What Is a Kiridashi Knife Used For?

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Kiridashi knives are small and compact cutting tools that have their roots in traditional Japanese craftsmanship. These knives are multi-purpose, and you can use them for various tasks, like marking, carving, trimming, and woodworking. They are popular among artists, craftsmen, and DIY enthusiasts, who appreciate their versatility and precision.

The word ‘kiridashi’ translates to ‘to carve out’ in Japanese, and these knives are designed to do just that. They have a sharp, pointed blades perfect for making precise cuts. Also, their small size makes it easy for anyone to work with them in tight spaces. In this article, we’ll discuss the what is a kiridashi knife used for and also explain why they are a must-have tool for people who love working with their hands.

What Is a Kiridashi Knife?

Have you ever struggled with a project that required precise cutting or carving in tight spaces? If so, you might want to consider adding a kiridashi knife to your toolbox. 

A kiridashi knife is a small and compact cutting tool that originated in Japan and has been used for centuries in various traditional crafts. The word “kiridashi” literally means “to carve out,” and that’s precisely what these knives are designed for.

Kiridashi knives are famous for their sharp, pointed blades that allow for precise cutting, carving, marking, and trimming. Their ergonomic design and compact size make them perfect for intricate work that requires accuracy and control, such as woodcarving or metal engraving. Despite their compact size, the kiridashi knives are versatile. You can also use them for various tasks, making them an essential tool for DIY enthusiasts, artists, and craftsmen.

Kiridashi knives have a rich history in Japanese culture and are often used by skilled artisans to create intricate designs on wood, metal, and even leather. Traditionally, kiridashi knives were made from high-carbon steel and had a single bevel edge that allowed for precision cutting. However, modern kiridashi knives are available in various materials, like ceramic, stainless steel, and titanium, and feature different blade shapes to accommodate diverse cutting tasks.

One of the unique features of a kiridashi knife is its chisel grind, which means that the blade is only sharpened on one side. This design allows for a sharper cutting edge and greater control over the cutting angle. Also, the handle of a kiridashi knife is typically made from wood or other natural materials. It is designed to fit comfortably in the hand, delivering a safe grip and decreasing fatigue during extended use.

What Is a Kiridashi Knife Used For?

What Is a Kiridashi Knife Used For

A kiridashi knife is a versatile cutting tool used for various tasks, from marking and trimming to carving and woodworking. Traditionally, it was used for marking and scoring lines on wood and metal surfaces in Japan. However, the uses of kiridashi knives have expanded over time, and they are now a favorite tool among artists, craftsmen, and DIY enthusiasts worldwide.

One of the most common uses of a kiridashi knife is for carving and woodworking. The sharp, pointed blade of a kiridashi knife makes it ideal for making precise cuts, shaping wood, and carving intricate designs. Woodcarvers often use kiridashi knives to create intricate details in their projects, such as intricate patterns and designs on wooden surfaces.

Kiridashi knives are also popular among metal engravers and leatherworkers. Metal engravers use them to make precise cuts and incisions in metal surfaces, while leatherworkers use them for cutting and shaping leather.

In addition to their traditional uses in Japanese crafts, kiridashi knives have a variety of applications in everyday life. For example, they can be used for opening packages, trimming threads, and cutting rope. They are also useful for cutting through tough materials such as cardboard and plastic.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Kiridashi Knife?

What Are the Pros and Cons of Kiridashi Knife

Kiridashi knives are a popular cutting tool among craftsmen, DIY enthusiasts, and artists due to their sharpness and precision. However, like any tool, they have both pros and cons.


  • Precision: Kiridashi knives are designed for precision work, making them ideal for tasks that require accuracy and control, such as carving, marking, and trimming.
  • Versatility: Kiridashi knives can be used for a wide range of tasks, including woodworking, metal engraving, leatherworking, and even everyday tasks such as opening packages.
  • Ergonomic Design: The handle of a kiridashi knife is typically designed to fit comfortably in the hand, reducing fatigue during extended use.
  • Compact Size: Kiridashi knives are small and compact, making them easy to maneuver in tight spaces and allowing for greater control over the cutting angle.
  • Sharpness: Kiridashi knives are known for their sharp, pointed blades, which can make precise cuts with ease.


  • Single Bevel Blade: The blade of a kiridashi knife is only sharpened on one side, which can make it challenging to sharpen for those who are not used to this type of blade.
  • Limited Functionality: While kiridashi knives are versatile, they are not suitable for all tasks. For example, they may not be ideal for cutting through tough materials such as thick metals or hard plastics.
  • Cost: High-quality kiridashi knives can be expensive, which may not be suitable for those on a budget.
  • Maintenance: Like any cutting tool, kiridashi knives require regular maintenance to ensure that they remain sharp and effective.

How to Sharpen a Kiridashi Knife

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Supplies Needed:

  • Kiridashi knife
  • Sharpening stone (Japanese water stone)
  • Container for soaking the stone
  • Clean water
  • Clean cloth or towel for drying
  • Optional: leather strop for honing the blade

Step 1: Choose the Right Sharpening Stone

Select a sharpening stone that is appropriate for the single bevel blade of your kiridashi knife. Japanese water stones are commonly used for sharpening kiridashi knives.

Step 2: Prepare the Sharpening Stone

Soak the sharpening stone in water for at least 15 minutes before using it. This will ensure that the stone is moist and ready for use.

Step 3: Begin Sharpening

Hold the kiridashi knife at a 15-degree angle and run the blade along the stone. Start with the coarse side of the stone and work your way up to the finer side. Make sure to apply even pressure throughout the sharpening process.

Step 4: Flip the Knife

After sharpening one side of the blade, flip the knife over and repeat the process on the other side. This will ensure that the blade is evenly sharpened on both sides.

Step 5: Check for Sharpness

After sharpening, check the blade’s sharpness by holding a piece of paper and trying to cut it with the kiridashi knife. If the knife cuts through the paper cleanly, it is sharp and ready to use.

Step 6: Finishing

Once the knife is sharp, rinse it under running water and dry it with a clean cloth. You can also use a leather strop to hone the edge of the blade further.

Can You Peel Fruits and Vegetables with Kiridashi Knife Blade?

Yes, you can use a kiridashi knife blade to peel fruits and vegetables! Although it may seem unconventional, the sharpness and precision of the kiridashi knife make it an excellent tool for peeling produce.

The single bevel blade of the kiridashi knife allows for more control and accuracy when peeling, which can be especially useful for delicate fruits and vegetables. The sharp point of the blade also allows for easy removal of blemishes or tough spots on produce.

However, it’s important to note that using a kiridashi knife blade for peeling may require a bit more skill and practice compared to using a traditional peeler. The blade is sharper and thinner, so it’s important to exercise caution and use proper technique to avoid injury.

If you decide to use a kiridashi knife for peeling, make sure to keep the blade at a slight angle and use a light, fluid motion. It may also be helpful to grip the produce with your other hand to stabilize it while peeling.

Is It Difficult to Sharpen the Kiridashi Knives?

Is It Difficult to Sharpen the Kiridashi Knives

Sharpening a kiridashi knife may seem intimidating, but with the right tools and technique, it can be a straightforward process. The key is to take your time and approach the sharpening process with care and patience.

One of the main things to keep in mind when sharpening a kiridashi knife is that the blade is typically beveled on only one side. This means that you will need to be extra careful when sharpening the flat side of the blade to ensure that it remains flat and straight.

To sharpen a kiridashi knife, you will need a sharpening stone that is appropriate for the blade’s single bevel. Japanese water stones are a popular choice for sharpening kiridashi knives. You can soak the stone in water for about 15 minutes before use to ensure it’s moist and prepared for sharpening.

When sharpening the blade, you must maintain a constant angle and put even pressure. Adjust the angle slightly depending on the shape and size of the blade. You must flip the blade over and sharpen the other side to ensure it is evenly sharpened.

Although sharpening a kiridashi knife may require some practice and patience, the process can be a rewarding one. A sharp kiridashi knife can make a significant difference in your woodworking projects, allowing you to create precise and intricate cuts with ease.

Can You Sharpen Other Knives with Kiridashi Knife?

Technically, you could use a kiridashi knife to sharpen other knives, but it may not be the most effective or efficient method. The shape and size of a kiridashi knife may not be ideal for sharpening larger or thicker blades, and the bevel angle may not be suitable for all types of knives.

When sharpening other knives with a kiridashi knife, it’s important to keep in mind that the blade may not be designed for this purpose. Using a kiridashi knife to sharpen other knives could potentially damage the blade or compromise its sharpness.

That being said, a kiridashi knife can certainly be used to touch up and refine the edge of other knives, especially smaller blades or those with similar bevel angles. Remember that this process may need more finesse and skill to ensure the blade is sharpened evenly and effectively.

If you do decide to use a kiridashi knife to sharpen other knives, make sure to use the proper technique and approach the process with care. Consider investing in a sharpening stone pecifically designed for the type of knife you are sharpening.


Well, that’s it for our article on what is a kiridashi knife used for? We need you to remember that kiridashi knives are an indispensable tool for artists, craftsmen, and DIY enthusiasts. Their small size and sharp blades are ideal for precise cutting, marking, carving, and trimming. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, a kiridashi knife is a must-have in your toolbox, allowing you to work with superb control and accuracy.

About Cynthia

Cynthia Odenu-Odenu is the founder of Cyanne Eats. She is an avid baker and cook of delicious delicacies. She uses this blog to share her love for different cuisines.

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