Moritaka Hamono has been forging blades since the 13th century and the knowledge passed down through consecutive generations of smiths is applied to great effect in this new addition to their AS line of knives.
We received this knife recently from Akiko Moritaka and as soon as we saw it we knew we had to add it to the collection. As the name implies, this is a tall blade in any vernacular. Nakiris are by definition taller than many knives but this one really pushes the envelope coming in at an impressive 76mm height at the heel. It resembles a cleaver but it is anything but. This is a thin blade made for processing vegetables, especially harder ones where thicker blades would wedge or stick. As with most nakiri blades, it is very flat at the edge.
The Moritaka AS series of knives are constructed with a core of Aogami Super (AS) steel between layers of softer iron cladding. In a fairly unique twist, Moritaka welds a stainless tang to the hand forged blade to prevent corrosion inside the handle. The classic kurouchi finish on these blades also improves the corrosion resistance of the otherwise highly reactive cladding.
This is a fun and functional knife that will find favor with chefs who like the height and general dimensions of a cleaver but want a thinner and lighter tool to dispatch vegetables with ease and accuracy.
.Way better knife than I am a chef, April 23, 2020
Posted By: Henry Padilla - verified customer
I have had a facination with knives my entire life. I have been around them. I know how to handle them.I knoiw how to care for them. This knife scares me. It came from the factory razor sharp and has stayed that way for months. The edge is beautiful: flat and straight. The grind is very steep so there's a lot of AS exposed but the knife is tall so there's still a lot of surface to carry material from the board to the pan. You are going to want something to keep it in. The box it comes in is packed with cardboard to protect it but it does not suffice for storage. Not even to keep it there until you get something else.
I work almost exclusively with vegetables, and this knife has been my daily driver for a few months now. It's a joy to use. I also own a Takeda gyutou, but I find that it has too much flex for hard vegetables such as squash.
It excels at push/pull cutting, as expected. That flat, flat edge works wonders. The center of balance is about 2 inches past the end of the handle. It feels agile yet substantial in the hand, and surprisingly light given its size (if you're used to Chinese cleavers). No problems using this for many hours of prep work.
I got the finish sharpening service, so can't comment on the edge OOTB, but retention is good. I strop it daily, and sharpen it every month or so. Fit & finish is a bit lacking, but easily fixed. There was a small gap where the tang enters the handle that I had to seal with epoxy, and the handle was not fully finished (felt a bit raw) so I applied a mix of beeswax and mineral oil. I own another Moritaka knife which had the same issue with the tang, but not the handle so YMMV. Can confirm that the cladding is very reactive; it developed rust in one spot the first time I used it.
I didn't get the sharpening service and it wasn't that sharp out of the box, but this knife is great. The blade edge is as flat as they show it to be, and the steel is very hard. The height of the blade is great and a little better for working with limited space than a taller Chinese cleaver would be. There are no sayas available for it but they sent me a felt protector that works well enough instead. A lot of care must be taken with the blade if you're not used to carbon blades, the patina on this one developed really fast, especially with the humid air around here.
For some time...I'd been looking for a quality light weight Chinese style vegetable cleaver...except in a hard Japanese steel...well this is it! Out of the box the edge was surprisingly good. I gave it about 50 swipes on a leather strop to maximize the factory edge...and it passed the hanging hair test! The fit and finish is quite good...and the blade is absolutely dead straight. It performs as you would expect from it's appearance. The blade falls effortlessly through vegetables...and it slices tomatoes as thin as the thinnest rice paper! It's also wide enough that an entire large diced onion can easily be cleared from the board in one scoop. I haven't used it enough to comment on edge retention...but I'm betting the Aogami Super will hold up quite well. So if, like me...you've been searching for a small cleaver/large Nakiri...this blade is the perfect combination.
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