Moritaka 230mm(9.5") Kuro-Uchi Chukabocho(Cleaver)
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Moritaka Cleaver 230mm(9.5")

Usage (Original Edge)

- As a reminder, the original edge was ground at 30° total. Obviously, it was a convex edge, coming from a custom maker. Being a Chinese cleaver, or let's use its real Japanese name, Chukabocho, the main cutting job for it was vegetable cutting. I'm not very proud to say, but even after using Takeda cleaver all this time, I still don't feel very comfortable with chukabochos for general food prep, and partly my excuse is that I have way too many other knives to use, and I am having fun using them, and second, chukabochos work waaay too good for the veggie cutting and I am more efficient for other cutting with gyutos, debas and the rest of the knives. Still, I try few things here and there, but I suspect until I am really forced into single knife existence I won't become an expert with chukabochos.

Ok, so now for the actual use. The way thing are for me these days, I eat a lot of vegetables and red meat. Which is main cutting work in my kitchen. Vegetables are pretty wide variety, I've counted around 20-25 different species. So, for slicing and dicing meat it works just fine. The blade is substantially long to cut up medium size pieces of meat into small cubes for the stew, or making butterfly style pieces form the stakes. Other than that, no protein related work so far. I know this knife is capable of a lot more with meat, but so far I am not feeling I'm up to the task.

Now for the major cutting chores, vegetables. Because of its very wide blade pinch/claw grip is very safe and therefore you can cut faster without worrying too much about lopping off the fingertips of the claw(or guide) hand. Given considerably greater weight of the Moritaka chukabocho compared to Takeda, it does require more power or force to control it properly. However, the blade feels more stable and confident with harder veggies, such as carrots and broccoli stems. In the beginning I had to get used to its greater weight and supersharp edge, because every once in a while I'd push a bit harder than necessary and the blade would bite into the cutting board. This isn't a knife which you can hold with 2-3 fingers :) You grip it good and watch carefully what you are doing. But chopping vegetables with it is just too easy. Like I said above, the blade isn't straight, but slightly curved. This allows for the rocking motion to a certain degree. It's not the same as with the gyuto, but still it's there and it's useful. Although, I have to admit, I was way to used to the Takeda chukabocho's straight edge, and I'd always push forward and down. Because of the curved edge the heel is slightly higher from the board and it's leave thin leaves uncut, so I'd have to learn to roll the blade back or use the middle of the blade more efficiently. On the other hand, once you learn how to use properly the rocking motion on this knife, it's really helpful. Green onion, carrots, celery, asparagus, whatever else, it just begs for dicing :) Because the blade is so sharp even the delicate cherry tomatoes get cut in half without any signs of squashing, despite of the heavy weight of the knife. Given its larger width it makes better scooping device than Takeda cleaver, although it's not like Takeda cleaver is lacking in that department. However, one thing to consider it the increased weight of the blade. As I said it makers few things easier, but it's more demanding too, and naturally it will cause fatigue sooner. Although, using the proper grip and technique that isn't a problem. Another quirk I had to deal with, was the fact that I somehow developed the habit of holding my middle finger pressed against the blade choil. With Takeda cleaver I never noticed anything, but much heavier Moritaka cleaver quickly made it clear, that it was a wrong thing to do and I've corrected my grip very quickly :)

So, that was about using the cleaver. As far as actual cutting goes, the longest session I have done with it was 1.5 hours non stop cutting. All vegetables, which included chiffonade from collard greens and basil, batonnet from carrots. red radish, diced asparagus, green onions, minced broccoli and Italian(flat leaved) parsley and few other things. All the cutting was or is always done on the edge grain mahogany cutting board, which does help to keep the edge sharp longer. Even so, after 4 sessions like that the blade was still perfectly able to shave in both directions. As far as edge holding ability goes it's very high. Like I said above, so far I haven't needed anything more substantial than 10000 grit whetstone once, and the rest was mainly 0.5µm and 0.25µm stropping, plus stropping on the plain leather before every use. it's pretty hard to give exact and precise estimates on this, but as far as my experience goes with both, Moritaka does hold the edge better than Takeda cleaver. Doesn't mean I'll be parting with my Takeda chukabocho anytime soon though. It's light, more nimble and thinner as well. Both have their places and there is one more trick I love to practice, that is mincing vegetables with two cleavers. That is fun, but a bit messy though :) Pieces tend to fly off of the board. But, practice makes it perfect, and faster too. Although, given the weight difference, even if I always hold Takeda in my left and Moritaka in my right, I still loose the rhythm during the chopping, especially as I get tired.


- Well, I just love this cleaver, and it has its rightful place in my collection. If you want relatively heavy, large cleaver then Moritaka is an excellent choice. Hitachi Aogami Super steel is an excellent choice for cutlery and Moritaka does superb job with it. Plus, he's very nice person to deal with. Fit and finish are good and prices are ok, can't say it's a cheap stuff, but it's not outrageously priced either. Come to think of it, in handmade, custom Japanese knives that's rather budget knife than expensive one. So, if you are looking for something like that, definitely go for it.

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  • Blade - 230.00mm(9.06")
  • Thickness - 5.00mm
  • Width - 112.00mm
  • OAL - 372.00mm(14.65")
  • Steel - Aogami Super steel at 65HRC
  • Handle - Rosewood
  • Weight - 492.30g(16.65oz)
  • Acquired - 06/2009 Price - 390.00$

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Last updated - 05/19/19