Knife Week: Midori Hamono Chef Knives

It’s Knife Week at Hand-Eye Supply! Get 25% off all knives in stock with the code “KnifeWeek2015” now through the end of Saturday 8.29.15!

It’s not all pocket knives and pencils at Hand-Eye Supply. Today we’re celebrating the good-looking and great-feeling Midori Hamono kitchen knives. Midori Hamono — which roughly translated means ‘Green Cutlery’ — makes three classic styles of handmade kitchen knife, widely used in Japan and applicable in kitchens around the world. 

Midori knives feature a thin blade with a professional grade VG-10 stainless steel core, 15 layers of laminated stainless Damascus cladding, a ‘tsuchime’ hammer marked finish, and a full-tang hardwood handle. VG-10 steel was first developed in Takefu, in the Fukui Prefecture of Japan. The region was formerly known as Echizen province and was a major cutlery and sword-making center for centuries. In addition to its excellent edge-retention and resilience against rust, you can tell VG-10 is great because it means “gold” and “10.” 

The blades are forged and layered, then ground thin for a double-beveled blade that makes quick time through anything in front of you. The dappling of the hammer marks is traditionally used to prevent foods from sticking to the side of the knife for cleaner cuts and more controlled workspace. We think the hand-touched appearance fits with the love and personality that goes into cooking, like the wabi sabi version of modern blade kullens.

Santoku are all-purpose chefs’ knives. Loosely translated ‘Santoku’ means “three virtues” for the knife’s adeptness at fine slicing, dicing and mincing. They are long, slightly curved, and gently pointed, to fit a wide range of uses and foods, from sashimi to subtle garnishes.

The boldly blunted “Nakiri” style vegetable knife is flat-faced and point-free for easy accurate slicing and dicing. It’s an ideal prep knife, safe in cramped quarters and particularly advantageous for bulky foods and fine dicing. When used in an up-and-down motion (rather than rocking) it glides through even slippery foods with comfortable control, allowing for more attractive and even pieces.  

The mini Midori paring knife is small but strongly recommended for all kinds deft work. Every kitchen needs a tough and nimble paring knife, and this full-tang damascus style will take care of your peeling, coring, artisanal cheese slicing and way way more. 

Check out this beautiful family of kitchen pros, available from $80-$135 at Hand-Eye Supply. 

Cool knife not to scale.

Team USA Retooling for Giant Robot Duel vs. Japan

Preparations are underway for the U.S. vs. Japan giant robot fighting match. As you probably remember, Team Japan’s skipper, Kogoro Kurata, accepted the challenge under the condition that melee combat be part of the contest. “Come on, guys, make [your robot] cooler,” Kurata said at the time. “Just building something huge and sticking guns on it [is so] Super American.”

That means MegaBots is going to have to retool their 15-foot-tall Mark II with at least one arm that can punch, grab or wrassle. They’ll have to upgrade the armor to withstand whatever Kurata’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry ‘bot will have up (or on) its sleeve. They’ll also have to re-think the robot’s “feet,” which are currently tracked, to be able to withstand a punch and keep its footing. And of course, the robot will need “an incredibly sweet paint job. While not strictly required, this is a matter of national pride.”

Hence the MegaBots Kickstarter campaign:

Their $500,000 target is the bare minimum required for basic upgrades, but the team is actually hoping to raise more:

At $750,000 they’d be able to incorporate “an array of melee and ranged weapon systems options” like “crushing and grasping claws, pile drivers, shields, pneumatically-driven fists, cannons of all shapes and sizes, and flamethrowers (just in case).”

At $1,000,000 they’d get to work with a U.S. team that participated in the DARPA Robotics Challenge to tweak their machine’s balance, so it doesn’t fall over after eating a haymaker.

At $1.25 million they’d get access to NASA’s life safety systems to protect the pilot. I thought the same thing as you—why the heck is this one so far down the list? “We need make sure we can fight as aggressively as possible while also not blacking out from impacts. Safety 4th, folks,” writes the MegaBots team.

Finally, $1.5 million allows them to get aforementioned sweet paint job.

Since MegaBots will be decommissioning the existing guns on the Mark II, they want to send them off with a bang. Fan feedback indicated Arnold Schwarzenegger was the most desired man for this job, so the team is trying to get him into the cockpit to be the last to fire the guns:

By the way, the MegaBots team took Kurata’s verbal jab to heart, creating a T-shirt (one of the funding rewards) utilizing his phrase:

At press time the campaign had reached $380,000, and there’s still 20 days to go.

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