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Moritaka - how long?

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Dave Martell

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I wonder how long will this go on - how many more people I'll have to disappoint with the news that their knife is no good? How long will these knives continue to be sold here?

As you might be able to guess I just got another bad one in where I had to tell another customer that I can't work on his knife. Another $150 down the crapper for the customer.....another $150 in the bank for the vendor.
 

Lefty

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I'm not saying this to cause any trouble, but perhaps we can write a polite letter on behalf of ALL OF US, to Akiko to express our concerns. I was close to getting a knife made a while back, and Akiko was great to deal with.
Is there a chance that the problem areas are going unnoticed? I really don't think Moritaka is trying to rip anyone off.
 

WildBoar

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Hopefully they have some recourse with the vendor. It's good of you to be brutally honest with the customer like that vs trying unsuccessfully to fix/ tune, which would result in their inability to return the knife.
 

Lefty

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Dave, could you take a 210 Moritaka gyuto with this issue and bring the entire edge towards the spine, turning it into a suji-esque knife?
I realize that would be a pain, but I'm just wondering if they are at all salvageable. Better to have a $150 Moritaka suji, than a $150 cheese knife.
 

mikemac

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I think it depends on how much core steel is inserted in the cladding...there is a picture of the process on Moritaka's web site, and while I'm sure it varies, every time I've see that process (others do it to, nothing wrong with it) it looks like the core is about 1/4th the size od the cladding (i.e. 1/2" piece of core inserted into 2" piece opf cladding)
 

Cadillac J

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Dave, from what I always interpreted from your 'hole in the edge' explanation was that the problem seemed to be fixable if you had the time/patience to grind enough off to get 'past' the over-grind.

Is this a false assumption?
 

Lefty

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Great point, Mike!
You would definitely run into a core steel issue with my potential "solution".
It would likely be a case by case...case(?)
 

mikemac

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Oh yeah...just not sure how much...if the spine to edge is 50mm, does core steel extend up from the edge 10mm?, 20mm? who knows. I think you could sand the choil, and then force a quick patina to see if you identify core (I'm really guessing)...but the real point is somebody bought a $150 knife and immediately faces a $50 - $100 or ?? repair job to have a chunk of their knife ground down.

For those of you new to the world of knife knuts...this is an old issue, so apparently the maker chooses to deny or ignore the flaw, and it is a flaw that even experienced knife knuts cannot usually detect.
 

Lefty

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I would imagine so, but has anyone written Akiko and the crew to mention the issue?
 

Dave Martell

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On this knife I have here now the edge is wavy along it's length which is a problem more with sloppy work but this is fixable, the real problem lies in just above the edge where (both sides) have deep grinds into the bevels. It's real tricky on this knife because it's almost OK for one touch up sharpening job but I'd guarantee that after this any and all subsequent sharpening work will expose the hole more and more. The heal is low hanging but isn't at all the issue, it's the grinds on the bevels on the side of the knife.

FWIW, going to Moritaka and/or their US vendors will do no good, I've been there and done that.

Hey maybe I should ask for folks to send me every Moritaka that's ever been sold in the US so that I can inspect them all and then gather all of the defective ones together and then ask the vendor for a return? Maybe then they'll listen?
 

JohnnyChance

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I have a CCK 1303 that is overground in one section. When new, almost the entire length of the blade made contact with the board, except for a little bit at the heel and tip. Now there is a good inch-plus in the middle of the edge that does not make contact with the board. I have only sharpened it a few times. You can't see it other than where it doesnt make contact with the board, but once you know it is there you can feel the overground section as well. But at least it was $35 and not $150.
 

Dave Martell

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I wish this didn't bother me so much and I didn't feel the need to make these posts, I'm just so sick of having to tell another person that I can't fix their new knife. Oh and to make matters worse I won't add to their problems so I won't charge to return ship it back to them. Imagine how much money I've lost in postal fees alone, if I told you how much I've lost in being burnt by working on these knives you'd shudder. I'm just tired of this whole thing with them.
 

mhlee

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I wish this didn't bother me so much and I didn't feel the need to make these posts, I'm just so sick of having to tell another person that I can't fix their new knife. Oh and to make matters worse I won't add to their problems so I won't charge to return ship it back to them. Imagine how much money I've lost in postal fees alone, if I told you how much I've lost in being burnt by working on these knives you'd shudder. I'm just tired of this whole thing with them.
I'm sure your customers REALLY appreciate you not charging return shipping, but over the course of time, that's a HUGE expense. (I know from receiving several packages from you and sending knives by mail.)

Perhaps you could return their knives by regular, non-priority mail, instead of shipping them back for free?
 

Mattias504

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You should just make it known that you won't deal with Moritaka anymore. Sounds like a money hole draining away....
 

bikehunter

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FWIW, going to Moritaka and/or their US vendors will do no good, I've been there and done that.
So...What does "will do no good" mean, exactly? Akiko just tells you to go piss up a rope, or what? A post like this on the forum will clearly have an affect on those who may have been considering a Moritaka. Seems to me more elaboration would be appropriate (maybe you've mentioned this in the past with more details and I missed it)

In the past couple years I've very nearly pulled the trigger on a Moritaka, several times...because of all the glowing praise I'd read. Clearly, I'm now glad I didn't. There has to be some reason for this drop in quality control. Too many orders to spend the time necessary for a quality knife? A major change in the shop...equipment, change of knife maker, short handed? When I was communicating with Moritaka regarding a knife, Akiko was easily the most helpful, and seemingly honest, person I tried to deal with, with regard to handmade Japanese knives. I've seen many posts on various forums, affirming that opinion. Seems like there must be some logical reason for the drop in quality, and it seems odd that you get no positive response from Moritaka. Shrug
 

Cadillac J

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You should just make it known that you won't deal with Moritaka anymore. Sounds like a money hole draining away....
I could of sworn you stopped accepting them for sharpening/fixes over a year ago...no?
 

bieniek

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So...A post like this clearly have an affect on those who may have been considering a Moritaka.
Oh yes they do have affect. I was just going to get one, when i read the last tread where Dave mentioned that "issue" and from then on I prefer to spend my money wiser.
But big respect to you Dave for bringing it up so sharply.
Cannot believe that maker of this reputation is doing that, and doing it continusly.
 

echerub

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Dave's mentioned this issue with Moritakas for quite some time now - and yeah, I could've sworn you weren't taking in Moritakas anymore, Dave...
 

rockbox

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On this knife I have here now the edge is wavy along it's length which is a problem more with sloppy work but this is fixable, the real problem lies in just above the edge where (both sides) have deep grinds into the bevels. It's real tricky on this knife because it's almost OK for one touch up sharpening job but I'd guarantee that after this any and all subsequent sharpening work will expose the hole more and more. The heal is low hanging but isn't at all the issue, it's the grinds on the bevels on the side of the knife.

FWIW, going to Moritaka and/or their US vendors will do no good, I've been there and done that.

Hey maybe I should ask for folks to send me every Moritaka that's ever been sold in the US so that I can inspect them all and then gather all of the defective ones together and then ask the vendor for a return? Maybe then they'll listen?
I don't think most customers really notice or care. Unfortunately, you only get the customers that do. Its kind like buying tools from harbor freight. They aren't that good, but they get the job done most of the time. Unfortunately you get the customer that sends you his harbor freight table saw expecting you to tune it up so it can perform like a Delta.
 

Dave Martell

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I could of sworn you stopped accepting them for sharpening/fixes over a year ago...no?

Yeah I did but started to take them again after seeing a few good ones. I still get some good ones too once in awhile but there's a lot more bad ones out there then good....unfortunately.
 

Dave Martell

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The problem here is that they're being sold at a price point that almost entry level - bang for buck type of thing. People coming into these knives see them as a good deal and snag them up but these are exactly the guys who lack the experience to see the problem hence the maker and seller get away with it.
 

BertMor

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Small solution, not for the knife but you. Why not tell people you will onle accept them on spec and that they need to pay for return postage in advance. This way they can choose if its worth it to them it to send you a knife without knowing in advance if you can actually fix/sharpen it.
 

echerub

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That sounds like a pretty fair way to do it.
 

mikemac

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So...What does "will do no good" mean, exactly? ..... There has to be some reason for this drop in quality control. ....be some logical reason for the drop in quality, and it seems odd that you get no positive response from Moritaka. Shrug
Will do no good means just that....they really just do not acknowledge there is a problem, and trying to discuss it , thru e mail, in two seperate languages has got to be insane, But you have to understand - there is no problem, except with you.

Also - there is no drop in quality control. This is the way it's been for 2 - 3 (??) years. Or more. Like I said, really smart people who are also knife knuts were unable to detect the defect. Dave pointed it out, and then there was an ah-ha moment. And then there was a war. The logical reason you don't get a positive response from Moritaka is simple. In there mind there is no problem.

There are two camps on this issue...Dave, who probably hand sharpens more knives in a month than most of us will ever read about, and who gives freely of his time, energy and knowlegde for the benefit of us knife knuts. And then there is the other camp, which believes that in the world of $3000 - $5000 Carters and Kramers, you can get a fully custom blade for $200. And if you travel to Japan, take pictures and write a glowing blog, you too can get your picture taken with a sword.

A 'vendor' is probably being 'assured' by Moritaka that all knives have been inspected and there is no problem with any of them. And then he looks at it before it gets mailed out , and sure enuf - looks like a knife - no problem.

Truth is, IMHO only, the blades are probably "OK' for what they are...the rustic offerings from a village bladesmith. Just like Takeda. Who doesn't seem to have the same level of QC issues.

(the above is based on my observing the Moritaka conversation go back and forth for several years, and FWIW - the moritaka familiy have always been very nice in their dealings...but there is no problem)

If you want to see Dave's head explode, watch this...Dave - there are no problems with the Moritaka blade - the family is over 700 years old, so no problems. OK!

Love you Dave!
 

sudsy9977

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mikemac......you mean i too can get my picture taken with a sword????????......ryan
 

shankster

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Dave,have you noticed this problem on both the Aogomi/blue super carbon steel and the Aogomi/ blue #2 carbon steel? Does the type of steel make any difference? I haven't noticed any decrease in performance with my Moritakas even after many trips to the stones and months of use and abuse at work.They still get scary sharp,IMHO,and keep a great edge.Should I let this "problem" bother me?
 

sudsy9977

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Dave,have you noticed this problem on both the Aogomi/blue super carbon steel and the Aogomi/ blue #2 carbon steel? Does the type of steel make any difference? I haven't noticed any decrease in performance with my Moritakas even after many trips to the stones and months of use and abuse at work.They still get scary sharp,IMHO,and keep a great edge.Should I let this "problem" bother me?



here lies the problem if u ask me.....would u be mad if you had a moritaka with an issue and u can't tell?....what if the problem is there and you can't spot it?.....ryan
 
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