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Kyocera FK-160 BK Ceramic Knife

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Kitchen gadgets rarely rise to any detectable level of excitement, and getting hot and bothered about a knife is highly suspect. Thus it was with some degree of foreboding that I watched the unboxing of the Kyocera ceramic knife.

A truly remarkable feat of technology, this is the sort of knife that would make serious chefs rise from their stoves and burst into song, if people really did that sort of thing. It looks cool, it’s obscenely high-tech and it cuts food so precisely as to be able to measure the thickness of a slice of tomato to the nearest molecule.

Ceramic knives, as their name might imply, don’t have steel blades. This is a really good thing, because nobody seems to know how to make decent steel any more. Even fairly high end – and expensive – conventional knives are typically cut from mild steel and shipped with a sharpener.

The Kyocera knives are wrought from ceramic, which is a lot harder than steel. They’re made with a truly lethal edge, and it will stay lethal pretty well forever unless you abuse the knife.

Ceramic blades weigh less than a comparable bit of steel – the KC-130-WH knife is practically weightless. While this takes a bit of getting used to, it ultimately results in a knife that’s less fatiguing to use, and much more amenable to precision cuts.

There are a few caveats in using a ceramic knife. They’re not suited to prying, working bones loose, smashing things or other activities which might stress the blade, as they’re prone to snapping in two. Likewise, dropping one can have lamentable consequences. For practical purposes, they have to be hand washed – putting one in dishwasher will repeatedly impact its blade against the dishwasher racks, leaving it with small nicks that will ruin its edge.

A dulled or damaged ceramic knife can be re-sharpened, but you’d need to send it back to its manufacturer.

Costing less than a modestly-priced serious steel chef’s knife, the FK-160 BK is a much better implement of destruction and anything wrought of metal.

…oh, and they come with the most sinister-looking black finished blades you can imagine.

Update: After about two years of carving, slicing, chopping and scaring the hell out of salad vegetables, our Kyocera knife required resharpening. You can’t sharpen these things yourself. Upon consulting Kyocera’s web page, we found that they offered to resharpen the knife for all of ten dollars, which was to cover shipping it back. That’s really what happened, too – a couple of weeks later, it showed up in a UPS box, once again sharp enough to slice atoms. Monumentally excellent, this…