The very best Hori Hori knife 2023

Hori Hori knife in sheath on a person kneeling next to a firepit

Barebones Living Hori Hori knife

Barebones Living took the iconic Hori Hori and transformed it into a woodsman’s tool. The Hori Hori Ultimate is a tough multi-purpose tool that can be used in the backyard, camping, bushcrafting. The Barebones Living Hori Hori knife is made with a smooth and durable walnut handle, and a heat-tempered 6 ¾” pointed full tang blade that is rust-resistant. The pommel base can be used to pound in tent stakes, and the doubled edge can be used to saw through branches or whittle kindling. The added twine cutter doubles as a bottle opener, so you can enjoy a refreshing beverage after a hard day’s work.

To protect the blade and maintain its sharpness, it comes with a sheath made of 900D polyester with an interior liner. The stainless steel belt clip allows for easy carrying and accessibility, and the strong handle strap prevents the blade from slipping or moving. The open-end design allows for easy cleaning and prevents soil buildup, ensuring that the blade will remain sharp for years of continued use. The sheath is accented with full-grain leather and copper to complement the rest of the Barebones Living Woodsman Collection. This is quite the heavy duty knife for true versatility.


Things you want in a Hori Hori knife

Stainless steel blade

4CR13 stainless steel has been heat-treated and has excellent corrosion resistance as well as good polishing and resharpening properties, which are both important qualities for a hard-working woodsman tool.

  1. Durability: Stainless steel is a strong and durable material that can withstand regular use and wear and tear. A stainless steel Hori Hori knife blade is less likely to break or become damaged compared to a blade made from a softer material. A full tang knife blade extends fully through the handle in length and width, making the knife even more durable.
  2. Corrosion resistance: Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, meaning it won’t rust or tarnish even when exposed to moisture. You want this in a gardening tool that is used outside that’s always in contact with water and soil.
  3. Ease of maintenance: Because stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and easy to clean, a Hori Hori knife with a stainless steel blade is easier to maintain and care for compared to a blade made from a different material.
  4. Aesthetics: Stainless steel has a sleek and modern appearance, which some gardeners may prefer.

Concave blade

  1. Increased digging power: The concave shape of the blade allows it to cut through roots and soil more easily, making it easier to dig and plant.
  2. Enhanced weeding ability: The concave shape of the blade allows it to grab and pull weeds more effectively, making it a useful tool for weeding tasks.
  3. Greater soil retention: The concave shape of the blade allows it to hold more soil when digging, which can be helpful when transplanting plants or seedlings.
  4. More efficient planting: The concave shape of the blade allows it to create a precise and defined planting hole, which can be helpful when planting bulbs or small seeds.

Wooden handle

Walnut is dense and smooth, known for its density and fine, straight grain, it lends a high-end feel to the Hori Hori handle without being too heavy.

  1. Comfort: Wood is a natural material that is comfortable to hold and use for extended periods of time. This can be especially important for gardeners who spend a lot of time using their Hori Hori knife.
  2. Aesthetics: Wooden handles have a natural, rustic appearance that may be preferred by some gardeners.
  3. Durability: While wooden handles may not be as durable as handles made from other materials, they can still be long-lasting and withstand regular use if properly cared for.
  4. Eco-friendliness: Wooden handles are a natural, renewable resource that can be more environmentally friendly compared to plastic handles. We could use a little less plastic in our lives.

What is a Hori Hori knife?

Its a combination of a trowel and a knife, with a pointed tip for digging and planting, and a serrated edge for cutting through roots and tough plants. The handle often has a depth gauge and a ruler marked in centimeters and inches. The markings make it useful for measuring planting depths and distances. It’s a popular tool among gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts because of its versatility and durability.

The Hori Hori was first used in Japan for the careful and methodical excavation of plants such as Sansai in high elevation mountains. Hori Hori translates to “dig dig,” a perfect nod to the original and most common use.

Brief history of the tool

The word “Hori Hori” comes from the Japanese words “hori” meaning “to dig,” and “horu” meaning “to dig out.” The Japanese gardening knife was traditionally made with a wooden handle and a steel blade. It’s helpful for digging, planting, weeding, and cultivating soil. In recent years, this knife has gained popularity among gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts in other parts of the world. Now it’s commonly available in a variety of materials and designs.

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Uses and benefits of a Hori Hori knife

The Hori Hori knife is a versatile tool that is useful for a variety of gardening and outdoor tasks. Some of the most popular uses include:

Digging and planting in gardens

The pointed tip of the knife allows for precise digging and planting. Cut through roots and tough plants with the serrated edge.

Weeding and cultivating soil

Dig around weeds to remove them without disturbing nearby plants. Cultivate and aerate the soli with the flat edge.

Measuring depth

The handles often include a depth gauge and a ruler marked in centimeters and inches, making it easy to measure planting depths and distances.

The benefits of using one include its versatility, durability, and the precision it allows for when performing gardening tasks. It’ll save you time and effort compared to using separate tools for different tasks.

How to Use a Hori Hori Knife

Basic techniques for using the knife effectively

To use a Hori Hori knife effectively, it is important to hold the knife properly and use the right techniques for the task at hand. Some basic techniques include:

  1. Hold the knife with a firm grip. Use your dominant hand to hold the handle and your other hand to support the blade.
  2. For tasks that require precision, such as planting seeds or removing weeds, hold the knife with the blade facing downward and use the tip of the blade. Make small, controlled movements.
  3. For tasks that require more force, such as cutting through roots or small branches, hold the knife with the blade facing upward. Use the serrated edge to saw back and forth.
  4. When using the knife to dig, start by using the tip to make a small hole, then use the flat edge to gently loosen the soil around the hole.
  5. To avoid damaging the blade, avoid using the knife to pry or lever heavy objects, and use the flat edge of the blade to chop or cut rather than the tip.

Tips for maintaining and caring for the knife

To keep your Hori Hori knife in good condition and extend its lifespan, it is important to properly maintain and care for the tool. Some tips for maintaining and caring for your knife:

Store inside

Knives should not be left outside for extended periods of time. Rust and unnecessary wear and tear may result from prolonged exposure to wet conditions. We recommend storing your garden tools indoors after use to extend their life and avoid the need to buy a replacement.

Clean the knife after each use

Wipe the blade and handle clean with a damp cloth. Use a soft brush to remove any dirt or debris from the serrated edge.

Oil the knife

Apply a thin coat of protective oil after each use. Wipe clean of dirt, water, and fingerprints regularly. Use a medium to fine file to straighten out any larger dings or nicks in the blade.

Sharpen the blade regularly

Over time, the blade of a Hori Hori knife can become dull. It’ll make it less effective for cutting and digging. To keep the blade sharp, use a medium sharpening disk or stone.

Protect the blade

To prevent the blade from damage, cover it with a sheath or blade guard to when not in use and store in a dry place.

Alternative Uses for a Hori Hori Knife

Some alternative uses for a Hori Hori knife:

  • Creating furrows for planting seeds: The pointed tip can be used to make shallow furrows in the soil. That makes it easier to plant seeds in straight, evenly spaced rows.
  • Cutting through small branches and twigs: The serrated edge can be used to saw through small branches and twigs, making it a useful tool for pruning and trimming plants.
  • Chopping vegetables: The flat edge can be used to chop vegetables, making it a useful tool for outdoor cooking and camping.
  • Using as a makeshift screwdriver or pry bar: The pointed tip can be used to loosen screws or pry open tight-fitting objects, making it a useful tool in a pinch.