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Richmond Custom Artifex

Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:31 pm


I am considering purchasing one of your richmong custom artifex blades. can you tell me a little more about them? I work in a professional kitchen now and use my damascus kikuichi as my daily knife but want to expand my collection. Im also looking to grab a few new stones as well. any advice?


Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:34 pm

Sure, did you want to know anything in particular? Most of the customs are being done by my friend Tim Johnson using stabilized maple and amboynia burl woods and a few other types of woods as well. They look great and he does a really nice job making them ergonomic so they feel good in your hand with nice tapering toward the front. They make a dramitc impact on the look of the knife.

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Sun Oct 07, 2012 3:37 pm

This stone set will work well with my knives:

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:51 pm

How does the blade compare to the kikuichi in thickness. that is the one thing that i really love about that knife is the thinness of the blade. as far as stones go, how do you feel about going past the 500 grit stones in to the 8000-12000 grit?

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:10 pm

Which Kikuichi? I have a Kikuichi Elite Carbon 240mm gyuto and they are a bit thinner than that. The Artifex are thin, but not whippy.

Are you looking at the 210mm or the 240's? The custom 240's I've done come with the factory edge and many of the 210mm customs are finished sharpened by me (Tim Johnson). I use a Bester 1200, Syntetic Blue Aoto, Rika 5K, and then a J Nat Shobu San (8K) and Ozuka Asagi Koppa (12-20K), then a light stropping. They take a nice edge up to the higher grits like that, but even the edge off of the Rika 5K is really nice. I just added the Bester 500 to my lineup as a coarser stone, but you shouldn't need it to refine the factory edge; it's more for thinning, removing chips, setting the bevels, etc.

There are also some customized 210mm M390 Artifex in the works with stabilized Maple Burl handles. These are also going to be fully sharpened as well. I did a few with smaller handles and some with fatter handles, so people with really big or really small hands will have some choices too :)

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:03 am

I am currently using the warikomi damascus, which I love, but one can never have too many knives.

As far as what I'm looking for. I definitely want to stick with a 210mm, as its always been the most comfortable. I really like some of the custom 210's currently up on the site, but what would be the advantages of waiting for the m390?

As for stones, I have some experience with sharpening on my 1k & 6k stone and regularly sharpen my knives now. But, I want to upgrade and grab a few stones and definitely an 8k or 12k.

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:34 am

M390 should be more wear resistant albeit more difficult to sharpen. All based on assumptions...never used one.


Naniwa 10k SuperStone:

Bester 1200:

Suehiro Rika:

Beston 500:

Felt block:


Pick from the list what you want/need.

The Naniwa 10k Superstone is the absolute best polishing stone on the planet. I haven't tried some that have either come out or recently been found, but I've tried so many that's is silly. The Naniwa 10k is unmatched. However, it's a royal pain-in-the-ass to use. It's soft as chalk and you have to be extremely stable in your sharpening motion. But if you are, it's a fun stone to use.

The DMT XXC is a necessity for me....flattening stones and major repair work.

The others are what I've come to establish as my workhorse set. Great stones.

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:49 am

M390 is supposed to be more wear resistant and harder to sharpen, but a very fine grain Stainless Steel that should hold an edge a long time. I finished sharpening 10 of them today, hope to ship 14 to Mark on Tues or Weds this week!

I went back to the 80 grit on the belt sander and flattened the bevel; before I did a convex bevel on the 80 grit, but then had to flatten it on the stones. It worked on the Nubatama Bamboo 150 and the Diamond Block I got from Harbor Freight, but took too long when I had a batch of 10 to do! So I flattened on the belt sander, then cleaned up on the 500 Bester. Once I had the burr flipped a few times, I went to the Bester 1200 to refine and start the polishing. From there, I went to the Shapton Pro 2K this time, much faster than the Synthetic Aoto I tried on the last few M390 blades. Stropped to remove the burr and then on to the Rika 5K, then to an 8K splash and go stone I have (its very white and a Henkels 3000/8000 combo, not sure what stone it really is??), then to the Ozuka Asagi Koppa. Final step was stropping on Balsa with BC on it? Mark can remind me what is on the strop; I forgot already.

All of this took right around 3 hours for 10 knives. Once I got the burr formed on the 500 grit stone and was able to flip it easily, the sharpening went pretty easily. Maybe took a few more minutes each than the AEB-L Artifex I sharpened after I got the bevel set in with the 500 grit stone, but it wasn't too bad at all. The Shapton Pro 2K was very fast, as was the Rika 5K, 8K and J Nat stone, maybe 1-2 minutes tops on each from the 2K up? The edges are nice and cut very smoothly. I don't need a 1/8 micron polish on the edges; I like a little tooth to them and they cut very nicely where they are at! The 8K white stone I have worked about as fast, maybe slightly faster, than the Shobu J Nat I have, but it was a softer stone, so I spent longer on it so I wouldn't dig the edge into the stone, so that was a wash time wise.

Setting the original bevel from a completely flat edge took some time with the belt sander and coarse stones. The harbor freight 4 side diamond block (200, 300, 400, 600) 200 grit side did very well on the edge bevel and worked fairly quickly when I kept it wet. The Bester 500 took care of the 200 grit diamond scratches easily. From the 1200 grit on up, it's not too bad to sharpen on a variety of stones. If you want that crazy mirror finish and nothing else will do except 1/8 micron compounds on nanostrop, that will take a lot more time!!

Marks 5 piece set will work great and throw in a 8-12K finishing stone of your choice and a strop with a 1-.5 micron compound and you will be all set for most knives. If you have bad chips, gets one of the cheap harbor freight 4 sided diamond block or a really coarse diamond plate, which you can flatten stones with, too.

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:24 pm

I will definitely look in to the M390. I really love the amboynia handles. would really love to see one in a Wa style handle. maybe a artifex sujihiki in the works?!

as for stones it looks like the 5 piece set will work nicely and ill add on a naniwa 10k and possibly the kitayama 8k.

Re: Richmond Custom Artifex

Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:00 pm

I don't think the Kitayama and the Naniwa would be necessary together. Too close together.
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