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Old 02-03-2007, 04:49 PM   #1
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Ceramic vs. Calphalon vs. Good Old Fashioned

I just ordered this sushi set:

Overstock.com: Stainless Steel 3-knife Sushi Set with Carrying Case : Kitchen Supplies

and I'm working on getting a Santoku. I noticed a few places selling ceramic knives and Calphalon knives. Is there a huge difference in the two from the "normal", run-of-the-mill, knives?

What would the advantages be in getting either of the two?

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Old 02-03-2007, 05:23 PM   #2
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Knives

A knife, is a knife, is a knife, is a knife, as long as you keep them all sharpened and honed they all cut..
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Old 02-03-2007, 05:38 PM   #3
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I disagree goodgiver. A ceramic knife can not be lumped into the same category as regular metal knives. You can not do the same thing with them as a metal knife. For instance, if you drop a ceramic knife on a hard floor then it is very possible it will shatter. Not so with a metal knife.

Ceramic knives also get much sharper than a metal knife does. They are great tools, but you need to treat them properly.

Calphalon is just a brand name. There is nothing different about a Calphalon knife than what you refer to as a normal run of the mill knife.
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Old 02-04-2007, 03:00 PM   #4
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Okay. People were making a big deal about the Calphalon knives and I really didn't understand the ceramic. I have heard (I'm not a science major) that it is second in hardness to diamonds. I know it's tough, they make teeth out of them, so I would expect it to be durable. Thank you for clearing that up.
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Old 02-04-2007, 07:03 PM   #5
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You are correct in what you heard. Ceramic is second in hardness next to diamond. Because of that they can get very sharp. Sharper than steel. But it comes at a price. They are very brittle. they can chip and shatter if they are not babied.
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Old 02-18-2007, 11:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodgiver
A knife, is a knife, is a knife, is a knife, as long as you keep them all sharpened and honed they all cut..
Not quite the way it is.

$400 sushi knife hand made in Japan is going to get quite a bit sharper than a bed bath and beyond Sabatier, or even a german knife. BUT if you drop it, it is trash, just like the ceramic knife. It will break and chip easily. An Henkel or Wustoff is indestructable. Pro level knives are guarranteed for life. if you drop them and they break, they are replaced. No questions asked. If you break them while boning a pork loin.. same deal. worth the investment in my opinion.

But I'd really like to have a couple of hand made Japanese Knives... Maybe one day.
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Old 02-19-2007, 01:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcameron
I'd really like to have a couple of hand made Japanese Knives... Maybe one day.
Once I get myself settled in I'm getting myself a set of Japanese knifes. I can't wait!
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Old 02-19-2007, 06:05 PM   #8
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I love, love, LOVE my ceramic knife!

ps-did I say I loved my ceramic knife?
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Old 02-19-2007, 06:26 PM   #9
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The difference between ceramics and steel is that steel has a degree of elasticity, which allows it to be stressed without breaking. And there are some steels, along with some grades of iron, that will shatter if misused. Steel tools, such as case-hardened chisels and hammers can and do chip, often sending sharp metal shards flying through the air. Cold-rolled steel, and wrought iron are both relatively soft and mallable.

Generally speaking, the harder the material is, the less elasticity it exhibits. Less elasticity results in brittleness.

Ceramics often have superior properties compared to steel in certain applications. ceramic bearings are tougher, wear longer, and have less friction than do steel bearings. Ceramics are temperature insulators and at one time were seriously looked at for adiabatic, internal-combustion engines (for cars and trucks). The natural insulating characteristics meant that less of the energy derived from burning fuel would be lost as heat, thereby making the engines more efficient. But again, the brittle nature of the material made the ceramics too dificult to be useful. Ceramics tend to have as much as, or greater tensile strength than does steel or iron. However, thermal shock, and the inability to bend creates catastrophic failure of the material, where steel will just bend, and if tempered properly, or not bent to excess, will return to its original shape.

Yes, ceramic knives offer superior sharpness, and edge retention, but have to be used specifically for what they are designed to do. Then again, they don't rust, or add unwanted metallic ions to foods like some steels will (high-carbon steel).

The ideal in steel knives is to produce a metal with good sharpening characteristics, and edge retention, while mainaining enough elasticity to make the blade durable and tough. The softer the steel, the easier it is to sharpen, and the more quickly it will become dull.

Japanese knives tend to be lighter, and rely on better edge shaping to achieve their cutting abilities. German Steels tend to be tougher, and a bit softer. They are much heavier and utilize the weight to help push the knife through the material being cut. Both have advantages and disadvantages. You just have to try a few, and determine which style you like better.

And if you don't mind the work to properly care for them, good old high-carbon steel knives are inexpensive, easy to sharpen to a razor's edge, and last a life-time as well. But they need to be carefull washed, dried, and oiled after every use as they rust very easily.

Hope that helps a bit.

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Old 02-19-2007, 06:39 PM   #10
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I hope my husband doesn't see this thread...he's been itching to get some "good knives".
I'm quite satisfied with what we already have. We have a Santoku, which I love, and a good selection of other knives that he keeps nice and sharp with an electric knife sharpener I bought him from Cabello's a few years ago.
But he's taken over the cooking since he's retired, and I guess if he wants new knives, he should have them.
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