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 Post subject: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 5:36 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:11 pm
Posts: 70
I first purchased the 52100 Ultimatum back in March of 2012. Now I have had about 2 years of experience with it and feel like I can give it a comprehensive review.
First Impressions
Blade- I was very excited to try the 52100. I prefer carbon (non-stainless) steel. When I first opened the package I was surprised by the unique blade profile. I would say it looks most like a Sujihiki. The blade has a nice flat spot of about 5 inches from the heel until the blade starts to curve upward toward the tip. Something unique that I noticed about the blade is at about the 5-6 inch mark, the blade appears thicker and heavy. This creates a unique feel to the blade when cutting, somewhat like a sweet spot on a parang. On the ultimatum, the sweet spot created by the grind appears to be about the 4-5 inches from the heel in the flat spot on the blade. The tip was very thinly ground with a nice taper. The tip looked very useful for delicate work and would be very usable for different cuts like those used to set up for dicing onions or tomatoes.
The edge angle appeared to be about 30 degrees inclusive. Initially, I was surprised about how the edge lacked significant sharpness. The edge appeared to be finished at about a 3000-4000 grit edge. Yes it was sharp, it could cut paper but just was not as sharp as it could be. Of course, who knows what USPS does in the shipping process and the edge could of course be affected by jumbling around in the cardboard sheath.
The grind was convexed very well thought was uneven in some spots. This made for an uneven edge bevel, where it appears wider in some areas and thinner in others. The unevenness in the grind may have complicated the initial sharpening. The spine and heel were nicely rounded and would never abrade the hand. The rounding and convexing makes this nice more of a customized knife that represents a great performance-price value!
Handle- The handle is a great octagonal rosewood/pakkawood combination. If could have one plain factory handle this would be it. It fits the knife perfectly, looks great, and has a wonderful feel to it. The handle install is great on my knife and perfectly centered.

Performance/Usage
Edge@30 degrees inclusive
The 52100 Ultimatum is just an awesome knife. Using the knife took a little getting used because of the unique balance of the blade and the shorter height. However, the design of the blade quickly shown as a wonderful performer. The convex grind makes food release superb and it’s ability to cut simply awesome. Uniquely, my ultimatum appeared hand sharpened versus finished by a belt grinder. Many times I find new knives quickly lose their initial edge because they're sharpened on a machine that weakens steel on the cutting-edge itself. This knife however did not display such behavior. After some use I stropped the edge on 1u HA diamond compound on balsa, which improved the sharpness significantly. The edge did not show any significant dents/chips or rolls after cutting unpeeled potatoes, broccoli, carrots, etc. I can cut paper thin potatoes, dice onions, chop lettuce with ease. I could only imagine what this knife could do in the hands of someone more skilled. 52100 responds so well to the stropping I was able to maintain the edge for over a year of home kitchen use on the strop alone. Keep in mind that I have several other knives that are in the kitchen rotation.
Sharpening
Last week I finally re-sharpened it to about 17-20 degrees inclusive. My progression was the Nubatama Bamboo 150 Grit to set the initial edge. Really I did not need to go so course but I often do so for the sake of speed and to quickly remove a dent in the edge I made when I smacked the edge on a ceramic bowl. Then I skipped to the Bester 1000x Water Stone, moving to the Bester 2000 Grit Water Stone, the Imanishi 4K Stone, the Arashiyama 6000 Grit Water Stone, then to 1u HA Boron carbide on balsa, .25 u HA diamond on balsa, and .1 CBN on Nano cloth. After the progress the edge was able to whittle hanging hair but did not split the hair. I can split hanging hair with 0-1 at 1u and white steel at 6000 grit. In this case I am guessing was is simply not my best sharpening job.
Usage@ 17-20 degrees inclusive
The sharpness improved significantly with the change in angle and the sharpening progress. The knife now more easily cut every thing from mushrooms to carrots. On the first cutting session I prepared many mushrooms, carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and onion. There was no edge degradation visible to the naked eye. However under the 20x loupe I could seek a very small deformation likely from seeds I failed to clear from the board. I was happy to seek the edge was completely free form chips. I have yet to really challenge to the more acute edge on veggies like broccoli, beets, or unpeeled potatoes.
Overall I am very happy with my Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is considering it. Perhaps one day it will get a custom saya and handle. But for now it is a solid work horse in my home kitchen.


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 3:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 1995
Zen - Great review! Thanks for taking the time to compose a thoughtful and informative article.


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2014 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:11 pm
Posts: 70
Thanks Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:11 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:27 am
Posts: 161
Location: Yuma, AZ
Excellent review. I like how you compared it before and after the reprofile. Are there any comparisons you could make for us? Thanks for the great work.



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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:35 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Posts: 238
You nailed it with your Ultimatum review. I have the same knife in 19C27 steel and your description high lights what a great work horse that it is. I agree the rosewood ebony handle is about as good as it gets for a non custom handle. The Ultimatum should get more attention on the website. BB


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2014 1:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:07 am
Posts: 371
I love when users wait and use the knife for a while before posting a review. Awesome review! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:45 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:11 pm
Posts: 70
Thanks coachnj. When you said "Are there any comparisons you could make for us?" Do you mean to other knives? Let me know and I will give it a try.
By the way love your signature line "Are there any comparisons you could make for us?"


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:11 pm
Posts: 70
Thanks for the feedback Bikeman. I agree the ultimatum is under-exposed... So many great knives on CKTG.
You said the handle is rosewood ebony. I represented it wrong in the review. For some reason I thought it was pakkawood/redwood. Thanks for the info.


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 12:30 am 

Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:25 pm
Posts: 238
The older Ultimatum's like other Richmond knives came with a Rosewood handle w/ebony or buffalo horn ferrule. The newer knives are coming through with bubinga or wenge/tiger maple handles which are very nice( I have the Ikeda with the newer handle) but the rosewood has a warm color and classic feel to it. Rosewood has gotten pricey which is why makers like Moritaka no longer use it. I just used my Ultimatum tonight to prep dinner and it is a cutting machine.


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 Post subject: Re: Richmond 52100 Ultimatum 245 Gyuto
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2014 1:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:00 pm
Posts: 1995
+1 Bikeman. I really like the handle on my Sakai Takayuki Ginsan 240. I'm calling it Rosewood and either ebony or buffalo horn ferrule. It does has a classic look and feel to it, which complements the knife perfectly.


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