Nakiri Chef’s Knife

A nakiri knife is a Japanese styled chef’s knife with a wide blade and nearly straight cutting edge – the profile of the blade is often quite rectangular although variants with degrees of rounding to the heel or tip of the blade and some arc to the edge are common as well.

The primary usage in the kitchen is for cutting vegetables in precision preparations, cubing and dicing meats, and other tasks where the width of the blade is useful for manipulating the finished product while the very keen, narrow cutting edge aids in the pieces being consistent in desired appearance as a wider, heavier edge would wedge during the cut and break them.

With the nakiri knife being primarily a vegetable processor, it’s blade thickness is typically 0.060-0.100 at the spine with a full, deep flat grind to a near zero terminal thickness at the edge. The almost flat cutting edge allows for a straight down or push-cutting motion leading to a fast production rate in a restaurant kitchen or culinary environment with proper technique.

The length of blade varies from five inches in smaller, shallower blade depth Japanese traditional pieces to six or seven in larger Western styled nakiri knives – as the blade height is proportionate to length in this style of chef’s knife the thickness is as well, so a smaller five-inch nakiri with a “wa” type Japanese handle and no fittings or bolsters would be produced with a very thin 0.060 (one sixteenth of an inch) blade thickness and be quite light indeed for easy, fast handling.

This very lightweight, thin blade and precision cutting edge design does have a caveat that although it may look like a cleaver, it isn’t one – the application is entirely the opposite, and a nakiri knife isn’t suitable for any foods with hard bones, chopping heavy frozen foods or other aggressive techniques a heavier built chef’s knife designed for such tasks would be.

Apex Steel Works produces a 7” nakiri with a 0.095” blade thickness, full flat grind and a nearly straight cutting edge to aid in handling prepared materials from the cutting board to the cooking surface.