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Moritaka strikes again

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maxim

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One of my first Japanese knives was from Moritaka.
I have a Petty, Gyuto and Nakiri.
I have heard of the problem Dave mentioned but i never had it on my Moritakes. I have seen the problem on some of my customers knives.
Like Dave mentions they are just not fixable !! If you have that hole in your knife you have to grind behind it to remove that hole completely.
So i thought i was pretty lucky because all of mine 3 Moritakas did not had that issues.
Until recently :scared4:
I used my Moritakas a lot, so i probably used 2 or 3 mm of my knifes, and guess what the hole problem showed up after that :sad0:
So just to remind you all, that hole problem is real on Moritakas and it can even show up after you have used your knife for some time !!
 

Dave Martell

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Wow I'm shocked - not. :D

I just recently had two more problem Moritakas come through that I refused to work on. One of these was very clearly an issue but the other one was more hidden like your knife.

Sorry to hear that you got hit with this Maksim but you're not alone.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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I have seen some of these 'holes' on Watanabe or whoever made those knives. My understanding they are grinding dips from a grinding wheel - they are often at the heel (from wobbling the blade or plunge it unevenly). These 'dips' can be right at the edge, or above the edge, like in Maxim's case. If you ever flattened a yanagi, you would know exactly what I am talking about.

These dips can be concealed with finish, so one won't see them until a knife is on the stones. To remove these dips entirely, a knife has to be thinned considerably and sometimes height reduced. Sometiemes, a yanagi has to be trashed because of that - Dave, remember that Tanaka yanagi you were working on?

I won't be very diplomatic saying it is poor workmanship rather than minor imperfections, and sending out knives like these, a maker assumes that public is uneducated on knives and won't catch the defect. It doesn't render the knife unusable though, but it does diminish its value.

I yet again tip my hat to Shigefusa, as I never seen a knife from them that had a similar issue, and probably never will.

M
 

maxim

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Yes, like you Marko i have seen that problem on some other knives too, even on stamped Germans.
 

jmfreeman35

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What does Moritaka have to say about it? I would think they would stand behind then workmanship and correct it if something is wrong?

I have two moritakas, 150 petty and the new KS, and so far so good. But I'm not going to be a happy man if i come across this issue down the road...
 

Dave Martell

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What does Moritaka have to say about it? I would think they would stand behind then workmanship and correct it if something is wrong?

I have two moritakas, 150 petty and the new KS, and so far so good. But I'm not going to be a happy man if i come across this issue down the road...

I can't point you to the exact threads but back on KF it was noted multiple times that members had contacted Moritaka directly and the response was initially denial then later acknowledgement, however, the acknowledgment came with a refusal to do anything about the problem....something along the lines of, "we know that this happens but it's not a problem - this is normal" or something to that effect.

Also, the US retailer has been told about this issue numerous times yet (in my opinion) has refused to accept it as fact.

Anyone buying these knives is rolling craps.....
 

Sarge

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I had one for two years and never had any issues with holes. I did an incredible amount of thinning and certainly took off over 2-3mm from the edge. There was a section that perhaps could have had an issue that was far more ground down than than the rest of the knife, but I noticed it early in the thinning process and brought things into line with it. It could be that my experiences were an exception in that the potential hole was small and I never had problems. I wouldn't buy a Moritaka again, but that has to do with the overly reactive cladding, and it being a clad knife to begin with.

I loved that knife and still miss certain aspects of it, but with as many other knives there are out there it just isn't worth the potential problems to buy one in my humble opinion.

Although when I did gamble I played craps and always came out on top, but I still won't be buying one again.
 

jmfreeman35

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Awesome. I can't believe that they know this is going on, yet refuse to do anything about it.

Frankly, I'm rather ticked off that I am supporting a company that knows they are putting out a flawed product and doesnt care...I wish did a little more research before picking up my moritakas...
 

olpappy

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I want to point out that this problem can occur on any knife from any maker. As others have noted this has been also observed on other knives, yanagis, German stamped knives... Unless the knifemaker grinds each knife perfectly every time. Finish polishing can certainly hide it, but basically I don't think there is going to be any western style knife polished with a sanding belt or grinding wheel that doesn't have small variations in the surface that would show up if you ground it against a flat stone. Usually the dips should not be so deep that they would affect the edge when sharpening.

The fact that this has been noted more frequently with Moritaka doesn't reflect well on them, but I would characterize this as a factor present in all knives, I have thinned many gyutos and inevitably when you put the side of a blade on the stones you will see higher and lower spots, all knives have this to some degree. It is a matter of degree, obviously if the hole is deep enough to affect the edge it is a problem. Most yanagi that you try to flatten will have this problem also, due to machine grinding. It is only some of the high priced yanagis that have more steps of hand finishing that will have a flat blade road from the maker, these represent the exception rather than the rule.
 

tk59

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I want to point out that this problem can occur on any knife from any maker...
Maybe. At this point, I've handled hundreds of knives looking for problems of this nature and I'm pretty good at it. I've seen lots of little waves and dips but only a couple where the edge might be affected. One was an early DTITK and the other was a lower line Watanabe. Without having ever seen a Moritaka, it sounds to me that they have a problem.
 

labor of love

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I purchased a moritaka ks recently. As far as I can tell it doesn't have any issues at all with the grind. I figured with all the commotion this caused in the past moritaka would've gotten its act together by now. I'll never get another moritaka I was just too intrigued not to check out the ks. I'm curious if anybody has come across newly produced moritakas with this defect?
 

jmfreeman35

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Yes sir I have but I haven't seen this KS clone yet so you might get lucky with the craps table. :)
Thats what im hoping for at this point...

when i first got it, it did have some serious grinding issues, but i was able to solve that problem with some time on the stones. Only time will tell if more serious issue come up.
 

maxim

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I think the problem here is mistaken with uneven grind, Its not !
It is not like on Yanagis or wide bevel knives that have uneven grinds or low spots. That you can fix.
But problem with Moritake is more complex.
It is like the hard steel (hagane) on the knife is bend in and if you try flatten the bevel that spot get more steel removal and creates a big hole in the edge.

On Yanagis or other knives there are just low spots that can be fixed with flattening, and they are usually only on cladding.
 

knyfeknerd

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I originally wanted a moritaka kiritsuke 270 around xmas time last year, but US retailer was out of stock. I settled for the Doi instead, which in hindsight was probably a better decision. Lucky me!
After seeing this thread, I will probably stay away from them.
 

Dave Martell

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I think the problem here is mistaken with uneven grind, Its not !
It is not like on Yanagis or wide bevel knives that have uneven grinds or low spots. That you can fix.
But problem with Moritake is more complex.
It is like the hard steel (hagane) on the knife is bend in and if you try flatten the bevel that spot get more steel removal and creates a big hole in the edge.

On Yanagis or other knives there are just low spots that can be fixed with flattening, and they are usually only on cladding.

EXACTLY!
 

jmfreeman35

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Yah that was the problem with mine, very uneven grinding. That I can live with/fix, but holes forming on the edge is a whole another story
 

dav

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Well I purchased 2 Moritaka's as my first knives without realising the potential problems, I must admit after reading about the "issues" I though bugger (English saying there lol) spent a decent amount and may have made a poor choice anyway I've had the square to both of them - one a supreme petty which seems fine and the second a supreme damascus gyuto again no problems so maybe I just got lucky I must admit though that the damascus gyuto's finish and level of sharpness out of the box was far superior to the supreme with Kurouchi finish which was blunt OOTB whereas the supreme damascus was extremely sharp (could shave with ease) and as said finish of blade was fine maybe this series is better finished?

It seems a shame that a maker with such a strong heritage seems to have let things slip, I seem to have been lucky but due to all the negative feedback from this forum I'll stear clear in the future which is a shame as the damascus gyuto is a lovely looking knife and from my limited experience cuts and performs superbly.
 

sw2geeks

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I have been pretty happy with both of mine. But they both were custom order.
 

FinkPloyd

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I wish someone would post a picture with arrows pointing to trouble zones. Although your explanations are great, I still can't quite visualize the problem.
 

Eamon Burke

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I think the problem here is mistaken with uneven grind, Its not !
It is not like on Yanagis or wide bevel knives that have uneven grinds or low spots. That you can fix.
But problem with Moritake is more complex.
It is like the hard steel (hagane) on the knife is bend in and if you try flatten the bevel that spot get more steel removal and creates a big hole in the edge.

On Yanagis or other knives there are just low spots that can be fixed with flattening, and they are usually only on cladding.


Um. Holy crap. That is a MAJOR defect!!

I have learned to sharpen overground knives, the bevel looks nasty and it takes some extra concentration, but as long as your stone contact area is larger than the overgrind you are fine. I've seen overgrinds on all types and makes of knives. Of all the knives I've seen 3 or more of, the only brand/maker with a spotless record in my experience has been Suisin and Rodrigue. I'm sure there are several makers who have a record like that, but I haven't seen many of their knives. The truth is, it's not the end of the world, and often is more cosmetic.

This, however. Sounds like a nightmare situation!! I remember reading his letter about how he doesn't think that it will affect the way Japanese cooks use the knives because they use a slicing motion. But how on Earth do these ever get forged? Aren't there quality checks at any point??

I've been fortunate enough to have never been sent a troublesome Moritaka for sharpening...maybe no Moritakas?? I think the word is out in the US about this issue.
 

G-rat

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Um. Holy crap. That is a MAJOR defect!!

I have learned to sharpen overground knives, the bevel looks nasty and it takes some extra concentration, but as long as your stone contact area is larger than the overgrind you are fine.
Can you explain what this means in more detail?
 

NO ChoP!

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IMO, Moritaka sells ten fold the knives Watanabe sells, so if there is ten times the problems, it seems normal to me...

I have several, including a custom ordered 300 yanagi. I have sharpened it many, many times...zero issues.

Reminds me of the Taurus handgun...guy tells me they send back two Taurus for one of every other gun combined...then goes on to tell me 75% of what they sell is Taurus!!!! Hello?
 

Eamon Burke

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IMO, Moritaka sells ten fold the knives Watanabe sells, so if there is ten times the problems, it seems normal to me...

I have several, including a custom ordered 300 yanagi. I have sharpened it many, many times...zero issues.

Reminds me of the Taurus handgun...guy tells me they send back two Taurus for one of every other gun combined...then goes on to tell me 75% of what they sell is Taurus!!!! Hello?
I don't see why these knives would ever even get to the end of the process of being made, much less leave the shop. This is not like an "Oops, didn't notice that", they genuinely do not feel it is an issue worth addressing, as stated in the email response the maker sent out! It's his business, he can run it how he likes; I just don't see how a giant warp in the core steel is acceptable. It's like a chef saying that he's really busy and serves hundreds of people a day, sometimes a broken sauce gets put on a plate, no big deal, my customers mix it with the starch anyways. It's a problem you can spot way before it even gets finished, and shouldn't be up to par for QC.
 

SpikeC

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If you like the Shun wavy jobbies you would not have a problem!
 

Johnny.B.Good

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I wish someone would post a picture with arrows pointing to trouble zones. Although your explanations are great, I still can't quite visualize the problem.
There was a long thread about this issue posted here last summer, including this illustration of this problem.

Not sure that the experts all agree this accurately depicts the problem or not.
 

Marko Tsourkan

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Yes, that is what a 'hole' or a 'dip' looks like. You will notice it when your edge doesn't hit the stone, while you sharpen. It's basically an overgrind. It can be at the edge or above it - hell, it can be anywhere on the blade, depending how sloppy the person grinding it is.

overgrind-1.jpg

M
 

Dave Martell

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IMO, Moritaka sells ten fold the knives Watanabe sells, so if there is ten times the problems, it seems normal to me...

I have several, including a custom ordered 300 yanagi. I have sharpened it many, many times...zero issues.

Reminds me of the Taurus handgun...guy tells me they send back two Taurus for one of every other gun combined...then goes on to tell me 75% of what they sell is Taurus!!!! Hello?

I agree with your thinking 100% but Moritaka was passing their worst examples to us when they were selling less than 10 knives a year in the USA. Early on I saw some very nice work from them that was one off custom stuff but their village blacksmith models have always been clunky>junky from day 1. And for the record their not a volume knife making company, they're a tiny little back alley blacksmith who jump between fixing jackhammer bits to making these knives. Any top quality workmanship that the family produced in the realm of swordmaking has evidently long passed.
 
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