Also known as the HOCHO; it is a single bevel kitchen knife commonly found in Japanese kitchens. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Japanese home without one. Apart from the kitchen, it commands great relevance in Japanese symbolism as it represents wealth & prosperity. It’s usually used for slicing and filleting meat and fish.
Understanding “Single” Bevel
A bevel is the part of the blade that slopes away from the knife’s body to the blade’s edge. The angle of the knife is also referred to as the “bevel.” Most European and American knives are beveled on both sides of the blade; coming to a point in the middle. For Japanese knives, the bevel is only formed on one side.
The Sharpening Process:
The name and terminology may be a bit intimidating for some but sharpening a single bevel knife is a simple affair requiring a few steps:
- First get yourself a coarse whetstone for sharpening and a finer grit stone around 8000 grit for the finishing process.
- Place the whetstone on a cutting board or countertop. Place a wet paper towel under the stone so it doesn't slide out of control. Also, make sure the stone is flat before your start.
- An important thing to note is you only need to sharpen the bevel side of the blade in a single bevel knife.
- With one hand, hold the knife firmly by the handle and position the edge of the knife against the stone, point-first, with the cutting edge meeting the stone at around a 30-degree angle
- With moderate pressure, slide the blade forward and across the whetstone, covering the entire length of the blade and keeping it against the stone at a continuous 30-degree angle.
- Continue until you detect a wire edge along the full length of the blade.
- Now switch to fine grit finishing stone. This will remove the scratches left by the coarser grit stone. At this stage, you have to sharpen both hollow ground and bevel sides.
- The bevel to hollow pass-ratio is 9 to 1 i.e. for every pass on the hollow; you need to perform nine passes on the beveled side.
- Lastly, you need to toughen the edges. You achieve this by raising tip of the bevel side up about 3 degrees and honing for six or seven strokes. Now reverse the blade and repeat the honing process on the whetstone sharpener.