Carter Cutlery

Carter Cutlery Kiridashi

Published: May 4th, 2014 by The Edge Observer 4

This knife is a traditional Japanese pattern, the Kiridashi. It was hand forged by Murray Carter, a 17th Generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith.  He is also a  Mastersmith as decorated by the American Bladesmith Society. I’ve been fortunate enough to have previously covered one of Murray’s kitchen knives as well as a neck knife.

Carter Cutlery Kiridashi

These knives are carving/utility knives have their roots in woodworking. The name, Kiridashi literally translates to “carve out” which would support this origin. Regardless, they are found in many facets of Japanese culture being used in a variety of activities from everyday tasks like sharpening pencils to gardening. They are often found with a handle wrap and sometimes scales and a scabbard.

Most of the Kiridashi’s that I’ve handled are typically much smaller in over-all dimensions than Carter’s versions. His small model is around 8.3” long, .118” thick and weighing 4oz. The larger “heavy duty” edition is 10.3” long, .197” thick and weighing in at approximately 6.9 oz. Sizes and weights will slightly vary since each is hand made. The larger sizes make these examples have much more presence as well as a wider range of capabilities.

The construction is a forge welded Ni-Mai lamination. This weld has a different material on each side of the blade. On the outside, a mild and ductile steel is used to reinforce the harder inner steel that makes the edge. This alloy is called Gokunan-Tetsu (C< .08, S < 0.10, Mn < .030, P < 0.03, S </0.03)

Kiridashi Blade

A detail of the blade showing the Hamon line where the two steels meet

The inner, edge steel is Yasugi Specialty Steel’s (Hitachi Metals) White no. 1. White steel is a very pure alloy that has a high carbon content with minimal Sulfur and Phosphorus impurities (C 1.20-1.40, Si .10-.20, Mn .20-.30, P < .025, S < 0.0004). The result is a very fine grain structure that takes an incredibly keen edge while still being easy to maintain. It is Yasugi’s flagship forging steel and made with the same black iron sands of the Tamahagane of the past. Tamahagane translates to “Jewel Steel” and was originally fashioned for samurai sword making and high end cutlery.

Chisel Grind

The fine tip is great for scribing and accurate control

The grind on the knife is a chisel or ‘Kata-Ha’. It has different geometry than a typical western chisel grind in that the back side is concave for ease of sharpening. This feature can be found on Japanese chisels as well as kitchen cutlery. The Kiridashi’s front edge has a single bevel that meets the back-side with a lapped flat.

Lapped Back Side

A detail of the lapped back side

This particular knife has a slightly concave cutting edge that produces a very thin tip making for fine control. On the primary bevel the Hamon can be seen. This line shows where the two welded steels meet. It’s organic path is an indicator that the Kiridashi is hand made.

Hamon Line

Another detail of the Hamon

The knife has a rustic finish called Kuro-Uchi (Black Hammer).  It refers to the dark surface that is produced from forging.  I prefer it on my Japanese cutlery as it both speaks to the process and contrasts the more reflective edge bevels.  Murray’s word-mark is stamped onto the pommel of the handle.

Carter Cutlery Kiridashi

Over-all the ergonomics on these knives are very simple. The slight outward sweep towards the cutting edge makes the handle secure in use. A long sloping, capped spine allows for comfortable thumb placement. The handles are of course, quite thin so Carter offers a paracord wrap for those who want more grip and volume. I would recommend the option for prolonged use, but aesthetically I prefer them without.  In the future it would be nice to see some with scales and scabbards too.

Murray Carter Kiridashi

For me the Kiridashi is a very pure design reduced to the most minimal components of a knife. For this reason I find them very enjoyable to both admire and use. The clarity of the design speaks about one operation, cutting. This along with the history and Murray’s fine craftsmanship add up to a piece that is as easy to appreciate as it is to use.

Murray Carter's signature

For more information on the Carter Cutlery Kiridashi visit

Specs (weight and size will slightly vary)

Length: 8.3″ small to 10.3″ heavy duty
Weight: 4-7 oz


Length : approx 4.4″ (cutting edge)
Thickness : .118 to .197
Yasugi Specialty Steel (Hitachi Metals) White #1
Gokunantetsu (mild low carbon)
Japanese Chisel Grind (Kata-Ha)


Optional paracord wrap

Made in the USA

Carter Cutlery Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha Neck Knife

Published: October 28th, 2012 by The Edge Observer 8

This fixed blade comes from the Carter Cutlery neck knife series.  Carter, a 17th Generation, Yoshimoto Bladesmith and ABS Master Bladesmith makes several models of neck knives, this being the Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha.

Carter Cutlery Wharncliffe Brute Kata Ha

The Brute has a full tang construction.  The 3.65″ x .151″ blade has been laminated through a forge welding process that leverages two key properties of the steels used :

The outer layer serves to toughen the blade.  At a much lower HRc than the cutting edge, it provides tensile strength and in some cases, improved corrosion resistance through the use of a stainless layer.  Carter uses Gokunantetsu, a mild, pure low carbon cladding.  Gokunantetsu comes in two varieties, a non stainless (C< .08, S < 0.10, Mn < .030, P < 0.03, S </0.03) and a stainless.  Stainless steels are usually achieved through the addition of chromium (C< .08, S <1.0, Mn < 1.0, P < 0.04, S </0.03, Cr 13.0).  This particular knife uses the non-stainless variety.

Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha

The opposite steel layer is a very hard, high grade cutlery steel for cutting performance.  The steel used here is Hitachi metal’s Yasugi White Steel #1.  White is the purest forging steel from the company, maintaining a very high carbon content and extremely low phosphorus and sulfur content (C 1.20-1.40, Si .10-.20, Mn .20-.30, P < .025, S < 0.0004).  Considered a modern “Tama-Hagane” or “Jewel Steel”, White produces an extraordinarily keen, resilient edge when properly forged and heat treated.

Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha White #1 Steel Side

The lamination technique used to construct this blade is a ni-mai (two piece) forge welding.  This varies from the more common Wari-komi or San-Mai cladding that wraps the sides or sides and spine of a harder core.  Ni-mai produces one side that is the hard steel and the other mild (not sandwiched).  This technique is optimal for “Kata-ha” or chisel style blades. The lamination is visible by observing the “hamon”, a distinct line visible on the blades grind that denotes a difference in material and or hardness.

The Kata-Ha grind consists of two bevels and opposite, a concave face to optimize the cutting geometry. The primary grind is responsible for the majority of stock removal and a secondary bevel creates the cutting edge. The combination of premium materials and Carter’s craftsmanship produces an exceptional tool.  This knife is quite literally hair splitting sharp.  The blade flat has a traditional, unpolished rustic black finish (kuro-uchi) that is a result of the forging process. The edges on the other hand, are polished and the back side of the blade is lapped.  Carter’s signature appears stamped into the blade flat.

Kata-Ha Neck Knife Grind and Pommel

The Wharncliffe pattern provides excellent tip control and even pressure when cutting.  In order  to better leverage this, the spine of the blade is slightly concave for thumb or finger placement.  With an elongated radius at the tip, the point of the knife is proficient at penetrating cuts.

The handle of the knife is 3.9″ long and supplies a near-to four finger grip when held slightly back and a full four finger grip when the finger choil is utilized.  This provides a total grip length of 4.1″.  The profile is well thought out and while the pommel terminates in your palm, the narrowing shape is unobtrusive.  The scales are made from two layers, a black liner with a polished brown linen micarta face.  These are fastened to the tang with nickel silver pins toward the ends and a mosaic center pin for detailing.  All of the edges, including the choil, have been contoured for comfort.  Even though the knife has a small handle, it feels extremely natural in hand while providing great control.

Kata-Ha Neck Knife Handle

For carry, Carter’s neck knives ship with a Kydex sheath. Press molded to the blade and beginning of the handle, retention is excellent.  The knife does not rattle or shift giving you confidence when carried handle down and around your neck.   Although tight fitting, the knife still draws easily.  Two holes drilled in the base allow 550 paracord to be threaded through.  The kydex halves are firmly held with a series of perimeter rivets.  Leather sheathes are also available through special order if preferred.

Carter Cutlery Kata-Ha Kydex Sheath

The Wharncliffe Brute Kata-Ha is a very impressive cutting tool.  Although compact in size it does not compromise effectiveness.  The Gokunantetsu layer strengthens the blade for heavier cutting tasks and the White #1 takes and holds an incredible yet maintainable edge.  The ergonomics of the knife are equally impressive, making Carter’s neck knives feel like an extension of the hand.  All these elements coupled with a great sheath make the knife a sensible tool for every day use.  The rich history echoed in the process and masterful craftsmanship should also appeal to collectors and Japanese Bladesmithing enthusiasts alike.

For more on Carter Cutlery visit

Carter Cutlery Neck Knife


Weight (with sheath)


Yasugi Specialty Steel White #1
Gokunantetsu (mild low carbon)
Japanese Chisel Grind


Black Fiber-Resin and Brown Linen Micarta
Nickel Silver and Mosaic center pin

Made in the USA

Carter Cutlery International Pro Funayuki Bocho

Published: December 2nd, 2011 by The Edge Observer 9

Murray Carter is an American Bladesmith, educator and entrepreneur of Canadian birth who studied traditional Bladesmithing in rural Japan. He hand forges a wide variety of traditional Japanese style kitchen knives as well as hybrid western/Japanese knives, neck knives and other sporting knives. All of his work is completely hand made by Murray in his shop,with some help from his apprentice of seven years.

In addition to his work as a maker, Murray teaches bladesmithing through his shop in Hillsboro,Oregon, produces DVD’s (Sharpening and Kitchen Cuts series) and has authored a book “Bladesmithing with Murray Carter” . He is also is known to the Youtube community for his sharpening demonstrations and stunts. In these videos Murray has sliced flying paper airplanes by throwing them into a knife blade, shaved with a spoon and a machete to name a couple. He also takes on the occasional viewer challenge. As of late, Murray has been putting together tours to visit his cutlery industry contacts in Japan, shooting video of the trips and posting them on Youtube as well.

Bladesmithing with Murray Carter BookMurray Carter's Bladesmithing BookKitchen Cuts

There is a long list of accomplishments that Carter has achieved but it is his craftsmanship that is his greatest, garnering him recognition as a “Master Bladesmith” by the American Bladesmith Society and the distinction of being the 17th generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith by the Sakemoto family. A rare honour bestowed on a foreigner and a testament to Carter’s talent.

This Funayuki-Bocho is from Carter’s International Pro series or IP, named for the design’s varied influences.

Carter Funayuki Bocho

The blade is a Warikomi construction. That is, the hard, White steel core is wrapped with ‘gokunantetsu’, which is a clean mild steel designated for use in Japanese cutlery. The resulting blade has the spine and both sides clad with the more ductile material while the grind exposes the harder high carbon steel core for use as the blade’s edge. This forge welding process increases the durability of the blade without compromising sharpness. The blade is fully forge tapered (forged to shape rather than ground) and then cold forged. The process compacts the structure of the steel making it very dense and evenly compressed.

Hammered Blade Finish

The White steel used in the knife is a high end cutlery steel developed by Hitachi metals and is produced by their Yasuki Special Steel (YSS) subsidiary in Japan. This is the same company and manufacturing plant where Blue steel alloys are made, another high end cutlery steel. White steel is an amazingly pure alloy (the purest commercially available forging steel) and allows for the keenest possible edge of the Hitachi line due to evenly dispersed, well shaped carbides, small grain size and a low sulphur content. This steel is not a stainless steel and can be brittle according to how it is heat treated, so care must be taken with a white steel edge. On the other hand, it can achieve incredible sharpness and is a perfect choice for experienced knife users such as professional chefs who require precision in their work coupled with easy maintenance.


The primary finish of the blade has the majority of the blackened surface that results from forging removed. This brings out the hammer marks left from shaping, emphasizing the process. The resulting organic surface lies between a rustic “kuro-uchi” finish and a polished finish. The secondary edge has a fairly coarse texture from grinding adding further contrast. Leading up to the primary edge a faint, organic hamon line can be seen introducing the hard White steel core that holds the funayuki’s impossibly sharp edge. The blade is marked with Carter’s signature, Mitsuboshi (an historic Japanese trademark) and Hon Ke (meaning “original location”). A small letter “H” is also stamped on the blade which means that the blade has been forge welded by Carter in his studio.

Handle Detail

Unlike the handle construction on most traditional Japanese knives, Carter’s IP series features a full tang. Outside of the durability a full tang provides, it more notable adds weight and a clear difference between Carter’s funayuki and a traditional Japanese version. Japanese knives tend to be quite light weight toward the back. The additional material in the full tang along with a brass ferrule give it an excellent, centered balance. The profile of the handle is reflective of western knives and has a traditional appeal with its jigged, dyed orange giraffe bone scales and peened, brass pin construction. The handle has been immaculately sanded and buffed for good measure.

Jigged Giraffe Bone Hanle

Carter’s International Pro Funayuki is a pleasure to use. It’s sharpness is matched by a unique design executed with great skill and premium materials. The combination of the traditionally forged White steel and Gokunantetsu, Warikomi blade along with the bone and brass handle serve as a living, working history of Carter’s travels, Japanese training and Western roots. This unique knife will surly appeal to professionals who require outstanding balance and sharpness as well as avid home chefs who also demand very high performance cutlery.


Premium Materials
Exceptional Craftsmanship
Sharp maintainable edge
Great balance
Unique Design


Price will limit accessibility

Specs (will slightly vary)

weight 6oz
total length 12.25″ (311 mm)


Gokunantetsu cladding
White Steel Core [C 1.1-1.2%, Si 0.1-0.2%, P < 0.025%, S < 0.004%, Martensitic ]
length 7.875″ (200 mm)
thickness .197″ (5 mm) at tang


length 4.375″ (111 mm)
Full Tang
Jigged Giraffe bone (also available in other materials)
Brass rivet construction