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Ceramic knives - Blades of the Future?

Oct 20, 2000
I read some time ago that ceramic knives are going to be the blades of the 21st century.
Ceramic knives don't rust. They are extremely sharp and don't need sharpening.
The only drawback is that they are not meant for cutting bone or any very hard stuff.
If there are some knife scientists out there who are working on a formula that will blend the special properties of ceramic and that of other special metals and come up with a really special material that will put talonite and stellite to shame, let us all know.
I have a feeling steel and all its other cousins are going to be obsolete in a few years time.
In future, there will be blades that will defy salt water and hard knocks and still retain their sharpness and rust-proof properties for an indefinite period of time.

Make Love your strongest weapon. Compassion your shield and forgiveness your armour.
Ceramics are impressive, all right. But they will always need sharpening eventually. And the harder a substance is, generally, the more brittle it is, too.

Maybe a ceramic san mai would work, a ceramic center layer with a tougher, softer, more flexible material as cladding. These outer layers could slowly wear away from the ceramic edge, constantly leaving that sharp cutting material exposed.

Or a metal or thermoplastic matrix, with ceramic deposited within it, perhaps in a thin, hard outer layer.

Steel has been around a long time; we know what it can do. Materials science cannot develop and distribute replacements for all the time-tested steels and their new variants, if only because of the natural conservatism of people working with what they have learned to respect.

But as technology advances, new products will be more readily available. What holds back many products is not the product itself, but the handling. Ask any knifemaker if it's easier to make a knife from an old file or from Talonite. It's only with better machines and better abrasives that some new materials can be worked at all.

Ceramic can be sharpened, but you really need a diamond hone to do it. These are readily available now, but not long ago, they were rare.

Steel may come in for a rebirth of usefulness if new processes like Buck's ionfusion, or some other new coating can totally protect all treated surfaces from corrosion, making a truly stainless steel, but with high-carbon properties.
I think ceramics will undergo a slow evolution to acceptance, but metal knives will always be here. Look at plastics. Even during my life time, plastics went from 'something cheap' to the status of a 'revolutionary polymer.' Guns are now plastic and stainless, but traditionalists like blue steel and claro. The same will probably happen with knives. For example, our modern stainless knives offer a lot of corrosion resistance, but many people like forged knives. (I admire the way they cut, but for my lifestyle, I like 154-CM). I think ceramics will get an ever-increasing market, but will be an addition, not a replacement.--OKG

[This message has been edited by Old Knife Guy (edited 12-27-2000).]