Will Stainless Steel flatware rust?

The term “stainless steel” refers to a type of steel that contains chromium in order to limit rust and corrosion. They are many types and grades of stainless steel, and the amount of rust resistance varies.

Virtually all of the stainless steel flatware currently made is produced from either 18/10 or 18/0. (The numbers here refer to the amount of chromium and nickel in the steel.) All the high quality flatware producers including Ian Wilson Designs, use the more expensive 18/10 as it is a higher grade of stainless steel, and should not rust, especially after polishing. . If there is rust on your flatware, it is almost certainly because it was made from the cheaper, lower grade 18/0. 

When purchasing flatware, look to see if it is made from 18/10. If the manufacturer doesn't specify, beware as the steel used might be the cheaper 18/0, and you could end up with rust sometime in the future.

How is flatware made?

There are three ways that flatware is made.  These are stamping, forging and casting.

The most common way to make flatware is through the stamping process. Here sheets of metal are run through a punch press, and each utensil is stamped out, in much the same way a hole punch punches hole into a sheet of paper.  The flat shapes are then stamped a second time to give them the contours we are familiar with. Finally a limited amount of finish work is done to create the final product. The amount of hand labor in this process is minimal, and this is the reason that is the way low cost flatware is made.

Because there is a practical limit to how thick the sheet of steel can be in the stamping process, the inexpensive sets of flatware are very light. In order to produce the more substantial finer flatware, another process was needed, so manufacturers turned to forging. In this process, slugs of steel are heated in order to make them more malleable. These soft slugs of metal are dropped into steel molds and then the soft metal is squished into the desired shapes. After the metal has cooled, the hand finish work gives us the flatware we are all familiar with when we go to dinner at grandma's. While it is definitely a step up from stamped flatware, there are definite limits to the shapes and designs that can be created. 

In order to expand the possibilities of flatware design, Ian Wilson Designs flatware is made through a third process, lost wax casting. This is the same process used to make jewelry and bronze sculpture. It involves creating a wax model of the final shape desired, and covering that wax pattern with a shell created by applying coats of a ceramic slurry and sand. Next the wax is melted out and the appropriate molten metal is poured in. After the metal has cooled, the sand is removed, and the piece is hand worked to its final shape and finish. This is a very expensive process, requiring many hours of labor. However, because the wax patterns are easier to work with, there is the opportunity for much more interesting shapes.  


Where is your flatware available?

Ian Wilson Designs is only available through this website. Lost wax casting is a costly process and in order to make our flatware available at the price we charge, we must eliminate the high markup required by the better retailers. We are aware that means that unless you came across our flatware at a friend's dinner party, you are buying this without being able to feel the fit and the balance. That is why we have a 30 day, no questions asked return policy. Simply rebox the flatware, return it to us, and we will credit your card for the full purchase price. 

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