Test this table before you buy it

This is why I will never get rich as a home design columnist. Because, all too often, when I go out to research some of the better aspects of life, I end up buying into them. Literally.

Which brings me to my new flatware.

When I learned that 30 years of summer lunches and picnics had decimated my silverware drawer to the point where it hit five prongs of the original 16, I found myself at the cutlery market. So I went looking for the ground to find out what to look for when choosing forks. I shared the basics last week, but there’s more to know.

“Tableware is one of those purchases you usually only make twice in your life,” said Greg Owens, co-owner of Sherrill Manufacturing, which makes Liberty cutlery, the only cutlery still made in America. “You buy once when you move out of the condo to your first real apartment. You go to Walmart and you get a 40-piece place setup for $29.95. You buy again, maybe, when you get older and settled.”

I think I’ve finally grown up.

The typical Owens customer is a female over 40 who takes care of setting a nice table. He added that it was not surprising that sex handled the decision differently. “When men judge cutlery, they hold the knife to feel how heavy it is. Women look at the details of the dinner fork.”

After my conversation with Owens, I decided to try out a model software for his company. My husband chooses two patterns, and I choose two patterns. A few days later the samples arrive, and the fork-to-fork competition – a lengthy, in-depth analytical discussion – begins.

At some point, each style was in the lead, but, as in close horse racing, the first runner would fall back to be overtaken by the third-place horse. In the end, my husband loved one set with a woven fabric. Another one I liked was a shiny and elegant mirror. The two contestants face each other over dinner. Those are big bets, folks! In the end, yes.

“Well,” he said, “as long as we can get solid knife handles.”

In addition to the cutlery basics we covered in last week’s column (material, style, size, and finish), here’s what to consider when buying this household staple:

Feel: Pick up a piece and feel its balance, weight, and lines. While testing the sample, DC ruled out a fork because the sides of the handle were square rather than round and felt sharply on his fingers. HFT is also important. You don’t want your cutlery to look like the flimsy stuff found in school cafeterias. “It should pass the ice cream test,” Owens said. “You should be able to eat hard ice cream without bending the spoon.”

Compatibility: Your cutlery should match your dishes. We put each typical pattern along with our delicious dishes and everyday dishes to see how the combination works. Some styles fought while others coordinated. Usually, if your dishes are simple, your silverware can be more decorative. Conversely, an ornate plate may look better with simpler silverware. Difficult mixing patterns. Trust your eye.

indeed: Both mirror and satin finishes will show wear sooner than embossed finishes, but that’s all part of the patina. “The mirror is finished with darker scratches, and the satin finish is finished with glossy scratches,” Owens said. “The trim on knobs always hides dents and dings, so it tends to stick to its novelty longer.” Regardless, proper handling is important. “Don’t toss your cutlery in a sink with 100 more pieces banging around. When putting it in the dishwasher, use dividers in cutlery baskets.”

the operation: DC and I left out my original favorite style because the pot bottom was too wide to fit into the dishwasher’s silverware basket slots.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.