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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sharp maintainable edge
Price will limit accessibility
Specs (will slightly vary)
total length 12.25″ (311 mm)
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 Handle length 4.375" (111 mm) Full Tang Jigged Giraffe bone (also available in other materials) Brass rivet construction