The art of making Japanese knives

Kevin Kent is bringing the ancient Japanese art of handcrafting knives to the city of Vancouver. He's the founder and owner of Knifewear, a company that promotes their use in North America. Tonight, he'll share about what makes them so special.

A Vancouver pop-up shop celebrates the precision and beauty of the cooking instrument

Kevin Kent is the founder and owner of Knifewear, a Calgary-based company that sells and promotes the use of Japanese kitchen knives. (Elaine Chau)

The art and advantage of handcrafted Japanese knives will be showcased in Vancouver tonight. "Knifewear" will feature hundreds of them at the Chinatown Experiment on Columbia Street.

Kevin Kent, the founder and owner of the Calgary company, told the Early Edition's Elaine Chau that Japanese knives are not only practical, but also have artistic value.

"The Japanese knife makers use a harder steel, and harder steel means the knife will stay sharp longer. And it means it will stay sharper longer.

"They work better than any other knife you're going to have, and they're all terribly good-looking. They're like usable works of art and a nice link to the past."

A sample of handcrafted Japanese knives procured and sold by Knifewear. (Elaine Chau)

Japanese blacksmiths use 100-year-old techniques to craft the knives. Many of them have been at it for decades, and dedicate their lives to making perfect knives.

The level of artisanship involved means that the knives tend to be more expensive, ranging from just under $100, to thousands of dollars.

In recent years, they have found great popularity with people in the restaurant industry, but Kent says many of his clients are just home cooks too. He says they have a way of encouraging people to channel their inner chef.

"If it looks really cool, and you're excited about your knife, you're actually going to look forward to cooking more, and you're going to have a greater time in the kitchen.

"Cooking is rock'n'roll, and we supply the leather pants of rock'n'roll, which are Japanese kitchen knives."

"Knifewear" opens at the Chinatown Experiment tonight. The pop-up shop will be up until July 27.