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Stainless steel is the number one choice for cutlery, even if it is plated with electro-plated nickel silver (EPNS)...

Understanding cutlery

EPNS varies based on the thickness of the plating, which determines the durability and, ultimately, the price of cutlery. The cheaper the price; the thinner the plating, which means the initial look of the cutlery may be impressive, but the lifetime cost may not be so good. EPNS is mainly used at high end restaurants for its elegant appearance, but also requires extra maintenance costs such as silver dips or polishes. When it comes to the finest cutlery, pure silver is used but the cost is significantly more than that of other varieties.

Take a look at our full range of cutlery at Lockhart Catering Equipment.

The science behind the steel

Stainless steel cutlery combines a mixture of steel, chromium and nickel. The chromium and nickel content is described by 2 numbers separated with a forward slash and the contents of a piece of cutlery are always out of 100. For example, the main restaurant grade is 18/10, which means 18 parts chromium, and 10 parts nickel, the rest is made up of 72 parts steel.

18/10 - The advantages of the make-up of this type of cutlery is the durability, with most being resistant to scratching and dish-washer safe. This is the preferred choice for most restaurants.

18/8 - This is very similar to 18/10, with slightly less Nickel content, in reality there is very little difference.

18/0 - This is the cheapest of the 3 types of Cutlery. It has no Nickel content, is slightly magnetic and a lot more liable to rusting and corrosion. It is ideal as a low-cost option for tableware, and will typically be stamped out from much thinner materials. The process of ‘stamping’ is explained in the following section.

The processes involved in making cutlery

Stamping - Stamping or pressing is used with sheets of stainless steel, and has a high variability during production. This means it can be used to create many varieties and styles of cutlery.

Forging - Forged cutlery, on the other hand, comes from bars of stainless steel. This limits the design aspect, with most round and tube shaped cutlery being made this way. Forging is more labour intensive and therefore the costs are higher, making it a high-end alternative to stamped cutlery.

Buffing - Once the cutlery has been stamped or forged, and then it is time to buff. This process polishes the steel and can be repeated as many as 27 times. Economy cutlery (such as the 18/0 varieties) will only go through the buffing process a few times. Whereas the high-end 18/10 could be repeated all 27 times, adding to the overall finish and appearance of this type of Cutlery.

Making the right cutlery choice for your business

Economy - A range of classic and traditional wholesale economy cutlery that offer an excellent balance between quality and value for money. Ideal for high volume operations working to a 'tight' budget. See the Signature Steel range for more ideas.

Fine & Contemporary - A range of fine & contemporary cutlery that are designed to offer style and sophistication. Visually stunning, these pieces are guaranteed to add finesse and flair to every dining experience. See Signature Style 18/10 ranges here.


Lockhart Catering on 16 August 2016 3:00 AM

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