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May 3, 2011 04:31 PM

Did I ruin my microplane?

I just started using the long skinny microplane zester. I've used it for zest and ginger as indicated on the label, but what about daikon?

I was grating a large amount of daikon for shabu shabu and was applying a good amount of pressure. Now the little blades are almost flush when I run my finger down the smooth side.

Is it me, but arent the blades supposed to be lifted up ever so slightly? Did I just ruin my microplane? I grated some cheese after I cleaned it, and it seemed ok. Maybe needed a tad more effort, or I could just be psyching myself out...

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  1. If you rub your finger down the microplane so as to NOT cut your fingers, it's pretty hard to feel the blades lifted up. Try to zest something again and see if it still works.

    1. Happened to me too. Had to replace it, as trying to push-out the blades didn't work well. I don't use it for more than zesting now.

      16 Replies
      1. re: pharmnerd

        Aren't they originally made to plane wood?

        1. re: scubadoo97

          Yes, they were developed to plane wood to replace a wood rasp. They work well on wood and you don't have to use much pressure. I have no idea how hard daikon is compaired to a piece of cherry lumber, but if it's harder than most typical domestic hard woods, then perhaps this is not the proper tool.

          Advice from my Dad many many years ago, "...only use a tool for what it's made for." I believe he was refering to not using a screw driver as a pry bar, but it's good general advice.

          1. re: mikie

            "I have no idea how hard daikon is compaired to a piece of cherry lumber, but if it's harder than most typical domestic hard woods..."

            :D Of course not


            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Well then, it shouldn't be ruined. However, from the posts below, it's appearantly not the right tool for the job. We have a couple in the kitchen, none in the workshop, but I doubt they are made differently for kitchen use.

              1. re: mikie

                I grate hard Parmesan cheese with mine quite often which is harder than any daikon radish. I find it hard to believe that it would have caused damage to the microplane

                1. re: scubadoo97

                  Very unlikely, but I can imagine it. Just like wood, I think it depends how deep we use the microplane to cut/grate the objects. If we are to only to shave the surface of a wood board with a microplane, then it is fine. However, it can be problematic if we dig the microplane deep down into a wood board and drag.

                  It may not be the pure hardness of stainless steel vs hardness of wood. It is about the force required to cut a large wood chunk out vs the force required to bend the microplane's blades.

            2. re: mikie

              Got one of the originals years ago from Lee Valley Tools in Toronto when they were sold as cabinetry tools. It's dulled a bit but still works well on garlic and hard cheeses. Daikon is just too watery and soft for a MP.

              1. re: mikie

                A daikon is about as hard as a radish, but it's the size of your forearm. I find it difficult to believe that it could damage a Microplane. I have a Japanese diakon grater that's made of aluminium, which is a lot softer material than stainless steel.

                1. re: tanuki soup

                  But there's no comparing the design of the working surface--that's why the MP sucks in this application. Those little raspy fingers on daikon graters tear rather than cut.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    Well, I agree with you that using a dedicated daikon grater is best. I use one of those big round ceramic ones. I mentioned the aluminum one just as an example of a softer material that is not damaged by grating a daikon. In fact, Amazon's Japanese website sells a lot of diakon graters made of bamboo. My point was that a stainless steel Microplane grater is unlikely to be damaged by a grating a daikon, even though it may not be the ideal tool for the job. I often use my Microplane to grate parmesan cheese, which is a lot harder than a daikon, and it's perfectly fine.

                    1. re: tanuki soup

                      Thanks everyone. I tried grating cheese and some zest without any problems. Although it's probably better to get a daikon grater, I grate daikon maybe 2-3 times/year. If there's a lot more uses, I would get one, otherwise I don't want to overload my gadget drawer.

                      Ginger is the only other thing I can also think of for a daikon grater. Anything else?

                      1. re: groover808

                        Get one. They're small and cheap. Most are combo models with two grating surfaces for daikon and wasabi. Usually south of 5 bucks for a big one.

              2. re: scubadoo97

                The ones you buy in the hardware store to plane wood are not necessarily made of the same metal as what you might find in a cookware department. Lately, there have been many cheap imitations, and you may find that you have one of those made with softer metals. That is why they bend and become "flush". The hardware variety is likely to rust, so don't use it unless it is made of stainless steel. It would be very hard to keep dry.

                1. re: RGC1982

                  I was thinking about exactly that, but I am not sure for Microplane. Many woodworking tools are made with straight carbon steel which are stronger but suspectible to rust. Then again, the force required to bend a metal piece depends both its hardness and also its thickness, so there are many things to consider.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Exactly. The kitchen microplanes are usually made of stainless steel that is hard enough to be up to most tasks, but there are microplanes that seem to be made of softer metals, and these are usually less expensive. This may be why the daikon caused the flattening of the blades. There are even pedicure tools out there (I am not kidding) that are similar to microplanes, and some of those can dull in one or two uses, from what my manicurist tells me, versus the professional grade ones that last much longer. Just because they all look like microplanes, they may not be made the same when talking about kitchen tools. I would never use a hardware grade one unless it was stainless, as it would have to be dried thoroughly in order to prevent rusting, and that is very hard to do with a microplane. (Maybe a hairdryer, as long as I am referring to salon tools? :) )

                  2. re: RGC1982

                    True. The one I have is really light weight but I've used it to grate mounds of zests and hard cheeses as well as other things and have seen no change in performance. Daikons I've purchased have never been that hard where I would think it would damage the microplane but I guess anything is possible.

              3. Get a proper daikon grater.. They're usually dirt cheap, either metal or ceramic. MPs just don't produce the right consistency. They usually look like a square, stunted ping pong paddle. The tiny versions are used for wasabi.