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Monday | 10 August, 2009 | 6:04 am

Cuts like a knife

By Abbe Miller

August 2009 - According to the makers of Ginsu knives, being able to cleanly slice through a tomato after sawing through a tin can is the sign of quality craftsmanship. "But wait. There's more!" Ginsu knives might have found their popularity through the power of marketing, as opposed to the true power of their blades.

According to Yoshida Metal Industry Co. Ltd., also known as Yoshikin, Tsubame, Japan, the maker of Global-brand kitchen knives, using the best materials possible is the only way to end up with the sharpest blade. Doing so has resulted in numerous awards that back up that claim. Since the blades' inception in 1985, the company's knives were named "Best Knife" by Which magazine in the U.K., "Sharpest Knife" by A La Carte magazine in Germany and "Best Cook's Knife" in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, among a variety of other design of awards.

So it turns out that not even the best pitchman could produce awards like that--or at least not without the product engineering to support it.

Samurai tradition
Global knives are considered high-end cutlery, which, of course, comes at a high-end price. On the surface, what makes the knives stand out is their one-piece design. But what makes them worth every penny of that cost is the proprietary stainless steel created at Yoshida's manufacturing facility.

The stainless steel is called Cromova 18. Because the knives are made of this significantly harder alloy, a thinner blade can be used, which is sharpened to a narrower angle. The longevity of the knife is lengthened by the fact that the blade keeps its sharp edge longer and needs to be sharpened less often.

Global knives are blanked, heat-treated and undergo what the company describes as a sub-zero treatment, which increases the hardness of the blade. According to the company, "After this subzero treatment, the knife is once again passed to another heat treatment that takes about four hours. This tempering process makes the knife stronger and [more] tenacious."

Proof in the paring
No matter if it's a butcher knife or a sushi knife, a Global product's intent is to bring together the best in Italian design aesthetics, German durability and Japanese precision.

"Like the samurai swords before them, each knife is carefully weighted to ensure perfect balance in the hand," according to the company Web site.

The Ginsu knife, which was originally dubbed the Eversharp, ultimately got its moniker because it "sounded" Japanese. It got its reputation from its over-the-top demonstration-type commercials.

The Global knife, on the other hand, has a name that evokes its well-rounded engineering. And likewise, got its reputation from true performance in the kitchen. MM

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