A while ago Mark Richmond of ChefKnivesToGo introduced some new knives under his own brand name. Among the first was the Richmond Addict. It was a Wa-style gyuto built on the general profile of one of his favorite Japanese brands. He had the knives made for him by Lamson in Vermont, of CM154 steel. I had the chance to sharpen a batch of them for him, and ended up keeping one for myself. As they came they were pretty thin with very nice F'n'F. The one drawback was that CM154 is very difficult to sharpen. The first one actually took me three and a half hours! The main problem though was my ignorance regarding that steel. As it happens the vanadium carbides are virtually impervious to abrasion via Japanese natural stones. When I switched to DMT plates things went along without issue.
At any rate, I took this knife to work with me and used it exclusively. My idea was to see how long the edge would go. To facilitate beating on it I also allowed the other guys in the kitchen to use it for prep tasks (). The knife was universally loved by the crew. They found it incredibly light and nimble; most of them normally use 8" Germans and thought a 240 mm would be too large, but to a man they found it very easy to use. But the main thing they marvelled at was the thinness of the blade. Most of you laserr-loving J-knife junkies probably wouldn't call it a laser, but it's very thin. Ultimately the edge took five weeks of use in a pro kitchen before I felt it needed to be rotated out. Now mind you, this isn't five weeks of use by someone like KC- it was mostly cooked proteins but an hour or two of bulk prep maybe five times a week. Not bad by any measure.
Well, Mark listened to the feedback and tweaked the knife a bit. He kept the exact same profile but made two changes, resulting in a knife he's calling the Addict 2: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/riknad24.html The difference between the first version and the V.2 is that the knife was made even thinner and the steel was switched to Crucible's CPM-154, a steel even more abrasion resistant than CM154. IIRC hardness was left the same, around 60-61 RC. Yesterday I got another package of them to sharpen and while I haven't had a chance to do so yet, I am pretty impressed. The blade, already thin, probably does classify as "laser" now. Yet with the new steel it seems about as stiff as the original version. Within the next day or two I plan to begin sharpening them, then I can probably comment on how abrasion resistant they are. But from what I read I expect them to be about the same or a bit tougher.
Based on the feedback I got from the original Addict, and the even thinner blade of the Addict 2, I think this will be a real contender in the under $200 market. At $170 for the Rosewood and $155 for the Ho versions, I think it's a pretty good value.
In the interest of disclosure Mark does have me do some sharpening for him but beyond that I have no affiliation with CKtG beyond being a long time repeat customer. I don't get a commission on them or profit beyond being paid when I do sharpening work.
That said, I do think this is going to be a pretty popular knife. At some point in the future I may even be able to do a pass-around on my personal Rosewood Addict (1).
EDITED to correct typo- I meant to say I have NO affiliation.
Edited by Phaedrus - 9/29/11 at 8:55pm