this design is not actually very Bowie like. At least not in any traditional sense. And you would be right. It is more of a hunting knife design than a bowie, but me personally, I still love it to death. Let’s take a look…

Akatsuki Bowie - Sheath

Akatsuki Bowie - Sheath

As you can see, Kinetsune uses a very traditional wooden scabbard design, with a cool set of buckles attached that support a few different carry positions. A wooden sheath certainly cannot compete with Kydex or similar synthetic sheaths in the durability department, but they certainly have a whole lot more character!

Akatsuki Bowie - Hilt

Akatsuki Bowie - Hilt

The knife itself is an interesting combination of design features, starting with the oak handle, double pinned to what I’d presume to be a half tang blade. Transitioning from grip to blade, we have a combination collar and guard, in black, pressure fit onto the grip, and providing support at the blade grip transition, much reminiscent of the metal collar used by many traditional Frost Mora knives with wooden grips.

Akatsuki Bowie - Grip

Akatsuki Bowie - Grip

Except better, since this collar is much thicker, stronger and has a built in guard. I really like this design.

Akatsuki Bowie - Edge

Akatsuki Bowie - Edge

Last, but certainly not least, we get to the beautiful blade. The Akatsuki sports a traditional hunting knife profile, with a mild belly and severely de-emphasized clip point. This results in a very smooth taper to the point. I really like the blade profile it ends up with.

Akatsuki Bowiel - Spine & Grip

Akatsuki Bowiel - Spine & Grip

But here we have a little bit of a departure from the norm. Unlike most other knife makers, Kanetsune leaves the flat of the blade unfinished. In fact it looks as though they actually pit it intentionally, in order to accentuate the effect.

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie High Carbon White Steel

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie High Carbon White Steel

Now personally, I have reservations about this particular design feature. Kinetsune uses white steel in their knives, a special kind of high carbon steel, and it’s been my experience that most high carbon steels tend to rust a lot faster than others if not taken care of. I think those pits may be a little harder to clean than a polished blade, and this may cause it  to retain moisture and allow pitting and rust to migrate to the polished area. However with diligent cleaning and oiling this should not be an issue, and I can’t really argue with the beautiful aesthetic it adds to the blade. For all of it’s simplicity, the knife is a work of art.

All in all, a beautiful knife, even if it’s not a true bowie knife, it certainly has all the qualities of a great all around hunting and bushcraft knife, with some character to boot. It gets a fiery thumbs up from yours truly!

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie Knife – [Kanetsune.com]

Kanetsune Akatsuki Bowie Knife – [BladeHQ]

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