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Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390

Posted by CliffStamp 
Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 15, 2013 05:06PM
Ref : [www.chefknivestogo.com]

Quote
CKtG
Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390. The Richmond Artifex is my fourth knife and this version of the knife is made with M390. BOHLER M390 MICROCLEAN steel is the new super steel on the block. Third generation powder metal technology. Developed for knife blades requiring good corrosion resistance and very high hardness for excellent wear resistance. Chromium, molybdenum, vanadium, and tungsten are added for excellent sharpness and edge retention. Can be polished to an extremely high finish.
The Artifex is an all-purpose chef knife/ gyuto that measures 210mm or about 8.25 inches on the blade. The name Artifex is latin for artisan or worker and I designed the knife specifically for people in the food service industry that need a great blade that is tough, versatile and uses world class steel. The knife will take a very keen edge just like the best carbon steels but it has unmatched edge holding abilities. We hardened this steel to HRC 61 for the ideal hardness and toughness.

I designed this knife to be thin with a nice sized handle made of nearly indestructable black linen micarta with a classic 2 rivet design. The handle is designed to give you years of worry free use. Finally, this knife is made right here in the United States with our partner Lamson And Goodnow. The factory edge grind is 50/50 at about 15 degrees on each side. We priced this knife aggressively so line cooks, knife enthusiasts and students could afford it. I hope you enjoy my newest knife. Stay Sharp! Mark Richmond.

Name: Richmond Artifex
Steel: M390
Hardness: HRC 61
Grind: Convex
Edge: V at 15 Degrees
Taper: Distal
Style: Yo Gyuto/Western Chef
Handle: G-10
Spine thickness: 2mm at heel
Weight 6oz
Height 43.4mm at the heel.
Made in the USA with our partner Lamson & Goodnow

Commentary : [www.cliffstamp.com]

More discussion : [www.cliffstamp.com]

The main purpose of this was to have a data point on M390, and of course it isn't a bad design anyway.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 24, 2013 08:00PM
This is an obvious step up from the knives I have been using to say what should not be surprising :



It is the top one.

A few positives :

-rounded spine and heel
-nice taper on the front of the handle to the blade

But :

-end of handle is squarish
-tang is slightly crowned and rough
-tip and leading edge is burnt strawish

A bit of geometry :

-stock is 0.1"
-4" distal taper to very thin tip, 1/4" back from the tip the blade is only 0.025" thick
-edge is 0.018" at base, < 0.005" in the tip
-angle is 14 (1) dps

The edge looks very clean :



It is obviously sharpened on a soft buffing wheel as it curves strongly, you have to rotate it significantly to bring the apex into focus under the scope.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 09:24AM
Darn it. Why must you always beat me to the punch on reviews? tongue sticking out smiley
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 10:33AM
I am just that kind of guy.

As a sort of silly note, I wish they had used a different naming scheme for these knives because it appears he called the Chef's knife just "Richmond Artifex" but then the other ones are "Richmond Artifex X" where X is the knife, but Chef/Gyuto is left out of this one even in the actual web site. It makes it very difficult to find reviews and source information.

I was trying to see if anyone else had noticed the edge/tip burning, and general comments about the handle as I am two ways in regards to it vs the pricing, but it isn't trivial to sort out the information and just get the knife you are looking for.

As an interesting check I have been showing this knife to friends and family alongside some very inexpensive knives which also have :

-western blades
-riveted handles
-with and without bolsters

They do not know anything about steel so the m390 means nothing. Almost uniformly most people will lump the Artifex with the more inexpensive knives because :

-it lacks a bolster, commonly seen on low end knives
-there are minor issues with the handle which are obvious when you pick it up.

Now I realize the point of this series was to introduce an economy line with quality geometry, materials and sharpness - but just a little more work on the handle would have made a large difference. Again though this might just be the one I have hence the effort to see if other people had similar issues.

One of the more curious questions I have, which might not even be of practical concern I realize is :

-how long will this last in the kitchen compared to the inexpensive knives in non-restricted use

Now I realize that the kind of extreme use seen in the non-restricted use (scraping, cutting mop heads, etc.) isn't likely to be the intended scope of work, I am just curious as to how much benefit will be seen to the higher wear resistance in such harsh conditions.

I will be doing the sharpness measurements and stock cutting this evening, see if you can get your data on that up before I do.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 10:36AM
As an aside, take this for what you will in regards to customer service - I emailed Richmond and let him know about the burnt tip/edge and received a response he would pass that along to the manufacturer. I sent a pretty detailed email on what was happened, why I thought it was happening and possible solutions. I didn't even get a note to apologize for the defect or offer a replacement/refund. Now it isn't that big of a problem on my end, but the last of a gesture on a "high end" knife is a little less than ideal.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 05:16PM
This is a little less than impressive, this is the Havalon :

-Push cut Espirit baisting thread with 70 (5) grams
-Slice Berga spinning thread under 40 grams of tension with 0.1 cm

This is the Richmond :

-Push cut Espirit baisting thread with 135 (5) grams
-Slice Berga spinning thread under 40 grams of tension with 5+ cm

Look at the difference in slicing aggression.

As I suspected the edge was completely rounded in the buffing, likely by the same high pressure which burnt the tip. As an example of just how severe this effected the blade, on 3/8" hemp :

-near the heel, 32 (1) lbs on a push, 21 (1) on a slice

however as you move towards the tip 50+ lbs does nothing either way, you can't even score the rope.

Now as-boxed sharpness isn't everything, however this $120 knife is out classed by disposable blades which are about a quarter (and sharpened at the same angle).

Yes it isn't a big deal to fix, however given the price point I would argue it should out class the cheaper knives but this doesn't even match the performance of the better ones.
cKc
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 07:19PM
Just remember I told you that you might have to sharpen mine when you get it. Lol

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[data.gearbastion.com]
KnivesAndStuff (YoutTube)
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 07:45PM
No worries, AEB-L and similar steels are trivial to sharpen compared to the funky junk I handle on a regular basis. I just had to sharpen a kitchen knife as it was used to trim sods around the end of septic tank lines. I doubt yours will be in that condition. I have awesome friends. I hope the same knife wasn't use the last time I was over for dinner.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 07:51PM
Notice on the site there is a few dollar extra option for his special hand sharpening?

I was going to cover this in my review before you stole my thunder, but I got my knife with what ended up being basically a mirror apex bevel which was (off the top of my head) about 15 degrees inclusive and quite sharp. Thus far I have not altered or resharpened it. I did notice at the tip though on one tiny little error where whoever had sharpened it (presumably on a partially slack leather belt) had failed to fully remove the stock bevel on one side. Looking at this I see zero evidence of damage from heat, although its quite dull in this area having been sharpened from only one side now. This area where it was "unsharpened" or really more accurately sharpened a second time from one side but failed to be sharpened that second time from the other is maybe 1mm high at its highest, and perhaps 4mm long or so.

Looking up onto the primary grind, its clear that the knife had been buffed at the edge, however this had equally as clearly been done prior to the application of the final bevel I'm seeing along the vast majority of the edge.

Again there is zero evidence of heat damage on my knife, even in that little tip area at the very apex. You'll notice on the website though, there is in fact an option for additional sharpening. I'd obviously never pay for such a thing, but I believe I was sent one which had been given this extra treatment either in error or perhaps because he exhausted his stock of regular factory sharpened variants.

I did some more carving, twisting out, chopping of "small" branches both small enough to cut in a single stroke and too large to do so. No damage, no rippling, no fuss, no bother. Did some cooking with it as well (gasp) and even invited one of my chef friends over to cook with and suggested he give the knife a shot. Initially he actually turned his nose up at it, not pleased by the appearance of the handles, lack of overall contour, and "sloppiness" of the rounding which very much look not only coarse and hand done but rather unevenly so. I pitched, or perhaps defended, briefly about super steels and fine edge geometry, but he didn't seem to be having it. It didn't take him many slices to change his tune though, as I do suspect this knife was significantly sharper than he was used to...... ironic given how much he has spent on other knives. I did myself notice a behavior of the handles I found somewhat unusual. While I had expected them to become slick with grease/juice/whatever, they instead gained a feeling I'd liken to extreme high viscosity bearing packings. If you've ever worked with them you know what I mean. If not its...... well its technically a lubricant, but its so thick you don't slip off things quickly, you move against it slowly as the viscosity holds things in place. Obviously it was NOT the result of actual grease on this handle being so viscous, as it wasn't, but in short I was surprised by the level of grip afforded given that it had zero texture.

One more thing about the handle if I may. I initially, when fondling the knife, was dismayed at the square butt, thinking as Cliff does that it would be uncomfortable. I quickly found though that in use, the knife seemed to favor a grip where that was a non-issue. The knife, with its rounded edges in front of the index finger and on the spine, really encourages a far choked up grip where your thumb, index, and middle fingers do most of the work the others being simply along for the ride. That combined with the as-boxed sharpness meant I was never actually applying enough force that the handle was anything other than comfortable. Even when whittling (wood) I was very surprised, as I had expected it to be problematic and it simply wasn't. When I moved on to chopping (power chopping branches, not slicing onions with vigor) I did find the handle to be uncomfortable, particularly toward that un-rounded back of the knife.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 08:12PM
Quote
Hunterseeker5
Notice on the site there is a few dollar extra option for his special hand sharpening?

Yes, I find that actually a little odd considering the price point of the knives.


Quote

I did some more carving, twisting out, chopping of "small" branches both small enough to cut in a single stroke and too large to do so.

Is your edge thickness similar to the one I have?


Quote

While I had expected them to become slick with grease/juice/whatever, they instead gained a feeling I'd liken to extreme high viscosity bearing packings. If you've ever worked with them you know what I mean. If not its...... well its technically a lubricant, but its so thick you don't slip off things quickly, you move against it slowly as the viscosity holds things in place. Obviously it was NOT the result of actual grease on this handle being so viscous, as it wasn't, but in short I was surprised by the level of grip afforded given that it had zero texture.

Interesting, I was thinking the same thing about use in compromised conditions.


Quote

That combined with the as-boxed sharpness meant I was never actually applying enough force that the handle was anything other than comfortable.

Do you see it as a problem to be removed though? It is literally like a minute on the buffer to remove all of the issues with the handle, again that is what makes me curious. Of course since no one is really complaining then where is the value in spending that minute.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 08:21PM
I just noticed this review :

Quote
Jmbullman
By: Jmbullman
NC
This is the best steel and also the hardest steel I have ever cut,unless you have the shapton line of gs or pros plus a dmt or atoma plate to set the bevel because the out of the box version has almost no edge at all I would recommend getting the finish version or unless you are a sharpener yourself. This steel is no joke and takes a long time and will produce a high finish and keen edge. This is the best steel I have ever seen,mark could sell this for twice as much and still be a value.. Jmbullman

That is one of the guys who does the professional sharpening, this guy :





I don't find mushrooms that demanding though sharpness wise, no where near tomato push cuts.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 08:22PM
Video :



Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 08:57PM
Quote
CliffStamp
Quote
Hunterseeker5
Notice on the site there is a few dollar extra option for his special hand sharpening?

Yes, I find that actually a little odd considering the price point of the knives.


Quote

I did some more carving, twisting out, chopping of "small" branches both small enough to cut in a single stroke and too large to do so.

Is your edge thickness similar to the one I have?


Quote

While I had expected them to become slick with grease/juice/whatever, they instead gained a feeling I'd liken to extreme high viscosity bearing packings. If you've ever worked with them you know what I mean. If not its...... well its technically a lubricant, but its so thick you don't slip off things quickly, you move against it slowly as the viscosity holds things in place. Obviously it was NOT the result of actual grease on this handle being so viscous, as it wasn't, but in short I was surprised by the level of grip afforded given that it had zero texture.

Interesting, I was thinking the same thing about use in compromised conditions.


Quote

That combined with the as-boxed sharpness meant I was never actually applying enough force that the handle was anything other than comfortable.

Do you see it as a problem to be removed though? It is literally like a minute on the buffer to remove all of the issues with the handle, again that is what makes me curious. Of course since no one is really complaining then where is the value in spending that minute.

I just posted my whole blade profile on this knife at your request in the other thread. *sigh* I'll go dig it up tomorrow if you can't find it.

No I don't see the handle as a comfort problem yet though. I was not being terribly gentle in my force application carving, and I wasn't experiencing any hot spots. Again this is preliminary as I wasn't paying attention to the handle, I was trying to damage the edge, but it wasn't producing hot spots which I'd have noticed. Honestly I looked at the steel and the grind and sort of wrote the handle off as a blank canvas, ripe for personalization and optimization. If that extra minute on the buffer added an extra 5$, I personally would vote against it. The squareness of the butt though, for me, was a non-issue. My grip just didn't contact it.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 09:02PM
Interesting, mine is much more tapered : [www.cliffstamp.com]
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 09:22PM
Quote
CliffStamp
Interesting, mine is much more tapered : [www.cliffstamp.com]
Pardon me, but I seem unable to find your measurements in that thread.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 09:40PM
Mine are in this one, that links to yours.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 25, 2013 09:48PM
That was silly. Someone isn't paying attention. eye rolling smiley

Aside from the thickness at the tip, ours seem relatively similar. That extreme thin taper is probably why yours was burnt.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 28, 2013 07:54PM
Quote
Hunterseeker5
One more thing about the handle if I may. I initially, when fondling the knife, was dismayed at the square butt...

Did your have any of the other issues I noted with the grip?
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 09:57AM
Quote
Cliff Stamp
Did your have any of the other issues I noted with the grip?


Quote
Cliff Stamp
-end of handle is squarish
-tang is slightly crowned and rough

In fondling the square handle end was uncomfortable, but in use I discovered that I don't grip the knife that way and it became irrelevant. The slight damage to the butt of the knife though, presumably from being dropped on the corner of its square end, is still visible though.

I liked the crowned tang and even more the edge behind my finger, as they significantly improve comfort. They are not particularly even, straight, or visually pleasing though. I have not decided yet whether I'm going to polish them out to prevent potential corrosion/bacterial buildup, or leave them rough as it improves grip slightly.


I will say though that there is an issue here: if a knife is built down to a price, but doesn't sacrifice on features, the roughness of those features will cause people to lambaste the knife. If however a knife were built down to a price and simply didn't have those features, people would say "well thats just because its inexpensive blah blah blah" and would let it slide. The rounded spine is a perfect example. If it had come with a regular square spine, nobody would have said a thing. Instead it came rounded, but quickly and somewhat sloppily done. I find it improves the overall knife in terms of use, at least so far, but is now a source of complaint. I'm....... a bit torn. Could the low grindability of M390 and higher material cost really only make it cost 20$ more compared to the AEB-L version? Why then does a company like Spyderco, or custom maker like Phil Wilson, get three to five times the price for a knife which essentially just has some nicer handle flourishes? This isn't to take anything away from any of the companies/makers involved, I guess I'm just grappling with the value provided by this knife. Thus far I've done plenty of wood carving, some hacking, and some cooking all to great effect and haven't yet even finished off the factory edge. Its still extremely sharp, easily light pressure shaving, which IME makes sense for M390 but wouldn't for 13C26 for example.

This gets into an issue I'm having with you, as I'm finding it extremely difficult to rectify what I see in high carbide volume steels with what you find with high carbide volume steels. I see medium carbide volume steels as losing their initial sharpness/aggression generally quite quickly but able to hold an edge of sorts for some time. I find edges of lower alloy steels achieve high sharpness very readily, and seem to have slightly more linear edge degradation. (obviously still a curve, but the initial drop is less precipitous) High hardness high carbide volume steels I tend to find though DON'T experience the same rapid initial edge burn-off that medium carbide volume steels do and as a result are able to remain "shaving sharp" the longest out of all three categories. (with medium carbide steels being the shortest generally) Having arrived at these conclusions independently, although I've heard now that Bladeforums has picked up this mantra, I don't believe I'm psyching myself out and inadvertently skewing my results. Its possible my sharpening methodologies have something to do with it, but you seem to have tried everything so the chances that I'm somehow doing something miraculous and special seem unlikely.

So thats my problem, and its part of the reason why I haven't done a review on the knife yet. If my results are so shockingly different than yours, what must I be doing wrong?

So as it stands I quite like the knife. Its performance I think is above its price, and so while grappling with the value question at this time I'm falling on the "its a score" side of the equation. Of course if 1 in 3 comes with a ruinously burned edge, that makes it seem like slightly less of a deal.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 10:59AM
Quote
Hunterseeker5

This gets into an issue I'm having with you, as I'm finding it extremely difficult to rectify what I see in high carbide volume steels with what you find with high carbide volume steels.

a) In general low carbide steels are used on cheap knives, thus you can see a different due to high non-martensite phases, lower hardness in general, less than ideal aus-grain, etc. .

b) What angle and grit finish are you using.

c) What is your stopping point as "shaving sharp" covers a fairly wide ground.

d) What are you cutting and how are you cutting it?

The problem is often with lack of detail and conclusions being promoted which are correlated to the completely wrong factors, often this is really obvious if the data is presented.

For example if you want to make a high carbide edge hold a high polish for an extended period time then all you have to do is :

-raise the angle until the apex stabilizes

-move your sharpness stopping point lower, define shaving as some kind of harsh scrape

-use a lower grit finish

Or simply put far more effort into the hardening of the high carbide steel so that it has far reduced non-martensite phases, a significantly higher hardness, a much finer aus-grain, etc. .

It is like like a basic 420J2 knife at 50-55 HRC which costs $5 is going to set a benchmark for retaining shaving sharpness, some of them can't even get shaving sharp without a lot of issues as they are gummy and flaky and sometimes both.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 02:27PM
As an aside :

"This gets into an issue I'm having with you, as I'm finding it extremely difficult to rectify what I see in high carbide volume steels with what you find with high carbide volume steels. "

That is why I always wanted to have the web-reviews linked to an active discussion, peer review is critical to any even half way serious attempt at research.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 03:33PM
A) You be the judge. Off the top of my head 52100, 1095, INFI if that counts are my favorites. They're all pretty simple carbon steels to me. Actually, while you can't equate price with quality, own few knives outside of reputable brands as I don't "experiment" with cheap knives like you do.

cool smiley Depends on the knife. Broadly though I've gotten the best performance by sharpening to 600 or 800 grit (diamonds) and then stropping PRECIOUS FEW TIMES on usually a cheap strop loaded with something like CrOX or polycrystalline diamonds. 10 strokes per side would be an absolute maximum. If you strop one of these knives too much, not only do you lose the aggression you just painstakingly put on, I feel like it reduces edge retention although I could just be fooling myself/witnessing rapid dulling due to zero aggression/seen increased dulling from objects damaging the entire edge instead of points of micro-serrations. With high carbide volume steels, and this only goes for true high carbide volume steels (excluding REX121 and for some weird reason ZDP-189, although I have limited experience with the latter, I need a new knife in it so consider that a "not enough data" not a "it doesn't behave as such) such as S90v, M390, CPM M4, and CTS 20cp I finish relatively high maybe 1K grit maybe 1600 depending on my mood and the specific application then strop quickly, maybe 15 passes per side maybe less again depends on blade shape and size meaning how much actual time the edge spends on the abrasive. The high carbide volume steels just seem to retain and create their own aggression, and stay sharp much longer. Then there are weird steels like INFI and H1 which seem to respond extremely poorly to stropping, particularly H1. INFI I sharpen to about 600, maybe a few licks on a strop just to pop up a little more sharpness, but 3 to 5 passes per side? Not much. If you polish it more it gets stupid sharp easily, but seems to lose it very quickly. H1 is far worse, coming hair popping sharp off coarse stones, and if you strop it it'll polish incredibly easily and dull the second you touch something. Its not like anything I've ever seen before. I tried stropping it to gorgeous convex mirrors, but was perpetually frustrated that it could never cut anything other than my hair. Started coarse finishing it and leaving it, and my problems evaporated. Too much of an off-topic answer?

Oh sorry I'm kinda dumping this in, because I forgot, but angles are critical. Most my knives these days run dual bevels, particularly the high carbide ones. I'll put one bevel on at whatever, maybe 20 or 30 degrees inclusive depending on the application. Right at the edge though, I'll run them 45 degrees inclusive, give or take a few degrees, and that'll go up the primary bevel a tiny fraction of a mm. As I resharpen I'll let it creep up the bevel until it starts impairing performance, then I'll go knock it back down again. I don't have calibrated fingers like you, but so far as I can tell it doesn't really hurt cutting performance, and keeps the edges sharper longer and more durable. I find them vastly less necessary on 52100 and 1095 as compared to INFI and high carbide steels which take damage, deformation and fracture respectively, far too easily if you were to inadvertently encounter something unfortunate.

C) Its true, my arm fuzzle isn't calibrated, but broadly knives are still usably sharp after it stops shaving them PARTICULARLY if they have inherent aggression. What do I mean? Well so lets say equal sharpening methods, 1K+ grit finish on M390 and 52100, lick on the strop, and off to cutting. When the M390 stops shaving arm hair, it'll still pop through a plastic bag right under the knot with a quick flick, 52100 for example won't.

D) Ummmm...... everything? It literally ranges from light work like opening letters and breaking down boxes to "abusive" winking smiley tongue sticking out smiley work such as hacking through branches, carving (not always things as nice as wood, think POM or worse), other wood cutting, to very occasionally scribing metal. Basically anything and everything which needs cutting. Maybe I deal more with plastics than other people? Cutting in, and dulling on, wood is very different in regards to dulling and how dull knives perform as compared to other things.

IDK anything jump out at you?
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 03:48PM
"excluding REX121 and for some weird reason ZDP-189, although I have limited experience with the latter, I need a new knife in it so consider that a "not enough data" not a "it doesn't behave as such"

Hunterseeker5 can you please elaborate on ZDP-189. I have a stretch in that steel and it is the strangest steel I have. [www.cliffstamp.com] I thought I had it beat but today I cut up one box maybe ten feet of cutting and every bit of slicing aggression is GONE!
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 04:51PM
I don't know, I don't have a nice knife in ZDP-189 I've only worked on other people's and my better half has a ZDP dragonfly.

Its a weird steel. I didn't want people to mistakenly lump it with the high carbide volume steels, because I'm not sure it fits in there performance wise. It also polishes extremely readily, which is also extremely unusual for high carbide high carbon steels which tend to resist it due to the highly non-homogeneous nature of high carbide steels both in terms of differing polishing rates and due to carbide tear out.

For all I know ZDP-189 is just a massive joke the Japanese played on us, because it seems in a lot of ways to behave like a carbon steel but again I need to test more before I form a conclusion.
me2
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 05:57PM
This is just a guess, but I think the high carbide steels you talk of, while having a high volume overall, have small enough individual carbides that the microbevel at 45 inclusive+/- give them enough of an angle that the tear out seen at lower angles and the fracturing problem isn't as pronounced. I'm talking about fracturing of the individual carbides, which causes problems with sharpening, not fracturing of the edge. This is all good stuff, keep it up.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 06:32PM
Quote
Hunterseeker5

cool smiley Depends on the knife. Broadly though I've gotten the best performance by sharpening to 600 or 800 grit (diamonds) and then stropping PRECIOUS FEW TIMES on usually a cheap strop loaded with something like CrOX or polycrystalline diamonds.


...

Oh sorry I'm kinda dumping this in, because I forgot, but angles are critical. Most my knives these days run dual bevels, particularly the high carbide ones. I'll put one bevel on at whatever, maybe 20 or 30 degrees inclusive depending on the application. Right at the edge though, I'll run them 45 degrees inclusive, give or take a few degrees, and that'll go up the primary bevel a tiny fraction of a mm.


...

Its true, my arm fuzzle isn't calibrated, but broadly knives are still usably sharp after it stops shaving them PARTICULARLY if they have inherent aggression.

That would be expected, because steels with a high edge stability are designed to take and hold :

a) a high polish
b) face shaving level sharpness
c) 8-12 dps edges

You are using :

a) medium grit finish
b) lower level of sharpness
c) much higher angles

and thus will see optimal performance with a higher carbide volume.

Now the part about the non-linear result that makes no sense, I can't see any reason why the performance would decrease and then rebound in related to carbide volume and I would advance the hypothesis that what you are seeing isn't strictly a carbide volume issue but a micro-structure issue. The only way I can see that behavior holding as true is if there are two competing mechanisms which are different in relation to carbide volume and one becomes more dominant as the carbide volume increases, nothing immediate comes to mind though unless it is some kind of tear out on such a volume it micro-serrates the edge.

Now there is a dramatic difference when you reach some point because for example solid carbide/ceramic behaves differently. At least from what I have seen I was never really satisfied with ceramics at low grit finishes. The argument is that they fracture heavily around the tracks (scratch lines) and thus you have to vastly reduce the grit. This makes perfect sense, however I have a nagging suspicion that it is technique related for some reason which I have never been able to shake so ever couple of years I play with ceramics and a 600 grit stone, without success but still it lingers.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 07:52PM
"That would be expected, because steels with a high edge stability are designed to take and hold :

a) a high polish
b) face shaving level sharpness
c) 8-12 dps edges"

You see thats just the thing though Cliff: they don't. If I take a low carbide volume steel, yeah I can turn the apex angle up WAY steep, but with a high polish finish it has no aggression and so quickly dulls down to the point of uselessness. Yeah if you're cutting something cellulosic then they function extremely well, but those roles are based more on geometry than sharpness. If you cut into a potato or wood, I posit you could run the edge 90 degrees opposed to your stone (destress it) and then cut a potato or carve wood more effectively with a very thin knife than you could with a razor sharp thick knife. The opposite however is true of say thin plastics, or rope, because you can have the fattest knife in the world and it won't matter because if it doesn't have slicing aggression it'll have to be extremely sharp and freshly polished to cut.

This is where my judicious application of micro-bevels comes in. A true micro bevel, extending tenths if not hundredths of mm up the edge's primary bevel, won't noticeably change the knife's geometry when cutting through cellulosic materials. It will however increase edge stability across all steels, it doesn't matter if its high carbide volume or not. (whether you need that increased stability is not strictly relevant) It does reduce, for what would be considered the first cut or two, peak sharpness. That is to say you'd never be able to use a knife with this apex angle comfortably as a straight razor. After that though my testing suggests its all gravy. You get stability benefits, you get edge retention benefits, and you don't get the drawbacks of a fat ugly bevel that makes it impossible to cut anything.

"You are using :

a) medium grit finish
b) lower level of sharpness
c) much higher angles"

I did try high grit finishes at high angles. (remember you and I use the term opposite as you measure off the horizontal and I off the vertical) I swear that was my thing right before I arrived at this micro-bevel medium grit finish phase. It just didn't work for me. Maybe I'm doing something weird, but again for push cuts it was good but for anything that required a slice it was sub-optimal to put it politely, and it was highly subject to dulling even in regular carbon steels. Putting a medium grit finish on the steel, and finishing on a strop, made carbon steels really usable in my world. I do run them at higher micro-angles generally than my high carbide volume steels, but I wouldn't call any of these knives dull. Its difficult to start comparing the coarser edges with things like shaving tests, because strictly speaking the points I believe catch the hairs making them easier to whittle or pop not harder, but it'll pass all the usual push cutting tests as well. Its not straight razor sharp, but I do believe you're not fully accounting for a strop's ability to sharpen an edge which isn't strictly straight. Some time I should do a demo called "most uncomfortable shave EVER" to show that, while the toothy edge will bite your skin and give you shaving irritation on a level only the MACH 20 razor can compete with, its actually perfectly sharp.
[youtu.be]


"Now the part about the non-linear result that makes no sense, I can't see any reason why the performance would decrease and then rebound in related to carbide volume and I would advance the hypothesis that what you are seeing isn't strictly a carbide volume issue but a micro-structure issue. The only way I can see that behavior holding as true is if there are two competing mechanisms which are different in relation to carbide volume and one becomes more dominant as the carbide volume increases, nothing immediate comes to mind though unless it is some kind of tear out on such a volume it micro-serrates the edge."

This was my thought as well, it just didn't seem to make sense that I'd see a dip in performance as I came to medium levels of carbide. Hell lets go from the abstract to the specific and say right at the S30v range, since thats the most common steel I find this with. (we all must have at least one knife with this steel) My hypothesized mechanism is that S30v has a medium level of carbide, making it such that it can not hold the edge purely on carbides, and the steel itself for whatever reason won't hold the edge on its own. The Elmax knife I've tested displays a similar behavior, where the initial edge burn-off is faster than either a carbon steel or a high carbide steel. I associate it with carbide volume, it could be my sample simply found something else. I don't have a knife I've tested in that range which defies the trend though. Maybe a lack of vanadium refining carbide size? You'd think then that'd make M390 a poor performer too, but its not.

Don't know. Again maybe I'm just crazy, but I've been noticing it on my knives for ages. The worst high sharpness holders are right around S30v.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 08:14PM
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Hunterseeker5
You see thats just the thing though Cliff: they don't.

You do realize there is a wealth of research data that supports that, Landes PhD thesis is on that topic and he not only tests it directly he cites literally pages of supporting evidence on edge holding, geometry, etc. .

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If I take a low carbide volume steel, yeah I can turn the apex angle up WAY steep, but with a high polish finish it has no aggression and so quickly dulls down to the point of uselessness.

There are two issues there :

-it sounds like you are rounding the edge

As a trivial example, the Havalon blades are obviously a very simple steel, they easily carve a hair like a fuzz stick but have excellent slicing aggression.

-you are slicing, again which benefits from a coarse edge

It isn't that you are contradicting the position you are just defining it. To clarify :

a) The data shows that for ultra-marathoners the ideal diet consists of "..."

Well I have found that to be wrong, I run 1-2 K all the time and my ideal diet consists of "..."

1-2 K isn't an ultra-marathon.


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You get stability benefits, you get edge retention benefits, and you don't get the drawbacks of a fat ugly bevel that makes it impossible to cut anything.

Well yes, that is why I have been advocating multiple bevels on everything since there has been knife discussion on the internet.

A micro-bevel is just an extension of the simple fact that the forces on the edge are obviously dependent on distance from the edge and thus the profile and resulting angles are not going to be uniform, hence a single-bevel can never be the optimal geometry aside from some very weird case (no binding, weight/strength ratio is not a concern, etc. )

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Maybe I'm doing something weird, but again for push cuts it was good but for anything that required a slice it was sub-optimal to put it politely, and it was highly subject to dulling even in regular carbon steels.

Yes, again edge stability isn't about slicing aggression, for slicing aggression you want high carbide steels because the edges left by lower grit finishes are thicker and thus you take advantage of the stability and plus all of the things that are problems in push cutting are not in slicing (micro-fracture, tear out, etc.) .

Even the chief proponent of edge stability, Landes himself notes he doesn't use such a steel for hunting, he uses 440A class steels not AEB-L ones and uses a lower grit finish to produce an edge which is much more aggressive on a draw. Again this doesn't mean 440A has a higher edge stability as that isn't what it measures.

A point is though that you can trivially equalize slicing aggression with grit finish, that is to say you can make 420J2 more aggressive on a slice than S90V simply by reducing the edge finish and there is a much wider range of abrasives than steels. This is why extremely high carbide steels are a bit of a red herring because you can gain that performance easily on a cheap knife if that is what you want.


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The worst high sharpness holders are right around S30v.

S30V has been plagued with issues from the start and I have personally seen that steel all over the place, I would be very leary of what conclusions are drawn about it without being really careful of the steel. I have seen it be very brittle, very weak and just perfect. That is one of the reasons for so many conflicts as we are drawing from very small but very different samples. It is like w are reaching in a big bag of marbles and then making a decision on the color and size, if we both just take a handful we can end up with different conclusions. If we take ten handfuls each then we are most likely going to be much closer. Of course buying handfuls of knives is a bit problematic unless you are an avid reseller like JDavis or similar who has a huge collection turn over.
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 08:20PM
If you are so inclined, can you write out a list of some steels and the knives and makers and just group them as how you have described in the above.
cKc
Re: Richmond Artifex 210mm Gyuto M390
April 29, 2013 10:55PM
This discussion is quite interesting.

I'm just going to keep reading at this point in time, but I would note that I've found very interesting results in all steels, Elmax, AEBL etc etc.. and in my opinion, the most defining factor in edge retention in all the knives I've made is actually the sharpening process itself rather than the steel.

I've had a number of occasions where a knife just doesn't want to get sharp, or stay sharp, no matter what I do, and other occasions where it stays sharp far longer than expected.. the only conclusion I can come to after fixing the bad ones is that typically its an apex thats lopsided, etc and falling over in cutting tests. I'd then thicken the micro bevel and often fix it.. in reality it was the regrind, rather than the thickening that straightened it up and fixed it.

When you hand grind, and hand sharpen, nothing is ever perfect, and those factors seem to create more telling differences than the steels I use.

I remember one batch of AEBL (my first) and it was rather soft at 58RC.. my test knife was sharp, but kept dulling in cardboard after 10-20 cuts. I assumed it was the steel or HT.. but then Bruce (Nebulax) polished the hell out of his one I sent him, and his cut hundreds of pieces of cardboard without any noticable reduction.

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