Ceramic knives -- progress report

asoloApril 22, 2006

Follow up to my posting of 2/7/06 (ceramic knives -- first impressions) about Kyocera ceramic kitchen knives....

I am disappointed. Notwithstanding the Kyocera ceramic knives limitations, I earlier reported that their incredible sharpness and "feel" when slicing were worthwhile. If those edges lasted -- which is their selling point -- I would regard them as worthwhile compliments to my steel knives. Alas.

After four months of steady use -- and NO abuse -- the edges are deteriorating and their previous exemplary perfomance along with them. Examination under magnification shows countless tiny chips from the fine edges on each of the three I purchased. All use was slicing, not chopping, and always against a plastic cutting board, never a hard surface. Cleaning was by hand. I followed every instruction and acknowledged every limitation.

Inasmuch as the value of them to me would have been their ability to keep those fine sharp edges for an unusually long time, I must say I am disappointed. I will send them back to Kyocera for re-conditioning but I will not buy any more. Pity.

As an experiment, I did attempt to re-sharpen the 3 1/2" paring knife using my Spyderco tri-angle sharp-maker fine-stone which is a hard ceramic material. It helped ever so slightly. Not enough to make the attempt worthwhile.

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Hmmm, when I purchased mine they told me never to use a plastic cutting surface, wood only - bamboo is best.

I have one and use it every day but have only had it a month. I love it except that it may be too sharp - I call it a razor blade with a handle.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 7:26AM
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I have the 5 1/2" Santoku and love it. I use it only on a wooden cutting board. The only thing I use plastic for is chicken, that way it can be put in the dishwasher.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 6:10PM
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I, too, have the 5 1/2" Santoku and it has been my favorite of the three. Unfortunately its edge, too, is exhibiting the deterioration (tiny chips under magnification)that I described. It is still quite usable but nothing like the pleasure it was to use in the beginning four months ago.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 7:19PM
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I considered buying some ceramic knives a couple years ago and I'm glad I didn't. I read somewhere that you need a diamond surface to sharpen ceramic knives and it makes sense.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 9:16PM
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The ceramic knives I got SUCK, excuse my language. I got mine in hopes of the sharp edge, and for cutting meat. The knife STICKS and grabs badly in fresh meat. Worked great for veggies, but NOT worth the HIGH cost, IMHO. Also have several of 4 Star Henckles. They wont keep an edge for anything.


    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 6:16PM
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I don't have ceramic, but with this mention of keeping an edge--the knife I have which keeps it's edge the best is not my Henckles or my Wustoffs, it's a $7.00 chef's knive (big one) from China (pitted carbon steel blade and all) that I picked up in some backwater grocery store in Tennessee during a camping trip in which I forgot to pack any knives. That blade keeps it's edge two to three times longer than anything I own, and it's been abused badly--cutting on SS, on corelle, cleaned in the dw... I wish I bought more of them...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 10:53PM
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Learned yesterday that Kyocera was re-sharpening and returning the knives to me at no charge -- pretty nice. However, also learned two other discouraging things from them:

1) The edge degradation (microscopic chips) that I described is considered "normal" by Kyocera with use over time.

2) Although this resharpening is free (I guess they liked my letter), the next ones will cost $5.00 per blade -- because the degradation observed is "normal".

3) I have lowest-level knives. Top-of-line "KYOTOP" series typically last 1/2 again as long. (However, they also cost three times as much!)

I like having these "razor blades with handles" available -- especially for meat trimming for which they are without equal. I will most likely continue sending them in for re-sharpening from time-to-time. However, I am very disappointed in their edges apparent lack of durability. Unless they're dead-sharp they're just another knife -- and a delicate one at that. This concludes my experiment. I won't be buying any more.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 1:05PM
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I bought a ceramic knife. It was NOT as sharp as my $45 10" french and (more expensive) German chef's knives.

There is only one advantage to ceramic knives-they are supposed to stay sharp longer. This may be true, but it was never particularly sharp to begin with.

I am a pro cook, and spend many hours a day prepping vegetables (we recently did crudite for 1600 people-phew). I have tried many different knives and knife sharpeners over the years. For many years, I used a Chef's Choice 110 electric, which is OK. But let me tell you, nothing shaprens a knife like the EdgePro sharpener. How sharp are my knives? I recently cut 400 Roma tomatoes for salads, with four cuts per tomato. I used my Hanckels 10" Chef's knife. Like butter, the weight of the blade alone was generally enough to cut the tomato cleanly.

I have no connection to EdgePro, except as a paying customer.

If you want rruly sharp knives, get an EdgePro, practice on a cheap knife, then proceed to make some amazingly sharp blades.

Here is a link that might be useful: Edge Pro sharpeners

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 1:21AM
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asolo, I'm curious as to how well your resharpened blade is holding up. I own one too and need to send it in. I also just read that the price went up to $10 for up to two blades.

cpcovey, wow, which EdgePro would you recommend for us homeusers? DH got us a Chefs Pro 110 a few years back and thats holding us up just fine. Always on the look out for new gadgets...

Here is a link that might be useful: PDF Sharpening form - Kyocera

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 11:34PM
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Hi jessyf

Holding up about the same as when new. In other words, just about ready for another re-sharpening which would make the second time in 12 months of ownership plus I'll have to pay for this round.

I am disappointed in this lack of longevity of the edge. However, I continue to adore their performance when sharp -- really like nothing else out there. I'll probably continue to send them in periodically but I won't be buying any more.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 11:16AM
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My kids gave me a white-blade ceramic santoku for Christmas last year and I was very excited because I had heard such wonderful things about these knives from a friend. I am very disappointed. I have babied it, but it has a flea bite. It is not as sharp as my steel blades (I am a sharpness freak) and it just has not lived up to the hype. I have pretty much stopped using it.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 1:14PM
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Hi kitchendetective....

Your complaint seems the same as mine. Unless they're dead-sharp, they're just another knife -- and a too-delicate one at that. Wonderful when new and sharp-as-a-razor but the too-rapid edge deterioration and inability to keep them sharp on-site really dulls my enthusiasm. Interesting, but too many limitations to make a repeat-buyer out of me.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 3:28PM
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I'm not Colin (cpovey), but I bought my EdgePro kit from Bronk's Knifeworks.

After much research, I concluded that Bronk's setup (which includes 220, 320, and 600 grit stones) is the best for the home chef that just wants to do a basic re-profile and upkeep of their knives.

Here is a link that might be useful: bronksknifeworks.com - Edge Pro Apex Knife Sharpeners Special

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 11:41AM
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Thanks asolo. I may get it sharpened and then try to sell it on ebay because I agree, the upkeep/performance ratio is ridiculous. $10 and add your own shipping to that! I could make a day trip to the Irvine location to drop if off and do some shopping, but its not even worth the gas. (but if I keep the knife I promise you I won't do this anymore per your request, LOL).

Joe, thanks also, I'll forward the link to DH, he's the knife meister of the house.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 1:11PM
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Recently I've found a really good deal for ceramic knives on ebay. The auction was created by this company called kitronics. First I bought a 5 inch cermic knife for myself then later I bought a 3inch and a 4 inch from their website. I believe they have one of the best deals. I recommend their online store for you knife lovers. www.mykitronics.com

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 5:28PM
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It is my first post here.
I have a rather bad experience with ceramics.
I destroyed my Kasumi ceramic, trying to sharpen it on a Kasumi diamond sharpener. (Bad idea).
After this, I bought a Kyocera chef"s knife with good results, but not very good.
Now I send it to the German dealer to sahrpen it.
I bougt next a KT-075 paring Kyocera, of the expensive line, which is razor sharp indeed, but I have steel knives close to or equal in sharpness, as a Shun utility and a "dangerous" WATANABE petite, razor sharp also.
I try the KT, paring fruits and it is very good, if you are very carefull, because of its sharpness.
As for the longevity of this sharpness, I will see.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 5:33PM
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FWIW....sent my six existing Kyocera knives in for re-sharpening. Incredibly, they sent me back six brand new ones. Apparently, they changed the design slightly. Packing list said "free upgrade from discontinued knife". Pretty incredible, I think. The old ones were fine except for sharpening need.

Not exactly "free" in that I had enclosed $5.00 per-knife for the resharpening service. New design pretty much exactly like the old as far as I can see except for rounded rather than pointed tips.

My previous opinions still hold. I won't be buying any more. However, I will maintain these as-needed. The "razor with a handle" performance is very worthwhile for many chores, especially meat and poultry trimming.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2007 at 12:40PM
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All opinions expressed earlier about Kyocera's white-bladed line I still hold to. I like them. I've sent them all in another time ($10.00 for nine of them) and they were returned quickly as good as new. Excellent service. But I have several more years experience, now.

On a lark, I also purchased one their top-of-the-line "Kyotop" 6-inch chef's knives for myself and several for gifts. This is the best they make and costs MANY times more than the white-bladed equivalent. They have a "Damascus" sort of pattern to the blade surface, dark ceramic blades, wood handles, and are promoted is being more durable than the lesser lines. After three months use, I am dismayed to say that they aren't more durable. The edge has degraded (micro-chips) at about the exact same rate as the less expensive lines. They look really neat and in-use perform wonderfully, just like the lesser lines but, clearly, there is no advantage in durability. What we're left with is small differences in configuration and large differences in appearance. I like this knife. It fits the hand wonderfully and is a pleasure to use. However, at the price, for me, I just don't see the value compared to Kyocera's lowest-priced lines. Performance and durability in my kitchen has shown to be exactly the same.

At the same time, I've acquired several Japanese steel knives to replace my Henkels and Wusthofs. Have acquired Shun Classic, Shun Elite, Mac, and Tojiro of various types. The steel is harder and thinner than the European knives and in side-by-side comparisons of the same tasks outperform them rather spectacularly. Their 16-degree blade angle makes them incredibly sharp -- even sharper than the ceramics -- and their edges are still easy to maintain. I've found that their hard steel (Rockwell low 60's. Most European knives come in around mid-fifties) and sharpness make them superior even to the ceramics that, I had said previously, stood alone in my experience.

I do like the Kyocera ceramics. And their re-sharpening service is exemplary. (I will certainly continue to use it.) Not taking anything back that I said. I just know more, now. If I knew a few years ago what I know now from experience, I would forgo the ceramics in favor of the Japanese steel blades.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 4:29PM
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