RJ Martin "Chef Kozuka"


Gold Member
Nov 2, 1998
Being impressed with RJ Martin's 4" Kozuka (elegant grind lines, rayskin and cord-wrapped handle, scary sharp) I had him start on a longer, more kitchen-friendly version. Working with Mr. Martin is a pleasure, and he puts sincere thought into the specific applications for which the knife is intended.

The knife came with an inside the pocket kydex sheath, slightly flanged at the opening for easy resheathing (as opposed to his very origional mahogany/carbon fiber/rare earth magnet sheath, due to the bacterial concerns of a commercial kitchen), extra-epoxied handle (again, to eliminate those nasty little places for food to hide), chisel ground just under 6" blade.

The blade is 0.75" tall, resembling a chisel ground fillet knife (albeit a very sturdy one). The handle, being cord wrapped, has a different feel to it than the average fillet knife. The position of the knife in the hand is very apparent due to this wrapping.

In the past week the knife has been a constant companion in the kitchen. 10# salmon to 12oz trout to sliced tomatoes are all easy prey. The thin, long profile of the knife make it very useful for many kitchen tasks (though at a 'pocketable' 6" blade size it does not have the stroke for many tasks) and the incredible strength of the blade make it unyielding. Split and boned 12 roasted duck in record time.

The chisel ground A-2 edge holds very well and is brought back to razor quite easily. There are two grinds on the blade, one on the edge and one curving across the top, making a thin yet sturdy point. Very well done, absolutely perfect curves.

Things seem to come in waves and sure enough I received the long awaited Rinaldi TKK and the Martin 'Chef Kozuka' several days apart.
The two knifes are both of incredible quality, in two different genre.

The TKK blade is ATS-34 @ 1.25" tall, whereas the Martin is A-2 @ 0.75". Other varibles may be involved but I seem to be able to get the chisel ground A-2 Kozuka sharper than the ATS-34 of the TKK. It also responds better to a smooth steel.

The TKK had the highest "Wow!" factor of any knife shown around the kitchen, yet at this point I find myself clipping in the Kozuka every morning. The subjective feeling is that nothing will stop this knife. Would that I could carry the two knives, but alas, my pants would fall down...

If my regime involved more vegetable work (the kozuka is a silly thing to dice a large onion with) the TKK's utility would increase; but with the breaking down of meat and fish, opening boxes, testing the temperature of food, loosening creme caramel before unmolding, etc,etc. the Kozuka gets the most use.

Also, even with 15 washes a day, and damp back into the sheath, not one sign of any type of problems with the A-2 steel in 10 days of use.

Mr. Martin, a great knife...I'm REALLY looking forward to the Q38 now...!


[This message has been edited by Chefget (edited 01 March 1999).]
Any chance of some pictures of these knives?? Would like to see them if possible.
Chef, Thanks for the review. I have held RJ's Kozuka and at first impression I was surprised at what a compact package it was, wishing it was a little larger. DUH- RJ is of course a custom maker and of course would be open to suggestion. I guess I haven't dealt with enough custom knives enough to keep this in mind. Yours sounds like an awesome specimen. What else besides the smooth steel do you use to sharpen it?
Chef, can you post a pic? I've handled RJ Martins knives before and I want one! But, maybe because he only lives 1 1/2 hrs away from me, I've always postponed the money for a purchase as I've always felt that I could get one. I've wanted a Kuzoka for a while and the extra length you got seems to be my ticket
! Is your's the traditional japanese grind or the americanized version? How much of a curve (belly) is in the blade? How thick is the steel? Did you have a knot made as a guard as is it the flat wrap?

Please let me know, also if not to sensative what was the price?

CHEFGET: Very glad to hear that our creation is serving as intended. I have to admit, I was a little unsure whether you liked the chisel grind after it wandered thru the first tomato-either your wrist adjusted, or you're not cutting vegetables with it!!

I just threw a pic into my website, in the "NEW MODELS" page, down under the WASABI. Note, this isn't a new model-at least not yet. I probably need to add a "customer designed" page-after the ECCKS show, perhaps.

Duck and creme caramel, eh? I've got to visit your restaurant!

RJ Martin