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Sakai Jikko’s Montan Ao-Ko line sports a blade steel crafted out of Blue Steel No. 2, a high-carbon steel, often with an HRC ranging from 62-63 and that is also more abrasion resistant than its white steel counterpart. While the blade steel of the knives in this series are very hard and difficult to sharpen they keep their edge for a long time, making them practical knives that are an asset to the professional chef or cook. Additionally, because these knives are “Hongasumi” knives, they are forged with more deliberation and care to remove impurities during the forging process, making them even more refined than “Kasumi” knives. The Ao-Ko Hongasumi knives sport a traditional-style handle embedded with a buffalo horn bolster for balance.
Disclaimer: Jikko’s Mirror-Polish Ao-Ko Yanagi knife is a “Honyaki” knife. That means that it is crafted solely out of high-carbon steel and not bonded together with soft-iron; in order to forge this blade a blacksmith must have a high-level of technical skill and forging and tempering knowledge. Additionally, because this knife is made solely out of high-carbon it is much harder than the other Blue Steel knives in Jikko’s Montan series, making it especially hard to sharpen but giving it favorable edge-retention properties.
Recommendation: Sakai Jikko’s Montan Ao-Ko line is recommended for professional chefs, cooks and kitchens because they require advanced knife maintenance and sharpening skills. Additionally, the blades of the knives in this series rust when exposed to air and water and must be dried properly before being put away.