Kiku Matsuda is arguably the most well known Japanese tactical / outdoor knife maker. His family use to sharpen knives for Seki knife manufacturers before Kiku-san started working on more practical outdoor knives after his son joined his workshop.
Kiku-san's work not only looks super cool, it is incredibly practical: he mainly use the OU-31 Powder Metallurgy steel, which has similar hardness to M2 (around HRC 64), better machinability than the M2 / D2 and most importantly about 3 times the toughness of D2. Apart from the steel, the design of his knives are highly praised by knife lovers and professionals around the world because of their ultra utility design: solid built full tang construction with mostly micarta handle scales and all come with Kydex sheath and Tek-lock as standard.
Of course, the very best of the Kiku knives is its famous hamaguri grind (convex grind). He is the only craftsman in Japan that is known to be able to free hand grinding the hamaguri edge to such high degree of perfection. When I first handled a Kiku knife on a knife show in Japan, I was instantly hooking by the super high level of fit and finish and the perfect in hand feeling, and I am so proud to be able to carry his knife.
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