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Richmond 52100 Ultimatum

Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:00 pm

First let me make a comment about Mark and Chef Knives To Go. I simply cannot think of a better experience that I have had in terms of customer service. Is my humble opinion that Mark has no equal regarding his skills and his business model. Now to the knife.

First impressions
I first when I took the knife out-of-the-box was so excited to finally be able to use 52100 steel in the kitchen. I must admit I have a strong biased for low-carbide steels. Also I have a romantic affinity for non-stainless steel's. The 52100 ultimatum fits perfectly into my new unique niche and taste. Initially it took me some getting used to a shorter knife with more of a French design. But once I got accustom to using it, I really began to see it’s strength and desirable qualities. Incidentally, the blade design reminds me of a Sujihiki, a blade that is surprisingly versatile.

Fit and finish
Considering it's price point the fit and finish of the 52100 ultimatum is great! The nice blade was fitted perfectly into the handle. The knife was true from the tip to the heel. The blade was square in the handle. Perhaps the most perfectionistic person may notice slight on evenness in the convexing of the blade. However I strongly feel that knives are a unique work of form and function, and later it became the convexing of the blade turned out performance that made it a pleasure to use.

Initial use
In the beginning it took me some time to get used to the shorter profile of the blade when compared to my Chinese cleaver and Carter Santoku. However the shorter blade combined with the convex grind made it extremely effective cutting potatoes and other notoriously sticky foods. Further the unique tip of the French design lent extremely well for both quick and delicate cutting.
The initial edge was not quite as sharp as I prefer my knives. However some stropping with 1 micron Hand American diamond loaded strop quickly and easily improve the edge to effortlessly cutting tomatoes. Uniquely, my ultimatum appeared hand sharpened versus finished by a belt grinder. Many times I find new knives quickly loser their initial edge because they were sharpened on a machine that created heat that weakened at the cutting-edge itself. This knife however did not display such properties. Thus far as been easily maintained using a strop loaded with 1 micron HA diamond spray. The edge has only suffered one minor chip despite months of repeated home use on bamboo boards.
After several months of use the blade has developed a nice patina. Personally I find 52100 easy to take care for. It has never rusted. It will tolerate sitting with tomato juices and only a little wipe down in between different foods. However I know it would not tolerate sitting in water or with water on it especially without patina.

The Richmond 52100 Ultimatum is a pleasure for me to use. It excels at cutting sticky food like potatoes quickly. I really love Mark’s line of knives, redwood handles, great steel, at reasonable prices. If you have a chance to pick one up, do.
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