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Username Post: Moritaka Problems        (Topic#817335)
Master Member Knifenut
03-16-08 11:30.26 - Post#1473806    

    In response to Dave_Martell

Yeah, make the thick parts thinner.

This is always my fall back position when things aren't going well. If nothing else the burr will come quicker on a thin edge at the angle you want ultimately.

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Journeyman KnifeNut!
03-16-08 13:18.13 - Post#1473864    

    In response to Louisianacook

Thanks again both of you. I think that even if there is a small thin section behind the edge it is small enough and shallow enough to work with. Due my stupidity jumping on a train Friday when the door was closing I hurt my knee badly enough that I won't be doing any sharpening for a little while. I'll report back on how it goes. I suspect it will be a pretty nice knife and, even if there's a problem, the questionable area is small and almost at the heel of the knife, which I don't use as much on a petty as the center or tip of the blade.

Master Member KnifeNut!
03-16-08 13:21.58 - Post#1473867    

    In response to Louisianacook


At the risk of this sounding like a plug (well it is) my sharpening device is sensitive to these types of dips and shows them up quite straightforwardly, since the angle is set precisely and unlike hand sharpening doesn't 'average' things out. I've seen this on an American knife maker whose knife I've put an edge on. Assuming the 'dip' isn't too great, this is a problem I can correct to the point of not being detecable, that is eliminated. This keeps you from removing metal in the dip area and just bringing the surface down uniformly, wasting a minimum amount of metal more precisely than you can do it by hand.

If you want to drop by, we'll fix it up and you can leave with a serious edge on it. PM me if you want and bring your other Moritakas.

I like sharpening Moritakas.

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Ken's Corner

Master Member KnifeNut!
03-18-08 13:50.10 - Post#1475548    

    In response to ken123

An early report on the Moritaka 240mm gyuto I received today - Aogami super steel, octagonal rosewood handle, kurouchi finish:

In short, it is as good as any other knife I have, Carter, Takeda, Mizuno, Watanabe, etc. None of the problems referenced here. This was a stock knife - just picked it out and had it shipped. Very happy with it.

I will take some photos tomorrow and post them here. An interesting comparison is the same gyuto by Takeda!

Master Member KnifeNut!
03-18-08 14:27.41 - Post#1475585    

    In response to designdog

Here's a Moritaka nakiri in for sharpening. As you can see the edge does not make contact with the cutting board along it's length. This is the most common problem that I see with these knives.

Note the wavy edge...

In this particular case the customer didn't know about this problem. he got the knife and used the knife but when he went to sharpen it the problem became pretty clear. For me to repair this I have to reshape the "belly" into one continuos edge that contacts the board and then thin the bevels as I'll be up into the blade more and then sharpen it. This repair will cost at least double my fee and will cost the customer lost steel (blade life).


Master Member KnifeNut!
03-19-08 13:22.10 - Post#1476392    

    In response to Dave_Martell

OK folks, I just spent 2.5 hours straightening the edge (twice) to have it reshape itself back into the form you see above (only not so bad). I sat down with a micrometer and did some measuring. I didn't expect it to be exact as it is a hand made knife but to find that the center section of the bevel to be thicker than anywhere else on the knife including right above it is pretty surprising. I thinned this section out and the problem still exists. The belly will get dead straight but the second I go to put an edge on it the thing gets all wavy again.

So, not only is this a good example of the uneven wavy edge Moritaka does but it's also a good example of how the knife has been forged and ground with thin and thick sections along the edge. This knife is a 1st class lemon.

This one has sunk the last nail in the coffin as I've worked on my last Moritaka tonight. I now impose a Moritaka moratorium.


Master Member KnifeNut!
03-19-08 13:56.07 - Post#1476432    

    In response to Dave_Martell

dave....i'll send u out those moritaka's i asked u about sharpening tomorrow ....can't wait to get emback in perfect condition.....ryan
Ryan The Robotic Pig

  • jaybett Said:
this post couldn't be more retarded, even if you put a helmet on it.


Master Member KnifeNut!
01-14-10 05:22.29 - Post#2031265    

    In response to buzzard767

I’m bringing this topic back to life because I just bought and returned a Moritaka Gyuto and wanted to share my experience. I definitely don’t want to breed controversy, nor do I want to stimulate Moritaka-bashing (or any bashing for that matter h ). I’ve taken so much from this forum. This is just an attempt to give something back. And don’t worry, there’s a happy ending (for me at least )!

So, after weeks of reading around here I sprang for my first j-knife, the usual introductory 240mm gyuto, and Moritaka’s cost-benefit seem hard to beat.

As many have said, Akiko Moritaka was wonderful through the ordering process. I would have got it from Mark at CKTG, but he didn’t have the octagonal handle in stock (I went to Korin to try different things and just really fell for the octagonal wa). Moritaka didn’t have it in stock originally, and it was going to take about 1 month to get it, but after a couple days Akiko wrote and said he had just finished one. It shipped super fast, under 1 week.

I inspected it as carefully as my lack of experience with knives allowed me to. Laying the edge perpendicular to the board I noticed a gap in the very back, but so far behind that I didn't bother emailing Moritaka about. It was basically the actual heel sitting a bit lower than the remainder of the back part of edge so I imagined it would go away with regular sharpening and left it at that.

After a few days of using it, especially since I was still practicing the stones on some old SS knives, I decided to send it to Dave in order to, like many have said here, understand what sharp really means. Only hours after putting it in the mail, I get home anxious to play around KF and find this very topic.

I immediately PT'd Dave telling him about the heel issue. Once he got it, he confirmed that my knife suffered from the same problems that he described in his first post here: bird’s beak tip, low sitting heel, and wavy overground edge . Dave, the professional that he is, walked me through each of the problems, how he would try to fix them, but also how they may not go away because of the grinding problems.

Understanding the implications, I told Dave to hold up on the job and wrote Akiko, ready to engage in battle . Silly me. Akiko apologized profusely and agreed to a refund even before I could reply (this was back in December). The day I shipped the knife she issued the paypal refund (including shipping costs). The knife got stuck in customs in Japan and didn’t actually reach them until yesterday. Anyways, I told her I was curious as to what Moritaka would have to say about the issues.

This is what she replied. Note she refers to bird’s beak tip at “1”, low sitting heel as “2” and wavy edge as “3”. Also note that I’m leaving out the apologies parts, so it may sound like a harsh reply when it was actually a very nice one.

  • Akiko Moritaka Said:

As to 1) and 2), our gyuto has a belly the best suited for drawing and cutting. Therefore there're some gap on the tip and heel originally. Japanese get used to do drawing and cutting. But, Soba-kiri (knife) has a dead flat edge because it's used while pressing and cutting. If a customer ask us to make a straight edged knife, we'll make it as a customer wants. Excluding it, we make our original shaped knives.

As to 3), after it's hardened (quenched), it turns somewhat wavy. Therefore we remove distortions with a special hammer after ''Tempering'' process. We make it flat (level off) as far as there is no problem within the practical use. If we make a sword, we must make it dead flat while we put the edge on the glass board and check it. In your knife case, we don't consider it a defect.

We admit it has wavy part. But it is leveled off enough for the practical use. Of course, it can be fixed by hand. It isn't special that hand-made (forged) kitchen knives have somewhat wavy parts because it's hand-made, not machine-made. We've experienced to sharpen other maker's knives have similar conditions.

Even if it has much wavier blade, we sharpen and straighten it with a whetstone while checking and adjusting the conditions of the blade. You may well say ''I fear that once the knife is sharpened, this "wavy" may cause some areas to wear differently than others, creating gaps between the edge and the board when cutting''.

But we're sorry but we have to hand-made our knives considering necessity of work. If we pursue to make perfect knives, we have to spend much more time to check blades. But, as a result, we can't sell our knives at the present prices.

Our goal is, our knives are used by as many customers as possible. We'd like to sell our knives with reasonable price compared with other makers.

So this is my story. I am by no means an experience sharpener, which is why I chose the less risky path of returning the knife. I definitely have no hard feelings. This was hard-to-beat customer service, language barriers and all. Moving forward, I would perhaps order from them again, but only (probably more expensive) customs, so that I could be sure that the knives were thoroughly inspected.

Did I mention that Dave, aside from walking me through this, also didn’t charge me for shipping the knife back?
Master Member KnifeNut!
01-14-10 06:19.30 - Post#2031310    

    In response to dreamsignals

I'm so glad to hear that this worked out for you. Obviously Moritaka provided great customer service even in the case where they don't really see anything wrong with the knife, what more can you ask? I'm also glad that you took the time to write about your experience, this can only help future customers make informed decisions.

It does still appear that Moritaka doesn't fully comprehend the problem enitirely. This is likely a language barrier problem but I can't help but wonder why they can't see what is so plain to me?

The issues of wavyness along the sides of the knife isn't really the problem at all. true, the overgrinds of the bevels along the sides are part of the problem but not the wavy shape of the blade which is very normal for this type of knife. The greatest problem that I see is that the edge doesn't make contact with the cutting board along it's length. This is seen in a bird's beak tip, a low hanging heal, and a roller coaster belly grind. All of these problems might not be an issue if it weren't then for the overgrinds on the bevels (side of the knife) because if you work out the belly issues and then sharpen from the sides (obviously) the overgrinds come into play presenting "holes" which then return to roller coaster belly, low hanging heal, and brid's beak tip. This is a problem that new knifemaker's fall pray to and one that they have to overcome unless they don't make knives that work with cutting boards. It's a round and around problem that won't stop until you grind up past the overgrinds which just doesn't work.

At present I'm still seeing a great number of Moritaka knives made sub-standard in the grind department. I've seen some nicely ground knives from them as well. Seems like someone knows what they're doing and someone else needs some OJT.

BTW, to test for this, do two things...

1. Stand the knife up on it's edge on a flat surface and look between the edge and surface and inspect for gaps. Putting a light behind the knife will help see gaps. Don't use a cutting board for this test, the knife will likely dig in and disguise the problem.

2. "Look down the barrel"

Holding the knife with the tip around even ehight with your nose, edge up, handle away sight down the edge. You will have to slightly move the knife to your right or left to be able to see the entire length at once, which is important. This visual inspection will show you everything regarding how the blade is ground with regards to belly. If you see a heal not perfectly aligned or a wavy roller coaster then your Moritaka is suspect.

In case anyone is wondering this is the only maker I ever see with this problem aside from cheap knives like Chinese yanagis.

(BTW- This is something that you should do on a regular basis if you sharpen your own knives as you can check to make sure that you're not flattening out sectins or creating a bird's beak, etc.)

I hope that everyone can understand that I'm sharing what I've seen to educate - not bash a company.


Master Member KnifeNut!
01-14-10 07:14.08 - Post#2031363    

    In response to Dave_Martell

I guess I got lucky with my Chukabocho. May be because it was their top line.
It's one of the hardest blades I have, and I do have some really hard stuff in the kitchen.
Fit and finish are definitely comparable to Takeda, but bevels were not ground even.
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