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Kyocera Kyotop Slicing Knife

Japanese Damascus Slicer

Posted by Ken

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Kyocera Kyotop Slicing Knife At first glance, it's difficult to see any reason to criticize this short ceramic bladed slicer from Kyocera. The blade features a beautiful damascus pattern. It is a nice length for small cutting jobs and has more depth to the blade than other utility slicers of comparable size.

That extra blade depth is most welcome, as a little extra blade goes a long way to reducing the occurrence of the all too familiar sensation when knuckles meet cutting board. The blade isn't quite as thin as I'd prefer in a small knife, but it will perform nicely on Kyocera's list of foodstuffs appropriate for use with this knife: boneless meats, fruits, and vegetables. That said, when it comes down to it, despite the well considered design and aesthetic, I simply can't honestly say that I would ever actually buy and use this knife, for the primary reason that the blade is made from a ceramic material and secondly, it's quite expensive for such a small knife. Granted, there are similarly sized high end handmade Japanese knives on the market which fall in the same general price point.

I might even consider purchasing one of those handmade knives, but setting aside the cost consideration, the ceramic blade on this knife gives me pause, not the price point. Why would a ceramic blade be a bad thing? After all, Kyocera claims the knife will almost never have to be sharpened. That's a nice selling point and a good benefit isn't it?

In all fairness, Kyocera is correct that it won't have to be sharpened often. The ceramic material is very hard and abrasion resistant. This would seem a good thing, as the blade can be very sharp and will hold its edge for a good long time. However, when it's time to sharpen it, it has to be shipped back to the factory to have a new edge ground in using computer controlled diamond grinding wheels.

I, for one, would never buy a knife that I couldn't sharpen with any one of the plethora of sharpening methods I have at my disposal. The same attributes ceramic materials possess which will make a blade that can take and hold a good edge are the very same qualities which make it a very poor material for a knife blade.

Ceramic, for all it's hardness, is a very brittle material with extremely low impact resistance, meaning it is easily chipped or broken. If you drop a conventional knife on the floor or accidentally knock the blade into a steel table or sink, the blade might deform slightly or may not have any damage at all. If that happens with a ceramic blade, it's likely to be the end of the knife as the blade will break or shatter.

Would you want to have a nearly two hundred dollar knife as delicate as an egg in your kit? I certainly wouldn't want one in mine.

As an alternative, check out the Shun utility knife we reviewed recently. It's less expensive, roughly the same size, and is made of sturdier materials.

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