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Japanese Gardening Knives for a Better Experience

The more you expand your arsenal of garden tools, the more possibilities you get. Plants are delicate and require special attention with using the right equipment. When cutting, it’s best to use a special gardening knife instead of a regular knife or scissors. Perhaps it isn’t as famous as the Swiss Army knife, but the Japanese gardening knife is highly regarded by gardeners worldwide.

Also known as hori hori (the Japanese word for dig), this tool has long been a gardening staple. Its unique design allows you to use it for different tasks with equal success. Transplanting plants? No problem. Measuring soil depth? Likewise. Most often, they’re used for cutting problematic roots, all kinds of plants, and digging. You can use various tools for these purposes, of course, but the hori hori does it all, and then some. Visit to learn more.

A Brief Description

Some people know the hori hori under the names “weeding knife”  or “soil knife”. They all refer to the same multipurpose Japanese tool. For those interested in etymology, this one’s quite funny: you probably won’t notice it when reading, but if you say the words hori hori out loud, you’ll hear the sound of digging. Sometimes onomatopoeia can yield some interesting names, that’s for sure.

The design of this knife makes it the perfect cutting tool for any garden plant.  Handles and blades come in different sizes, so the total length varies between 11 and 15 inches. Its stainless steel or carbon blade has a mirror finish when polished, adding to its attractive look. Apart from being an eye-catcher, it’s also highly functional. One side is razor-sharp for cutting, while the other’s serrated for sawing.

The blade’s concave shape, along with the comfortable, smooth handle, allows you to perform all kinds of work in the garden for hours on end. Other tools might have rough handles that give you blisters after only a few minutes, but not the hori hori. It’s also very comforting knowing you can rely on a knife intended for gardening purposes only instead of looking for a new knife each time.

A Multipurpose Tool

The main draw of Japanese gardening knives is their boundless versatility.  If you’re a longtime gardener, you’re probably familiar with the struggle of sawing thick roots or cutting through weeds. Perhaps you’ve done it with old, blunt blades, wishing you had that ultra-sharp blade that cuts through everything and anything. For this reason, those who come across the hori hori usually stick with it for good.

This knife allows you to cut all kinds of things: stems, weeds, twine, fertilizer bags, and so on. As for thicker staff, it saws branches and roots with no problem at all. Of course, in the case of a thicker root, you might have to work harder, but then you’d probably use a saw anyway. Plant transplantation is a breeze with these cutters: it makes the whole process way faster. You can also make troughs for seeds or measure the depth of the soil before planting.

Maintenance Tips

Taking care of your hori hori doesn’t require much effort, yet it’s necessary if you want it to last longer. You can do a few easy things to ensure your knife’s always in top working condition.

The obvious one is cleaning the blade after use. Sometimes it’s enough to remove bits and pieces with your fingers, but other times you’ll need to scrub harder. Before you store your knife, it’s always good to use a well-oiled rag for wiping. Sheathing it is also highly recommended to protect it from air pollution. Eventually, you’ll have to sharpen the blade, depending on how often you use it.  People use linseed oil, mineral oil, or even regular cooking olive oil to preserve the handle.

Things to Have in Mind

Maybe at first glance, a gardening knife seems like something that doesn’t need too much research before buying. It’s a knife, you cut with it, and you’re done? Right? Well, there are a few more details involved that are worth considering. Hori hori knives have various features, so it helps to spend some time studying before you decide what to buy.

Let’s start with the handle. You need something durable that can withstand a lot of gardening work, so it’s best to go with bamboo or riveted wood. These two are top picks for experienced gardeners and are also very comfortable to hold. You should avoid plastic handles as they could easily crack during more challenging tasks. Some knives have resin handles, which are extremely durable.

Next, you should consider the most crucial part: the blade. As we said, the knife should have two different edges (serrated and sharp) to get the best results. Click here to read more. The former should have large teeth; otherwise, it won’t cut thick roots, twigs, and weeds. As for shape, blades are either concave or flat. The concave variant is more versatile, although flat blades won’t leave you disappointed either.

One useful thing that knife shoppers often overlook is measurement markings. Why use a knife and a ruler for your garden when you can have both in a single tool? The blade is a perfect measuring device, and the markings will help you dig just the right hole for your seeds.

The material of the blade is way more important than you might think. The steel quality can vary a lot, and stainless steel remains at the top of the list. It’s easy to sharpen, it doesn’t rust, and it looks very appealing. Needless to say, the tip should be very sharp and pointy.  Sharpening should be done after a year or so, not when you buy the knife.

A quality hori hori is easy to find once you know what to look for. This well-balanced, comfortable, and razor-sharp knife will boost your gardening to a new level and make you a confident gardener who can tackle any issue. Even working in the sunlight will feel like a breeze.


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About the Author

Kaya Wittenburg

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Kaya Wittenburg is the Founder and CEO of Sky Five Properties. Since the age of 10, real estate has been deeply ingrained into his thoughts. With world-class negotiation and deal-making skills, he brings a highly impactful presence into every transaction that he touches.

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