Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter
There will probably always be some level of animosity here re: Mark and CKTG. Whether it's deserved or not, relevant or not, is up to the individual consumer.
That being said, I've thought most reviews of the Richmond branded products have been generally unbiased. Consensus seems to be they run "fat", require some work prior to use to be even marginal performers, and do not represent good value even at a relatively low price point.
To the OP, if you'll provide a cost threshold and performance requirements, there are many knives that will meet them. From experienced makers, and excellent vendors. The best way to do that is with the questionnaire here: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sh...estionnaire-v2
Older and wider.
My experience with the US made Richmond knives supports Dave's assessment - "fat", require a lot of work, and have fit and finish issues commensurate with their price point.
Those that are made in Japan may be a different story, at least based on the Artifex wa-gyuto I have. Made by Fujiwara, it is a decent performer out of the box, just needing the spine and choil rounded. It would have a place on my block if it weren't for the largest (and possibly ugliest) logo ever etched on a blade:
Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.
it is so deeply stamped too I tried scrubbing it off with a metal scrubbie
Ha, ha.... LOL.... It took me six months of hand sanding to rid my knife of such an ugly script!
what a bunch of useless replies.
unlike the rest of the mob of anti richmond, i have used both of the knives in question for a week each. they are nothing like the lamson made ones which i agree are not very good. these two however are good. the kohetsu is a 'laser' in every sense, very light and nimble. the laser AS is one of the best cutters i have tried, second only to my takeda. the grind is very nice on that one, and the steel is fantastic as well.