I bought a 240mm Artifex Gyuto some time ago and I was going to submit a review after I had used it a bit. But then I decided that I wasn't going to allow myself to review the knife until I had needed to sharpen it, and therefor would have an idea of it's edge holding *and* what it could do once I sharpened it myself. I just checked back through my orders and found that I received this blade in the first week of August 2013. That means it's been 4 months and maybe a few days.
Initial impressions of knife are much like others: It's very well made, especially at it's price point. It's no where near perfect in terms of extreme attention to detail, but that's decidedly NOT what this knife is all about. It's about quality and *performance* at a very good price point. The initial edge is a little uneven; a bit wider on one side than the other, and a bit wider at the heel than the rest of the blade. It also initially had a bit of a rolled edge pointing to one side. I fixed that in about a minute using a ceramic "steel" (rod). Nice and sharp out of the box; shaves hair, and cleanly cuts phonebook paper. Nothing crazy, just very usable sharpness.
Performance on food is awesome. This is my first Japanese style knife and I was hoping for easier better cutting due to the blade being so thin. I got what I hoped for, though not quite as big of a difference from German knives as I had hoped for. There's a difference for sure. Over the months I've had it, I've noticed that I do things with this blade that I wouldn't normally try to do with a 9" German chef's knife. Like using the tip to cut the membrane/ribs out of a bell pepper using just the tip. The tip is so much thinner than I'm used to and it's really sharp. ...and it seems to have a taste for blood. I've cut myself twice on the heel (slight cuts) and stabbed myself with the point fairly badly once. That point is SHARP!! For the record, that's the first time I've cut myself, other than tiny little cuts, in about 5 years.
I carved the Thanksgiving turkey with it, removing the breasts by following the keel bone down both sides of the turkey. Then sliced up the breasts. It worked like a champ, and proved that contact with bone isn't a problem for this blade. I said contact, not attempting to cut bone or slam into it. Just contact.
I forgot to mention that I've been maintaining this blade by steeling it with a big ceramic rod (about 2 inches in diameter and 10 or 12 inches long). Since the blade is so hard, I didn't know if a traditional steel would be able to realign the blade. So ceramic it is. I usually steel the blade 6 to 10 times each side before using it. I skip it now and then, but never for more than a few sessions. It's kept the sharpness very high; close to original, but not quite. Through the months, it's continued to shave hair and work with food very very well. After a while of doing this (8 weeks or so) I examined the edge closely and found that I had formed a microbevel with the ceramic. A very, very micro-bevel. Perhaps 1/64 to 1/128 of an inch wide. But a microbevel never the less.
Last night I noticed that steeling it finally wasn't making the first 3 inches as sharp as I'd like it and there were some "hangs" in the edge when I drew it through phonebook paper. Frankly, this is COMPLETELY AMAZING to me. I've never had a blade remain anywhere close to shaving sharp, with regular use, for more than a few weeks. 5 or 6 at the very, very most. I'm certain that steeling the edge frequently is part of this. I'm less certain of how big a factor the high hardness is; but I'm pretty sure it's a big factor.
I just sharpened it a few minutes ago using a Nubatama Ume 1k and Nubatama bamboo 5k. I formed a burr on one side with the 1k in maybe 2 minutes. I was shocked. I worked on the tip extra to make double sure. Yep, full length burr. Did the other side in another few minutes. Tried it on magazine paper and found it still had a few hangs. Shaved, but not easily. So I stropped it on white compound. Jeez! Now it shaves way better and phonebook paper is pretty smooth.
On to the 5k. 10 minutes or so of edge leading and then stropping strokes and it's done. Shaves clean, but there is quite noticeable drag. Slices phonebook paper. Won't do the circle trick in magazine paper. Stropped on green compound maybe 15 times per side. Holy Wow! Super clean, very low drag shaving. Cuts circles out of magazine paper. Very cleanly slices phonebook paper. Most of my sharpened blades do most of this, but won't easily cut phonebook paper straight down *against* the grain. This does. Not a pure push cut. Needs a bit of a slice, but then goes straight down through phonebook *against* the grain.
I am SO happy with this blade! I use it an average of 4 days a week in the kitchen (home kitchen) and I'm always happy to have it in my hand. I'm stoked to see what it does in the next week with my new edge on it.
This was way longer than I intended. I hope someone finds it interesting.