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Dec 5, 2011 09:26 AM

Help Purchasing Ceramic Knives

My wife's got a mania for a ceramic knife--or knives--this Christmas and I'm not about to disappoint her. Unfortunately, I know little about ceramic knives. Does anybody have a brand to recommend? A particular type of knife that is particularly good in ceramic form? She'll use said knife primarily to chop/dice/mince vegetables. Don't want to purchase anything too astronomical, but neither do I want bargain basement.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Kyocera

    I have several. Gifted to me and bought on huge sale. I like them but you need to be very careful, as they chip easily.

    A santuko is a safe choice


    1. Ditto for Kyocera, especially as they're the easiest to find outside of Japan. They can be a little pricey. If it's just vegetables, the nakiri is an option.

      1. I would warn you I have 2 Kyocera's , while they are sharp they are not as sharp as steel and they dull fairly quickly as all knives will , but with the ceramic you will need to send them away(not Japan they resharpen in Cal.You pay shipping) or get a DMT diamond plate and do it yourself.
        Here's a good one to start with

        12 Replies
        1. re: Dave5440

          Are there local knife experts--depending upon where you live--who may sharpen ceramic knives or is it absolutely necessary to send away for the service?

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Kyocera sharpens theirs for $10.


            I don't do ceramic sharpenig just due to the expense of diamond gear and it would all be by hand. Going to cost more than $10 anyhow.


            1. re: knifesavers

              When did they start charging? My boxes say P&H to and from but for me that would be at least 20$ , but nothing about 10 to do it.

              Perilagu Khan- You would have to search locally for someone to do it , the DMT plates are pretty cheap and last a long long time when used with ceramics, My XXX course was 55$ at lee Valley in K-W and only takes about 10 min to get a good edge on my paring knife.

              1. re: Dave5440

                If in the US it is $10 for S/H and no charge for sharpening.

                "Kyocera offers Complimentary Sharpening
                $10 only for shipping and handling, per shipment. For U.S. Residents Only

                To read our warranty information or if you'd like to have your knife sharpened , please print and fill out the following pdf, (pdf/105KB) . Please send the form with your knife, carefully packaged with all sharp edges protected, and enclose a $10 check/money order made out to Kyocera, or your credit card information (card number and expiration date) for shipping & handling (per shipment) to:

                Kyocera Tycom Corporation
                Attention: Knife Sharpening & Warranty Dept.
                3565 Cadillac Ave.
                Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                (888) 700-7371 (M-F 8-5 PST)"

                1. re: knifesavers

                  Unfortunately I'm in canada and fortunately my dmt plate does a great job, but thanks for posting the info it could be a great help to people with the Kyocera brand.

            2. re: Perilagu Khan

              DMT also makes a small guided system called the Aligner. I own this, along with all the associated plates. The Aligner Deluxe is only $40 and comes with these grits: coarse (320), fine (600) and x-fine (1200). You can also get the xx-fine (8000 grit) for another $14. I have it and find it very useful. But it isn't "necessary" per se. 1200 is very fine and easily cuts/shreds anything.

              I don't own a ceramic knife but if I did it would probably be the Kyocera. The DMT system will work well on them as they have very tiny diamonds embedded in a metal matrix. Diamonds are one of the only things hard enough to sharpen ceramic.

              Note: you will not wish to start learning to sharpen on that ceramic knife - use it for a while on all your steel knives first - starting with your cheap steel knives. A gentle easy motion with little or no pressure is all that's needed. And use water to lubricate. You'll get the hang of it soon enough, I assure you. It'll be worth getting a system like this, as it'll be very useful for ALL your knives and last for many years.

              1. re: jkling17

                Diamond plates are not recommended for steel softer than 65RC and here's why, cut from another website.

                Few years ago Edge-Pro inc. introduced diamond stones and tapes. While diamond benchstones, powders, pastes and liquid solutions are very popular these days for sharpening all sorts of implements, Edge-Pro stones are specifically for ceramic knives. In exceptional cases you may use them on super hard alloys, 65HRC and above. There is a reason for that, and I'll quote Ben Dale, the owner and founder of the Edge-Pro inc:
                We only stock them for ceramic knives. I have tested every diamond on the market and not one of them lasted much over a couple of hours and most of them much less. So in total frustration I was telling a engineer friend of my dilemma and he suggested I call a tool company that specializes in diamond tools for industry, to get the straight story. So I did. I asked them if they would build me a tool to use on 58 Rockwell high carbon stainless. They said NO. They said that diamonds should never be used on steel and if they built me the tool, it would not last 10 minutes. Here is what happens. The diamonds sink into the steel, the steel surrounds the diamonds and pulls them off the plates. However if you are using a diamond on ceramic or carbide, the material is way to hard for the diamonds to sink in so they ride along on the points undisturbed. Now I know everyone sells diamonds for knife sharpening and here is why I think they get away with it and I can't. You buy a Gatco or Lansky Diamond, you get it out a few times a year and sharpen a few knives. The diamonds last a few years and you order a new set, thinking that was just fine. I sell a lot of Edge-Pro's to customers going into the sharpening business. These people are sharpening over 100 knives a day. Under these conditions a diamond won't make it to lunch.

                1. re: Dave5440

                  Hi Dave,

                  I do not own an edge pro. If money were no object I would - or a wicked edge. Since they are truly professional grade systems and I do enjoy using the best gear. BUT ... I DO own a DMT Aligner so my recommendation isn't a copy/paste from some web site. It's from my own experience. I have entirely rebeveled my knives from scratch, done multi-bevels and micro-bevels - and I get to pick exactly what angles I want. The system works, truly. I can shave with my $14 chinese cleaver. Or ... any of my steak knives, santokus, etc. Fortunately I own a gilette so my knives must instead be content to be "merely used" for slicing and chopping veggies and meat. :-)

                  DMT Alginer isn't a commercial grade system designed for constant daily use by professional sharpeners. But it is perhaps one of the the best systems available for it's price point. Most importantly - it IS fully capable of actually sharpening a super hard ceramic knife. Perilagu is a home cook ... not a professional sharpener ...

                  >> I sell a lot of Edge-Pro's to customers going into the sharpening business. These people are sharpening over 100 knives a day. Under these conditions a diamond won't make it to lunch.

                  It's also well established that commercial sharpeners often use belt sharpeners and grinding wheels, etc. And have hundreds of dollars in all sorts of equipment and gear for their trade, as one might expect. Many high-end sharpers also use DMT plates purely to set primary bevels - and then finish off with a combination of stones and strops. DMT plates are regularly used also to flatten shapening stones. They even make a new product stricly to be used to flatten other stones.

                  It's all apples and oranges. The needs of a system for a commercial grade sharpener, who makes their living isn't the issue here. They MUST spend 200 or more for an Edge Pro or Wicked Edge and more for additional plates/stones. And then more for a belt sander, etc etc.

                  What we need here is a system for a home user, that is reasonably priced - AND - can actually sharpen a hard ceramic $50-65 blade like the Kyocera. Cost is a consideration so that rules out the Edge Pro or a Wicked Edge. DMT fits the bill and will also handle the other knives in the house. Other than that, sending it out to be professionally sharpened is probably the other choice.

                  >> Diamond plates are not recommended for steel softer than 65RC and here's why, cut from another website.

                  That is just plain silly, at least for the home user. Even VERY hard Japanese blades top out around Rc 64-65. I have used my DMT Aligner for MANY hours and it has held up just fine. Not one of my current blades is any harder than perhaps 59 or so. I'll soon have a nakiri super blue that will be about Rc 62. And ... I'm going to keep using my DMT with it - sorry Ben Dale!

                  To me, it is perfectly acceptable to spend $12-15 every few years to replace a particular stone as it actually wears out. That's no big deal and is a very acceptable compromise.

                  1. re: jkling17

                    Just silly eh, one of my J blades is Rc66, Hum I'm going to disregard the owner of edgepro systems for your word on diamond stones , I think not. But I will give you this , on a small stone such as the ep, I could see the small contact area being the main reason for that to happen(diamonds being pulled out) I checked out the your rig and the plates are small and from the grit size on the course plate is only 45 microns, very tiny diamond particle, which just proves the bullshit line Bens spews holds true.
                    And I'm not trying to convert you or anyone else to an EP system, If what you have works for you then it's perfect.
                    And there is a cheap way to sharpen ceramic blades, it's a full size dmt plate.

                    1. re: Dave5440

                      To both jkling and Dave,

                      I think both of you have good points. I have 3 DMT diamond plates. One fine, one coarse and a large extra-extra-coarse.

                      The argument against using diamond plates for soft steel is not baseless. Diamonds is very hard and can easily cut into steel. Hard steel is more brittle and tend to just grind away or chip away. Soft steel is tougher, and tend to bend and deform instead of chipping. So soft steel can deform and surround the diamonds instead of falling off. The diamonds are usually attached to the plate by resins or something. This can lead to a situation where both the resin and the soft steel grab the diamonds, and the soft steel can pull the diamonds off from the resin. It is not too different than how a rubber eraser can remove pencil marks. This is also why one should not push down too hard on a diamond stone during sharpening -- which encourages the diamonds dig deeper into the steels.

                      That being said, I am not so sure about the cut off point at RC65. I think that depends what resin the diamonds are sitting on.

                      Diamond stones have many advantages. They require no soaking, cut fast and they do not need lapping (flattening). While the diamonds last for a long time, the diamond stones are different. Here is why. A 2 cm thick waterstone is truly 2 cm thick grinding particles. My 2 cm thick diamond is not 2 cm thick of diamond :) It is a thick plastic stand with a stainless steel plate and a very thin layer of diamonds. I can already see the stainless steel for my DMT fine stone.

                      1. re: Dave5440

                        Hi Dave,

                        >> Just silly eh, one of my J blades is Rc66,

                        I am green with envy and bow in supplication. Few steels can take that hardness and not be overly brittle. I should have said that few steels exceed Rc 64-65 - thanks for the correction. I don't even want to know how much that knife costs but I'd love to slice a tomato with it someday.

                        >> And there is a cheap way to sharpen ceramic blades, it's a full size dmt plate.

                        Ok I suppose that is "an option". The technology is the same - the plates are just bigger. I do savvy why some like the option of freehand sharpening. But a single DMT bench stone is $50-100 or more and is only one grit level, or two grits with their dual grit stones.

                        This also means that the user would have to learn how to do "freehand sharpening" ... of a ceramic knife? I'm just not sure that I would advocate this as the "go to" method for someone who just bought their first ceramic knife.

                        >> But I will give you this , on a small stone such as the ep, I could see the small contact area being the main reason for that to happen (diamonds being pulled out)

                        All things wear down. This is more of an issue with the coarse/x-coarse and why it's important to be gentle and let the diamonds do the work. Similarly, whetstones wear down and need to be re-flattened - by diamond plates. :-)

                        1. re: jkling17

                          The rc66 is just a miyabi 7000mc retail was 379$ which is a bargin for zdp189, it gets chippy at really low angles, I took it 10 deg total, while very sharp it micro chipped bad so it is about 18deg now and quite tough. The newer models have scaled back on the hardness to 63rc or 62 probably because of the chipping.
                          The large dmt plates start at 55$ and the XXcourse and XXfine are 79$
                          Yes one would have to "learn" to hand sharpen, but for a ceramic it's quite easy as even I can do it(unless the blade is chipped or damaged), all it takes is a couple of swips every 3~4 weeks to keep it sharp, and 20deg isn't hard to hold for a short period.

            3. For ceramic knife, Kyocera has probably the best reputation. Personally, I like steel knives, but if you are into ceramic knives, Kyocera is a safe choice.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Yes Chem I did forget to mention, Kyocera is the only brand I would even consider

              2. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

                Personally I would never go ceramic but Kyocera knives would be your best choice. Easy to find and they offer to service their products.