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Moritaka Set

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:02 pm

Hi Mark:

I have previously ordered some MAC knives for my daughter from you.

My wife and I are after some new knives for us. I am looking at various Japanese knives. We currently have set of Henkel 4 Stars that we got for a wedding present some 30 years ago. We tend to use the 6 inch kitchen knife, the 8 inch chef knife and the paring knife the most. We also have a 8 inch and 10 inch cooks knife, but these get used a lot less.

I have been looking at the Moritaka knives - they look pretty nice and seem to be well priced. It is important to us that we get a 'set' , rather than individual knives from several different makers.

I was thinking a 165 mm nakiri, a 170 santuko, a 130 mm petty, a 210 mm gyuto and either a 240 0r 270 mm yanagi should cover all our needs. Is there too much duplication here and would you suggest something else?

I am pretty comfortable sharpening knives with a steel and use waterstones for my chisels and plane blades, so that part hold no fear for me.

Regards Lee

Re: Moritaka Set

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:03 pm

Hi Lee,

I have a few questions and you answered a couple already.

1. Are you right handed?
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..)
3. What size knife are you looking for?
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel?
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle?
6. How much did you want to spend?
7. Do you know how to sharpen?

Re: Moritaka Set

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:11 pm

Before we start suggesting Moritakas are really fun to use and will certainly work great for you as long as you're ok with caring for them.

Feel free to ignore this advice, but I would encourage you to buy different makers. They might not look as good lined up on a knife rack since they will not all "match" but you will get WAY more enjoyment trying knives by different makers since you will be able to try different steels with different grinds, heat treat etc. Also, think about a couple gyutos and ditch the nakiri or santoku. They are redundant.

I've been doing this for a long time and I don't have 2 knives from the same maker in my drawer. I have about 10 gyutos, a couple pettys and a bread knife and that's about it.

Re: Moritaka Set

Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:37 pm

Lee - if you do decide that only a "set" must do and that Moritaka is your maker, then I'd suggest a 210mm Aogami #2 Gyuto, a 240mm Supreme series Gyuto, and a 130mm Supreme series petty. If you want the Moritaka Yanagi as well, get the 270mm.

The Moritaka 210 Gyuto will probably handle more like your 6" Henckel knife and the Aogami #2 is a little more forgiving steel than the Aogami Super in the Supreme series. The 240 Gyuto will be light and nimble as well and handle more like your 8" chef knife. The 130 petty is an awesome little knife for prepping smaller items. It's not a true paring knife, but if you don't use a 3 or 3.5" paring that often, just get an inexpensive paring knife, if you don't have one already.

Mark is a wise man and his suggestion to experience different brands & types of Japanese knives is a great one.

Re: Moritaka Set

Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:16 pm

Hi Mark:
Sorry, this may be long winded.

Questions and answers are below.

1. Are you right handed? Yes - all members of my family are RH
2. What type of knife are you interested in (gyuto, nakiri etc..) Not entirely sure, several different ones I think
3. What size knife are you looking for? Various
4. Do you prefer carbon or stainless steel? Carbon steel. I think that blue steel and the Moritaka supremes sounds pretty attractive
5. Do you prefer a western handle or a Japanese handle? Japanese. I guess they are called Wa.
6. How much did you want to spend? up to $300 per knife but less is always better
7. Do you know how to sharpen? Oh yes. My grand dad worked in the steel mills in Sheffield England during the war. He then ran a restaurant. He taught me to sharpen knives when I was about 11 or 12. He was one of the best sharpeners I ever knew. I sharpen all my own plane and chisel blades, made of A2 steel (Lee Valley) hardened to Rc 60-62.

So - a bit more info. There are usually two people prepping and cooking in our house, sometimes three (cooking is a family affair). We almost have to poach the knives, to get our favs! The 8 inch chefs knife is the most highly coveted. The 6 inch cook and 8 inch cook knives are next. I tend to use the 10 inch cook knife for carving - turkeys, ham roast.

We store our knives on a magnetic bar so they do not knock against things.

I have used other Japanese knives, including Shuns and when I go to peoples' houses for supper I usually ask to help so I can try out their knives. My MIL and one of my friends ask me to sharpen their Shuns when I go to their places. Using light weight knives is a different and enjoyable experienced, compared to our Henkels which have a very thick heel bolster.

The idea of getting all the same maker was so they would match on the bar / display. I would like to try different styles/types. If you think different makers is a good idea, I am okay with that. We can try different ones. At least one knife should be rockered for mincing, and dicing. I use a nasty Chinese cleaver that scares the rest of the family or our chef knife.

Does that help?

Re: Moritaka Set

Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:41 am

Yes, very helpful.

If you decide on a set of knives, Moritaka isn't a bad way to go. Like others, though, I'd suggest trying a different brand for each knife. However, if the aesthetic of that doesn't work....well, let's just say you wouldn't have a bad set of knives. :)

So, here's my choices for you:

Get a Moritaka gyuto....this is a good choice:


Do keep in mind that this is a fully carbon....carbon core and actually I believe these are iron clad. You mentioned you wanted carbon though...so...

Then get a Masakage Yuki bunka (similar in shape to a santoku)....I wouldn't normally recommend a knife like this, but in a house with several cook, this might find a good hand to use it:


Then a Tanaka petty:


And then get a Takeda yanagi (actually a suji):


That's way over your budget for each knife, I know, but everyone should own a Takeda and he makes an incredible sujihiki.

Re: Moritaka Set

Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:52 am

Hi Adam.

Thanks for the input. At this point I am thinking two Wa-gyuto, one pretty and a yanagiba. Possibly another knife too.

So much to think about!
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