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One lucky CH reader will win a set of these amazing Katana Series knives by Calphalon. These knives are a great example of design and technology used to improve a product that hasn't seen a lot of innovation, and are winners of the best consumer product design from ID Magazine's 2006 Design Review.

The Calphalon design team spent a year designing these knives, which blend classic European and Asian knife forms. Increasing performance was a challenge solved by using VG-1 steel, a limited production steel from Japan. Higher in carbon (and therefore stronger) than most other steel, it helps the knife achieve—and retain—its edge.

Inspired by the way katana (the swords used by Samurai) were made, the blades are formed from a VG-1 steel core; 16 layers of other steel alloys are then added to each side. This process (and the way it looks) is known as Damascus style. One of the key benefits it offers is an increased ability to prevent food from sticking to the knife's surface as it is being cut. This is further enhanced by the use of kullen (the oval indents) on the lower portion of the blade, which create air pockets when cutting.

Another great feature the design team came up with was an integrated bolster (where the blade meets the handle), which they patented. It makes the knife incredibly comfortable to hold, and helps it be more balanced.

Best yet, the knives are suprisingly well priced, ranging from $29 to $89. The Katana section of the Calphalon site is also well designed and has videos and details on the complete line.

The set (and individual pieces) are available online at Amazon.

CH Katana Series Knife Set Contest
We're giving away an 8-piece set (whch includes a 3.5" parer, 5" Santoku, 5.5" serrated utility, 6" utility, 8" chef's, kitchen shears, bamboo knife block and a 10" diamond steel, worth $299 and pictured above) to the CH reader who sends us the the funniest kitchen mishap story (keep it brief).

Please send your entries here by the end of the day on Thursday 3 August 2006. We'll announce the winner, and print their story, on Friday 4 August 2006.

Thanks to all of you readers who submitted your stories. The winner of the contest can be found here.

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