Knife Technology

The Complete Process of How to Make a Ceramic Knife

The process of making a Kikusumi ceramic knife involves 9 key stages before the finished knife emerges complete.  Along the way there are multiple quality inspections made to ensure each knife meets the high standards we expect.

  1. Dry Pressing
  2. Cold Isostatic Pressing
  3. High Temperature Sintering
  4. Low Temperature Sintering for Kikusumi Logo
  5. Handle Injection
  6. Blade Grinding
  7. Blade Sharpening
  8. Blade Polishing
  9. Cleaning
  10. Luxury Gift Packaging

CERAMIC KNIFE PROCESS


1. DRY PRESSING

The process of making a Kikusumi Ceramic Knife begins with the selection of sub-nanometer zirconium oxide powder #4 which is 30% finer than the #2 powder inferior ceramic knives are made of.  Zirconium is an advanced, high-tech ceramic material that is second only to diamond in hardness. The first step in making Kikusumi knives is to first put the Zirconia powder into a mould.   Next, about 200 tons of pressure is applied to the moulded powder with hi-tech forging machines.  Kikusumi uses no adhesives during this lengthy process and this results in 30% lower blade porosity.  Once complete, the basic shape of the ceramic blade has been formed.


2. COLD ISOSTATIC PRESSING

During the second-stage process the pressed blades are inserted into a tied PVC vacuum bag and then placed into a closed container.  An oil and water mixture is added and then over 200 mpa of pressure is applied for a lengthy period of time.  The process is called Cold Isostatic Pressing and makes the blades both denser and more durable.  After this process the blade size is 10% smaller and very dense.


3. HIGH TEMPERATURE SINTERING

For the third stage, one of the most high-tech sintering machine with Intelligent temperature control system which can keep the temperature controlled at +-1°C. It can make the blades been more heat evenly, Blades made this way have higher density, lower porosity and lower deformation.


4. LOW TEMPERATURE SINTERING

For the fourth stage, the iconic Kikusumi logo is applied to the blades and a lower temperature sintering is applied,   The extra firing has a two-fold effect – the blade gains extra durability and the warm glow of the Kikusumi design comes to life.


5. HANDLE INJECTION

Kikusumi knife handles are attached to each ceramic blade by using and advanced injection molding process which is both stronger and more sanitary than using the glue and thermal bonding that many manufacturers use.  The result is a knife with a stronger structure and superior hygienic properties.




6. BLADE GRINDING

The process of grinding and polishing the surface of the ceramic blade is composed of three steps.  Blades are first flat grinded on both sides of the blade with a diamond wheel.  Two kinds of flat grinding: coarse grinding, accurate grinding. The former is speedy and high efficiency. The latter, after the coarse grinding is finished, can gloss surface of ceramic blade. B.Around Grinding: Grinding the edges of the blades. C.Open Edge: Produce the edge preliminarily.


7. BLADE SHARPENING

Depending on the knife model, the blade edge is sharpened to a 11°-13° angle and the tip edge within a range of 35°-42°.


8. BLADE POLISHING

Every KIikusumi ceramic knife blade is polished by hand to achieve maximum sharpness.  There are three steps to the polishing process:
  1.  Coarse Flat Grinding consists of polishing both sides of each ceramic blade with a diamond-dust This is a relatively fast and time-efficient process.
  2.  Precision Flat Grinding the edges of the blades comes after the coarse grinding is finished.  This is a slow and time-consuming process that results in a high-gloss surface on each ceramic blade.
  3.  Open Edge Polishing  produces the final refinement to the blade’s edge that is complete when the ideal sharpness is achieved.


9. CLEANING

At the final stage every knife is sanitized with vegetable detergent and a final inspection of the entire knife is conducted to ensure Kikusumi Knife standards of quality are met.


10. LUXURY GIFT PACKAGING

Great thought and meticulous planning lies behind our gift boxes. As each gift box that is opened we wanted to make that singular moment of discovery as exciting as possible.  The unique story of Kikusumi knives is revealed in several stages throughout the process that is intended to add emotion and convey the passion we put into our products.  A black and white graphic representing actual Kikusumi charcoal provides the backdrop to the gift box top.  Above it in shimmering “sumi” black is an outline of our ceramic knives along with a glowing red “kiku” flower.

Kikusumi Ceramic Knife Hardness

Knife Set

Introducing the Kikusumi Kitchen Knife Set

Combining the wisdom of traditional craft design with today’s technology is what gives the new Kikusumi kitchen knife set its performance flexibility along with superior craftmanship.  Kikusumi design can be characterised by its focus on function first with the final form an expression that includes just the essentials.  We know cook’s want a combination of precision, comfort and dexterity when preparing a meal.  Kikusumi delivers that plus beautiful aethetics in a 3-knife set carefully chosen to give the cook the necessary tools to create the meal they want.



CHOOSING THE RIGHT SIZES FOR A KITCHEN KNIFE SET

When selecting the knives for the Kiksumi 3 kitchen knife set we looked to the wisdom of both Japanese and Western chefs.  We wanted to offer a set that would be complete in itself for all levels of cooks.  We noted the differences between professional kitchen requirements and the needs of a home cook.  Our first selection was a 7″ (17.5 cm) Chef knife for its ability to handle a variety of large cutting jobs.  Second, we chose a 3″ (7.5 cm) Paring knife for its amazing dexterity when working in small and tight areas.  The final choice was a 5″ (4.8 cm) Santoku knife, an all-purpose knife with a deeper blade for slicing, dicing and mincing round or cylindrical fruits and vegetables.

Once we had the right mix of knives we went to work on packaging it in a way that would tell the compelling story of the Kikusumi brand.  The result is 3-knife set gift box whose story unfolds as it is opened – the memorable unwrapping experience is sure to enhance those important moments in life we choose to celebrate.  We took extra time to design the hidden details with the hope that it will inspire your cooking creativity to ever greater heights.



SHARP.  LIGHT.  PRECISE.

The dense and smooth surface of the blade allows for precise cuts, the extreme hardness of the material ensures above-average edge retention, plus they are amazingly light, extremely flexible and corrosion-free.  They are the ideal tools for preparing food.

The minimalist design means the Kikusumi knives will look at home in both traditional and modern kitchens.  The understated elegance of the sumi black blades and subtle, glowing kikusumi logo make them the knife set to show when hosting guests for a dinner party or other special occasion.  The ergonomic feel and balance will have you reaching for your Kikusumi knife each time you cook.

This 3-piece chef set includes the most important knives for anyone needing to prepare delicious and healthy meals – whether it be for celebrations or every day. The uniquely minimalist design will add elegance and beauty to your kitchen while performing at a high level as your first choice kitchen knives.

Kikusumi 3 Ceramic Kitchen Knife Set



 

Bread Knife

What is a Bread Knife and Why Every Kitchen Needs One

A bread knife is a specialty knife designed to cut through the bread crust without compressing its soft interior in the process.  The key design point is the frequency and width of the serrations.  In some cases there is a straight blade section on either end of the bread knife with a longer serrated section in the middle.  Serrated bread knives are often ground on only one side – called a single-bevel blade.  Low-frequency serrations – lower number and wider spacing of teeth – help the blades glide through bread quickly and cleanly.  What is a bread knife good at cutting?  Basically anything with a hard skin or crust.



KNIFE BLADE SHAPE

A bread knife is shaped similar to the Santoku knife with 2 differences – it is serrated teeth and is much longer.  The idea behind the length of the blade is it allows the cook to cut large surfaces in long, smooth strokes – much like a saw in carpentry.  The serrated teeth help the knife grip the bread’s surface, keeping it straight and steady without having to apply downward pressure that might compress the loaf.



BREAD KNIFE SIZE

Bread knives come in length varying from 6″ to 14″ – the right size depends on what you will be cutting most frequently.  For the average home cook an 8″ (20 cm) blade is the right length as it is long enough to cut though most large breads yet short enough to control easily.  If the blade is too long it may flex while cutting – making cutting straight difficult for home cooks.



WHEN TO USE IT

Whether freshly baked or several days old the bread knife can handle cutting straight and smooth with ease.  Soft white bread or crusty artisan bread poses no problems for a Kikusumi bread knife.  Bread is not the only use for this knife – it is great for cutting through both soft cakes (sponge) and dense cakes (pound cakes) even when freshly baked.  Hard skin fruit like pineapple or vegetables like pumpkin can also be peeled with the bread knife so long as one is careful not to flex the blade.



BEST BREAD  KNIFE

In addition to slicing breads, bagels, and rolls, your bread knife can also slice through tough-skinned bell peppers and tomatoes.  The serrated blade will gently cut through a tougher skin without crushing the juicy interior.  It is also great for cutting away the rind of watermelons, honeydew. And it’s perfect for slicing other baked goods, such as cakes.

Kikusumi bread knife was designed with a straight blade section on the front and back end of the blade.  The idea behind it its that the straight edge easily cuts through hard crusts while the serrated center section grips and smoothly slices the bread.  The result is that the Kikusumi bread knife makes a very clean cut, creating beautifully thin slices with minimal crumbs.

CHEF KNIFE

What is a Chef Knife ?

The most versatile knife for a cook to own is unquestionably what is known in the west as the chef knife .  It can be used for jobs of all sizes including cutting, slicing, chopping, and mincing.  The blade has a long flowing curve that allows it to slide effortlessly through vegetables, fruit or meat.  It is a high-performance knife for everyday tasks like chopping herbs, dicing and slicing meats.  It will be the workhorse knife in your kitchen so it is important that it feels comfortable to use.



CHEF KNIFE SHAPE

A Chef knife has a long profile with a wide and slightly curved blade to allow it to rock forward as you slice.  It’s length allows for larger quantities of ingredients to be chopped at once.  The heel of the blade tends to be wider and thicker which makes it useful for cutting thicker vegetables because it allows the user to apply greater downward force while keeping the blade stable.



CHEF KNIFE SIZE

Chef’s knives normally are offered in blade lengths running from 6 to 12 inches.  The idea is the longer the blade the larger the job it can do.  It sounds great in theory but the reality is there comes a point at which the blade is too long to control effectively.  For most people the ideal chef knife is somewhere between 7 and 10 inches.



WHEN TO USE A CHEF  KNIFE

Some cooks use the chef knife for almost every cutting job in the kitchen except for very small produce or boning.  Due to its size it is ideal for mincing or chopping through larger quantities of ingredients.



ROOTS OF THE CHEF KNIFE

The roots of a chef knife can be traced through 3 main channels – German, French, and Japanese.  German knife design has a wide belly that narrows along its curved edge all the way to the blade tip.  The idea is that the knife can be used with a rocking motion during cutting.  A French chef knife has a much straighter edge at its base and only starts to curve near the knife tip.  French and German knife blades are heavier and made of softer stainless steel.  They will need to be sharpened frequently.

A traditional Japanese chef knife—called a gyuto—has a straight edge and curves slightly toward the tip like the French blade.  The difference is that qualty Japanese knives are made of harder steel and have a much thinner blade.  As a result it is precision sharp, agile, and requires less frequent sharpening. 



BEST CHEF KNIFE

Designed in Japan, the Kikusumi 7-inch Chef’s Knife is formed from zirconium which is second only to diamond on the hardness scale.  The blade is thin and precise like Japanese steel knives yet won’t dull quickly like the softer steel knives.  It is also lighter than steel blades which gives it an extra agile cutting ability.

 

SANTOKU KNIFE

What is a Santoku Knife and What Makes it Ideal for any Kitchen?

What is a Santoku knife?” might be difficult to answer for most Americans and Europeans to answer.  The word santoku means “three virtues” and refers to the three types of cuts at which it excels—slicing, dicing, and chopping. For Japanese cooks a Santoku knife is the equivalent of the chef knife for the Western cook. Multiple oval indentations are ground into the side of the blade to help release the food as it slices.  This is especially useful with fruit and protein where the moistness normally makes it stick to the blade.

Put simply, the Santoku is an all-purpose knife with a uniformly wide blade designed for slicing, dicing and mincing both large and small ingredients.  Perfect for the home cook, this daily-use knife is ideal for preparing most fruit, vegetables and boneless meats, fish or poultry.



UNIQUE KNIFE SHAPE

With a blade that is the same width across its length and has a squared rather than a pointy end.  The blade is uniformly wide, which makes it great for peeling cylindrical vegetables like daikon or carrots horizontally.  Across the center of the blade oval-shaped cuts have been carved into the blade to help it release while it is cutting.



IDEAL BLADE SIZE

A santoku is an all-purpose kitchen knife that comes in 2 sizes.  One size is similar to the chef’s knife while the mini-size is more similar in length to a utility knife.  The 5″ (12.5 cm) mini-santoku can be used for small to medium cutting jobs in the kitchen.  A larger 5.5″ (14cm) santoku knife is considered the standard size blade in Japan.  Although larger blades can sometimes be found they are not ideal as the compactness and width of the blade is what brings out its special qualities.  If the blade is longer the knife becomes more difficult to maneuver which in turn reduces consistency and cutting speed.  Choose either the mini or standard blade depending on what sizes of fruit and vegetables you use most.  Kikusumi offers a mini-santoku in the 3 kitchen knife set as well as a 5.5″ knife sold individually.



WHEN TO USE A SANTOKU

Useful for almost any job the Santoku knife is the one most commonly used by Japanese cooks. Vegetables, fruit, fish or boneless meat can be prepared successfully with a santoku knife because its wide blade makes even cutting more consistent and easier.  A mini version of this knife achieves the best results with smaller and medium size vegetables and fruit like a kiwi.  A 5.5″ (14 cm) blade does better with larger vegetables like daikon and onion.

When cutting larger quantities of ingredients, lighter knives will cause less fatigue compared to heavier knives.  The blade profile of a Santoku is straight so that controlling the thickness of slices is easy.  The thin blades on these knives make precision cutting effortless.  Cutting with this uniquely shaped knife use a slight forward motion as the knife descends vertically. Once you get used to it you’ll find that you have much more control over the knife and the thickness of the cut.  The santoku knife offers similar benefits to a typical Western chef’s knife but with the benefit of being lighter in weight and wider in blade which makes it easier to control.

Knife Care

Ceramic Knife Maintenance

 

Following a few simple rules will result in your ceramic knife staying sharper and lasting longer.  When you first buy your knife it is sharp and looks great – wouldn’t it be great to keep it that way?  The following is list of Do’s and Don’ts for proper ceramic knife maintenance.



KNIFE CARE

DO
  1. Cut on a wood or plastic cutting board to avoid chipping
  2. Hand wash with warm, soapy water
  3. Allow knife to air dry
  4. Store your knife in its safety cover or a knife block when not in use
DO NOT
  1. Drop ceramic knife on hard surfaces
  2. Cut on stone, marble, metal or glass
  3. Cut frozen food or bones
  4. Use the knife for work that requires twisting of flexing the blade
  5. Apply force to the side of the blade (eg. smashing garlic)


KNIFE MAINTENANCE + STORAGE

  • Store in a knife block / sheath / tray or on a dish drain
  • Use care when storing and removing the knife from a knife block to avoid tip damage
  • Storing any knife upright  (sharp edge up) or sideways in a knife block reduces wear to the knife edge


KNIFE WEAR

All knives will dull over time.  Harder metals like high carbon steels, titanium and carbide tend to hold their edge longer than cheaper steel.  Ceramic blades are harder than any metal – in fact harder than anything except diamond.

Ceramic will stay sharper longer than metal blades with proper knife maintenance.  Over time and extended use micro abrasions or nicks will appear on the ceramic blade’s edge.  This is part of the normal process by which all blades dull over time.  The presence of microchips does not mean the knife is dull – it may continue to cut well for some time after that.  If the knife becomes too dull to use it is time to use a diamond sharpener.  Diamond is the only material harder than zirconium so be sure you or the professional sharpener has one.  The role of the sharpener is to first smooth the microchips on the edge of the blade and then hone a new, sharper edge.  Larger chips and broken tips can often be corrected by sharpening as well – for these it is best to seek out a professional.

PARING KNIFE

What is a Paring Knife ?

The paring knife blade is at its best when working in small spaces.  Peeling apples, de-stemming strawberries or turnips, deveining shrimp, and seeding bell peppers are just a few of the jobs a paring knife excels at.  Its short and thin blade allows for exceptional control that it so important when manuevering in tight spaces.  The sharp tip is also useful for removing potato eyes and other such tasks. A paring knife has a shape profile similar to a chef knife but on a smaller scale.  It is an essential knife to have in the kitchen when intricate cutting jobs present themselves.



PARING KNIFE SHAPE

The ideal paring knife is short with a sharp tip.  Shorter blades are easier to manuever, especially when moving in a circular motion.  A sharp tip allows for easy piercing of tough skin on vegetables or fruit.  The blade can be straight or curved.  For general use a straight blade is preferred as it is more versatile.  Curved blades are ideal for peeling onions or shallots but less effective on straight cuts.  Once you get comfortable with a straight blade there is no need for a curved blade paring knife.



PARING KNIFE SIZE

Paring knifes come in different lengths.  The shortest length (3″ or 7.5 cm) is the essential length to have.  Its size and perfectly balanced shape – combined with the benefits of lightweight ceramic blade – give it special practical and ergonomic advantages.



WHEN TO USE A PARING KNIFE

At its best in tight spaces and when circular motion is required.  Use it for de-stemming, de-seeding and removing blemishes with precision.  Its agility is its strength which makes it ideal for taking apart shrimp or peeling and pitting an avocado.



BEST PARING KNIFE

When looking for the ideal paring knife look for one that fits comfortably in the hand.  This is important in order to manipulate the blade effectively with intricate jobs like peeling cherries or olives.  The D-grip handle on the Kikusumi Paring Knife is ergonomically designed for the hand.  The second point is the blade should be short enough to manipulate easily – remember the longer the blade the more difficult it is to manouver..  3 inches (7.5 cm) is the ideal length of the blade.  The Kikusumi Paring knife is the go-to knife for de-stemming and cutting small fruits and vegetables into beautiful shapes.