How to judge flatware quality?

Discussion in 'Fine Living, Home, Design & Auto' started by Quirk, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    I've been thinking about changing my everyday flatware, and as I've been looking around, I realize I have no idea how to tell what makes for 'good' quality. Aside from personal aesthetic preferences, are there objective elements that make one set of flatware better quality than another? I was in Marshall's today and saw sets for 8 for as little as $40! Can those possibly be any good? How do I tell? What do I look for? I inherited my current set from my sister an embarrassingly long time ago, so I've never shopped for the stuff before. This is just for everyday, and the occasional casual dinner party. Thanks.
     
  2. StevenRocks

    StevenRocks Senior member

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    Go to a department store like Macy's and check out Oneida flatware. They're pretty much the standard-bearer for high-quality flatware. Make sure you check out the stuff in the china department, and not the housewares department, because the prepackaged stuff in Housewares tends to be a little chintzy.

    Barring that, look for a decent weight (18/10 stainless steel) in a style you like, and if you plan on keeping it for a while, a brand whose patterns don't get discontiued often.
     
  3. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    Go to a department store like Macy's and check out Oneida flatware. They're pretty much the standard-bearer for high-quality flatware. Make sure you check out the stuff in the china department, and not the housewares department, because the prepackaged stuff in Housewares tends to be a little chintzy. Barring that, look for a decent weight (18/10 stainless steel) in a style you like, and if you plan on keeping it for a while, a brand whose patterns don't get discontiued often.
    Thanks. Not to be dense, but when I look at the Oneida, what kinds of will (should) I notice about it vs. the $40/service for 8 stuff? And what does 18/10 indicate?
     
  4. Bandwagonesque

    Bandwagonesque Senior member

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    Does anybody know if Paderno flatwear is crap? I'm sure it all rolls off the same assembly lines in Asia as Oneida, etc, etc.

    Anyway, I bought my gf some new flatwear for Chirstmas that was Paderno. Really nice modern styled, very clean looking. Heavy 18/10 stainless steel, nice shine, and so on. After two weeks of use, already 4 pieces have chips in them due to rust, and rust stains on them. I honestly could not believe it. Back when we were students, we had the cheap shit... no rust, ever. Now, we finally get some "quality" flatwear and the shit rusts on us weeks after we start using it.

    Is this common?
     
  5. Lucky Strike

    Lucky Strike Senior member

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  6. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Thanks. Not to be dense, but when I look at the Oneida, what kinds of will (should) I notice about it vs. the $40/service for 8 stuff? And what does 18/10 indicate?

    18/10 refers to the chromium and nickel content, which determines its corrosion resistance. Most kitchen stainless will be 18/10.

    Aside from that, I'd suggest your chief concern be pattern and weight. Cheap flatware is usually thin and light, and not particularly pleasant to hold. But at the same time, there's a trend in some corners to make flatware so thick and bulky that it becomes cumbersome.

    Personally, I don't see much need to pay top dollar for stainless flatware. Save the big bucks for the silver.
     
  7. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    18/10 refers to the chromium and nickel content, which determines its corrosion resistance. Most kitchen stainless will be 18/10. Aside from that, I'd suggest your chief concern be pattern and weight. Cheap flatware is usually thin and light, and not particularly pleasant to hold. But at the same time, there's a trend in some corners to make flatware so thick and bulky that it becomes cumbersome. Personally, I don't see much need to pay top dollar for stainless flatware. Save the big bucks for the silver.
    How many of you here actually have bought or use silver? I thought you were just supposed to inherit it, never use it, polish it every so often, and pass it on to the next generation. [​IMG]
     
  8. StevenRocks

    StevenRocks Senior member

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    Thanks. Not to be dense, but when I look at the Oneida, what kinds of will (should) I notice about it vs. the $40/service for 8 stuff? And what does 18/10 indicate?
    Doc gave a good explanation of what I would have said (been busy, sorry for the slow response) but I disagree on one point. Quality stainless is definately worth the investment, even if it's a little high. Silver is beautiful and timeless, but it's hard to replace in a pinch and has a lot of maintenence issues (regular polishing and cleaning, shouldn't be placed in the dishwasher).

    My personal set is Easton by Onieda. It regularly goes on sale and it's a pattern that always stays in Onieda's rotation.
     
  9. Nantucket Red

    Nantucket Red "Mr. Fashionista"

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  10. Quirk

    Quirk Senior member

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    Thanks for the feedback. I think if I can find a good set that I like at a great price through a discounter, I'm not going to worry too much about ongoing availability; I suppose I could just buy an extra set up front to satisfy any future needs.
     
  11. DNW

    DNW Senior member

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    I bought a set of Henkels at Marshalls last year for about $50 (retail was something stupid like $120). It had a decent heft, which is important to me. The stainless steel looks clean, and the design fairly modern. Other than that, the brand is what sold me. Obviously there are some really fancy stuff at really fancy prices, but as far as efficiently putting food in my mouth, I'm 100% satisfied with the set I bought.
     
  12. Kai

    Kai Senior member

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    How many of you here actually have bought or use silver? I thought you were just supposed to inherit it, never use it, polish it every so often, and pass it on to the next generation.
    [​IMG]



    We have sterling silver that we use for guests and special occasions.

    Given the drastic drop in the price of silver, it's not that much more expensive than good flatware.
     
  13. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    How many of you here actually have bought or use silver? I thought you were just supposed to inherit it, never use it, polish it every so often, and pass it on to the next generation. [​IMG]
    We use sterling probably three or four nights a week.
     
  14. Droog

    Droog Senior member

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    We recently transitioned over to silverware for special dinners, having been given place settings for eight. (My elderly folks are in the mode of giving away some of their things.) We fleshed it out to settings for twelve and added a few more place setting items (e.g., butter spreaders, cocktail forks, extra teaspoons) through http://www.Replacements.com/ who are excellent. Still want (need?) to get some serving items. We use individual salt and pepper shakers which greatly simplify things at the table. Also transitioning over to Riedel wine glasses. All these mesh nicely with the Royal Doulton we got for our recent 25th. Also inherited two sets of serving silver (more than we can use, really). Put it all together with damask table cloths and napkins, candle sticks, and a centerpiece and it makes an absolutely smashing presentation for the meal.
     
  15. summej2

    summej2 Senior member

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    Hackman (now iittala) also makes nice, modern, and fairly priced stainless. It's nice enough that we rarely use our more baroque-looking silver.

    Also transitioning over to Riedel wine glasses.

    Incidently, how do you like these? Our habit of accidentally breaking wineglasses has left us in need of something more durable.
     

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