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Early Impression of a Moritaka AS honeuski

This is my impression of the Moritaka (盛高) Aogami Super honesuki (骨スキ) knife.

http://www.moritakahamono.com/hocyo2-...

A honesuki knife functions as a boning knife, but with a different design than a Western boning knife. Unlike my previous knife reviews, I have very little experience of this knife history, its usage..etc. This Moritaka knife belongs to the Aogami Super series, which of course is made of the Aogami Super steel as the core. I have previously posted three photos, and here they are:

http://www.chow.com/photos/736607

The knife came in a nice package. Of all the knives I have, this one probably has the most beautiful handle. The fit is very good. I also like the look and the feel of the octagonal handle – certainly for a boning knife. The Kurouchi finish is beautiful too, but this is a very personal preference. Surprisingly, the factory edge was not very sharp/refine. This is in great contrast with my Watanabe nakiri, which has a very rough job on the handle, but an excellent finish on its edge. After sharpening the Moritaka honesuki, the steel took on a very refine edge at a 15 degree (inclusion 30 degree). I then put a 25 degree to better suit its boning purpose. It weighs 143 grams. So it is heavier than my Dexter-Russell boning knife (103 g), but lighter than a Tojiro 210 mm gyuto (194 g).

I deboned (rather segmented) a chicken with it. The honesuki worked well. Because it is very sharp and stiff, it easily cut through the joints. Most importantly, it was much easier to use it on a cutting board due to its knuckle clearance. So the knife is definitely better than my Dexter boning knife in these two areas. On the other hand, I found myself having to adapt a new strategy for removing the skin. I had to use a much lighter pressure to separate the skin from the meat, or else the very sharp edge would cut through the skin. Overall, I found the honesuki slightly easier to debone a chicken, and I expect I will only feel more strongly as I better adapt to this knife. Most of the differences I have observed are related to the knife designs (honesuki vs Western boning), and not the steels. This is not to say the steel did not make any difference. It did. One thing I was extremely surprised is how well the edge has held up. After cutting through soft bones and joints, the edge can push cut paper along its entire edge and has no problem shaving my arm hair. My Dexter boning knife definitely could not do this. No noticeable chip was observed with my naked eyes or felt as I lightly slided the edge across my fingernail.

Overall I am quite happy with this purchase. So I like to give thanks to people like cowboyardee, petek, Dave5440, TeRReT and many others for suggesting a honesuki to me. Some people suggest a honesuki can also be used for lamb and pork…etc. Others claim it is too short to be useful. I have not had a chance to verify this. Although I am very happy with the Aogami super steel, it is a carbon steel nonetheless, so one should take this into consideration for a busy kitchen.

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  1. Thanks for the report chem. I must admit that I got a custom honesuki in and have yet to use it very much, so I will use your post as inspiration. Btw, are there any over grind issues with your Moritaka? That brand has gotten some pretty bad reports in the last couple years and it seems to be hit or miss on whether it is an issue or not.

    15 Replies
    1. re: smkit

      <That brand has gotten some pretty bad reports in the last couple years and it seems to be hit or miss>

      No kidding.

      smikt,

      I must admit that I am not sure what to expect for a honesuki. I have paid very close attention to the grind due to the popular rumors. There is no sudden grind or wavy grind. However, the grind is shallow (or more acute) on the tip and on the heel, making the blade thinner on the two ends. I don't know if this is normal for a honesuki. It may very well be.

      Either it is by design or by accident, the grind is something I can handle. It is not one of those "up-down-up down: wavy" grind.

      Please feel free to share your honesuki experience here or on a separate post. It isn't a gyuto or a santoku. There is much to learn (for me) for the honesuki.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Well, if their are no high spots along the edge, you are probably ok. Yeah, I need to dedicate a month to breaking down chicken and really put my through some work. The steel on mine is 52100.

        1. re: smkit

          <Well, if their are no high spots along the edge>

          Yep, I think I am ok.

          <Yeah, I need to dedicate a month to breaking down chicken>

          Why? Are you preparing yourself for some cooking competitions?

          <The steel on mine is 52100.>

          Rust/oxidized easily?

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            Nice review Chem!

            I've had no over grind issues with my honesuki(I believe it's because of the thickness of the blade,and the fact that I don't sharpen it as often as my gyuto(?).You should be fine.

            Enjoy your new knife!

            1. re: petek

              Petek,

              <I've had no over grind issues with my honesuk>

              Oh, so you have two Moritaka (a gyuto and a honesuki)? Do you have any more Moritaka knives?

                1. re: petek

                  Wow, a lot of knives. How is the santoku? You should write reviews for these knives.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    <Wow, a lot of knives. How is the santoku? You should write reviews for these knives.>

                    Not really a lot of knives(a bakers dozen) compared to others,and only 5-6 of them are in full rotation.
                    The santoku is great.Gets super sharp,stays sharp,nice F&F,comfy handle(d-shaped),but I'm using it less at work now since I've made the switch to SS and Semi- Stainless(I'm a lazy,lazy man.. :D)
                    I just noticed in your original post you said your honesuki weighs in at 148 grams,I just weighed mine and it's only 128 grams.I've either removed a lot of metal sharpening her,or the AS knives weigh more than the #2 blue??

                    1. re: petek

                      <Not really a lot of knives>

                      A lot of Moritaka then.

                      <I've either removed a lot of metal sharpening her,or the AS knives weigh more than the #2 blue??>

                      The handle. Mine is an octagonal rosewood handle, which is pretty dense, whereas I know my Tojiro usuba wood handle and my Sakai usuba wood handle are very light and porous. That being said, I think the D-handle from Moritaka is made of the same wood.....

                      Maybe it is just the inconsistency from the somewhat hand made process. If we weigh 10 Shun Santoku, then they will be within 1 gram. Moritaka cannot achieve this level of control.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Moritaka cannot achieve this level of control.

                        truism...

                        1. re: petek

                          Come to think of it. What Moritaka really need to gain control is the grinding..... -- that is where the improvement needs to be made. Not that mine has any problem, but others have.

                          Moritaka knives are made of great Aogami steel, aesthetic blade, good quality handle, and very affordable price. If only its knives have better grinding..... which is a real shame too.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            "Come to think of it. What Moritaka really need to gain control is the grinding..... -- that is where the improvement needs to be made. Not that mine has any problem, but others have."

                            _________

                            And the big thing is not to make a mistake and overgrind an area of the blade. Once metal has been taken away, it can't be put back. I've had knives that have had mediocre grinds, but they can be fixed by thinning, evening out the bevels and just regular sharpening. But an overgrind that extends to the edge will usually get worse over time and may be unfixable.

                            1. re: smkit

                              <I've had knives that have had mediocre grinds, but they can be fixed by thinning>

                              Yep, sounds similar to my Tanaka nakiri experience. That knife has some minor overgrind issue too. I laid the bevel flat on the stone and thinned it.

            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Don't have much of a patina on it yet, but it will come. Almost all my knives these days are more reactive carbon (W2, O1, and 52100). No chicken contest yet ;)

              1. re: smkit

                smkit,

                Sometime I wish for a carbon steel knife and sometime I wish for a stainless steel knife. On one hand, my carbon steel knives in general sharpened up much nicer -- take on much finer edges. On the other hand, stainless steel knives are so much carefree.

                My perspective keep changing. If you ask me 5 years ago, then I would definitely prefer stainless steel knives. If you ask me 1-2 years ago, then I would definitely say carbon steel knives are the deal. Now, I lean just slightly toward carbon steel knives, but much more appreciative of stainless steel knives.

      2. Thanks for the report Chem. Nice looking knife. Wish you lots of enjoyment with it's use.

        1. Congrats on the new knife! Knock on wood and thank your lucky stars you got a good one. I wouldn't want to play that game of roulette with Moritaka but some have had good luck with them. Hopefully you don't have a "hole" open up on the edge in the future as you start to sharpen it. Oddly enough those that have the best of luck with the Moritaka seem to be those who order direct from Japan.
          Either way a Honesuki is great to have in the tool box and you should get a lot of good use from it.

          TJ

          6 Replies
          1. re: TraderJoe

            <I wouldn't want to play that game of roulette with Moritaka>

            :) Think of it like a bungee jump. You feel most alive when your own life is being threatened.

            <Hopefully you don't have a "hole" open up on the edge in the future as you start to sharpen it.>

            It should not be. I ran my fingers across the entire blade grind. Then, I thinned the blade grind on both sides (hit the sides dead flat on my stones) and it does not appear any obvious low points in the middle of the blade. As mentioned, the tip and the heel areas are thinner, but this is easy to handle.

            I think I got a good knife because I am good looking. :P

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              LOL well buying a Moritaka probably is a bit like taking a leap of faith. The thinning is easy to deal with. The problem comes after you've been sharpening for a while and you find a hole that opens up in the edge. That's a hefty defect and not something most users are going to work out with stones.

              TJ

              1. re: TraderJoe

                <The thinning is easy to deal with>

                I probably wasn't clear. At one point (not the entirety) during my thinning of my Moritaka blade, I laid the knife flat on the stone lengthwise -- so the knife blade was parallel with the long end of the stone. Then, I moved the knife up and down in the long direction. If there was indeed a "hole" or overgrind spot, then it should have revealed itself as it wouldn't be contacting the stone.

                I have not noticed this.

                My so-called thinning wasn't so much about thinning the blade, but to test if there is a low spot.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  If there was indeed a "hole" or overgrind spot, then it should have revealed itself as it wouldn't be contacting the stone.
                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  I hope your right and it works out. Unfortunately I've seen a few very experienced sharpeners end up with a hole in the edge as the sharpened the knife over time. When that happens it's just not fixable with out re-grinding the knife above the "hole".
                  You might want to put it on the stones a little more frequently than your other knives just to make sure. Shouldn't be a problem as I'm sure you want to drive that new blade often any how! :)

                  TJ

                  1. re: TraderJoe

                    <I hope your right and it works out. Unfortunately I've seen a few very experienced sharpeners end up with a hole in the edge as the sharpened the knife over time. >

                    Time to get a Takeda (or whatever) in that case. :D

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      "Time to get a Takeda "

                      HAHA Tooooo Chez!

          2. Thanks for the review chem. Glad you're liking it.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cowboyardee

              Thanks. Feel free to pass on any honesuki suggestions (how to use it properly).