We're a few weeks out now, so I thought I'd post some updates. The edge was way too refined with. 5 Chromium oxide. I brought it to the stones, bester 1200 and finished on a rika and newsprint strop. I easily shaved half the hair off my arm.
I've noticed a huge difference on carrots and celery vs the HD. The HD seems to cut through carrots with ease. I must use force to cut a carrot in half with the Martel. By force I mean exerting pressure on the back of the spine with my left hand. The HD also fell through celery with ease while the Martel felt more resistance.
The only conclusion I can come to is that the HD is thinner behind the edge. I've noticed that the HD seems to have a very slight asymmetry to the blade faces. The edge on the HD looks almost like a micro bevel even though the HD and Martel seem to have very close bevel angles.
Keep working on getting the edge thinner! Maybe asymmetry is the key.
After each cutting session I've been cutting a woodcraft catalog and shaving my arm hair. The edge retention is pretty good, I'd say about what I'd expect from carbon steel. For my home use i'd touch up on strops weekly and sharpen monthly. I cook about 5-6 nights a week.
Dave, I hope this helps you make a better knife. Keep reaching towards perfection!