Sharpen Your Mind, Sharpen Your Knives – My Calphalon Set

There’s always so much emphasis around making sure you have sharp knives. Otherwise, you tend to put more force behind your cuts and are more likely to cut yourself. I’ve purchased knife sets in the past, but that was really before I had grown interested in cooking. My primary goal at the time was to just get a good deal. And similar to the pots and pans that Jake and I had when we moved in together, we also had a mixed bag of cutlery. As we began to cook more, we decided one Christmas not to buy each other gifts, but instead to buy a joint gift for ourselves. That gift was the 20-piece Self Sharpening Calphalon Cutlery Set. We bought it online at Macy’s. We may have waited until there was some sort of holiday deal or used a coupon. (Here’s the link to the set we bought.)

TL; DR – This is a nice knife set and I would recommend it. There are a couple of flaws, just like any knife set has. If you’re interested in learning more, read on…

This set has been really good so far. The assortment of knives and other cutlery has been great. Here’s the list of what’s included in the set, taken directly from the link above.

  • 4.5″ paring knife
  • 5″ boning knife
  • 5″ santoku knife
  • 5.5″ tomato knife
  • 6″ fork
  • 6″ utility knife
  • 7″ santoku knife
  • 8″ bread knife
  • 8″ chef’s knife
  • 8″ slicing knife
  • 8 steak knives
  • Knife block with built-in ceramic sharpeners
  • Kitchen shears


I find that for most day-to-day use, I use the 5″ santoku knife (top knife in photo below). It is the perfect size for cutting most produce. The 7″ santoku knife is great for cutting larger items; I’ve used it to cut acorn squash, spaghetti squash, watermelon, etc. (second knife in photo below). This may sound silly, but I really like using the 6″ fork when we have guests over and we are serving sliced meat. It makes me feel fancy (third piece in the photo below). Lately with all the fresh garden tomatoes that have been given to us this summer, I have used the tomato/bagel knife quite a bit, as well. It is a small serrated knife (fourth knife in the photo below.) We also use the steak knives quite often.

From top left to bottom right: 5″ santoku, 7″ santoku, 6″ fork, 5.5″ tomato knife

I use the other knives on an as needed basis or if the knives I normally use are dirty and I’m feeling too lazy to clean them. The only thing that I feel is missing in the set is a filet knife. I’ve substituted with the 5″ boning knife in some of the cases I felt I needed a filet knife.

5″ boning knife

The knives feel really well-made and haven’t really tarnished in the couple of years we’ve had them. Some of my old sets get a little rust over time. Nobody wants that served with their meal.


Frequency of Use

As I mentioned up above, there’s no “perfect” knife set in my opinion. They’re all going to have a flaw, mostly because people have different needs and uses, so it’s hard to get it exactly right for everyone. Here are the couple of things I’ve noticed with my set:

The flaw with the self-sharpening, for me personally, is that the knives we use frequently hardly ever make it back to the block before we need it again. For example, I use the santoku, wash it, put it on the drying rack. Then, the next night, I need to use it again. On the flip side, the knives that we don’t use often don’t get taken out of the block often, so they rarely see the benefit of the sharpening.

I suppose that sharpening every once in a while is better than never doing it. It also takes away some hassle of pulling out a sharpening block if it is something that you do normally. Lastly, if you’re a victim to the “frequency of use” challenge I described above and really need to sharpen your knife, just move it back and forth a few times in the block.

Knife Block

The other flaw in the knife block design is that the serrated knives don’t have the metal shield around the opening. That means if you miss the slot, you ding the wooden block. Below you’ll see a photo of the entire set – you can see the metal plate at the top for the non-serrated knives. This works great. 20180916_133136

Metal plate for the non-serrated knives

On the other hand, below, you can see the hole where the scissors usually go and the steak knives above it.

Scratches on the wooden block where there is no metal plate

Overall, I really like this knife set. It’s sturdy and it helps me feel like I’m “adulting”. I don’t regret paying a few hundred dollars for it because we’ll likely have it for a long time. Plus, I’m not sure there’s really that much better out there in an affordable price range.

Hope this helps anyone looking for a new knife set!


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