Kirkland Knives by Kai - makers of Shun
has anybody got this set? Is it comparable to Shun? This set is made by Kai.
Where do you have to take it to sharpen it?
although i have not seen this set, i can tell you that VG10 Damascus steel and Pakkawood are top-notch materials being used commonly by superior knife makers in Westernized lines of Japanese knives. I currently own a Hattori made from Damascus steel and Pakkawood handle and it is not only well-balanced and crafted, but the most beautiful knife in my collection... and SHARP!! I am going to make an educated guess here and say that this is probably a great deal... my Hattori santoku alone was $150. Chances are if it was made in Japan from these materials, you are most likely getting a superior product. One word of advice, if you have never owned Japanese knives, beware... they are much thinner and way sharper than German knives and correspondingly, they require a lot more care. I throw my German Wusthofs and Henckels in the dishwasher, but not my Japanese knives... also, they are more likely to chip or break if rough-handled, and sometimes not recommended for going through bone. They can be sharpened with a japanese whetstone which you can purchase online... I have never been one to trust any cutlery stores with my knives.
To be fair, I think the Hattori HDs are overrated and overpriced considering they're not even made in house. They do perform decently as long as they are sharpened/polished well.
Regarding the Kirkland knives. Just because the materials are the same, and are made by Kai, doesn't mean they will perform the same as the other good Japanese knives.
At first glance, it looks like the knives don't have a full, riveted tang. Also I would assume the sharpening process is a hasty, machined process and you won't get a real sharp, smooth, polished edge unless you do it yourself after you get the knives. I also find it funny that they have a honing steel in the set.
If they offered the chef knife for $50, I'd probably buy it to try it out.
To my knowledge, none of the Shun knives are riveted (mine isn't at any rate). There is no such thing as a Paka tree -- "Pakawood" is a composite material molded around the tang just like the plastic on a Forschner, so there is no need for rivets. And though honing may not be a traditional Japanese thing, as they say, different strokes ... . So if you don't have mudstones to sharpen your knives, why not hone them between professional sharpenings?
As for the OP's question about where to sharpen, any professional sharpener knows how to sharpen Japanese knives. You'll need to ask around, but avoid general purpose cookware shops. Find a place that sells mainly knives and ask them. If they don't do it, they know who will.