As a result of some very helpful advice I received in this thread, I purchased a Gesshin Uraku 240mm gyoto as my first Japanese knife a few months ago, and I'm really enjoying it. Despite my declaration in that thread that "I'm not looking for a new hobby or a "starter" knife," well, I'm now thinking that I'd like to also get a true "laser" to experience what an even thinner and lighter blade can do. (This is absolutely the last one, honest!) It seems that the price for guyotos designated as "lasers" begins quite a bit higher than thicker knives, and my budget mandates that I stay on the lower end of the "laser" price range. One obvious candidate is the Richmond Laser in AEBL (stainless is a must for me), but even that is pushing the edges of my budget. So, my questions: (1) are there any other true "lasers" available at or below the price point of the Richmond and if so, how do they compare? and (2) In the opinion of the knowledgeable, will there be a noticeable difference in performance between lasers in this affordable range and my Uraku?
Affordable Laser Gyuto
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It might make sense to call Jon and talk to him.
In my opinion, if that laser is going to be your last knife, then it gonna be really good knife. While I have no personal experience with Richmond knives, there are enough threads here and on other knife forums about them. To say the least — not all of those threads are positive. So you might read them yourself and decide if you still want Richmond.
While you are happy with Uraku now, you might just save some money for the future buy of a really good laser that will make you happy for years. Just my 2 cents.
You can also try the Richmond Artifex 240 mm Extra Tall gyuto in AEB-L - it is allegedly in the laser thickness range (2.3 mm spine thickness measured at the heel) and is thinner than the comparably named Richmond Laser 240 mm gyuto (which measures 2.4 mm). The Artifex is $89.99. It is a basic western two-rivet handle, and is not a Wa handle.
I ordered one from CKTG Tuesday evening and am now waiting for delivery (they had a few on their close-outs page which were scratched-up seconds, at 20% off, or $71.99 - but apparently as of yesterday pm had sold out that stock) - but they should have more (non-seconds) at the Artifex page at the original price.