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Another knife question (I know they never end)

The Shun Kaji is on sale at Williams Sonoma. I am looking at getting the 6 inch chefs, the cleaver, and the boning knife. This is for people who have these or people who have tried them out and decided they did not like them. Do you like the Kaji or not? Why? Thanks!

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  1. A knife can be a very personal thing. One person may love the way it fits in their hand and the weight may be perfect, but another person may not like it. If, after looking for reviews you hold the knife and get the info from the salesperson , then buy it. WS should stand by their product and allow you to return them if you end up hating them. SLT does.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sandih

      you can't really tell how well it will work for you without using it. see if they'll let you cut up some tomatoes and onions and chop some herbs

    2. They are good quality knives but very unlike their European counterparts (that's good), better steel, lighter and thinner blades, with care they will stay sharper longer. The 8" chef would be a much better choice for your primary knife, at a minimum the 7" Santoku. The cleaver is not a heavy duty Meat/bone cleaver if that is what you are looking for, it is more like a vegetable/raw meat cleaver (or a tall chef's knife) I would consider the bread knife before the cleaver. They are good knives but there are better out there for the same $$. And you either love or hate the handles.


      1. FYI

        I am looking at the Kajis. the blade is as hard as the elite series. Be advised that Shun recommends that when you need to sharpen your knives, you can either send them to Shun, take them to a pro to sharpen, or buy their sharpner. $59.

        1. Back in 1973, I went to a store that sold knives in Detroit. I am from Toronto, Canada. I had a list of questions as to the best knife, that did not require an expert to sharpen it. That did not wear down when using an electric knife sharpener (like the stainless steel knives). Can you use a sharpening stone with stainless steel? Did not leave ghastly hard water stains, etc. This man was well informed. He said that most people THINK that stainless steel knives are the best for food preparation and carving. According to him, they are not.
          He recommended a Carbon-Steel blade and a stone to sharpen it with. It has a wooden handle. Plastic was not a big thing back then. He told me to never soak the handle, dry the knife immediately and to always store it with the blade up in the drawer, protected from other utensils banging it and the knife will last me a life time. And to never ever use an electric knife sharpener on any knife. He actually cringed and laughed. Hey, what can I say, I was young and inexperienced. But at least I had the common sense to ask the right questions from a man that made his living from selling knives and not some clerk in a dep't store.

          He was right. I followed his instructions and I still have that knife. It is in mint condition!
          I have used it every day since I bought it. The large one the chef's use. There is no wear down from sharpening it on the stone. Is extremely sharp. The wood handle is not cracked.

          Bottom line. My Carbon-Steel knife, the butchers quality of knife, has outlasted any stainless steel knife I have ever had. Back in 1973, $100.00 was a lot and I mean a lot of money.....and to pay that for a knife, well, lets say, I was praying that this man did not steer me wrong as I grew up with stainless steel knives and all the chef's on T.V. recommended them.

          I suggest you go to a store with a great return policy and buy 2 food preparation knives, one Carbon-Steel and one Stainless Steel, that fit your hand. Try them out at home. Then and only then will you know what I am talking about. You cannot get the same result with a stainless steel blade like that of the Carbon Steel Blade. The Carbon Steel Blade IS AND STAYS MUCH SHARPER LONGER. Using the stone is easy and fast. But you must learn the technique. The performance of the boning knife and cleaver will blow you away. That's what the butchers use......think about it. Actually, ask a butcher what type of knife he uses and why.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CheeMiss

            no doubt a good carbon steel knife is a good investment, but steel has come a long way since 1973. Some of the Japanese knives and even some of the german knives with new formulations of steel will perfom very well.

          2. best knives, best deal, cost is too high for a knife that you take to work with you for work in a restaurant, but still the best knives available

            1. Got the 8 inch chef's last week. Loved it so much I decided to put my Twin Cuisine set on Craigslist to see if I could get the bread and paring knife to go with it. Many replies to the offer but no takers. BTW, that is awesome CheeMiss that you have had a knife since 1973!

              15 Replies
              1. re: soccerdadinctown

                Yes Soccerdadinctown.....that carbon steel knife is my pride and joy. It's the only multi-purpose tool I pamper. They are still in business, check them out.

                Chicago Cutlery model 429 (is what it says on the handle).

                I do agree that there are a slew of newer materials out there that are amazing. Like the, you're going to laugh at this, back in 1972, when I was in Italy, I bought a few sets (to give as gifts) of plastic handled, partially surrogated type of steak knives that all the locals were using for everything from preparing food, to eating utensils. They were dirt cheap for a dozen. A few yrs later, I found them in Toronto for the cheap price of 50 cents each. Everyone was buying them, they were and still are amazing. To this day, I still find them in a Italians kitchen. We laugh at how long they have lasted.
                I religiously use those knives to this very day for the same purpose and they NEVER, EVER need sharpening. I have full sets of expensive stainless steel knives, but these little multi-purpose guys are the ones everyone reaches for.

                About 12 yrs ago, I brought a few of them along on a camp out. My Polish cousin used one, kept it and can't believe that it never need sharpening, and the fact that it was so old to begin with. It is her favorite knife for food preparation and eating with, and she took it to live with her in Europe last year. She just can't get over how sharp it still is. Talk about an antique super blade. lololol

                Last week, I bought a carving knife at the Dollar Rama, blue plastic handle...is it ever sharp, like a scalpel. It was the first time that I was able to filet a raw chicken breast into very thin, very even cutlets. And all for the cost of $1.00 CDN. lolol Maybe it too will turn out as my Italian plastic handle knives and never need sharpening.

                So I agree, there are newer types of great materials out there. But the Chicago carbon-steel chef's knife, well, for me, it serves a great purpose. I can thinly chop several carrots at the same time with relative speed and not have sore wrists. I can use it as a meat cleaver, it has great balance and weight. And it's a great garlic smasher/chopper. No smell on my fingers. lololol

                To each his own. Once you find the right tool, and it not only does the job, but fits like a glove....it's hard to part with it. Bottom line....one does not need to spend a fortune on a great blade. Respect it, and it will be with you forever. Enjoy your new tool!!!

                1. re: CheeMiss

                  I see that Fantes is still showing French made carbon steel knives.

                  1. re: yayadave

                    Every time you cut something, you slightly dull your blade, even a ceramic one, so it's just not true that there exists any knife which you never have to sharpen. I have a top-quality Sabatier carbon steel knife from the early seventies, and it's definitely no match for a modern stainless Global, let alone my favourite Hattori damascus steel knives, which have a super-hard cutting core but yet are made from stainless steels.

                    1. re: MadMacStew

                      Hello MadMacStew,

                      Since you are calling me a liar???

                      I think that they were a knock off from the Ginsu Knife idea ...????


                      btw: Our Dollar Rama stores, do, once in a while sell the Ginsu for a buck.

                      1. re: CheeMiss

                        That was histerical! How nostalgic. Thank you for linking to that video I really enjoyed watching it. Btw Madmac was not calling you a liar. The knives you are using are microserated. Mad was talking about straight edge knives. You are both right your microserated will not soon get dull but all straight edge knives eventually will.

                        1. re: keith2000

                          Thank you sooooo MUCH Keith2000,

                          I actually typed text offering to send him one of my knives for him to test for 1yr., then I changed my mind & deleted it, because I only have 4 left because of my generosity of always giving one away here & there over the yrs. They are to hard for me to find as I no longer live in the Italian community of Toronto.
                          Then I spent over an hour trying to google search the info stamped on the knife "isoflex inox-italy". I finally came across a link, but the page would not open for me. These knives are from the early 70's. Maybe they sell them under the promotional item? I don't know, as I could not open the pg.

                          Yes, these knives are NOT straight edge, NOT stainless steel, NOT carbon steel. They have these wee, tiny serrated (as you put it) teeth, that never get dull, EVER!. I refer to them as my alien alloy knives. lololol
                          Every other straight edge I own, regardless of made, do require sharpening. Only my carbon steel blade lasts a bit longer during use than the others before it looses its sharpness.
                          So, out of desperation to prove my point....I prayed that the Ginsu knife would still have a video out there......and yes, I too got a kick out of the nostalgia. It brought me back to the days were we all in awe of a blade that never needed sharpening. It was quite the buzz in it's hay day.
                          Thank you again for your positive input. God Bless & have a nice day.

                          1. re: CheeMiss

                            You are right about the Italian families. They all have them. Twenty years old, as flexible as a spatula and never been sharpened in all that time. I've seen them here in Toronto somewhere. And they crop up all the time in yard sales.

                            I hate them. They feel one step up from disposable.

                            1. re: CheeMiss

                              "NOT stainless steel, NOT carbon steel."

                              Made of what?

                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                  Thanks Paul,

                                  I wasn't paying attention. If it is inox, then it is stainless steel. I was pretty sure Ginsu knives are made with stainless steel.

                          2. re: CheeMiss

                            Since you seem to be ultra-thin-skinned, I'll be pedantic and say yes I am calling you a liar, because these aren't knives, they're saws! I've been using knives of all shapes, sizes and materials (including flint and obsidian) for about fifty years now, and there is *no* such thing as a knife edge which never needs sharpening - as any barber or surgeon can tell you. Ultimately, you'll get the best results in the kitchen from a necessarily expensive damascus construction with an ultra-hard cutting core, tempered to Rockwell 63 or more. You can get such knives at best price from japanesechefsknife.com, and they have thin but rigid blades which can be sharpened to a razor edge and hold that edge for a long time. You do need a proper stone and skill to sharpen them, but they are the best, if that's what you want. BTW, it's always dangerous to assume that others are less knowledgeable than you..............

                      2. re: CheeMiss

                        serrated knifes shred, they don't really slice cleanly like a good, sharp, high-quality knife. If you like what you use, good for you, i'm just saying if you've never used a good quality knife like a misono or hattori or messermeister or mundial or shun, you're not in a position to make a comparison

                        1. re: chuckl

                          Hi Chuckl,

                          Yes, you are right that serrated knives do shred......and I hate that. But, these do not, because the serrated teeth are so close together & very tiny. They are so multi-purpose. Sometimes it is such a pain to keep changing knives when in a hurry, so we find ourselves using this one for almost the complete job, other than cutting raw meat, it's nasty for that.....it's a peeler, slicer, chopper, dicer,spreader of butter, jam etc., and it is the greatest at cutting cooked meat, without shredding it. Razor sharp, and after all these 36 yrs of continual use. Talk about getting one's 50 cents worth! lololol What's that 50 cents worth in todays value? Well, what ever it is, it's still a great bargain.
                          And I beg to differ with your remark, that unless I used a good quality knife such as the ones that you stated above......I will turn that remark back on you, since YOU have not used my little Italian plastic handled knives, YOU are not in a position to criticize.

                          Gee Chuckl, are you saying the $100. I spent on my great carbon steel knife, back in 1973, when a full mths rent was $60......is not a good quality knife?
                          HAVE YOU & MAD MAC BUMPED YOUR HEADS SOMEWHERE MAKING SUCH RIDICULOUS REMARKS TO A POSTER OR TO ANYONE FOR THAT MATTER!!! By todays standards of currency, what do you think that $100. would be worth?

                          Are you saying that "Chicago Cutlery" is not a good quality knife? Please, stop showing YOUR ignorance. So many Chef's & I, over the years, from all over the planet, have had a great laugh at the over inflated marketing ploy of costly knives and cookware.

                          DO YOU REALLY THINK IN YOUR GOD GIVEN SENSE OF REASON, that those high price tags is what it takes to create those knives and cookware?

                          THE ANSWER IS NO!

                          Get a job in that field and then you will see for yourself how much of the price tag is actually commissions, overhead, middlemen, etc., and NOT manufacturing costs. Oh, the gullible. Like they say in the business......."There's a sucker born every minute".


                          WHAT MAKES A GOOD KNIFE?

                        2. re: CheeMiss

                          When you go with Carbon-Steel only, you can get some extreme hardness that eludes Stainless Steel (material chemistry challenges). So yeah, I can see why your knife doesn't maintain sharpening. I can't recommend it for everyone since they do also require care, like you said, never soak, dry immediately, protect it against bangs. Extremely hard blades (both carbon and ceramic) hold their sharpness really well, but they are subsequently very brittle. So they can't take hard knocks well. But because it's carbon-steel it's more prone to corrosion. So you shouldn't ever soak it because it will rust. These trade offs aren't for everyone, and no one should ever put down carbon-steel knives. It's just not everyone is able to take care of them like you do.

                          1. re: moreana

                            Trust me, it takes less than a few seconds to rinse it off, wipe it and place it into its own space in the drawer. I don't like those counter top boxes. I have never, ever oiled it.
                            But I thank you for your kind words.

                      3. I use a Shun Ken Onion utility knife and have used the Shun Ken Onion chef knife. I love the hardness of the steal, thin blade for precision, and relative ease of sharpening. What I will tell you is that this kind of knife requires maintenance. If you have to send your knives out everytime you want them sharpened you are probably going to let them get pretty dull first. There is little point to purchasing a precision instrument if you can't keep it sharp like a razor all the time. If you want to have nice knives you should also have 1000 grit and 6000 grit natural stones, a stone fixer, and a lesson on sharpening Japanese knives.
                        Having said all that in my experience Shun makes good quality mid priced knives. This company helped facilitate my switch from German cutlery to Japanese and I will never go back.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: keith2000

                          Hi Keith,

                          Thank you again for your KNOWLEDGEABLE post. I can see that you too do your homework beyond the marketing page of the product.

                          When it comes to product of any kind, each person has their own specific needs to fulfill, hence, they will love a product for that reason. ie: clothes, cars, skiis, knives, cookware, even relationships. lololol

                          For me, personally, efficient & less maintenance the better. When I was young I had the energy to tackle and be neurotic about high maintenance goods. I was quickly being cured of that once I had to tend to 2 toddlers. After that, low maintenance, very efficient products is what I looked for. Regardless of the product.

                          For me. A great SHARP French Knife, low on mainentance, long lasting suites my needs just fine.
                          I have no idea why everyone is focusing on my sharing about those cheap little knives from Italy. They are in no way a comparison to a great French shaped knife regardless of alloy. I only wanted to point out that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a sharp tool in the kitchen at all times without maintenance. But they are definitely not for, how do I put it, volume food preparation. ie: My French knife will glide quickly through several carrots at once, whereas my little guys can only handle one at a time. But, they will also peel the carrot, where as I have to change knives for that if using the French knife for volume chopping.
                          Actually, when I am volume preparing, I pull out the crescent moon shaped peeler made of the same idea as the little guys. It is so fast and never needs sharpening. Not to many people I know like using that shape....me, I just love it. Yet, I when I use their favourite peeler, the 2 sided blade type, I am slow & make a mess. Shows to go yah. It's what you get use to. The balance in the hand et al.
                          Filleting meat is quite the art...and it sounds like your knives would do a great job as opposed to my trying with my clunky French knife. I have seen chef's do it, but I can't.
                          And on that note, I think that I will drop the subject, because it has become to silly for words.
                          My 1st original point was just to draw the attention to a carbon steel knife, in the event the original poster was not so aware of them. At the end of the day, it is up to the purchaser of such a tool to determine & satisfy his/her needs, wants and desires.

                          To quote the old adage: "One man's garbage is another mans treasure."

                          Thank you again Keith for you being you and coming with your knowledge in a polite and gentlemanly way, to my rescue.

                          p.s. I too use a stone to sharpen my carbon knife. Nothing worse than having to deal with a dull knife. yes? no? And you are right....using a stone does require a lesson or three.
                          Oh, btw: when portaging and most supplies lost due to canoe tip over, and able to retrieve the odd can or two, but not the can opener or knives, one has to use their noodle to improvise if they want to eat. If your lucky enough to catch a fish, even the crudest of tools will do the job to sustain life. lololol

                          1. re: keith2000

                            Hi Keith.
                            My first quality kitchen knife was a Shun Elite 8" K O chef knife. I did succumb to Amazon's hype on it but after using it I don't regret buying it at all. It has a core of SG-2 powder steel hardened to rhc 64 with a layer of softer tougher SS on the outside. It's the only knife I can use a pinch grip on that is totally comfortable. I love to cut with it. I plan to sharpen it myself. So far I just use a leather strop on it between using. Good thing too since Shun discontinued their "Free lifetime Sharpening" program earlier this month. Mark at CKtG posted that bad news.

                            My next knife was a 210 mm Tojiro Western Deba. That thing was the sharpest of any knife I've ever taken out of a box. I thought I was getting a traditional Japanese Deba but with western handle. Not so, it is simply a very heavy(11oz), thick blade, Gyuto . I wanted to clean fish with it and it will handle any bone in fish under 50 lbs. For $140 @CKtG it's a bargain.

                            I'm sold on Tojiro for a high quality good price knife. My next wish for is Tojiro's 170mm garisuke. It's another knife with lots of steel in it and is priced accordingly at $100. This is around half what these knives from other makers cost.
                            With this one and the 150 mm utility knife and the 90mm paring knife(also Tojiro) I should have a fairly well equipped kitchen. I
                            I'm planning on getting a Wicked Edge sharpening system with extra stones and strops.
                            I know I sound crazy, but I have to start taking money out of my IRA in July so what the heck.
                            Might as well buy some nice cutlery and supplies.
                            Would Tojiro's 210mm Gyuto be a good Christmas present for my son-in-law or is there a comparably priced one that's a lot better?

                            1. re: columa

                              Columa, the Tojiro's are an excellent value. And if your looking for similar value, there's always Hiromoto AS (Aogami Super steel) knives, which have a carbon edge, but the remaining part of the knife is SS.

                              They can achieve a slightly better edge and hold it slightly longer than the Tojiro's, but with the Tojiro's being SS, they have an edge (pun intended) there too.


                              It's a fine knife in regards to weight, and ergonomics. And with the WE system, I'm certain with some practice there is no doubt the AS will hold a nicer and sharper edge. Also keep in mind, the Tojiro might have a sharper edge OOB, but as soon as I received my knife, I took it to a few stones, as do most knife enthusiasts, because OOB sharpness is generally lacking.

                              I have the santoku, simply because I have larger hands, and the pinch grip feels better with a slightly taller blade.

                              If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

                          2. Nothing to do with the subject really but....

                            My grandfather in Liverpool had a shop in which he made surgical instruments for the St John Eye Hospital. He could also sharpen just about anything. High in the corner was a big three phase motor and coming out that was a rotating shaft that ran the length of the shop. There were a series of pulleys and leather belts that could be slipped over them. These in turn drove a series of 'millstones'. Most were stone of various types - some ran in water baths and some in oil. Some were rubber or other composite, some were lambswool. It was fascinating watching this little old man knock the belts on and off the pulleys with a large stick, then sit in front of these wheels, some of which must have weighed much more than him. As he dressed the stones or sharpened the knives he would explain what he was doing.

                            By eye he would look at the blade , gauge the material then sit down at a series of wheels, flashing the blade across them. By the time he got to the rubber and lambswool the blade would gleam and the edge was nightmarishly sharp. The eye knives, with tiny blades had to pierce the cornea with a minimum of pressure so it didn't enter into deeper layers within the eye. He would test them on a pig skin bladder and then re-polish. As a small child 50 years ago it was a fascinating place.

                            Somehow I do not think it would meet modern safety standards, especially in terms of being a child's playground. When we had our knives resharpened you were very careful taking them out of the drawer.

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Paulustrious

                                That was incredible. What a visual. What a craft. Beautiful post.

                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                  You are lucky you got to see a shop like that in action for real production. I have seen one just like your grandgather's except maybe a little larger. I took my family to Wash. D C years ago and we went to a shop like that somewhere in the Smithsonian. I could only guess if it's still active.
                                  They turned it on for us to see all those belts and pulleys hooked to two long round shafts extending the length of the shop. All powered by a big (for the times) diesel or maybe steam engine. It was divided into work stations for maybe 10 to 20 workers for lathes, milling machines, and I don't remember what all else. My kids and I loved it.