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I'm looking to purchase a new chef knife, and upgrade from my 10" Forschner. There are different pros and cons to all three of the brands posted above. I like the handles better on the French knives, yet the blade of the Shun would be chosen any day over the other two. What are some of your experiences? Pros and cons? Thanks.

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  1. global. light, well balanced and ultra sharp, better blade taper than the german knives. shun= way overpriced.

    5 Replies
    1. re: SeanT

      you can easily get Shun knives new and in the box for about 50% off the MSRP. i bought the 7 piece block set for $280 including shipping. I love the Chef's Knife, Utility Knife and the Paring Knife. They are way better than my old Whustoff's. The Bread Knife is ok, but not stellar.

      Here's the Chef's Knife for $80 including shipping and no tax. His rating is almost perfect:


      1. re: sprmario

        I did check out the Shun knives on Ebay, but wasn't sure if some of them were knock-off Shun knives because on the description it says Shun quality knives. Are those the real deal, or fakes?

      2. re: SeanT

        Agreed, hands down. Global all the way! For same reasons as SeanT.

        1. re: scout1

          no way. globals are far too light, and the back edge of the blade is so sharp that even the roughest knife calis quickly becomes irritated. furthermore, the blade of the chef knife is incredibly wide making some of the finer cuts more difficult. Although shun knives are more expensive, the difference in price will become irrelavent the moment you hold it in your hand and make that first cut. both brands require a good bit of experience and are somewhat tricky to sharpen, once sharp a shun will hold a beautiful edge for quit a while. i only sharpen mine about once every couple of month, and mine see constant daily abuse. as for the german knives, i would go with whustoff they blow kenkels out of the water.

          1. re: chefd68

            I'd say from comparing them that Messermeister is better than wusthof and henckels for me. And given the choice, I'd take the misono ux-10 or the mac mth 80 over either shun or global chef knives

      3. No matter what, all the pros and cons, the best knife is the one that feels right in your hand. I learned that lesson early in my career. I still have that expensive paperweight.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Quine

          I totally agree with that. I chose Wustoff because they feel good and fit well in my hands and I am very happy with them. I think all three choices you listed have good quality blades, so if I were you I would go to a store that has all three and will let you try them out (Sur La Table usually has some veggies they will let you cut).

          1. re: Quine

            Totally agree. My knifes are a mixture of brands. And my $10 slicer I bought at Safeway gets as much use as my Henkel.

          2. I own several of the first and third brands in your list and I'm quite happy with all of them. I don't have and have never used a Shun, so I can't say anything about them.

            If I had to choose one brand, I'd go wtih the Henkel, I think the blade takes and holds an edge better, I find the handles more comfortable (I have the 4 Star series) and I like the balance a bit better, but I'm picking nits, the Wustoffs are excellent knives as well.

            1. I have chef knives from Shun, Henckels (the standard forged 8" one) and Mundial, and I have a bunch of Wusthof knives as well.

              The Shun is sharp, and stays sharp well, and I like the feel, handle, and its lack of bolster. The Mundial is a great value for the price. I don't think most people could really tell the difference between it and the German knives. You (the OP) mention the handle - it's a matter of personal preference, and of course the standard model is setup mostly for right-handers - but I really like the feel of the Shun handle. To me, it's one of the advantages, but if you don't like it, you might want to try some other knives.

              If you end up getting a German knife, you could look at Messermeister as well - it's pretty well regarded, and the chef knives don't have a bolster, which makes sharpening and honing a bit easier.

              If I were doing it all over today, I'd either go with the Shun, or try out some of the higher end Japanese stuff (e.g., Misono).

              1. I didn't research or buy my knives, so I can't recall the model, but it's a high-end Wusthoff (handle and blade are both metal -- possible forged in one piece) and have been using them for a year, after 13 years with sub-optimal Chicago Cutlery. I loved them for their extraordinary sharpness -- my hand once slipped while chopping and the blade sliced off just the top layer or two of skin -- that's how sharp they were. But they don't hold an edge as long as I'd like, and even subsequent professional sharpenings haven't brought them near their original sharpness. Still, they are the nicest knives I'm ever likely to own, and they get the job done fast. And I find the handles completely comfortable, and I agree with another poster that the handles seem right-handed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: fluffernutter

                  That Wustof sounds like the Culinar model. I have one of those.

                2. I own Forsschner, Henks, and Cutco. First I would ask why you are changing and I would not automatically use the word "upgrade" from a 10" Forschner. I bought my Forschner in 1978, and it is still one of my favorites. I toyed with the idea of a new 10" chef's from Henckel early last year, but a friend's son nailed me for a 10" cutco (and yes i really like it). I still went to the store, held tehe Henks (i did like it) and decided that I was buying the name and it did not represent any upgrade from my Forschner with respect to quality. So take a good hard look at why you want something new, i.e. if you want more weight, but before you buy a replacement decide whether it is needed.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jfood

                    Forschner has been an awesome knife for me, yet I'm thinking of going for more of a smaller chef's knife, i.e. 6" or 8" for better handling and more utility work. I have a traditional utility knife, but like the feel of the traditional chef knife. suggestions?

                    1. re: rookcook1

                      If you like the Forschner, just get a 7" chef's. I have two 7" chef's, a forschner and a Henks. The Forschner is better and for $29 you can't go wrong. You also need a couple of paring knives and I have 2 small forschners and a sabatier, or I should say I had a sabatier, cause i lost it. Love both of them. So for the same price as a Henks 7" you can have three Forschners. This sounds like a good trade to me, and I have all of them. If you do go any route, check out internet sites, you can find one or all of these will be on special at some site, like cutleryandmore.com, or cooking.com or any other of that ilk.

                      Good luck.

                  2. What fits your hand best? If it is not cmfortable to handle it does not matter what brand it is.

                    1. i agree with the advice of testing them out. sur d table is very accomodating in that regard. Having said that, i have wusthof, henckels, shun, mac, sabatier and others, and my knife of choice these days is my stainless shun santoku (heavier than either the Mac or wusthof), it feels great in my hand and the balance is terrific. their chef's knives look good too. check them out in a store, but when you decide what you want go to ebay or amazon to make your purchase

                      6 Replies
                        1. re: sprmario

                          Good advice re testing the knives at Sur Le Table. There are three levels of Shuns. I found the least expensive Shun knives fit particularly well in my small hands and that drove my decision. In the two years since I've owned these knives, I've found they regain their edge nicely when sharpened and they continue to feel comfortable. No regrets about this admittedly pricely purchase.

                          Incidentally, Shun knives are handed and I'm not sure they manufacture all the styles in left-hand versions. Since I'm right-handed this wasn't an issue. Still, even if you find all the left-hand styles you want, you may have a problem with this brand if you need to share knives with a right-handed person.

                          1. re: Indy 67

                            <Incidentally, Shun knives are handed>

                            Just some of the Shun knives, like Shun Classic, but many of them are neutral like Shun Premier, Shun Kaji, Shun Fuji, Shun Hiro...etc

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Is the handedness because of the "D" shaped handle, or something to do with the blade as well?

                              1. re: cutter66

                                The Classic has a rather pronounced D shaped that makes it left or right hand specific. The grind is symmetrical.

                                1. re: cutter66

                                  I agree with JavaBean. If we are talking about the Shun Classic knives, then the handiness refers to the handle. Both because of the D handle and also the blade is offset from the handle. I cannot find a good photo, but the blade of the Classic is not align to the center of the handle. The blade is symmetric.

                                  Now, if we are talking about Shun Pro and Shun Blue, then the handiness is very much on the blade.


                                  P.S.: I have no idea why the dude is using a mini deba to cut vegetables. :P

                        2. Look into E. Schaff knives (Goldmaster series)...Batali uses these at home (Food & Wine article many moons ago). Not that this was our deciding factor, but these knives F-ing ROCK. They are harder to find, but they blow away any of the usual suspects (henkle, Wustoff, Global) you see in W. Sonoma and such stores (notice the same brands in every store from Bed Bath & Beyond to WS - good marketing departments). I ordered my Schaaf from www.knifemerchant.com a couple years ago. Purchase a 6" or 8" chef's knive and see what I mean. It's a small investment on something you will have forever. Never SKIMP on knives they will be with a long time and you should be happy with what you have purchased.
                          The balance of the blade to the handle is excellent and very comfortable. There 6" tomato knife is priceless (a difficult to find - use google to find a site). I have 10+ knives from them and wouldn't look at anything else...well, there are a couple Japanese knives I have my eye on, but I need to save up for them...next to the Germans, the Japanese make rockin' knives! They almost as obsessive as the Germans (german heritage I can speak from experience...
                          )Sorry for the long reply, but they rock. Also, if you live in the NYC area there are a couple of shops that specialize in cultery and will a large selection to take for a testdrive.

                          1. I went to Sur La Table today and purchased a 6" Shun chef's knife. With the industry discount it came pretty close to the internet prices I looked at. I'm very happy with the knife, and thank you for all the suggestions.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: rookcook1

                              it is interesting that you sized down to a 6in, May I ask what motivated that? Personally, I like to use smaller knives myself, but I am a woman and always thought it had more to do with hand size and what feels right for me.

                              1. re: Quine

                                I guess my posting is kind of misleading in the sense that I'm not replacing my 10", but was looking for more of a maneuverable chef's knife, and had to decide between many brands. The Shun 6" that I got has a great feel, and I am a guy w/ large hands. It will be used in place of my utility knife. It was between the Wustoff classic chef knife, and the Shun. Shun prevailed!

                                1. re: Quine

                                  Exactly! What works for a large guy doesn't always work for a small gal. I own Shun, Global, Wusthof, and Henckels, and a couple of cute cheap ones I got as gifts, and I like all of them, and for different reasons. The Global has my favorite grips, but the Shuns my favorite blades.

                                  BTW: my daughter got a Shun as a gift from her Godmother, and it turned out to be a right-handed grip! (She's left-handed.) I didn't know such things existed, but will be on the lookout for one for myself next time.

                                  1. re: Claudette

                                    Shun makes left and right handed knives. A good dealer will order the left handed knife for your daughter as long as the knife does not show use.

                              2. In my experience, I've found Shun to be superb cutlery. Great feel, balance and insanely sharp and they're also easy to KEEP insanely sharp. I've used Global and MAC as well, but prefer the handle and blade of the shun. I don't think Shun is overpriced at all compared to other Japanese cutlery like Hattori or Masamoto...if anything I think the german brands are overpriced--heavy cumbersome hunks of soft steel which require a ton of maintenence and not nearly as sharp as a Shun or a Global OOTB. Stick with the Japanese brands.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: lenbone

                                  I just bought some Shun knives a few weeks ago. How do you sharpen yours? I have a small Global stone I use for my Global and Wusthof knives, but not sure if I should use them for the Shun if they are differently-edged.

                                  1. re: celeste

                                    according to sur la table, you shouldn't sharpen them at all, or even hone them for 6 months

                                    1. re: chuckl

                                      OK, then what do I do after six months? :-)

                                      1. re: celeste

                                        hi Celeste,
                                        Pull out your trusty ceramic rod and hone it at an angle of about 16 degrees is what i've heard. about 4-5 times per side should do it.

                                2. I want to get some Shun knives. I'm not a chef, but I really like them anyway, and I cook a lot, just nothing very good. I am a cutco lover for their serrated knives, but the Japanese straight edge knives are cool and very sharp. If you like cutco you should check out their NEW steak knives. Eating a steak with anything else would be simply unpatriotic and probably spoil the meat. Anyway, there is a 3 pack of Shun Classic knives (8"chef, 6"utility and 3.5" paring) that I think I'm gonna save up for (300 bucks? ouch!). Does that sound like a good idea? Will my food get better? I also want to get 3 more cutco steak knives at some point. They rule. I think I could cut a Henckel in half with it :)

                                  19 Replies
                                  1. re: cutter66


                                    Shun knives are good knives. It offers many lines, and its Classic line is the cheaper one. I saw the one you are talking. The 3 pieces set. In my opinion, the set contains two useful knives, and one not-so-useful knifel. Of course, I am not speaking for all, but many people, including me, find the utility knife to be the less useful one of the three.

                                    If you are interested in a 2-piece set, then this is not too bad:


                                    Keep in mind that Shun Classic knives have handiness to them. Unless, they are specified, they are right-handed. If you want left-handed knives, then Mark also sells some of them:


                                    For a short while, there was a sale on the Shun Asian Chef's knife with cutting board for only $100. Unfortunately, I think they are all sold out now. The knife itself is still at a reasonable price if you want it. It is basically a slightly shorter Chef's knife with a much straighter edge.


                                    If you are willing to look outside of Shun, then I will suggest you to look into Tojiro knife. They are good quality with reasonable price tags. A Tojiro 2-knife set would be $100:


                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Thanks Chemical. I saw the two knife set, but I'd rather have the 3 inch than the four inch parer, and the 3 piece set is only 30 bucks more. I had the same feeling that the 6" might not be as necessary. Maybe I'lll just get the 8" and 3" separately. I'm right handed. I checked out the Tojiro's but I like the Samurai look of the Shun Classics better. The Tojiro's look more European, even if they are not.

                                      1. re: cutter66

                                        <I saw the two knife set, but I'd rather have the 3 inch than the four inch parer,>

                                        Hmm, the two sets (3-pieces and 2-pieces sets) I know, both contain a 3.5 inch paring knife.

                                        Here is the $270 3-piece set:

                                        "8-inch chef's knife, 6-inch utility knife, and 3-1/2-inch paring knife"


                                        and this is the $170 2-peices set (please see my link. It is not the Amazon link):

                                        "This Shun Classic Starter Set includes:
                                        3.5" Paring Knife
                                        8" Chef's Knife"


                                        They are different by $100. Good luck shopping. :)

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Oh! I'll be damned. That's what I'll get. Why did I think that was a 4"? I hope I don't break them. I've seen a lot of broken tips and chipped blade Shuns on ebay. I'm gonna feel like #*% if I break such a cool thing. I have fine and medium Japanese whetstones for sharpening my woodcut tools which I think would work on the Shuns. Do you think I would just hone them on leather?

                                          1. re: cutter66

                                            I have bought from Mark (Chefknivestogo). He is a very reputable knife seller. Feel free to call him on the phone if you have any question before purchasing.

                                            <I've seen a lot of broken tips and chipped blade Shuns on ebay>

                                            I think as long as you are semi-careful with them, you should be fine. For example, put it back when you are done, do not drop the knife, throw the knife into the sink, do not put it into a draw and let is slides around, do not use it to open cardboxes, when cutting large items (like watermelon), do not twist the knife like a screwdriver....etc.

                                            Shun has a fairly good warranty much like Henckels and Wusthof. Shun also offers free knife sharpening service -- but I doubt you will need that.

                                            <I have fine and medium Japanese whetstones for sharpening my woodcut tools which I think would work on the Shuns. >

                                            Oh, then you are all ready.

                                            <Do you think I would just hone them on leather?>

                                            Yeah, I hone my knives on leather, but I don't even do it often. I only hone it after sharpening, and I just keep using mine until they feel slightly dull, and then I lightly sharpening and hone them.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              Thanks for the info! I'll be careful with them and learn how to sharpen them. And I won't throw them around like my cutcos. Just Kidding. I even hand wash and dry them. They're too pretty to go in the dishwasher, even if they can handle it :)

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Does honing really make a big difference?

                                                1. re: hambone

                                                  <Does honing really make a big difference?>

                                                  Honing on a steel or honing on a leather strop? Honing on a steel rod is very useful for softer steel knives like most Henckels, Dexter-Russell, Victorinox-Forschner, F. Dick...etc. Honing on leather belt is pretty useful for any kind of knives. Yes, I notice a noticeable difference before vs after stropping on a leather belt.

                                                  It does not have to be fancy, you can strop on newspaper if you like.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Thanks, I should have been more precise. I was asking about on leather. I have (and use) a steel.

                                                    1. re: hambone

                                                      What about Miyabi Kaizen. I went to the store to check out the Shun and saw the Miyabis. I held them both and they both felt good to me. I think the Miyabi was a touch heavier. The Miyabi had a fancier look to both blade and handle, but I think I like the Shun classic a little better still. It's close though. Anybody have or know about the Kaizens. They are the same steel (vg-10) and the handle is synthetic, where the Shun is resin sealed wood.

                                                      1. re: cutter66

                                                        Hi Cutter,

                                                        I have never used a Miyabi Kaizen, but I have bought my friend a Miyabi Artisan 8" Chef's knife, and have played with it for quiet some time in the store.


                                                        The Miyabi Artisan is still on sale fro $140 if you are interested -- cheaper than its Kaizen counterpart.


                                                        It has a SG-2 powder steel core, which is even harder and hold its edge better than the VG-10 steel from Miyabi Kaizen or Shun Classic. Unfortunately, SG-2 is even more difficult to sharpen.

                                                        I agree with your assessment that the Miyabi knives feel a bit heavier than Shun Classic knives. As for your other question, the earlier Miyabi lines actually received average to below average reviews from the knife community. They were not cheap, the blade was too thick and the edge angles was too obtuse. The new lines of Miyabi like Kaizen, Artisan, and Birchwood... have been getting good reviews. The prices are reasonable (competitive to Shun), the blade has been thinned, and the edge angle is more acute now. Rumors also have it that the Kaizen VG-10 blade is even more durable (less chip prone) than Shun Classic.

                                                        The Shun Classic knife feels lighter and more agile to me. Shun also offers free knife sharpening if it matters to you. You will still have to pay for the shipping.


                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          Wow. The artisan is nice too. So is the premier and the birchwood.The flared handles on the kaizen and the classic were very comfortable. The artisan and the kaizen seem a little too fancy for me, though they are beautiful samurai swords indeed. I'm almost sold on the Classic. I think i'll sleep on it. Ouch! Whichever knife I get is going to teach me how to cook. NICE gift, by the way. I need to get some better friends :)

                                                        2. re: cutter66

                                                          Hi. I got my wife a Miyabi Fusion last year and have a friend who replaced his Classic with a Kaizen after playing with hers. I've used and maintained his and several others Shun Classic. Based on my experiences using and maintaining them, the Miyabis are better. Here’s a head to head comparison.

                                                          Warranty, retail availability - same.

                                                          Fit & Finish - Shun is excellent. Miyabi is immaculate; the level of craftsmanship, refinements like rounding spine, finger choil, etc., and overall attention to details is much greater.

                                                          Damascus Cladding – Shun has a less intricate, more subdued 16 layer pattern whereas the Miyabi has 32 layers and more dynamic contrast. The Shuns cladding is softer and thicker with a misty or shinier finish; it scratches easier and scratches show up more. The Miyabi cladding is harder, thinner and has a matte finish; it doesn’t scratch as easily and hides scratches better.

                                                          Handle - Shun has D-shaped and made of pakkawood. Fusion has a western handle made of micarta with mosaic pins. Kaizen handle is either oval or d-shaped (don’t remember) made of birchwood with mosaic pins. The Fusion is more handle heavy or butt balanced than the Shun. The Kaizen feels lighter and more neutral balanced.

                                                          Blade Shape – Personally, i'm not a fan of the Shuns' deeply curved belly and very high tip. I find the belly too curved, needs a rocking motion with a lot of hand pumping to get good edge to board contact. And the high tip forces you to elevate the knife in a very awkward way to touch the board / do any tip cuts. The Fusion and Kaizen, both have lower, spear point tips that are useful with tip work. The Kaizen has a flatter cutting edge; doesn’t rock as smoothly, but is better at push / pull cutting. The Fusion has a modest curved edge; it doesn’t excel at either, but does well with either a rocking or push/pull cutting stroke.

                                                          Blade Steel - The Miyabi (VG-10) behaves and performs better than the Shun (VG-10). The Miyabi ‘ ~10 degree edge has held up fine on my wifes’ Fusion and friends’ Kaizen without chipping. His Shun at ~ 16 degrees would chip frequently – even with the addition of a micro bevel. Sharpening them is straight forward. Shun offers free factory sharpening whereas Miyabi does not.

                                                          Price – The Miyabis were purchased at the intro price of $100, but have since gone up and priced the same as the Shun. At the current price, I think there maybe better options available and would heavily look into the Miyabi Artisan with SG-2 steel that Chem just got.

                                                          1. re: JavaBean

                                                            Thanks Javabean. I'm embarrassed to say that despite your informative comparison, I went with the Shun Classic. I played with both of them at Excalibur, and decided that I liked the feel, look and balance of the Shun Classic Chef Knife the best. The Miyabi's were BEAUTIFUL too, but I liked the subdued look of the classic a little bit better. Less is more. Unfortunately, they did not have the knife I wanted for sale (only part of a large set). Most of the Shuns were sold out. I want to get the Hollow Ground 8" Chef and the Hollow Ground 9" Slicer. Since they were having a 25% off sale on EVERYTHING that would end before their next Shun shipment, I bought the 3.5 inch parer for $65 so I wouldn't miss out on the sale. Awesome knife. The first thing I did was cut myself. God it's sharp. Those will be my 3 samurai swords, the rest of my arsenal will be cutcos (I still want another cutco steak knife.)

                                                            Both the Shun and CutCo knives recommend handwashing in MILD DISH SOAP, but neither recommended any brands. I went to the store and looked for a dish soap that said MILD on it, but couldn't find one. I couldn't find ones that said medium or hot either. What brand of dish soap do you recommend for knife washing? I read that citrus scented soaps are corrosive, and I have lemon scented. That's no good. I promise to take your advice this time.

                                                            1. re: cutter66

                                                              No worries, I'm really glad you took my 2 cents with a grain of salt, and choose the whichever one best fits your needs. Fwiw that shun paring knife is really nice.

                                                              As for cleaning, I just use warm water and regular dish washing liquid...dawn? You really want to avoid any abrasive cleaners and the harder, scratchy side of two sided sponges. If needed, i use mr clean magic erasers on my pretty knives; it work well and doesn't mess up the finish.

                                                              1. re: cutter66

                                                                "... I went to the store and looked for a dish soap that said MILD on it, but couldn't find one. I couldn't find ones that said medium or hot either. What brand of dish soap do you recommend for knife washing? I read that citrus scented soaps are corrosive, and I have lemon scented. That's no good. ..."

                                                                LOL, I'll have to start looking for 'New! Dawn Salsa!' dishwashing liquid! (I think the 'Pico & Guac' style would be mildest!)

                                                                I've never heard of citrus scented soaps being more corrosive. (I would guess it's already discredited on Snopes, right after the Chupacabre...)

                                                                Good stuff... :-D

                                                                1. re: cutter66

                                                                  Glad that you found the knives you like. As for the Mild dish soap, you don't really need to worry too much about it. Most hand wash dish soap are considered to be mild unless stated otherwise. Yes, I have read that citrus scented automatic dishwasher liquid is more corrosive, but that is only for automatic dishwasher liquid. Don't worry about hand wash liquid soap.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    One has to consider that corrosion is a time sensitive mechinism and as long as you don't let your knives sit in that solution for an extended time, then it isn't going to be an issue. I try to wash my knives before food dries on them, so a quick wipe with a soapy sponge usually does the trick and a rinse and dry and I'm finished. Not much time for corrosion to take place regardless of the amount of lemon scent.

                                                                    1. re: mikie

                                                                      Thanks everybody. I wash and dry them as soon as I'm done cutting, and I've got a knife block. I'll get some Dawn and a Mr. Clean eraser and use the soft side of the sponge.

                                          2. Thiers Issard Nogent. Unfortunately, they have not even been seen in stores (by me) for many years but are available online. They take and hold an edge very well and are very nimble. Also, each one is a little slice of history. I believe Julia had a few.

                                            1. I was given a Global chef's knife and gave it away. I have big hands (and big feet which insures... big gloves and big socks.)

                                              I digress...

                                              Global is just too light and too small -- both the blade and the handle.

                                              The Wusthoff Classic (especially the extrawide) is my chef's knife of choice. (Except for really fine work where I'll pull out the Kyocera ceramic.)

                                              This said, I've never owned a Shun.