Hankotsu, Yusuba, Nakiri… Jesudas Puthumana from Chendamangalam, Kerala, makes 13 types of personalized Japanese kitchen knives
Hankotsu, Yusuba, nakiri… Jesudas Puthumana from Chendamangalam, Kerala, makes 13 types of personalized Japanese kitchen knives
Nirvana 2019, the house Jesudas Puthamana Walia Pazampilly built on Thuruth – one of the smaller islands dotting Periyar and Chendamangalam, Kochi – looks marquesian especially on a rain-drenched day.
Created in a way that makes it feel like an extension of the scenery, it’s a labor of love, and a passion project, for which they planned, sourced the materials, designed the floor tiles, and even did so. That also calculated the angle of the sun. Shadow on the roof They built a wood-fired masonry oven for its kitchen, where they bake pizza, bread, cakes and Naan, Jesudas also makes artisanal Japanese kitchen knives under Urukk Blades.
He brings together five handmade knives in various stages of completion, and lovingly explains each one. For use in the kitchen and by cooks, knives are personalized with a name stamped on one side of the blade and a unique serial number on the other. Japanese kitchen knives are diverse, each with a different purpose, for example, YusubaA traditional knife used for chopping vegetables and complex, hankotsua bondage knife, nakiri, a vegetable cleaver for cutting up and down. Jesudas makes 13 types of knives, with four finishes and three types of wooden handles.
meat cleaver to bread blade
Since March 2022, when they started, they have given 45 knives to a clientele, including Chef Thomas Zakaria of The Locavore, Hussain Shahzad of The Bombay Canteen and Evin Thaliath, co-founder and director of Lavon Academy of Baking Science and Pastry Are included. art.
“I want my knives to be used, and chefs who understand a good knife because it’s their primary tool,” says the 44-year-old mechanical engineer. The Serbian meat cleaver proves he’s up to a challenge among Japanese kitchen knives. Next, he plans to adopt a serrated type of Japanese kitchen knife to make a bread knife for a baker in Mumbai.
He makes, sharpens and polishes knives from Ultra High Carbon (UHC) steel, also known as tool steel, for the same reason he built his home and wood-fired ovens – “from zero The feeling of building something, to make something from scratch.” Or, if he was ‘arrogant,’ he would joke, “Because I can!”
If he had to find out what piqued his interest in swords/knives, he put it on a documentary on Japanese katana swords. While working for a construction company in Dubai, with access to a workshop, he made a pair of knives.
immersed in geometry
However, a visit to a blacksmith in Palakkad in early 2022 to get custom-made knives revived his interest. “The blacksmith had an order of Japanese-style knives, which he was making while I was there. I was very curious to go back to Kochi and spend a month on homework for the types, designs and drawings of the first set of knives. On the next visit, I made three knives. The reference material for the blacksmith was some photographs; At the end of the stay, they took what they saw and learned home.
While locally made knives are forged from high carbon steel, “the geometry or shape is random, they are made according to the blacksmith. There is a continuing tradition of Japanese knives where the geometry of each knife has evolved for a specific use which has led to the existence of knives with specific names and functions.
Jesudas used that knowledge in March of this year when he finally decided to take the plunge, encouraged by the reaction of his first three knives. “I didn’t do much other than work on them.” Knives can be ordered on their social media through Facebook or Instagram.
He shows the excel sheet of the knives he has made so far, he has the specifications for the measurements and weight of each knife. He works with a few local smiths near his home, working for hours with blacksmiths and stabbing UHC steel blanks. Although he does not work continuously, but each knife works for more than 15 hours.
‘Wootz’ in a name?
It is believed that Wootz is the English version of Tamil. Ukku, derived from uruku Used to describe mixed or molten metal in Tamil Sangam literature. Estimated to be found mainly in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Sri Lanka, it was exported to ancient Europe and Arabia. Jewish traders are said to have exported iron and steel from South India; Arab traveler Adrisi described ‘Hinduvani’ (Indian) steel as the best. The exported steel was forged into swords in Damascus, hence the name Damascus steel.
The handles – rosewood, beech and olive – are made by an artisanal carpenter. Other processes sculpted by Jesudas are done by hand in his workspace at home: sharpened on a whetstone and polished in his workspace at home. Customization requests include the dominant hand preference, he charges a small amount for some requests. However, they have not been asked to adapt for any particular hand.
focus on functionality
gyuto, santoku And banka There are all-purpose knives suitable for a variety of tasks – chopping/cutting meat, seafood and vegetables. The most popular of the lot is Guito, which accounts for 30% of orders. “Japanese knives have evolved over the centuries, and the finer points of the geometry of the knife edge have been thoroughly streamlined. The geometry of the edge differs from that of traditional Western knives because most of them have a single bevel (sloping surface or edge). ) and a sharp bevel angle. UHC steel can sustain such steep and thin edges.” While designing the logo, he tapped into the artist within him. Although in Malayalam, the font, style and colors have a distinctly Japanese vibe.
Hearing him talk about metallurgy and steel, its origin in South India and how it was taken from here to other parts of the world, one gets a sense of where his interest lies. he jokes about wanting to make Urukko Steel or Wootz Damascus (Damascus Steel) from iron ore, “People will think I’m crazy!” For now, he wants to keep it up to the forging knives only.
Knife cost from ₹4000 to ₹10,000 @urukkblades on Instagram