Rusty Knife Restoration Video Conquers YouTube

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Knife videos, even popular ones, rarely resonate with viewers outside of the enthusiast community. But recently a knife-related video took YouTube by storm, hitting the #1 Trending spot on the site and racking up over 11,000,000 views in a little over a week. Called “Polishing a Rusty Knife,” this story of a Japanese chef’s restoration of a rusted-out knife that even a recycling shop wouldn’t touch conquered the social media video platform.

Chef Jun Yoshizuki encountered a man at a recycling store trying to get rid of some goods, including a usuba, a type of Japanese vegetable knife. The knife was in sorry shape, with a damaged handle and a thick coat of rust covering the blade front and back. The man tried to sell it to the store owners for 30 yen – about 30 cents in USD – but the store owner couldn’t take the seemingly useless piece of cutlery. Yoshizuki offered to buy the knife from the man, who suddenly decided to hike up the price to 330 yen. This sum was only about three dollars USD, but still a massive increase in price over what he had just offered to the store owner.

To exact some revenge on the stingy seller, Yoshizuki decided to turn the rusted knife into something any chef would be proud to have in their kitchen. With polishing paste, whetstones, and elbow grease, Yoshizuki turned trash into treasure, bringing the knife back to gleaming, mirror-polished, razor-edged life. He then put the resuscitated knife to the test, cutting up cucumbers, tomatoes, making a flower from a daikon radish, and even slicing clean through a Japanese maple leaf floating on water.


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KAI Japan, owners of KAI USA Ltd. which operates Zero Tolerance and Kershaw, produced the knife under the brand Seki Magoroku. Made of Shirogami, a highly-refined carbon steel often used by master bladesmith Murray Carter, the blade is designed to emulate the high cutting performance of Japanese samurai swords. This Seki Magoroku usuba sells for 10,480 yen – about $90.

It’s safe to say that Yoshizuki got his money’s worth out of his impulse purchase, and then some. It is estimated Chef Jun’s share of YouTube ad revenues is already upwards of $20,000.


Knife featured in image: Seki Magoroku Usuba

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