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 Post subject: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:17 pm 
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Location: Madison Wisconsin
A while ago I purchased a few knives out of the Artifex line, and was pretty bitterly disappointed to find the performance wasn't as advertised. So I'm still in the market for a knife that can actually function. Could you offer any insights into whether or not the Tanaka Ginsans, specifically the 210mm Gyuto, will have an appropriate heat treat and adequate performance? (ref. http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tagi21gy.html)


Cheers,



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 Post subject: performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 6:21 pm 
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Customer told me that he was sharpening the knife at 5 degrees on each side (10 inclusive) which is a recipe for a problem with any knife on the market. If you want to cut food which is what this knife is designed for you need to sharpen at 15 degrees on each side NOT 5 degrees.

Here are a bunch of reveiws of people that use the knife daily for cutting food. Our target market for this knife is line cooks that want a good piece of steel at a reasonable price. I think if you read these comments by actual users of the knife you will get some perspective on if it fills this need.

Reviews:



The first knife helped solve a family problem. My 240mm wa-gyuto was "too big" for my wife and her favorite knife became a 170mm Masahiro santoku. I stropped the factory edge of the Artifex on balsa loaded with 0.5 micron CBN and now I can not get it out of her hands. Score: Artifex 1 and santoku 0.



The second knife got the spa treatment and created a family problem. I reprofiled the blade to 12 degrees per side using a sequence of Trizact belts beginning at 180 grit and ending at 2500 grit. I then polished the bevels on 6,000 and 10,000 grit Japanese waterstones with a final stropping on balsa loaded with 0.5 micron CBN. My test Artifex was the sharpest knife in the house,but didn’t stay in the house long. Score: Middle son - 1 crazy sharp Artifex and me 0.



Thanks Mark for designing and bringing a beautiful American knife to the world market. Keep them coming!

By: John Butkofsky
Northumberland,Pa
I like this knife it’s not heavy holds a edge and for the money a great buy looking forward to buying more knives from your company

By: adam
charlotte nc
I contacted JMBullman on foodieforums about this knife since he did a review. I found out he lives near me and had a couple for sale with his edge on it. I snagged this knife from him and all I can say is WOW. This knife for the money cannot be beat and the edge that JMBullman put on this thing is scary sharp. As a chef there is nothing negative I can say about this knife. And once again thanks to Mark for making this knife available and JMBUllman for making this thing cut like nothing else I have owned.

By: Kevin M
Brooklyn,NY
Great knife for the price although not very sharp out of the box,with a little work on some stones this thing was extremly sharp. I have noticed two cracks on the handle to the left of the tang both on top and below the handle. I have emailed mark and he will be sending me a new one. This place really has phenomenal customer service and despite this mishap will always be using chefknivestogo for every knife product i buy.

By: charles
bakersfield ca
i bought this knife a couple of weeks ago and didnt get much use out of it.someone had broken into my house and stolen a number of things including this knife.i guess i will just have to get another.but from what little i used it for it was amazing,light,sharp,and a great buy for the price.

By: Chuck Tingle
Landrum,SC
Richmond Artifex is a great knife. Light and quick. I added the $15 sharpening option just out of curiousity. Wow,super sharp. Love it.

By: Charlie Montgomery
Gulf Shores,AL
A fine knife and so sharp OOTB. It holds and edge with the powder steels.

I wanted a beginner chef knife to give someone for Christmas and got a CKTG 210 mm Tojiro. To me the AEB-L steel is better for a chef knife than the VG-10 in the Tojiro.

The Artifex is $10.00 less too. I wish I had gotten two when I placed my order. This is probably the only knife an amateur like me would ever need and truly the best buy I’ve run across anywhere.

By:

By: Tim
CT
I picked up an Artifex recently and have been using it over the past few weeks. I gotta say up front that I greatly prefer Carbon blades in terms of sharpening and the edge they can take,but the AEB-L is growing on me! Out of the box,I got the factory edge. The factory edge was very bitey and aggressive and fairly coarse,but it cut great! Tomatoes were no problem and there was no wire edge felt. I used it for a while with the factory edge and then took it to the stones. Beston 1200 grit,Rika 5K,then a 8K stone and stropped on a laminate strop between each stone to remove the wire edge/burr. It took an edge very close to my carbon blades at this point! Sharp and smooth,yet still a bit toothy. I used it some more on onions,mushrooms,steak,chicken,peppers,etc and it performed well. Not much wedging on the onions and I could push straight down to cut through the thawed chicken breast. The 210mm length was pretty handy for smaller cutting jobs where I didn’t need one of my 240mm gyuto’s. The factory handle is very comfortable and smooth. Handle to tang fitting was awesome,nicely rounded and blended with the tang and handles nice and flush. The spine was very nicely rounded out as well. For $70,it’s a great blade!!

By: Gary
Weeping Water,NE
Just arrived via USPS went straight from the box through the soapy water onto the cutting board. My wife is thrilled with the knife. Beautiful fit and finish on both the blade and the handle. Great handle shape which should allow for a lot of work with no hot spots on the fingers. Already found its way through a half a bag of onions a mess of tomatoes some garlic and even diced up a few Apples. Fantastic blade shape for general usage should be a great go to knife for many years to come. Oh yeah did I mention the steel WOW. Great stuff thanks Mark!

By: Ross
Dallas,Texas
I got the finish sharpened version. It is now the sharpest knife we own. My only criticism (though I don’t think it warrants dropping a star) is that the spine is not nicely rounded like the Fanatic cleaver that I also have. But that’s something that can be fixed on the first re-sharpening. This is absolutely the best deal I have ever seen on a chef’s knife with high-end steel. Seven months on,my Fanatic is just as sharp as when I got it,and I expect this one to perform equally well. All of my knives will be Richmond knives going forward,and I always tell people to go with Richmond.

By: Jason Craig
Connecticut
A great workhorse of a knife that holds a nice edge.

By: Sean
Winnipeg Manitoba
Great knife,had the additional sharpening added on and was not disappointed. Found the balancing point of the knife to be in an awkward spot just before the handle meets the heel of the knife,only a minor drawback though.

By: Darrell Milton
El Paso,TX
Absolutely beautiful knife. Very sharp,and easy to use. My girlfiend thought her old Henkels were the "bomb" until she used the Richmond Artifex I gave her as a gift!

By: C. J. Doyle
Westminster,Colorado
This knife is an exceptional performer,especially in regard to its modest cost. It is well balanced,well made and has held its edge very well with only light honing. Difficult to surpass for the price.

By: Eric
Sf. Ca.
Really solid for the money! Easy to maintain an edge with minimal work. Holds a candle if not surpasses knives and double the price especially vg10 blades.

By: Rodney
Federal Way,WA
My first introduction to a quality knife. So far I love it. Ootb it was not sharp but with a little work on the stones I was able to get it über sharp,and that’s saying a lot since I’m a novice sharpener. The fit and finish is great and nicely balanced. It’s been a few weeks and the edge retention is holding great. I highly recommend this knife. Service from cktg is top notch.

By: Teo
San Anselmo,Ca
This is a very good knife despite its inexpensive cost. It is well made with an attractive pakka wood handle. I got the finished sharpened version and used it immediately for dinner. Loved the way it cut but it was a bit toothy for my liking. That aside,I loved the feel of the knife. It is very comfortable even for large hands like mine. I would recommend this knife for anyone who has an interest in testing out Japanese blades.

By: Andrew
Festus,Mo
I love this knife,out of the box it sliced paper perfectly (regular edge) once this edge wheres down I’ll put a good polished edge with my edge pro. The wife rolled her eyes when i bought this,until she used it,now I’m always washing this thing and not more complaints from the kitchen for "I need your help" now I have permission to order more :)

By: Jody
Jonesboro,AR
I decided my cooking needs were finally outpacing the quality of the no-name stainless steel chef’s knife I purchased from Sams. After weeks of research I chose to go with the Artifex. I can tell you this knife has made a wholesale improvement to my prep time and quality. I went with the finish sharpening option and it arrive promptly with an edge that slices through veggies and meat with little to no resistance. The knife is light,sharp,and sturdy. Love the feel and quality of the handle also.

By: Jody
Jonesboro,AR
I decided my cooking needs were finally outpacing the quality of the no name stainless steel chef’s knife I purchased from Sams. After weeks of research I chose to go with the Artifex. I can tell you this knife has made a wholesale improvement to my prep time and quality. I went with the finish sharpening option and it arrive promptly with an edge that slices through veggies and meat with little to no resistance. The knife is light,sharp,and sturdy. Love the feel and quality of the handle also.

By: ChrisE
Jeffersonville,IN
I love this knife. It holds an edge for a very long time. It’s a bit easier to put a good edge on than a standard stainless blade (VG1,VG10) The only ding against it is food had a habit of sticking to it. For the price this knife cannot be beat.

By: Rtb178
Chicago
An excellent knife. Lighter and more agile than our global knife,but able to perform all the same tasks. Comfortable in both large and normal hands. The knife came with a few scratches on the blade,but it’s an excellent value,so it is what it is.

By: Jeff
Louisville,KY
Very sturdy knife but is entirely to thick behind the edge and is aggravating to use without a good thinning. Good knife once you get it thinned down.

By: Peter
Chicago,IL
I think this knife is a pretty good value for the money,and unless you’ve already made the foray into much nicer knives,this should be satisfactory,especially if you’re coming from Western knives.



For the cost,you’re looking at a Fujiwara FKM knife or Tojiro DP knife (or perhaps something out there I’m missing,I’m excluding carbon knives in this selection). I personally don’t like cladded knives so I didn’t chose the Tojiro. The Fujiwara is thinner behind the edge so it cuts better. However,this thinner edge makes it a little more delicate,although the softer steel of the Fujiwara may balance it out a bit compared to the Artifex. The Fujiwara also has less edge retention due to a softer steel. Do not get too caught up on steel quality though as knife geometry and heat treatment have have bigger effects on the knife than minor difference between the quality of steel. Do not expect these knives to be of the Devin Thomas quality just because AEB-L is used.



With that being said,I do think that the heat treatment on the knife is done decently. As I mentioned earlier,the knife is thick behind the edge (still thinner than most German knives though) which means it can wedge a bit when cutting,and food tends to stick more than it would on a thinner knife. The knife is convex,but it seems that the thickness of the knife behind the edge negates any food release benefits from it. The thickness does make the edge less prone to chipping though. The edge retention is decent,and I’ve sharpened it about twice in the last two months use with pretty heavy use. If your a fan of thin knives,this knife desperately needs to be thinned,but with a few hours of work,I think it’s a pretty good knife. I’m not a huge fan of the handle,and I wish it had a little more texture on it for grip. The choil and spine is slightly rounded,although I’d like to see a little more choil rounding. These last two fit and finish issues may just be a result of the price point though,and once again,I think this is a pretty good knife for the price.

By: Karlo
Aliso Viejo,CA
Quality is beyond the price.



I work in a pro kitchen,and I have cut so much stuff with this thing,cut through chicken bones,pork ribs,thinking,sh*t,i have to sharpen this tomorrow after all that. Then the next day,just a few passes on my steel and it’s sharp again... It has been 3 months since I last sharpened it,and it’s still sharp. I think it the AEB-L steel.



I used to have a devin thomas itk and they are sort of similar in performance.



I also have had a hiromoto,shuns,takeda,and currently only own 2 murray carters,a mac and an artifex.



And I’m dead serious,I am actually putting my carter funayuki on ebay.



I’m not saying that this knife is actually "better" than a carter. I just tend to reach for it when sh*t starts hitting the fan.



BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. i kid you not...

By: Jerry Ross
San Diego,CA
I am very pleased with my purchase of the Artifex 201mm Gyuto. The balance and fit in my hand is just what I like and it quickly felt like a natural extension of my hand.



My only regret is that I couldn’t figure out how to purchase the hand sharpening (It was not available via the drop down menu on Mac). Even with the factory edge which is understandably not very sharp,I find this knife great to work with. I really look forward to using it once I find someone locally to hand sharpen it.



Thanks Mark for such a great knife at such an affordable price.



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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:30 pm
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Hi Mark. First off let me say I appreciate your commitment to troubleshooting.

Yes I do know how to sharpen. I've experimented with a number of different sharpening technologies over the years, several of which I've tried on these knives. I'll elucidate this somewhat as I run through the knives and my experiences with them.

My first Artifex was the 210 M390 Gyuto. It came with a number of aesthetic quips, and less than stunning performance out of the box, but after some grinding and use the damaged steel from Lamson and Goodknow's application of the apex bevel was removed and performance improved further. It thankfully did not arrive with as significant heat damage as some others have. (ref. http://www.cliffstamp.com/knives/review ... gyuto.html) As typical of HCV steels in its class, it prefers more obtuse apex angles at coarser finishes and holds a more aggressive less sharp edge reasonably well primarily by leaning on the carbides. Whatever heat treat/grinding processes were applied to it, it was left with hardness and edge performance below Spyderco's M390 for example, but it was still a sufficiently positive experience, particularly considering the price, that I was happy enough to just modify the knife as necessary and purchase another Artifex.

This is where it all started to go sideways. HCV steels inherently don't take highly acute apex angles well. This is diametrically opposed to low carbide volume industrial blade steels in the sort of 13c26n/AEB-L range which have far higher edge stability and were specifically designed to run very fine, sharp, and acute edges. So my next purchase from CKTG was the 240 tall artifex gyuto variant (the blade is marked "addict") in AEB-L. Immediately I started having edge retention problems. Sharpening it was easy enough due to its high grindability, but the specified hardness (61rc IIRC) didn't seem to be there and the apex actually seemed to have some of the gummy nature you'd find on other improperly heat treated knives in that steel class such as Kershaw's use of this class of steels. I could go through how I tried coarser edges (1000 grit finish), how I was able to pull up a visible wire edge on the apex with certain strops (confirmed under my scope), etc but the punchline really came after the regrind. After having all these problems, I was hoping it was just another burned apex from the OEM Lamson, who for whatever reason apparently doesn't have their grinding protocols sorted out. Okay, hand grind any of the potentially damaged steel off, and apply a fresh apex. I did this, leaving the knife with a beautiful high finish (something like 10K grit) at 10 degrees inclusive. My next culinary exploit was twin nested stuffed pork loins, so I found myself cutting that thin plastic vacuum packaging you find frequently on cured meats. This resulted in visible deformation to the apex up to .5mm deep, and further rippling above this. Clearly this is not an acceptable behavior for a knife. I continued to use it anyway, just to see if the issues extended through the entire blade rather than just at the tip, and after about 4 onions, a red pepper, some raw meat (boneless), and some mushrooms the edge had been completely ruined; there was visible damage, I didn't scope it to see if it was entirely deformation or if there were fractures as well, along its entire length. I reverted it to a more obtuse apex geometry and shelved it as effectively useless, as I don't have the patience to resharpen a knife so frequently.

Somewhere in all this though, I figured this performance couldn't be representative of this seemingly popular product line, so I purchased one of the Artifex Honesuki knives. Unfortunately this, likewise, demonstrated the same issues. Tried some regrinding to remove any burned steel at the apex, but it didn't cure it. Its far too gummy and soft and pulls up a wire edge far too readily. I'd also note that it had been apexed slightly from the wrong side, so not insignificant regrinding was required to flatten the back side. Upon doing this I discovered that, even with a flat back, the steel's characteristics meant that with such slow material removal with that sharpening method, it was almost impossible to avoid creating a wire edge and was certainly far too difficult to remove one if it did pop up. I ceded and lifted off the flat on the back, and so now it sits shelved as well because it simply doesn't perform.

By comparison a wusthof classic ikons I've played around with have been significantly out-performing these AEB-L artifexes. Likewise so has an older Shun, although I'm not terribly impressed with that knife either, as they clearly pissed away most of the performance of that SG2 by under-hardening it or worse.

So thats why I'm still in the market. If you have an alternative solution, I'd love to hear it. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:46 pm 

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Do you seriously believe a 10 degree inclusive angle is reasonable for kitchen use?


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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:02 pm 
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Location: San Ramon Ca.
All I can say with any certainty is "it ain't the knife".



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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:38 pm 

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Benuser wrote:Do you seriously believe a 10 degree inclusive angle is reasonable for kitchen use?


For an HCV class steel it certainly is not, but for AEB-L it is. I can cite technical references of AEB-L knives performing at these geometries if you like. Even if you thought it wasn't though, would you still expect that cutting plastic vacuum wrap would reasonably damage the steel to that degree? Realize that if you use a smidge of trigonometry, you'll discover that at 10 degrees inclusive the edge had visible damage beyond the point where it was ~.09mm thick.


pjwoolw wrote:All I can say with any certainty is "it ain't the knife".

Do you have a science or logic based argument for this assertion?


I should say, I really didn't come in here to have a debate. This performance is not representative of AEB-L when properly hardened and ground, my original question to Mark was private, and regarded whether I could expect the Tanaka Ginsans to perform as advertised or not. I have no difficulty sharpening knives, my knives from other brands (Spyderco, Busse, ESEE, Farid, etc) broadly perform as they should. If you can cite something specific I did in error, and can suggest an experiment which would prove or disprove my hypothesis, I'd love to hear it.


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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:52 pm 

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Hunter,

Welcome to CKtG! A few comments.

I personally think 10 dps is asking way too much of the AEB-L steel at that hardness. IMO 15 would be the sweet spot.

Beware that mentioning Cliff Stamp on this and other forums may open a Pandora's Box. I don't have a dog in that fight.

Cheers,

Rick


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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:05 am 
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So, this is a problem that I see with some of my customers. You're over doing it.
5 degrees on each side is too steep. You're inviting problems at this kind of an angle and I would actually be shocked if you had good results trying to use a kitchen knife with that steep of an edge. So, my first recommendation is to regrind your edge at 10-12 degrees on each side and see if that helps the knife cut food a little better.

Next can you give me some better details on what progression you're using to sharpen kitchen knives?



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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:22 am 

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Wait... 10 degrees inclusive? That's absurd!


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 Post subject: Re: Artifex performance issues
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:48 am 

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Tall Dark and Swarfy wrote:Hunter,

Welcome to CKtG! A few comments.

I personally think 10 dps is asking way too much of the AEB-L steel at that hardness. IMO 15 would be the sweet spot.

Beware that mentioning Cliff Stamp on this and other forums may open a Pandora's Box. I don't have a dog in that fight.

Cheers,

Rick


Hi Rick, thank you for welcoming me to the forums. :)

I hate to nitpick, but I didn't say 10 dps (20 degrees) I said 10 degrees inclusive or half that geometry. By the time you get to 30 degrees inclusive on this knife, the edge is able to stabilize enough to cut its own thickness in soft plastic I'll grant you, but then you simply have a problem of unremarkable low performance. I will grant you it relatively readily takes a sharp edge though. You don't have to take my word for it that 30 degrees inclusive is excessive for 61rc AEB-L though, by all means there is plenty of documentation available to support that assertion in this class of steel. And even if you were to reject all of that, would you still think it reasonable for the knife to fail in the observed manner given the SPECIFIC test I performed? What if I told you other knives I have can easily, at 10 degrees inclusive, pass that test? (cutting thin soft plastic) If you are still skeptical, I would be interested to remove a razor blade from an inexpensive disposable shaving razor which likely has even more acute geometry, and certainly was made as cheaply as possible, and repeat the experiment.

I am well aware of Cliff Stamp's "controversial" reputation. In this case though, I referenced him for a pretty cut and dried assessment where his Artifex had been so badly burned it was visibly discolored. I'd rather discuss science and fact that personality and reputation though. I don't find discussing the latter to be particularly productive. In general I prefer to adhere to this hierarchy of argument:

Image
ref. wikimedia commons


chefknivestogo wrote:So, this is a problem that I see with some of my customers. You're over doing it.
5 degrees on each side is too steep. You're inviting problems at this kind of an angle and I would actually be shocked if you had good results trying to use a kitchen knife with that steep of an edge. So, my first recommendation is to regrind your edge at 10-12 degrees on each side and see if that helps the knife cut food a little better.

Next can you give me some better details on what progression you're using to sharpen kitchen knives?


Again, even if you were to accept the argument that 10 degrees inclusive is too steep for use on relatively non-fibrous vegetables, would you expect the failure witnessed cutting thin soft plastic to be reasonable? Its a serious question, do you consider that to be acceptable and normal in your knives?

I did note in the rest of my assessment, that I reverted it and in fact primarily used the knife at significantly more obtuse geometries. I have used the knife at 20-25 degrees inclusive, but when sharpened at those geometries the edge retention is simply poor as the knife blunts relatively rapidly.

I have quite a few different sharpening options available to me. Would you consider a fixed angle (jig) progression on monocrystalline diamond stones from 100, 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, and then onto lapping films rated in micron 12, 9, 3, 1, .3. (I believe these are the correct micron ratings, forgive me I just store them ranked by coarseness)

Is that an adequate progression to satisfy you? I don't always use that progression, nor that sharpening system, although I have on this knife for the range of angles. I have quite a few different sharpening options, from flat stones to guided systems, but usually when I'm having issues I'll just revert to a guided system as it removes potential for accusations of "user error."

If you have a specific experiment you'd like me to perform, I'd happily do so just to humor you. I do have a question though about where this ultimately is going and what the purpose of this discussion is? Since your hypothesis is that the error is mine, is there A) any way that (to you) I could disprove this and B) what would the response be if I did?


Wait... 10 degrees inclusive? That's absurd!

Consider what the original application for this blade is, and/or read the rest of what I wrote which mostly regarded the knife at 20 degrees inclusive or greater.


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