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Reviews > Cook Gear > Utensils > Kyocera Ceramic Camp Kitchen Knife > Test Report by joe schaffer
KYOCERA OUTDOOR CERAMIC CAMP KITCHEN KNIFE AND SHEATH SET
Test Report by Joe SchafferREVIEWER INFORMATION:
INITIAL REPORT - December 5, 2016
FIELD REPORT - March 18, 2017
LONG TERM REPORT - May 1, 2017
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HOME: Bay Area, California USA
I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes. Sometimes I cook up winter breakfast, involving a lot of slicing and dicing veggies and ham.
Product: Kyocera Outdoor Ceramic Camp Kitchen Knife and Sheath Set,
Manufacturer: Kyocera, Inc.
Weight: not found
Dimensions: 4 in blade (102 mm)
Description: (excerpted from mfr. website)
• Sharp, lightweight, easy to clean, never rusts
• Ergonomic soft textured handle
• Heavy duty nylon sheath with Velcro strap and belt loop
• Razor-sharp blade stays sharper 10 times longer
• Will never alter taste, smell or appearance of food
• Lifetime defects warranty to original purchaser
• Lifetime sharpening for a flat-rate shipping cost.
Available Colors: Black handle/white blade
Knife--Weight: 2 3/8 oz (68 gm)
Length: Blade edge--4 in (102 mm)
Blade total--4 5/8 in (117 mm)
Handle--4 15/16 in (125 mm)
Width: 1 3/16 - 3/16 in (35 - 10 mm)
Thickness: 1/16 - 1/32 in (2 - 1 mm)
Sheath--Weight: 1 1/2 oz (43 gm)
Length: 9 1/2 in (24 cm)
Width: max 1 3/4 in (44 mm)
Thickness: 5/8 in (16 mm)
MSRP: $34.95 US
Received: December 3, 2016
The knife has a smooth (non-serrated) ceramic blade (as opposed to steel, for example) intended for straight-line cutting through non-hard media using a soft cutting board. Documentation with the product clearly and concisely explains the proper use of this type of knife and what motions and uses to avoid. Slice fruits, vegetables, boneless meat and fish in a straight line. No prying or twisting or turning. I tried cutting the plastic cap from a milk carton to verify that the blade does not like turning corners, though it certainly had no trouble cutting the coated cardboard.
The blade tip is rounded, though sharp. The shank extends downward about 5/8 in (15 mm) below the handle, allowing the blade to contact the cutting board without the handle squishing fingers. The handle feels like hard rubber and has nine gripping ridges at the front bottom, tapering slightly and curving downward at the back. The front half of the handle is deeper than the back half; the fattest part being at the center. The top half of the handle has 7 ridges in front and 3 in back. The sheath is heavy black Cordura folded over the blade area and riveted, with a belt loop nearly the length of the handle and a hook and loop closure choking the handle.
The sheath looks like military industrial strength, while the blade seems rather delicate--somewhat translucent, even.
The blade is wicked sharp and will dry-shave hair off my arm. Just a nudge on a pomegranate got the blade started and then it whisked all the way to the cutting board. Usually I have to rock the fruit back and forth a little for a knife to slice all the way through, and expecting some drag from the wide blade I applied much more force than necessary to halve the fruit. I immediately realized the benefit of the blade extending downward from the handle or I'd have given my knuckles a rap on the cutting board. I'm glad it occurred to me not to hold the fruit in my hand or my life line would have gotten revised. I often do that with apples, but likely won't try it with this blade.
The handle is long enough and the shape fine for me, but overall feels a little small for a hand I would think is probably man-average. I'm not knife savvy, so perhaps I don't know how to hold it. If I close my eyes and find the position that feels most comfortable, the blade is about 90 degrees off. If I put my ring and little fingertips into the recess of the handle it feels ok, but seems too dainty of a grip. On the other hand, given the explicit description of use I wouldn't expect to lose control of the blade slicing a bell pepper.
I must keep in mind not to twist, turn or pry with this blade; and never to use it as a screwdriver or try to hammer it through a piece of kindling. The product is not intended as a utility knife and makes no claims to be anything but a soft stuff slicer. Still, as a person completely unfamiliar with ceramic knives I'd appreciate seeing some type of metric regarding the amount of pressure to break it--say, snap force, for example, in foot-pounds (newton-meter). I also wonder what happens when the blade breaks. Does it spit shards of splinters? Perhaps the bomb-worthy sheath is meant to avoid/contain such accidents, but I would never carry this on my belt and would be perfectly happy with a light sheath that simply envelops the blade.
I anticipate my sole use for the knife will be cutting vegetables. I expect it to make fast work of slicing grape tomatoes in half and using the top edge for spreading cream cheese on lunch bagels.
While I recognize that presentation is everything, I must quibble over so much packaging--4 3/8 oz (123 gm) of cardboard and mostly plastic going to the landfill. Package does show blade length, but makes no mention of weight. That metric may not be important for its intended use, as I don't find it on the website either.
Continuous days of home kitchen use.
Feb 11-13: Car camping.
The knife is so sharp it frightens me as do all sharp objects. It does a fantastic job of applying spread and cutting vegetables. I like to hold romaine lettuce in one hand and slice it over a bowl with the other--saves dirtying a cutting board. Then I put tomatoes, jicama, hard boiled eggs, etc., on the lettuce and dice it up. I estimate slicing and dicing two dozen romaine heads, half-dozen onions, two dozen tomatoes, three cucumbers, four pomegranates and four baked spaghetti squashes halved, half-dozen boiled eggs, three bell peppers, half-dozen celery stalks, three jicamas diced and two pork loins sliced into chops. I've also sliced bagels and cheese and peeled potatoes. I find I must be mindful and careful (yuck!) as the blade is so sharp it does not skid on fingernail. So far I haven't tested how firmly a stroke must contact fingernail to cut through it.
On the car camping trip the knife sliced vegetables, cheese and salami for two evening meals and two lunches for three people. Blade width makes the knife drag through cheese.
The knife is certainly sharp enough for bulk meat work, but a bit short as I kept getting the heel caught on the backstroke. It cruises through salami very nicely.
My quibble relates to the product moniker as a camping knife for kitchen detail. I don't want more single-use things than absolutely necessary, so I'd expect a camping knife to serve a broader purpose. I might want to have it available for anything from popping the lid off a Sterno can to tightening a screw to prying open a stubbornly frozen turkey quarter. Slicing gathered mushrooms is an important attribute, but not the only one.
My kitchen comrade remarked that the blade looks enticing, but the handle a little clunky. Indeed, on the kitchen counter it seems out of place. On the camp table it seems not to have a lot of woodsy charisma. I find that when I'm concentrating on cutting stuff up the handle seems ergonomically quite satisfactory. I take back any previous comment regarding handle insufficiency.
I remain nervous about what might happen if I try to wrest open a walnut shell or a buddy grabs it to spread a fishing sinker. A soft cutting board doesn't fit in my kit, and finding an appropriate piece of wood is often not as easy as a flat rock. I must frequently remind myself in the kitchen not to ply the blade to an inappropriate surface, such as a bread pan. I have already found myself trying to pry apart the most stubborn remains of squash hide, exactly controverting instructions not to twist the blade and not to apply it to a hard surface.
The knife does a great job of cutting a cold bagel in half and spreading preparations over it. It will slice onions and garlic to the thickness of plastic wrap. I find it not a great peeler, perhaps because I'm so nervous about cutting my thumb. Certainly it makes quick work of slicing through wet things like potatoes and jicama. Blade width seems to encourage slices to stick, though also avoids knuckle contact against the cutting board. The sharpness of the blade cuts into wood and plastic very easily and the blade tends to bite in rather than skid.
I'm coming of mind having used the knife rather extensively that it is not a knife I would choose for my style of camping, which is not food-preparation intensive. The blade would be longer on my preferred knife for such use; and would not share the limitations of cutting surface and motions.
I note the irony in commenting on blade sharpness. I don't like dull blades, but I can sharpen them. Perhaps in kitchen use I might never dull this blade if I remember to follow proscriptions. I'm not good at remembering what not to do; and I'm not keen on being dependent on a not-at-hand solution to dulling the blade through inappropriate use.
Total use for the test
Backpacking--two outings: Slit four bagels, six ciabattas, 18 grape tomatoes, spread eight Laughing Cow swiss cheeses and peeled the fat rind off four pork chops.
Car Camping: As noted above, sliced vegetables, cheese and salami for two evening meals and two lunches for three people.
Home kitchen: Four dozen heads of romaine lettuce, a dozen onions, four dozen tomatoes, two pounds (0.9 kg) of mushrooms, five cucumbers, two pineapples, a dozen celery stalks, four jicamas, four pomegranates, four baked spaghetti squashes halved, a dozen boiled eggs, four bell peppers, two dozen pears, a dozen apples and four pork loins.
I didn't think I'd be able to use the knife enough during the test period to dull the blade, but it is now not as sharp as it was. How much of that is the cutting I've done with it and how much wear was contributed by holding the blade to a glass plate while I tried to pull squash hide through it I'm not certain. I'm thinking the blade is something like a razor--as sharp as sharp gets to start, but loses the edge quickly. I say quickly in the context that if the knife has to be sent to the factory for sharpening, then I'd want it to last longer. It is still plenty sharp, but now won't cut ripe tomato without nudging the blade across the skin to start. I can even touch it lightly without getting chills.
Thoroughly delighted am I to report that as yet I've not bloodied my salad makings. That speaks kindly of the knife's balance and ease of control.
The knife is great for cutting small, soft and/or wet-crispy things. It seems my mind calibrates the stroke of the knife more to the size of the object being cut than the length of the blade, meaning I frequently get the blade heel caught on the back stroke. I don't see the knife as applicable to my preferences in backpacking. I'll take it car camping on the couple occasions I do that a year; and it's a good kitchen veggie cutter. The blade remains pristine--no chips, cracks or stains.
c) great spreader
Thank you Kyocera and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this knife. This completes my test.
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