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Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:33 pm

I'm interested in the Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto. That is of course assuming this knife will suit my needs best... I currently use the mac hb85, which has been great to me. I am a little bit disappointed though, as your selection is vast, and makes my decision tricky. I have never tried a wa handle before, but there are two things i really like about my mac, how light it is and how easy it is to pinch grip without a bolster. I'm assuming you'll tell me I'm in the right ballpark in my search for a wa handled knife. The mac knife also is pleasing to me in that the balance is right where the blade meets the handle: is there a wa handled 240mm blade that is like that? I would assume the konosuke, and the laser series are some of my closest bets as the weight is light meaning A) the handles are substantially lighter than anything else or B) the metal is light which shifts the balance closer to the handle. Additionally, I like the idea of having a workhorse, a knife that can take a beating and do it all. That notion tends to get me leaning towards the ultimatum series slightly more.... choices! Having no opportunity to try them in person, I have to rely on reviews, comments and specs, which to be quite honest, is difficult. I checked the return policy, and getting a bunch and returning the ones I don't want makes little sense with the ten percent restocking fee.
Now, to the topic of the type of steel: it stands to reason that I would want to go with a stainless as I work in a professional kitchen, and I don't want to have to babysit my new baby all of the time...or is it? Is the maintenance of a carbon blade worth it for either sharpness, longevity, or ease of sharpening?
Thanks in advance,

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:36 pm

Please answer the ones you missed and we'll give you some picks.

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: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:58 pm

Eric - most Wa (Japanese) handled Gyutos, especially 240mm vs. 210mm will be somewhat blade heavy. The balance point will be forward of the handle/tang junction. How much forward depends on the blade size, construction, handle material, etc. Wa handles made of ebony are typically heavier than ho wood handles and would move the balance point more toward the handle. If you are looking at a Konosuke HD/HH Gyuto, you might ask Mark about the balance point on their ebony handled versions.

If you pinch grip, I have found that many of the Wa Gyutos put the balance point very near my pinch point, which is, of course, forward of the handle. To me, they feel well balanced during use with a pinch grip. With many Wa Gyutos being light weights or middle weights, IMO a forward balance point can help cutting performance. I'm no professional though - just a home cook.

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:12 pm

I am right handed. Quite honestly, expanding my collection to include a nakiri would be wonderful, but I think first things first, I'd like a gyuto to be able to accomplish more tasks. I know my dad loves his carbon knife that my grandpa gave him... takes an edge very easy; however, he is always extremely careful at the end of each use to wash it. I'm not quite sure how friendly a carbon knife is in a professional kitchen and I have yet to see one.. Not saying I'll rule it out, but I feel that modern steels should be almost on par with carbon blades, perhaps I am wrong. I have never owned a wa handled knife, but I imagine I would like it-- I prefer less hefty knives. I would like to spend as little as possible, wouldn't we all? ... I would feel comfortable spending sub-300 on a knife that merited it. However, I wouldn't mind a little less expensive knife to see if I'm crazy about wa handles: a trial run if you will. I know how to sharpen. Furthermore, my waterstone set was nearly twice as much as my investment in my chef knife. Additionally, it wouldn't be a large stretch of the imagination to posit that if I got a beautiful knife, I would invest another hunk of change in an apex sharpening system.
Thanks to all for your aid thus far,

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:09 pm

Eric - You might take a look at these knives:

Takayuki Grand Chef 240 Wa Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/wagyuto.html

Sakai Takayuki Damascus 240 Wa Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/satadagy240.html

Richmond Ultimatum 245 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riulst25gy.html (This one is a bit heavier and more of a workhorse - BDL loves this knife in 52100 carbon steel)

Richmond Laser AS 240 Gyuto: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/rilaaosu24gy.html. (Killer knife - clad construction & stiffer vs. mono steel for my other recommendations) (I think a batch is almost ready and you may still be able to get in on the pre-order for these.)

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:30 am

In today's world, there are many stainless or semi-stainless steels that have a lot of the same properties as good carbon steels.

Steels like AEB-L, 13C26, CPM154, the HD series from Konosuke, etc. are all very good steels that sharpen easily, can take a steep edge angle, and keep an edge well. So, no, you don't need a carbon steel.

Very few wa handled knives balance like a western. It's just the nature of the beast. If you pinch grip, most people don't notice the difference.

The Artifex wa-gyuto should perform similarly to your Mac. Similar steel properties, and similar geometry.

I would not call it a workhorse per say, though.

Something like the Ultimatum is a workhorse

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:14 pm

I am having trouble understanding what makes a workhorse a workhorse, and does it mean you should have one knife for prep work and one for the line? If so, I was thinking I'd keep my mac on the line, where it is more prone to damage (ie chipped, dinged, tip broken) and buying another knife to make short work out of prep. One that is less likely to stick to food, and nimble. Is this an accepted strategy or should I be made aware of another one? In looking at the takayuki line, I wonder why the damascus hammered one is less money that the regular aeb-l one. What are the adavntages and disadvantages of a hammered finish? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a damascus blade?

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:39 pm

Think of the terms:

Workhorse....one that goes to work pulling a plow....a rough and tumble, heavy horse.
Race horse....a sprinter, lean, thin.....more delicate.

Workhorse would mean a thicker knife typically....and we're not talking an axe....just not a laser. Most any "workhorse" knife we would mention would still be thinner than a Wusthof....but just not as thin as a laser.

A laser would be thinner....very thin in some instances. More delicate, but not a piece of glass.

No advantage to a damascus blade over any other cladding used except looks. The advantage/disadvantage of cladding (whether that be damascus, or mild carbon/stainless) is a debate we won't get into here unless you want to.

Hammered finishes tend to release food.....barely....somewhat....better than a flat sided blade.

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:46 pm

I have heard of the deadening of a clad blade. Is that concept going to enter the realm of philosophical ideologies or is there a fact-based science behind it? The term I believe is san-mai. What are your opinions on the matter?
I understand the metaphor for a workhorse being something that is heavy duty, but what I fail to understand is why some knives are referenced as 'workhorse's despite being thinner than other 'lasers'. Does it also have to do with geometry, hrc, sharpness, and thinness behind the blade? how do I judge these qualities without testing the knife?
I still am very interested to know what others' strategies are for which knife for which task and how many knives are needed.

Re: Richmond Artifex Wa-Gyuto or something else?

Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:42 am

MR.E <> Clad blades, albeit san-mai, warikomi, or ni-mai, have additional length wise layer(s) of steel on or around a hard core. There is nothing psychological about it's feedback being effected; it is a tangible physical reality. If you're neural network feels it, is another issue altogether.

Don't confuse yourself with an effectively arbitrary term. What one considers a workhorse, may not be to another. Consensus states a workhorse is a knife that you can pick up all day long & use on effectively anything. Do I consider my Kono & Suisin lasers workhorses? No, but I can say I use them all day long like a workhorse until something particularly daunting is poised on my board. Can I call my lasers workhorses? Well, by consensus logic I guess so, BUT I NEVER WOULD. I will, w/o doubt or question, categorize my san-mai Kanehiro AS gyuto as a workhorse, but I still won't split 2 dozen lobsters with it if I'm running a bouillabaisse that night.

It's semantics... don't fight it.

Some knives are more durable than others... period. Thickness, steel, taper, grind, heat treat, bevel angles... they're all factors.

"I still am very interested to know what others' strategies are for which knife for which task and how many knives are needed."

Are you kidding.?! How many knives are needed for what? Do you realize the Japanese have a knife to cut a cow, to cut an eel, to cut a blowfish, to cut a noodle, to sheet a vegetable, to bone poultry, to bone a tuna, to bone fish, to slice sashimi, to cut maki, etc., etc., etc.? And what stategies for what knives to do what? :|

Furthermore, I saw you mention something about line knife vs. prep knife. This obviously has more to do with your kitchen & menu than anything else. If you prep in the back before your line shift, it would, for one, make sense that you would use a larger knife while prepping. If you prep on the line & have short boards, well your limited to a smaller knife. If you really don't do much on the line necessitating a 240/270 gyuto, it would make sense to have said gyuto for prep & a 150 petty or 180/210 gyuto on the line. Totally depends on your kitchen/menu. Maybe you only use a 210 gyuto... on the line a medium to medium-heavy duty 210 with soft steel might be appropriate while a hard steel 210 laser might be appropriate for your prep. But what if you prep butternut squash, pineapples, corn, etc., etc., etc.? A laser for prep would be foolish. And what if all you do on the line is slice cooked proteins for plates, produce special request vegetable cuts a la minute, cut sandwiches, portion items for presentation, etc? A heavy duty blade would be foolish... unless you were scared about breakage on the line.

There are so many unknown variables here it can be maddening.
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