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8" Chef's knife - $30 Henckel or $130 Shun?

I'm looking to replace my stamped Farberware 8" chef's knife. Although it seems sharp & is reasonably comfortable & balanced, I get the impression (from hanging around here, no doubt) that just about anything's going to be a step up.

Today I found a J.A. Henckel 4-star clearanced for $30. A week ago I would've bought it without thinking twice. Unfortunately, I held a Shun in my hand yesterday. The balance & comfort were unlike any other knife I've tried.

Obviously, either knife's going to be big improvement over the cheap Chinese stamped chef's I've been using for the past 20 yrs.

Should I grab the 4-star & be happy that I saved $100? Or should I hold out for the Shun?


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  1. i've used Henckels and Wusthofs for years, but ever since i snagged a Shun Santoku for half price at Sur La Table on Black Friday, i can't imagine ever wanting to hold another knife! i'm in love with this thing.

    FYI, it's still on sale...

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      goodhealthgourmet, this is sorta the feeling I had in the store, holding the Shun. The design of the handle & the overall weight & balance made me wonder if western-style blades & handles are more for brute-force-style cutting. (Y'know, the heavy blade is good for withstanding blows against armour, while the little "hook" at the at the end of the grip is good for keeping your hand from sliding off when you're covered in blood/grease. Neither feature is as useful for delicate maneuvering around a cutting board.) (Not that "mowing thru garlic & herbs" has much poetry to it!)

      What makes it preferrable, for you, over the blades you've used for years?

    2. Since you like the Shun better than the Henckel, you are the only person who can decide if it is worth the $100.00 more.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        Well, I don't actually know how I feel about the Henckel. I just know that the design of the 4-star (blade/handle shape) is similar to the cheap knife I've got, & so I'm guessing the use will feel similar (but better, right?). The Shun felt different. Just holding it, it "felt agile" compared to the Farberware knife.

        1. re: Eiron

          I love my Shun. It prompted me to give my Wusthoff away. Then again, I don't own a Hattori - yet.

          1. re: Eiron

            I wouldn't put Faberware knife in the same category as Henckel 4-Star. Henckel knives, including the 4-star, are some of the best German made. Most professional chefs used them for years before Japanese knives became popular. I've used Henckel for years in restaurant kitchens but I prefer their Classic series. Choosing a knife is a personal preference. For me, I use a German made 10 inch chef knife for all my heavy work such as chopping, dicing, etc. I have a couple of Japanese knives for fine slicing.

        2. www.japanesechefsknife.com

          You can thank me/hate me later.
          The knives here are better than pretty much anything else you can find, and many of them are reasonably priced. If you are shopping for a great knife that you will want to last forever, go here. The Shun's are decent, but can't hold a candle to the equally priced Hattori's.

          31 Replies
          1. re: Jemon

            now why'd you have to go and do that? i had *almost* forgotten that i was lusting after those Hattori knives. they're just so beautiful...

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              See? I knew someone would hate me for that!

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Same steel as a Shun (at least the HD series).

                  1. re: Paulustrious


                    But I am told that Hattori knows how to temper the steel better even they are both VG-10 cutting edge. What do you think? Or is this just anti-Shun campaign?

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I have no idea, CK. I would think that a larger company such as Shun would get the best edge they could for their price point.

                      If I were the OP (and had the budget) I would get both. Then in a few months he would know what direction to go.

                      Jemon`s Hittori recommendation(s) are on this page...


                      Pretty looking knives. Same(ish) price as the Shuns. And if both of you believe they are better then I am in no position to gainsay that.

                      1. re: Paulustrious


                        I don't know. I would also think a large company like Shun would also have the best technology and best QC available to it. On the other hand, Hattori is selling on the "personal touch" factor. I know Hattori HD use the same VG-10 steel as Shun Classic and they both are harden to the same HRC. So, if Hattori HD edge is not tougher than a Shun edge, then there is no reason to get it since it is slightly more expensive, has no warranty and no knife sharpening service. I do not really know. I do not own a Hattori. Just a rumor I heard.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          I'm speaking from experience. A friend of mine owns the Shun, it was a wedding gift. He *hates* it compared to my Hattori gyuto, and I would agree. I know what the numbers say, but the Shun (his at least) won't hold an edge very well. It dulls like a really cheap Walmart knife. I really wanted one before he got his, too...I'm no Shun hater. Then i found out about the site I posted, got a gyuto, and also a Suien Chinese cleaver, which is actually my personal favorite knife.

                          1. re: Jemon


                            I also heard that Hattori knives are better than Shun despite they are made from the same steel grade and harden to the same level. Since Rockwell hardness only reveals about the indentation resistance, I can guess there is a difference in the the carbides in these two brands and possible more. In addition, the ability for a knife to hold an edge depends on the function of a knife. So you can have two knives (Shun and Hattori) with the same hardness and they do not have the same edge nolding ability, which depends on toughness and wear resistance and others.

                            I have a Shun bread knife and it has been pretty good, but of course it is a bread knife and it is not meant to be abused like a Chef's knife. I really don't think a Shun knife will get dull like a cheap Walmart knife. In my experience, there is a huge gap between a Shun Classic knife and a 420 Stainless steel Walmart knife.

                            1. re: Jemon

                              Sorry but I'm going to go ahead and chalk your friend's experience as user error.

                              He's probably treating a japanese steel knife like a german one. One has to understand that the two styles are different and should be treated as so, even if the Shun is sort of a hybrid.

                              The Shuns are not bad knives, they're just probably a bit more expensive than you need.

                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              Chemicalkinetics: "I would also think a large company like Shun would also have the best technology and best QC available to it."

                              Actually, Shun is not a company. Shun is a line of products of Kai Corporation, which makes over 10,000 different products, knives constituting but a small fraction of that number. Kai Corporation is not very "large" as multinational companies go -- its registered capital is just about US$5 million, a sum that would constitute a very low annual salary for an NBA basketball player; and sales (gross revenue) of the entire Kai Corporation were about US$467 million last year. http://www.kai-group.com/e/profile.html

                            3. re: Paulustrious

                              "... get both" - as in both the Shun AND the Hattori??

                              Hey, let's remember that I've been using a stamped Chinese knife for 20 yrs. :-) As much as I'd like to have both, it ain't gonna happen in this decade!

                              1. re: Eiron

                                I was referring to your original post - the Shun and Henckel.

                                I forgot the advice my old sales boss gave me: "Always make sure the other person understands what you think you said."

                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                  Duh! (Sorry, sometimes I wonder if I even show up to these events!) OK, thanks. That sounds like a do-able plan, actually. I could get the 4-star (if it's still there tonight), then put a santoku on my wish list.

                                2. re: Eiron


                                  If you have not make up your mind to get a Shun knife, then I would suggest you to get the $30 Henckels Chef's knife. Here is why.

                                  Get the Henckels Four Star because it is inexpensive and it is more than functional. It is considered a very good knife by many. If you fall in love with it, then that's that.

                                  If you think you can do better than the Henckels, then you can start testing a Santuko

                                  a) and if you like a Santuko more, then you can get the Shun Santuko for $80, and you will spend only $110 total.

                                  b) if you dislike a Santuko and want a Shun French Chef's, then you can wait for its price to drop. According to the price history of the Shun 8" Chef's knife, it was $100 in the beginning of Nov. When it hits $100 again, you can grab it and you will spend $130 for getting two knives.

                                  Price history (click the green icon):

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    It won't come down to $100 any time soon. The lowest you should find is $120 with free shipping...
                                    Abe's of Maine was not a legit seller of the knives - they are no longer selling Shun knives because of rule-breaking...

                                    1. re: Lolamonkey

                                      Hi lolamonkey,

                                      Yes, I know about Abe's, but I think the author of the original post can still wait for a price drop and if not, he can shop at eBay, like this Shun Santuko for $90:


                                      He can always bid and that can be much cheaper.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        FWIW, I found my 8" Shun classic chefs knife at TJMaxx for under $100.
                                        I've only seen it there once and snapped it up.
                                        It's hit or miss, but they do occasionally get them.
                                        I've found the paring knife, utility, U2, bread, 7" santoku and 8" chefs there by stopping in and looking around on shipment days.
                                        They do go fast when they ever do come in.

                                        I should also add, I picked up a couple of the Henckles 4star, 5star and ProS there and like them as well.

                                        I like the other posters suggestion of grabbing the $30 4star and getting the other when you can find a good deal on it.

                                        1. re: grnidkjun


                                          Thanks. I have only seen Shun knives in TJ Maxx once and maybe twice. Unfortunately, the one I saw was the U2 knife, which I do not need.

                                          By the way, can you comment on your Shun Chefs knife and Shun Santoku knife experience for the author of this original post? Maybe compare them to your Henckels knives, so he can get a better idea.

                                          On a personal note: You said you go to TJ Maxx around shipment days. How do you know when that will be?

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I asked when I went to my local TJM when their shipment days were. :)
                                            T/T here.

                                            I looked at cooking.com and they have the Shun 7" Santoku for $79.99 right now. http://www.cooking.com/products/shpro...
                                            I have this one.. picked up for a similar price at TJM.

                                            OK.. I have the following chef knives:
                                            8" Shun Classic
                                            10" Shun Classic
                                            8" Henckels Pro S (same blade as 4 star - different handle
                                            )10" Henckels 4 Star

                                            Where I like them all, I tend to reach for the Shuns when doing slicing of things like Onions, Peppers, Sausage, Garlic, trimming meat.
                                            Things where I feel I need a little more maneuverability.

                                            I reach for the Henckels when tackling items with thicker skins.
                                            Melons or more of a "chopping" task.

                                            They just feel heavier and the thickness of the blade seems to create more of a wedge.

                                            Could the Shuns do the same thing.. I'm sure.. it's just a personal feeling.. no scientific explanation here.

                                            1. re: grnidkjun


                                              Thanks. Hopefully, my TJM and HomeGoods have regular shipment days because I would only want to ask them once and not to ask them every month. I am shy about this sort of things.

                                              Yes, that Shun 7" Santoku for $80 is a very good deal and with a 20% off coupon from Bed Bath and Beyond, it will be more like $68 (including 7% sale tax). As I suggested to on a different post, the Shun 7" Santoku is a good deal now and the Wusthof 5" Ikon Santoku at $60 is also not bad.


                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      I got a granton edge Shun Classic 8" Chef's for $80 at the beginning of July from Amazon, and then found a non-granton at Williams-Sonoma for 50+shipping at the same time.

                                      1. re: Coconuts


                                        Great catches. Do you like your knives thus far?

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          I only bought the granton edge, but I do absolutely love it! I have several other good chef's knives, so even as great of a deal as the other one was, I left it for someone who needed it more than I did.

                      2. re: Jemon

                        Jemon, after reading thru the Hattori info on the JCK site, I'm still left wondering one thing: Why do you consider these better than the Shun?

                        And why Hattori over any of the other twelve manufacturers listed on the JCK site?

                        Same question for the others wanting a Hattori....

                        1. re: Eiron

                          I guess there are a few reasons for this, and most of them are pretty subjective.

                          Some of us knife nuts are put off by the german shape of the shuns - lots of belly (curve). This allows for easier rock chopping, but at the same time hinders slicing, effectively shortens the knife, and also makes you raise the knife to an awkward angle to do any delicate work with the tip. And with sharp, thin Japanese edges, rock chopping is considered bad for the edge in comparison to push or pull cutting.

                          Hattoris are typically thinner than a shun, leading to decreased resistance and increased performance. Hattoris also usually have asymmetrical edges, which thins the knife behind the edge and further improves performance (albeit very slightly).

                          Some people hate on shun's handles. I sorta like em. To each his own. Same goes with the faux damascus cladding.

                          I've heard multiple reports that hattori tempers his vg-10 better than shun does theirs. This is certainly possible - there can be a great deal of variation in the temper of a steel. The most common complaint is that shuns don't hold an edge as long as a hattori. The thing is, shuns are sold to people who are less prone to babying their knives, and their shape almost demands rock-chopping. So it only makes sense that they wouldn't hold an edge as long - they are more subject to abuse. Personally, I have sharpened a hattori and many shuns. I did not notice a significant difference in the steels. But I did not use a Hattori long enough to speak to its edge holding.

                          Also - don't discount the "hattoris are cooler" factor. I know, totally subjective. But they are. I think that's as much of a factor as anything else.

                          I'm actually a little surprised to see them getting so much love on this board. There are a lot of good Japanese knife-makers. I personally would have picked a knife from several of those other makers on JCK before I picked a Hattori.

                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I really (REALLY) liked the feel of the Shun handles. I'm always looking to improve the ergonomics in anything I design, & those handles immediately "made sense" to me. I tend to slice cut rather than rock chop, so it sounds like this style of knife (Asian, in general) is the way I want to go. And yes, I do like the Damascus look.

                            I understand the cool factor. But there needs to be more behind it if I'm going to pay 2x for a 170mm santoku. So what other makers would you suggest considering?


                            1. re: Eiron

                              We can talk you into any knife line based on metallurgy and performance, but one of the biggest factors is handfeel - you have to choose a knife that feels like an extension of your hand. If the Shun FELT better, then go with that. But I recommend that you go to a store and put the Henckels (or Hattori if you can find someone with one) in your hand too...make it a fair comparison...

                              1. re: Lolamonkey

                                This is a good suggestion. I plan on being near that kitchen shop again this weekend, so I'll make it a point to stop in & re-hold all of the knives. They're one of the two most comprehensive kitchen shops in this area but don't carry Hattori (only Shun & Miyabi). I'll call the other place & ask what they stock.

                            2. re: cowboyardee

                              So, which of those other makers would you pick out of curiosity?

                              1. re: chuff

                                I already have a Hiromoto (Aogami Super) and I can attest that it is fantastic. And, I think, a better value than a hattori (HD or JCK forum). I would love to get one of their clad white steel knifes, listed under specials.

                                While we're looking under specials, they have a Sanestu ZDP-189 santoku listed for under $170! Holy Crap! I'm not a huge santoku guy, but its freakin ZDP-189. Sanestu is well-reputed, btw.

                                Still under specials, I'd love to try the JCK original Gekku line. They look like a really great value.

                                Moving on, I would also have picked a Glestain - reputed to have grantons that actually work. Or a ryusen (blazen) - fantastic edge holding. Or even a massamoto - great knives, slightly less inflated prices.

                                Keep in mind, I've got nothing against hattoris, despite how it sounds. They're great knives, and if you buy one, you're almost certain to be happy with it. The fact that it would be a bit down my wishlist (unless we're talking a KD model) just speaks to how many great Japanese knifemakers we have to choose from right now.

                        2. Hi Eiron,

                          They are both great knife. You can often find great deal for Henckels in stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Obviously, $100 is a lot and ultimately it is your decision. I only want to point out a few things (just to confuse you really) which makes Shun a potential good choice.

                          Let admits these first, the Shun knives are lighter and heck a lot more attractive.

                          Shun Classic cutting edges are made from VG-10 stainless steel and are much harder than most Henckels. Shun knives are hardened to ~HRC 61 compared to typical Henckels ~56-57HRC. This means the Shun edge doesn't roll as easy and holds its edge better. In fact, you probably do not want to use a typical steel to hone a Shun knife. Because they are made from harder steels, Shun knives take on a more acute angle (sharper) at 15 degree instead of the 20 degree on Henckels, so Shun knives are sharper.

                          Finally, Shun backs their knives with a lifetime free knife sharpening service. You need to pay for the shipping fee to send the knives over to Shun, but they will sharpen them for free and send them back to you for free. This is something to also consider.


                          There are also arguments to be made for Henckels, but I think I will just confuse you more, so I will let others to confuse you on that. Jemon is correct. There are many other great knives on that website. They are not as well known, but they are highly respected.

                          In addition to what Goodhealthgourment said, I also want to point out that both normal and indented Shun Santoku are on sale. That of course only matters if you like Santoku over French's chef.


                          If you have one of those 20% off thing from Bed Bath and Beyond.... then....

                          43 Replies
                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Thanks! The $100 doesn't mean as much as it used to. I mean, yes, it's a lot of money, but if I'm going to use this knife for the next 10 to 20 yrs, then I don't look at the extra money as just a purchase cost. I think I'm finally tired of using cheap crap simply because it's cheap. Henckel's got a great reputation, so if it's an equal knife (which, I'm gathering, it's not) then why spend the extra?

                            I've never used a santoku, so I'm a little hesitant to buy it as my first knife. How different is it to use compared to the standard chef's knife?

                            I don't know Hattori, so I don't know the differences between the products and/or manufacturing philosophies. (Heck, I didn't even know Shun two days ago!) I understand the idea of "person-made" vs "factory-made," but what about the ergonomic differences?

                            1. re: Eiron


                              They (Shun vs Henckels) are just different. Many like the sharper, lighter and nimber Shun knives. Others swear by the heavier German Henckels knives.

                              As for a Santoku, you just have to try it to see if you like it. It would be best if you can borrow one from your friends. Ovbiously, a Santoku has a much flatter edge profile, so you won't use as much rocking motion as opposed to slide push-cut motion. Another difference is that Santokus typically are shorter and lighter than a French chef's, so it lacks the meat cleaver ability. It makes that up by being a slightly better slicer -- I think. I have used both styles before, but now I am a Chinese chef's knife user.

                              You bring up a good point about ergonomic. One difference between Japanese style knives and German style knives is that Japanese knives tend to focus on being lighter, and sharper. It is more ergonomic in the sense that it feels more like an extension of your hand. The German knives have much thicker blades. To compensate the blade weight, high quality German knives balance the weight by putting extra steel either around the bolster area or the knife handle or both. As such, the entire knife is heavier. Many believe the extra weight aid the cutting when you push the knife downward. Norman Weinstein (if I remember correct) does not think much of Japanese knives and sort of believe they are hyped up.


                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                Cut with a sharp J steel and I just can't possibly think you'd believe they are not superior. The softer german steel may be more appropriate for a lot of people (easier to use, less care, less worry about chipping etc) but after cutting with j steel you begin to notice that german knives don't cut. They wedge apart the food almost ... ;)

                                At first I also was set on a Hattori HD but after reading a lot on knifeforums I tended away. It seems the natural progression (that I followed) was German Steel, Shun, Hattori HD, then the many other knife brands. The more unique and off the beaten path the better. But I need a Nakiri and am broke from Christmas and soon a 5d Mark II, and oh yeah I have an offer on a house right now. So I'm looking at some of these Kanetsune VG10 knives that have the hammered and damascus look (I'm a sucker for form and function).


                                Really good prices on those suckers. Also check out some Tanakas on ebay (from metalmasterjp and 330mate_com and 6733tak).

                                1. re: deeznuts


                                  Wow, nice prices. Considering you are selling your multiple houses, I don't think a knife can put a dent on the money you get.


                                  Look at particular this Santoku from deeznuts's link: VG-10 harden to HRC60-61, laminated wood handle, very beautiful Damascus pattern (if you are into it). All for $65. A regular Four Star Henckels would cost much more than this. This, of course, only matters if you like to have a Santoku. Go and borrow a Santoku from your friends now and test drive one.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Thanks Chemicalkinetics, you've been very patient! Please keep the friendly advice coming. I took your (& Paulustrious') advice & picked up the 8" Henckel Four Star for $30. I'm going to put both a santoku & a utility knife on my wish list. I just need to decide which brand offers the nicest combination of looks, performance & value. I'm hoping I'll get one as Christmas gift; that'll save me having to immediately buy a 2nd knife right now.

                                    Gads, all of this kitchen stuff is going to be another expensive hobby! I thought $750-worth of espresso eqpt was a lot of money to make a 1 oz drink, & then I bought my first All-Clad copper core pan (I'm hoping to pick up my 2nd piece this weekend). Now, with all of these different knives, I can see that this will approach my hand-made bicycle for cost!

                                    "Go and borrow a Santoku from your friends now and test drive one." - ROFLMAO - My friends have plain ol' knives. Know what I mean? Like, "Hey! I found a complete set of knives at BoxStor for $69! They're the best knives ever!" If they paid $100 for a knife (& they wouldn't), they'd want it to cut the food by itself. The scary thing is, I can see myself spending $300 each for several different shapes/sizes. Give me another month & I'll think $800/knife is "normal"!

                                    1. re: Eiron

                                      Greg (Eiron),

                                      Thanks. I read the exchange above and noticed that you push cut more often than rock chopping. This means a flatter edge profile knives, like Santoku or Usuba, may suit you more.

                                      :D I don't mean you should borrow an expensive $200-300 Santoku. There are those $10-15 Santoku around, so maybe your friends have one., like these ones:


                                      Obviously, the edge will not be great for these cheap Santoku, but you are just trying to see if the flatter edge profile makes sense to you. If you cannot get hold of one, then watch some Santoku videos on youtube and see if the cutting motion makes sense to you. It is one thing to spend $100+ to get a knife you use. It is another thing to spend $100+ and get a knife which will be sitting in the draw. Oh yes, you are not just limited to Santoku. A lot of people find a Japanese Gyuto fits them better.

                                      I know some people are slightly against Shun because there are other Japanese knives at slightly lower price. That being said, Shun has better warranty and offer free knife sharpening service.

                                      1. re: Eiron

                                        this is a good thread you guys have been running on this but that's not a real usuba right? I've been drooling over this Shun ..


                                        1. re: jccampb

                                          Hi Jccampb,

                                          You are right. Those were two links to two Santoku, not a Usuba. That is a beautiful Usuba. In fact, I was looking that one too. Of course, some will argue that real Japanese authentic Usuba should be carbon steel with soft wrought iron, like these:


                                          But frankly, I am a stainless steel person, so that's that.

                                          Deeznuts showed me this nice website with some beautiful Japanese knives at low prices. Look at these ones for examples:



                                          1. re: jccampb

                                            No chopping garlic with that knife. A true usuba is single beveled and with the high HRC of 62-64 can be very fragile. Meant for very thin slicing, like for kaiseki cuisine.

                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                              excellent points. There should be a distinction made between japanese steel japanese knives and western knives with japanese steel. The single-bevel knives are probably unlike anything most people have used. Yanagiba, usuba, even deba (there are two debas, the regular one is used for fish, single bevel, the western deba is like a tough chefs knive and is double bevel).

                                              For western style japenese knives, there is gyuto, sujihiki (slicer), petty, western deba (yo-deba - if you see "yo" it's western, "wa" is japanese yeah I know counter-intuitive). Nakiri's and santoku's are double bevel japanese style knives. Santokus are reserved for small women (just kidding - sorta).

                                              Here is a very informative, very detailed and quite possibly very confusing post about japanese knives. If you want to know about a knife, hit Control+F and search for the term.


                                        2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          You misread my post a little, I'm not selling multiple houses I'm bidding on a house for myself. Despite what media reports have been saying the real estate market in San Diego is so crazy I've been looking for a year and have been outbidded almost all year. So yeah, no extra money, that's why those knives look like such a great value!

                                          But they are quite nice looking knives for the price

                                          1. re: deeznuts


                                            Ghee, I am an idiot. You are buying a house. I thought you meant you are getting multiple offer for a house you are selling. Then I thought you are going to get tons of cash and a knife cannot dent the money you get from selling a house.

                                            By the way, I bought my brother a Santoku from that website you provided. Thank you.

                                        3. re: deeznuts

                                          "At first I also was set on a Hattori HD but after reading a lot on knifeforums I tended away. It seems the natural progression (that I followed) was German Steel, Shun, Hattori HD, then the many other knife brands. The more unique and off the beaten path the better."

                                          OK, so where did you wander off to after Hattori? :-) I'm open to unique & off the beaten path. Oh, & what was the general feeling about Hattori HD on knifeforums?

                                          1. re: Eiron

                                            Well right now I've got a couple Kanetsune's (I got a screaming deal on a 210mm - 8" chefs that looks is VG10 looks like Shun with the damascus, sells for over $100 I got it for $60). A shun chinese cleaver to whet my Chinese cleaver appetite. It was also a screaming deal so I wanted to try it out. The blade is a bit too curved for my taste so I'll probably flatten it out one day. A shun parer (a knifeforum favorite actually). I plan on grabbing that nakiri linked above, it's only $65 and looks awesome.

                                            Also, a sujihiki/slicer is on my list. Probably from ebay from these sellers who get some nice knives for really cheap. Like this:


                                            The Hattori HD were good knives, maybe a bit overpriced but solid, dependable knives that are extremely popular with new buyers because they look so damn good. But they used to be somewhat prone to chipping more than other knives out of the box. A good sharpening took care of that, but Dave Martel of http://japaneseknifesharpening.com/ noticed that they had the highest percentage of chipping new (but no more after one session of sharpening).

                                            1. re: deeznuts

                                              I've also been lurking on knifeforums, but I didn't notice any favoritism towards Shun's 3.5" parer. What makes it a favorite with the "in" crowd?

                                              Did you pick up the 8" Kanetsune on J-B? I don't plan on building a collection, but I can see the advantage in buying only one knife from each manufacturer (to see how they compare). At this point, I might just drop the idea of a santoku & focus on a 210mm gyuto & a 135mm petty. Then I might add a 165mm santoku & a 105mm petty later on.

                                              Unless, of course, you convince me that Shun's parer is worth buying now... ;-)

                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                  Great, that's all I need: more options! :-D

                                                  Joking aside, before diving into all of this knife stuff, I went thru all the knives we have & eliminated everything I never used. Now we have fewer than half the knives, but they're all sharp & they all get used.

                                                  OK, that's a lie. I only use three regularly, & maybe another two on occasion. So I'm looking to replace two of the three I use most often (the 3rd one's a bread knife that I don't intend to replace.) (Yet.)

                                                  I had both an 8" chef's & a 10" chef's. I never used the 10". On what occasions have you found a 240mm more useful than a 210mm?

                                                  1. re: Eiron

                                                    When I pick up my 8 inch chef knife it feels so small. Unlike the German chef knife the Japanese knife will not have a bolster. My 8 inch chef is heavier than my 240mm gyuto. The chef knife is thicker and the bolster adds to the weight. Also without the bolster you will chock up on the blade and many people use a pinch grip where the thumb and fingers are on the blade while the handle rests in the hand. This effectively gives you a shorter blade. From slicing meats to cutting onions the extra length is welcomed. As long as it's not to big for your cutting board. It may seem long in the beginning but the knives are so light in weight the extra length will not be a problem.

                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                      This is a real personal decision and you gotta balance weight, comfortability, and counter space. The 240mm as scubadoo97 says is real popular because japanese knives are usually lighter therefore you can go with a longer knife. I bought a 210mm as I'm a small dude, and even then, now I want a 240mm. I didn't want to say anything earlier, but yeah scrap the santoku if you're not dead set on it.

                                                      Once you use the pinch grip as scuba says, the 210mm is quite short. and as I said, I'm a smaller guy. Of course I want a 300mm sujihiki (tha'ts next) but that's to impress my guests more than anything ...

                                                      The shun parer was popular when I first started on KF. Of course sentiments have changed (first shapton glasstones and king combostones were the shiznits now they like other stones) but its an easily available, aesthetic and not too expensive piece.
                                                      My kanetsune was bought at smokey mountain knife works but it was at a blowout price ($60, the same knife is $167 at j-b). It was a one time thing and I wished I bought all of them. I could have made a killing.

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        what good is a BB&B coupon on Amazon?

                                        1. re: luniz


                                          Of course, a BB&B coupon is useless for Amazon purchase, but a BB&B coupon is useful for BB&B purchase and this Shun Santoku knife is on sale everywhere. I am just using that the Amazon website as an illustration. I could have put up a few other links from Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table .... but then you can still ask me the same question: What good is a BB&B coupon on "XXX"?

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            OK, this brings up a question similar to my original thread starter:

                                            Is a Shun santoku on sale for $64 a "better buy" than a Hattori HD santoku for $135?

                                            Both use the same VG-10 core & Damascus-style stainless exterior.
                                            The Hattori has more layers, but that's not necessarily a performance advantage in itself.
                                            The Shun has (presumably) better R&D incorporated into their products.

                                            So, am I buying any advantage other than "cool"?

                                            1. re: Eiron


                                              I have a Shun, but I do not have a Hattori, so I cannot say from real experience. Cowboy has both and he is in a better position to answer this, and I think he already said something above on Dec 09.

                                              The general consent is that Hattori is slightly better in edge retention than Shun, despite they use the same core steel and harden it to the same hardness (~61HRC). This may be due to the difference in carbide. I cannot speak from real experience on this.

                                              The advantage in the edge retention is probably very small. On top of that, Shun offers a lifetime warranty on their knives and has free knife sharpening service. With Hattori, you better learn to sharpen your knives on your own.

                                              As such, the Shun Santoku is probably a better deal as a kitchen knife. Even if you like the cool factor, a Santoku may not be the one to do so anyway. A Santoku is an all-purpose knife loved by many, but it is a recent invention/modification that the Japanese took on from the French Chef's knife. If you are into collecting Japanese knives, then you would probably want to collect traditional Japanese knives like a Deba, an Usuba or a Yanagiba.

                                              Keep in my mind, this is just an opinion.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Yes, I went back & re-read Cowboy's comments. Several times. I also went thru his list of preferred knives (over Hattori) & don't think they're good selections for me. I love the appearance & design of Hattori's KD Series, but can't afford them (even if they were available).

                                                I understand the feelings on comparative edge quality, but, even with my recent acceptance of what a nice knife should cost, I'm not sure the reality matches the rumors. Hattori's HD knives are not made by him, only made by workers to his specs, then inspected & approved/rejected by him. Shun has the same process. As was mentioned earlier, Shun would have the experience & motivation to create the best edge for that price point.

                                                I do plan on (properly) sharpening my own knives, regardless of which brand I buy. I do NOT plan on collecting knives, although I do plan on buying Japanese-style rather than Western-style.

                                                The purpose of choosing the santoku is simply because of what a great value the Shun is while it's on sale right now. A petty & gyuto would make more sense to try in other brands since their price savings are not as large. I could even double my expense on those models if I'm saving a bunch on the santoku, right? :-D

                                                I guess my real question in this thread is, "Is it worth spending less?"

                                                The answer, of course, is, "Sometimes it is, & sometimes it isn't"!


                                                1. re: Eiron

                                                  Eiron (Greg),

                                                  To answer your final question: Yes, it is always worth spending LESS. :) Is it worth spending more? I don't know.

                                                  Cowboy is absolutely correct. Shun santoku edge has a more curved than other santoku than I know of, so if that idea bothers you, then don't get it. $65 (or $80) is a great bargin for a knife you like, but is a lot for a knife you hate. In comparison, the Wusthof Ikon 5" is also on sale. It is at $60 and its edge is very flat, but it is made with a softer steel. I think many people agree that Tojiro produces great knives at very reasonable prices. The only thing you need to aware is that the core cutting edge is carbon steel, not stainless steel, which some people love and some don't. You probably know these already and I am being slightly long-winded, but I figure it is better if I repeat something than omit something.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Chem, the DP steel is a stainless. It's one of those stainless steels that is more prone to rusting than other stainless steels, but it is certainly not carbon/non-stainless in the way that hitachi white, Aogami SS or 52100 steel is carbon/non-stainless. No patina, only rusts with some real abuse. I wouldn't put one in a dishwasher, but I wouldn't worry about wiping it every few minutes either.

                                                    Tojiro doesn't publish DP's actual makeup, but I'd feel confident that its chromium content is over 13%. I haven't noticed much of a significant difference in rust resistance between the DP's steel and VG-10.

                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                      Thanks. Somehow I got confused. I will read about it when I have time.

                                                    2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      The description of the Tojiro at Korin and elsewhere is wrong. It is not a carbon core like a Hiromoto AS, but a stainless through and through.

                                                      Still a great value, or at least before the price went up.

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97


                                                        Thanks. Cowboy also caught my mistake. Thanks for straighten me out. Somehow I read somewhere (possbility at Korin) that it is carbon steel. I remember specifically I decided not to get a Tojiro because reading something on along that line.

                                                2. re: Eiron

                                                  First off, a disclaimer: I do not own a Hattori. I have merely sharpened one, repeatedly, giving me a chance to dick around with it.

                                                  A shun is, in a way, a better deal at $64 than a Hattori at $135. I do not believe the difference in the steels' temper is all that significant.

                                                  The issue, though, is will you stop there? A shun santoku is something of a flawed knife - mainly in that it's a santoku with quite a curved edge, which fights the intended useage of that knife. This is not necessarily a big damn deal. Many use and love a shun santoku, it's well supported by kershaw, and it's otherwise well made. What you have to ask of yourself is whether you are likely to be happy with a shun santoku as described (still a great knife) or whether you think little things will start getting to you after long enough - if you'll start wondering why your santoku has so much curve and how it would glide through food if it were even thinner, even slicker in its geometry.

                                                  If that wonderer sounds like you, I don't think a shun is all that great of a deal anymore. Because it will wind up being $64 spent just to hold you over until you buy a hattori or god knows what. If you go read those guys over at knifeforums, they talk about this scenario all the time. Many of them discuss their wandering eye for knives as other men discuss their wandering eye for women - as their fatal flaw, all that's between them and happiness with a full bank account.

                                                  All that said, I don't think either knife is as good a deal as a tojiro DP nakiri or santoku, both $70.
                                                  Or for those willing to wipe off their blades and not use a dishwasher, a Hirmoto AS 160mm santoku for about $80.
                                                  But that's just me.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    OK, yeah, now I see what you mean. Going into the store & comparing both Shun's 7" santoku & 8" chef's, they look like they're made from the same blank but the santoku has the tip rounded from the spine by 1" shorter. The edge curvature looks identical. I don't need both a 7" blunted chef's & an 8" full chef's.

                                                    I do like the look of the Damascus-style cladding, so I am willing to pay a bit more for a knife that I enjoy both using & looking at. Mac has a great reputation, but their Damascus-style knives are quite a bit more expensive than a lot of their other lines. I like a lot of what I see on JCK & JB. I just need to decide what I really want...

                                                  2. re: Eiron

                                                    I think at $65 it's quite a deal. One gripe a lot of people have with Shun is that they have too much belly. This is true of most of their knives. Too much curvature. Their chef's knife is curved, their chinese cleaver (which I have) is curved, and as CK mentions, their santoku.

                                                    The curve is conducive to rock chopping but not everyone does that (I push cut more often than not). But the Shuns, what I call hybrid knives, may introduce those used to the german style shape but with japanese steel. So you're used to rock chopping, you get a Shun, you get to rock chop but with a great steel and thin blade. Then you get the bug, you get bitten. Now you're filling out your arsenal with other fancy exotic japenese knives and now must learn to push/pull cut, and slice etc.

                                                    Then you watch videos of chefs using chinese cleavers masterfully and now you want one of those too. Here is the intro to Eat Drink Man Woman

                                                    So yeah, grab that Shun santoku. It's a good knife, don't worry about the curvature ... yet. Then don't ever look on these forums again or you may just have to start buying a whole bunch of other stuff!

                                                    1. re: deeznuts

                                                      I think cowboyaredee and you hit on a very good point. Cowboy hinted it and you say it out loud.

                                                      That is: I will never be happy if I keep on trying to get that ultimate perfect knife and take these forums too seriously. It will be a never ending quest. It will be a thirst that can never be quenched.

                                                      1. re: deeznuts

                                                        LOL, yeah, I've already been bitten! I thought having $1,100-worth of coffee/espresso eqpt was crazy, but I can see where knives (& All-Clad Copper Core pans) can scream past that mark in a hurry!

                                                        Thanks for the link to J-B. I've been going back & forth between their site & JCK. I see knives in my sleep...

                                                        1. re: Eiron

                                                          wait till you read up on sharpening ....

                                                          LOL. If you are set on a santoku http://japan-blades.com/chef-knives/2... ...

                                                          Hammered and damascus on one blade. How can you lose?

                                                          1. re: deeznuts


                                                            That is the one I got for my brother! I just got notification that the product has been delivered to him. I will get to hear from him if it actually looks as good as the picture.

                                                            VG-10, laminated wood handle, a flatter cutting edge than Shun , Damascus on the blade near the cutting edge, and Tsuchime (hammered pattern) on the blade near the spine....


                                                            If you really like a Santoku with a flatter blade and nice Damascus pattern, this one we are discussing is not a bad one.


                                                            or this:


                                                            I won't want to say the Shun one is a bad knife. It has a more curved edge, but many people like it. It is one of the best liked Santoku by the masses, like consumer search, Cook's Illustrated, cookingcache


                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              Sweet! Oh please report back on that first one. The second one is nice too, with more layers but more importantly the "ho" japanese style handle. Then we get into custom handles and now we're getting out of hand.

                                                              1. re: deeznuts


                                                                I talked to my brother yesterday. He agreed the photo is accurate and the knife does look good, unlike those McDonald hamburger photos which look nothing like what you get. He said the Santoku has actually single bevel (chisel ground), which is not something I expected.

                                                                I didn't care for the extra layers of Damascus on the second knife, but I do like the handle much better. However, I thought a Santoku is not a traditional Japanese knife, so it is not a big deal to get a traditional handle. On top of that, my brother does not even know if he wants to be a Santoku user. This knife is really to give him some experience or rather remind him about Santoku -- as we have both used Santoku before.

                                                                About the second knife, its core cutting metal is Sandvik19C27. What is that? I know VG-10, or familiar with VG-10, but I do not know Sandvik19C27. Is it a better steel than VG-10? That is another major reason why I didn't get the second knife. I am not sure if I am really upgrading from the cheaper to the more expensive one.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  Sandvik to me are a company that makes saws, but it looks like they are also a specialised steel maker...


                                                                  1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                    Thanks Paul. You are great. Still, what do you think of this Sandvik19C27 compared to the more popular VG-10? It states Sandvik19C27 has C 0.95% and Cr 13.5% (possibly more?)
                                                                    VG-10 has C ~1%, Cr ~15%, Mo ~1%, V 0.2%, Co 1.5%, Mn 0.5%

                                                                    As such, Sandvik19C27 seems to be a very simple composition steel and may not be any better VG-10 for kitchen cutlery. I wonder if the more expensive knife (with Sandvik19C27) may be an inferior knife.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      My knowledge of these steels is limited to what I can google. However, the cost of the raw materials is probably a fraction of the blast work, rolling, forging, annealing and fabrication.

                                                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                        I'm with Paul, I defer steel talk to those who know steel. These guys look to be knife makers and they discuss the steel, with one guy asking why more makers don't use what on paper looks to be a great steel.


                                                                        There is good discussion there, and it looks to be a lesser known but good quality steel. There actually seems to be a Kershaw (Shun) rep in there replying to the thread, imagine that.

                                                                        1. re: deeznuts


                                                                          :) I read the same forum a day or two ago. Yeah, it seem it is on par with VG-1 or maybe VG-10. I didn't see the Shun rep part, I will read it again. Thanks.

                                              2. Can't speak for the Shun as I've never used one, but after clicking on Jemon's link I can say that i'm lusting after those Hattori blades now. The mokume gane style swirls on that KD series is just- ahhhhh....
                                                But I will say that I've been very happy with my standard, no-frills Henckels 8" Chef's knife- it got me through all my culinary classes at college, several prep cook jobs, and even though it only sees action in my home kitchen these days, it's still my main knife of choice. We've been through a lot together this past 7 years, and I've used it for everything from slicing tomatoes to chopping through bone. I just sharpen it myself every so often with a small oiled stone I bought at a discount cooking outlet, and true it with a cheap steel that came with a cheap set of knifes my husband bought (which I can't stand). It's never let me down. IMHO, a fancy knife doesn't = a better chef.
                                                (that doesn't mean I'd turn down a Hattori blade if Santa wanted to leave one in my stocking....*g*)

                                                1. "Obviously, either knife's going to be big improvement over the cheap Chinese stamped chef's I've been using for the past 20 yrs."

                                                  You could always switch to cheap SWISS-MADE stamped knives! ;-)



                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                    But Joe,

                                                    When Henckels are on sale, they are just as cheap as a Victorinox at normal price range $30-40. Then price is not a factor. It will be a pure comparison between a Henckels Four Star to a Victorinox.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                                      I see you are still having a hard time "getting" me.

                                                      It was an irrelevant plug for Forschner, not a recommendation against anything else (go on, reread it). Besides, when Henckels is on sale you could argue that it is then nearer a real market price, rather than it's "everyday" inflated *non-sale* price. Henckels' (and any other over-hyped/over-advertised kitchen product's) marketing costs MUST be taken into account.

                                                      Literally yours,


                                                      1. re: Joe Blowe


                                                        A hard time "still" getting you? That was my first reply to you. You made it sounds like we have this conversation for days.

                                                        I believe you were recommending the Victorinox knife and emphasized its low price point. I was merely pointing out that the author of the original post is already considering a Henckel Four Star at $30. Inflated, hyped or not, the author is not considering a $80-100 Henckels, so the fact Victorinox chef's stamp knife is sold at $30 is no longer an big advantage for this author. Of course, the author can wait for the Victorinox chef's knives go on sale, which I have seen them being sold at $10-15, but that is another story.

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          LOL, okay, so is a $10 Victorinox a "better" deal than a $30 4-star?

                                                          Or have the diminishing returns sunk low enough for me to simply keep the Farberware knife? (Just kidding!)

                                                          1. re: Eiron


                                                            :) I suppose a $10 Victorinox chef's knife is a better deal just because Victorinox does not go on sale as often, so you would be seizing a rarer moment and be part of the history :P I think I saw it for $15 at HomeGoods two weeks ago. Great deal. I just didn't need it.

                                                            As suggested in my previous post (above), it may not be a bad idea to get the $30 Four Star first and then shop around. You will come out ahead in term of saving money and you won't have to doubt the "what if" scenario.

                                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Since the mods are unable or unwilling to properly edit a thread, I'll just say all is copasetic...

                                                    2. I can't stand the geometry of the Shun. Slicing, ok. Mincing herbs and onions? Just sucks.

                                                      i've heard the geometry of the Shun santokus were excellent, though.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: jaykayen

                                                        i've been mowing through cloves of garlic and piles of herbs like nobody's business with my Shun santoku.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          Yeah, I'm actually thinking of getting the santoku. If I can find one at BB&B with a 20% of coupon, it'd would be sweet. I love the fit and finish, as well as Shun's handles.

                                                      2. being a knife/gadget person, i have quite a few henkel's plus there warehouse sale is nearbye. i would suggest you buy the best you are comfortable with, price notwithstanding. the one thing to watch however is there seems to be a second line of four star, the ones being sold at tj max/home fair at low prices are different from older four star and i think even current (other stores) the handles are lighter and more of a plasticky feel

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: rich51

                                                          Hi rich51, I can believe that older Four Star knives were better made than current ones. The same thing happened (years ago) with Sears' Craftsman tools. I have a few pieces that were my grandfather's, & the fit/finish is well above that of current Craftsman items that I've bought.

                                                          Besides Henckels now having two Four Star lines (Four Star, & Four Star II with stainless end cap on the grip), I've noticed there are "Four Star" knives (at Ross/TJM) with an adhesive logo sticker on the blade rather than the original style etched/printed logo. But I don't know if these are actually any different quality than the others.

                                                        2. I'll just repeat what my Mentor said once (italian butcher) he taught me anything about meat, poultry and fish... buy the one that feels the best when you grab it.

                                                          As for me I haven't tried any of these nice and fancy knives they could probably even be better than mine, but I can't afford new knives right now. I bought a couple of Cuisinart for $20 and the blade goes from top to bottom (that\s something he said it was important) and it feels fine in my hand.. i love to sharpening it and my other knives just like Kathleen says "the sharper your knife the less you cry"

                                                          Good luck with your shopping =)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: helenahimm

                                                            Your mentor's advice is good, & it's something that I keep coming back to in my mind: ergonomics. If Hattori's blade is a smidge better than Shun's but the handles aren't as "natural," then I'm not getting the best performance out of the tool.

                                                            What do you mean, "the blade goes from top to bottom"? (tip to heel? I noticed that the Henckels' bolster interrupts the blade edge.)

                                                            1. re: Eiron

                                                              Greg (Eiron),

                                                              Most European forged knives have bolster which goes all the way down to the heel. This hinders sharpening process, in my opinion. In response to the Japanese knives competition, Henckels and Wusthof have launched forged knives with smaller bolsters, such as (but not limited to), Henckels Twin Profection: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...
                                                              , and Wusthof Classic Ikon and Wusthof Ikon Blackwood: http://www.cutleryandmore.com/details...
                                                              These knives have unique handle design, especially Wusthof Ikon. How ergonomic are they? That will be personal. I have a Wusthof Blackwood Ikon, and I do find the handle fits into my hand nicely.

                                                              Henckels Profection knives are difficult to find in stores, but Williams-Sonoma carries both Wusthof Ikon and Shun Classic in their stores, so you can try to hold them side by side if you have a W-S store near you.

                                                              The Ken Onion series of Shun is supposed to have ergonomic handles, but many people find it awkward. I find the Henckels Twin 1731 completely over-priced and will advice you to steer away from it.

                                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                                Sorry yes I meant tip to heel =)

                                                                I have had this knives for over 3 years and I keep sharpening it with a ceramic $20 sharpening tool I got in Ikea, perhaps a fancier knife wouldn\t need that much sharpening, but for now i'm happy with my knives.

                                                                Once I can afford I would love a fancy oyster knife though =D

                                                            2. Seems like a lot of drama over a knife. Keep in mind, whether you are using a $200 knife or a $10 knife, the food is pretty much going to taste the same either way. For me, that's the bottom line.

                                                              Personally, I like the stamped blades, because they tend to be thinner. I find a thinner blade cuts easier. Take, for example, cutting a squash. If you have a thick (usually 'forged' style) the knife will tend to act more like a wedge, and tends to get stuck in the middle of the squash. If you have a thinner blade (usually the case with stamped blades) they will go through with a little less effort.

                                                              I think focusing too much on the gadgetry of cooking is a waste of time. Oh, I know some people appreciate a fine knife, and I can understand that. But, in the end, it's just a knife, and it ain't going to make your food taste better.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: pweller

                                                                LOL, really? Just seems like a nice question/answer lesson to me. (You wanna see drama, head over to the espresso BBs!) Everyone's been very helpful & I've learned a ton in just a few days' time.

                                                                I've been using stamped blades for the past 20 yrs. I'm tired of struggling with trying to keep an edge on them, & I'm ready to pay more for better tools.

                                                                Certainly, if you're a member here, there's something that interests you about food prep. Obviously it's not knives. But ... what?

                                                              2. I use the following (chef's type) knives:

                                                                1) Shun original 8" chef
                                                                2) MAC Professional 6.5" Santoku
                                                                3) Forschner 8" chef

                                                                This isn't to muddy the waters, just my experiences. I bought the Forschner because it was cheap and because of the ATK recommendation. For the price, it is impossible to beat. To this day, I still use it as my workhorse for butchering or for tasks like cutting squash.

                                                                In comparison, the Shun is just a lot smoother. The difference in blade thickness is easily noticeable. The handle is nice as well, although I almost prefer the stoutness of the Forschner handle (I have pretty big hands).

                                                                It's funny, though. Day after day, I find myself grabbing the Mac more than anything. I absolutely love that knife. Light, easy to use and cuts through everything with ease.

                                                                Just my two cents...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: BigE

                                                                  Thanks, your opinions help me more than you'll know. Your experiences with these other knives help me to understand the differences between Eastern/Western knife design & function.

                                                                2. just to confuse the issue some more. william henry makes beautiful but pricey folding knives (mostly). but they also make kitchen cutlery that makes these lines seem cheap. anyone ever consider,or use them. they do have very narrow handles btw. just went to their web site and i don't see kitchen knives. but still an interesting site

                                                                  1. I don't use my Henckel 4 stars much at all any more but a 8" 4 star chef for $30 is a good price. I once came upon a lot of henckel open box stuff at Macy's for $9 each. Some 4 stars, twin signatures and some of the cheaper Henckels. I had to fix a broken tip on one but after sharpening they were very servicalbe knives. I ended up giving some to my kids and have a few left to give them later when they start to cook more.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                      That's funny, when I bought it I thought, "Hey, if I end up not using the 4-star I can always give it to one of the kids as a better starting knife than I ever had"!

                                                                    2. I think the Shun Classic or Elite/Kaji are superior knives for most tasks. I am keeping my Henkels 8 inch for chopping through chicken bones, etc., which a heavier knife seems more suited to do. If you can spring for it, the Shun is a beauty to use, and it is much sharper out of the box.

                                                                      1. I'm surprised no one has boiled it down to the essential:

                                                                        "The best knife is the one you'll use"

                                                                        Meaning that a $2.00 Ginsu that you pick up and use daily is a better purchase than a $200 knife that sits on the rack because it's uncomfortable or you're scared to knick it or whatever reason. That said...if you like the feel of the Shun - BUY THE SHUN. If you're interested in the Shun (or Hattori, or Kenckle, or even a friggen Ginsu Chop-o-matic) because you've been told about what great quality it is... Anyway, the point is that, Henckle, Shun, Hattori...any of these are going to last you a lifetime, properly cared for. If you're buying something knowing it's going to (or should) stay with you for the rest of your life, the price is truly irrelevant; the *only* important factor is whether it 'suits' you, and that you're going to be comfortable using it.

                                                                        - as an aside...my knife bar has exactly 5 knives on it, each one a Henckle 4 Star. I do intend on adding a Hattori or two at some point (starting with a santoku). I went with the Henckles because they fit me/my hand very nicely (I have very large hands and it's hard to find things that 'fit' comfortably...don't get me going about computer mice ;) ). I'm not overly impressed with edge wear on my Henckles...fairly good for a high-end knife, but I'd like a little more use out my edge, but the comfort factor makes me happy to use my knives and that is the most, if not only, important thing.

                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                        1. re: dochogan

                                                                          Actually, I did get "the best knife is the one you'll use" message (in one form or another) from several of the earlier replies. "Properly cared for," all the stamped, Chinese-made knives I've got now will last me the rest of my life. But they won't be as enjoyable to use (for the rest of my life) as nicer knives will be.

                                                                          When I started my search for "best 8 inch chef's knife," I thought the question was going to be relatively easy to answer. Simply, is one knife worth $100 more than another? (However you choose to measure that worth.) It started out as a "comparative value" question.

                                                                          What I didn't realize was that there's more nuance to it than that. Now it's handle, & profile, & weight, & balance, & materials, & appearance, & design philosophy. Now it's a question of "what do I want?," versus "what do you think?" I've even started wondering if people use a particular knife because it's what they're trained to use, rather than what they'd use if given every option & no sales pitch.

                                                                          I plan on buying at least one Shun. But a knife's feel is now only part of the equation. Yes, it's a major part. But as was stated earlier, the other variables (notably, profile & design philosophy) can easily make it money ill-spent.

                                                                          We all have something we're keen on. Maybe it's wine: I can't afford $60/bottle wine & can't enjoy $5/bottle wine. Or coffee: since I started making my own espressos, I can't stomach the swill that's sold in cafes. Or cookware: stainless, cast iron, enameled? Or cameras: I love my Kodachrome/Nikon combo. Or cars: basic model with manual transmission, or bells/whistles with automatic? (And have you ever tried to repair something without the required "special tool"??.) There's usually something that we won't "settle" for what we perceive to be a lower level item. Knowledge, experience & skills will always improve the person involved in the practice. Better tools make the journey more enjoyable. Now I just need to figure out what I really want.

                                                                          1. re: Eiron


                                                                            I think there are a lot of prioritizations here. I have friends who think I am crazy to even consider any knife which costs more than $20 a piece, yet they have no problem popping $100 per month on cell phone service or eating out all the time (>$20) because they do not like cooking. In fact, I thought I spent a lot just a year ago when I spent $40 on a knife. Now, I think $100-150 for a good knife is very reasonable. A good knife will last me a long time. Let’s say you end up spending $500 total for several knives which you get to use for the next 20 years. That will be $25 per year or $2 per month. A very good investment if you get to use them.
                                                                            “Getting the best knife” will be very tough. First, knives can be very expensive. It is not uncommon for knives to get above $1000 a piece. Second, we will never know what is the best knives unless you tried them all, which we may still not able to decide. I am now trying to get the best style of knife, instead of the best knife. On cutlery, I am splitting my efforts in “getting good knives”, “improving at knife sharpening”, “enhancing cutting techniques”. Without decent knife sharpening techniques, a good knife is just the same as an average knife in a year. Here is the ugly truth: the better the knives are the more they require proper care. Sticking a non-name brand $5 knife in any knife sharpening machine will sharpen it. Sticking a Shun knife or Fujirwara knife into an average sharpening machine will ruin it. Without good knife cutting techniques, then a good knife is being underutilized. Finally, the cutlery aspects are just part of the bigger culinary picture.

                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                              Chem (may I call you Chem?), I agree 110%. I'm now looking at advice & future ownership with the same criteria you're outlining here. I'm even now actually considering a Shun Kramer! Insanely expensive (11x that $30 Henckels) & scarily hard/brittle (64-66HRC!), but awesomely beautiful (to me) in both steel pattern & handle design, & probably among the most well-balanced in operation.

                                                                              I read (here on CH?) that the knife you use 80% of the time should get 80% of your knife budget, & that makes sense to me. If I plan to use this as my primary knife for the next 20 to 30 yrs (hopefully 50+ yrs!), then the high expense today seems well worth it.


                                                                              1. re: Eiron


                                                                                Ok, this is just a merely suggestion. Meji "Bob Kramer" Shun knives are made of SG-2 powdered steel cutting edge. They are also very beautiful but expensive. I would also consider Shun Elite and Shun Kaji. Both are also made of SG-2 cutting edge, so these three lines should have similar performance. You can see here Shun Elite 8" chef's knife and Shun Kaji 8" chef's knife are ~$220



                                                                                whereas Shun Meji (Bob Kramer) 8" chef's knife is $400:


                                                                                Well, yes, there is that saying that "you should spend 80% of the knife budget on the knife which you use 80% of the time." I would take that as a metaphor, not a rule. You should be willing to spend more on the knife you use the most. For example, spending $600 on a Soba-Kiri and $10 on a chef's knife will be really strange, unless you make a lot of Soba:


                                                                                However, some knives, by definition, are more expensive, so that metaphor does not apply. For example, you can get an ok chef's knife around $50-100, no problem, but it will be very tough for you to get a decent yanagiba at that price range. Certainly, you cannot say that you will only make sashimi 2% of the time and want to pay for a $2-10 yanagiba.

                                                                                Look, I wear underwear all the time, but I spend a lot more on my sport coat -- which I probably have only worn 3-4 times.

                                                                                What I really want to say is that you should "willing" to spend more on your main knife, but you do not have to. In fact, you do not want to spend more than your comfort zone. You main knife will be your all-purpose knife which means it should able to handle a wider range of jobs than your other specialty knives. You should able to freely use it chop, dice, slice, mince ....and not feel bad about it. You want to spend enough to get the knife which can do the most for you, improving your ability. You want to control the knife and you do not want the knife to control you (if you spend $2000 on a chef's knife, then you may not want to use it to do this and that because you worry about scratching it. At that point, the knife is controling you and imiting what your can -- which obviously defeat the original point).

                                                                                Greg.... I guess you are younger than me. Somehow I always thought you are older until you said the next 50+ years. Are you in your 20's? Anyway, yes, a good knife is a good investment because you get to use it for a long time, but knife technology evolves too, not fast, but it does improve, so 20 years down the road, there will certainly be better steels coming out.

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  LOL, no, I haven't seen my 20's for a couple of decades now. :-D But I do expect to live to 100 (hopefully longer!) & don't want to continue using poor tools to prepare the food to get me there. That's why I bought a single All-Clad Copper Core fry pan a few months ago, & why I'm now willing to spend $300+ on a single chef's knife that I'll enjoy holding & looking at as much as using.

                                                                                  At my age (50), preparing my own food now includes previously intangible items like how I feel about purchasing & using the tools. Actual taste difference is minor, if measurable at all. But perceived taste difference, due feeling so much better about the acts of preparing it, is big enough to justify these expenses.

                                                                                  That's part of my ChowHound DNA, I guess. ;-)

                                                                                  1. re: Eiron


                                                                                    I remember you bought that nice Henckels knife for $30. Did you buy any knife after that? Or are you reading a lot of cutlery literature to prepare for your next purchase? What will your next purchase be? An nicer chef's knife? A Santoku? A Gyuto? I have been reading about an usuba. I want to learn how to use one, so I can do this:


                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      I've played with doing that but had to ask myself you much I value my thumbs.

                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97


                                                                                        I don't know. It looks no more dangerous than peeling an apple with a paring knife. Seriously, I guess I never get the peeling apple thing. When I put my thumb directly in front of the blade like this:


                                                                                        I do not see why I cannot slip and cut right into my thumb. I had been peeling my apples the opposite way. My blade is facing away from me and there is nothing in its path. I know I am doing it wrong, which is why I have recently switched back to the correct way to peel my apples but have not gotten use to it.

                                                                                        However, you point is well taken. A Katsuramuki (rotary peeling) can be dangerous.

                                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                        Chem, I got a Cutco 5" santoku for xmas. It's from my wife, so there's no chance of returning it. On the positive side, it's got a nice balance to it & we both like the (smaller-sized) handle shape. Since the blade is stamped, it's nice & thin. The blade profile is also very flat, so it's more of a "true" Japanese profile than a Western-shaped santoku. One last plus is that the sharpening of the lower-quality steel actually creates an almost micro-serrated edge. It's not a smooth, razor edge like Shun has, & it seems to saw thru things very well (for now).

                                                                                        I haven't bought any other knife yet, but I'm going to swing by BBB tomorrow & see if I can spend some money on a Shun. I'm also going to re-profile the bolster of the Henckels before I release it into the knife drawer. I don't like the way it drops all the way down to the edge, & I don't like the sharp transitions to the blade where you're supposed to pinch-grip it.

                                                                                        1. re: Eiron


                                                                                          Here is a seller charging $200 for a Cutco Santoku:


                                                                                          I hope your wife didn't pay that much. So do you like the Santoku? I don't mean the steel. I mean the style of a typical Santoku: a shorter, lighter, thinner and straighter knife. Or do you prefer a French Chef's knife? Many people like one or the other.

                                                                                          Make sure you bring your 20% coupon with you to BBB :) What Shun knife are you thinking? A paring knife?

                                                                                          Yeah, I do not get the full bolster thing. It makes knife sharpening difficult. On the other hand, I like the partial bolster from Wusthof Ikon knives.


                                                                                          How are you going to re-profile the Henckels knife? Do you have a grinding wheel or something?

                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            The BBB coupons exclude all the good stuff (Shun All-Clad) but luckily most of the time the people up front don't care aand let you use it anyway. if they refuse, go to another person/store . :)

                                                                                            1. re: deeznuts


                                                                                              My BBB coupons only exclude Wusthof, not Shun. Here is an example of its exclusion list:


                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                Hmm, I remember that they used to exclude it, or was that the now extinct LNT. Either way, good news.

                                                                                                1. re: deeznuts

                                                                                                  You are probably right. I am just referring the last 2 years, as I never paid attention before that.

                                                                                            2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              No, she said she paid just under $100 with shipping & tax. It's a nice shape & fits my cutting style. I like the handle except for the very front, where it bulges out. It makes it impractical for pinch gripping.

                                                                                              I hadn't seen a close-up of the Ikon before, but that's very close to what I had in mind. I have access to a grinder, but it only has coarse wheels. I planned on using my Dremel, but maybe I'll rough grind the bolster off on the grinder wheel & then clean it up with the Dremel.

                                                                            2. Go Shun! I adore these knives, actually I adore Asian cutlery. Super strong, well balanced, and excellent customer service (from Shun, at least). Actually Henkels also own a Co. called Miyabi. I own their 7" Santoku & 10" chef's from their 7000 MC series. Brilliant knives! They have a special Micro Chorbide coding that makes their blade insanely strong. Well worth the $.

                                                                              1. Eiron, I second the post that suggested buying both. (You will not regret it.) I also suggest you purchase a set of Japanese waterstones. These remarkable sharpening stones allow you to keep any knife--cheap or costly--razor sharp. They work especially well on Shuns and Japanese knives that have a slightly different bevel. What's amazing is how they make even a cheap Target knife razor sharp-but just for a little while.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Leper

                                                                                  Thanks Leper. I did buy the Henckels 8" chef & another knife. I'll start a new thread about the whole kit-n-kaboodle.

                                                                                  I do plan on getting some waterstones. At first I was worried about sharpening taking too long, but after reading about it (over on JCK) I think it should be relatively quick & easy. ("Relatively" being the operative word, of course!)

                                                                                2. Eiron, I hate you. I am totally broke right now and should NOT be following the links I'm following and bookmarking!

                                                                                  The only saving grace? Too.Many. Recommendations!

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: shanagain

                                                                                    LOL, you're welcome! I feel your pain...

                                                                                    Besides the Shun Kramer Euro chef's that I'm currently lusting after, here are a few other things I'm considering:

                                                                                    The maker of these beautiful knives is having health problems, so they may never be available in the Quince Burl wood handle I'd want.

                                                                                    There are a lot of nice knives here, but the one I'm considering is from Saji, near the bottom of the rather long listing. Not as "seamlessly" finished as the Shiki, but definitely a more unique product.

                                                                                    Enjoy! :-)

                                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                                      Burl Knives?

                                                                                      If you don't cut with them properly you may end up with a little bitty tear.

                                                                                  2. You answered your own question. People can argue about sharpness and different qualities of the steel a knife is made of, but if you like the feel of the Shun, that's the final word on the subject.

                                                                                    I suggest not thinking of "saving" $100. The only way you save anything is to keep the knife you have. If you buy one knife or the other you're just making different investments. Think of it in value per year. Seems like if you buy the Henkel you might be looking for a replacement in a year or two, but the Shun is likely to be your favorite for much longer.

                                                                                    So much for philosophy. If the Shun model you like is sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, get your hands on one of their ubiquitous 20% off coupons. That might make the decision a bit easier.

                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Zeldog

                                                                                      Sorry if this is slightly off-topic. I live in Canada. If I am visiting the US how would I go about getting one of the discount coupons?

                                                                                      1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                        If you're visiting friends/family, ask them to save theirs for you. BBB sends these things out all year long (they have relatively short expiration dates), so there's no worry that you're "taking away" a discount from anyone. Besides dedicated coupon postcards, they also sometimes show up on the back of catalogue mailers.

                                                                                        1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                          Agree with Eiron (Greg). It will be great if you are visiting your friends or family because you can ask them to save one BBB coupon for you. BBB has two kind of coupons. There is the $5 off from $15 purchase or more, and there is the 20% off from one single item.

                                                                                          You can also purchase BBB coupons online, but because of the short expiration dates, the timing can be tricky:


                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            I just read the Ebay link I put up. The seller state:

                                                                                            "NOTE: Coupons are free however, you are paying/bidding for the time, effort & other expenses spend in collecting and sending coupons."

                                                                                            In other words, he is not selling the coupons. He is selling the handling fee. :D The reason is so funny is that he is stating up front to avoid any lawsuit. I believe it is illegal to sell the coupons.

                                                                                          2. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                            Buying coupons? What a rip off. I went to the BB&B site and registered to receive them by mail. They send them out so frequently I almost always have a valid one on hand. I don't know if it works for Canada, but give it a shot.

                                                                                            1. re: Zeldog

                                                                                              Just buy the Sunday newspaper. They almost always have a coupon in there. They issue so many coupons it a wonder anyone ever buys anything at their regular price, which is usually higher than discount stores.

                                                                                              1. re: lazycook

                                                                                                Or go somewhere for breakfast and sneakily rip one out of the paper?

                                                                                                Thanks everyone for the advice. My American friends are all over 1000 miles away. I wonder what happens if you go into BBB and ask for a coupon saying you left it at home?

                                                                                                1. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                                  I think it works well if the cashier is a woman and you are a tall muscular and handsome guy. Start lifting weights now.

                                                                                            2. re: Paulustrious

                                                                                              everybody and their mother who lives near a BBB gets one. Frequently. And contrary to what they put on their coupon, it does not expire. I've never had one denied because of the expiration date. I actually don't think I've ever used a coupon before it's expired.

                                                                                          3. I use a Damascus steel knife from one of the leading knife suppliers in Japan - Yaxell. I use the Ran 8" chef knife – the most amazing knife in means of handling and sharpness wise (In German TestMagazine of March 2009, the knive was top rated and got gold medal compared with all leading brands like Zwilling J.A.Henckels, Dreizack, Boeker , Guede, Solicut etc.). you can view their websites www.yaxell.co.jp or www.yaxell.co.il Yaxell Produces piece by piece by the hands of the most experienced craftsmen in Seki,Japan, the city of Katana sword over seven centuries

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: miro

                                                                                              miro, thanks for the links! I really enjoyed watching the promotional video showing their manufacturing processes. The knife I ended up with (Kanetsune KC-102 8.3" chef knife) I like very much for its ergonomics and balance, but it's not quite nice looking as your Ran. (And I REALLY like the appearance of the Gou series!)

                                                                                              Here's the thread where I compare the Kanetsune to two other knives I had at that time:

                                                                                              1. re: miro

                                                                                                Help! Sorry I'm replying to an old post, but I'm in the market for some new knives, and wandered upon this thread. Here's my burning question: How do you purchase the yaxell knives? The first link fortunately had an english translator, but I couldn't seem to find any "buy it" buttons. The second link had a great set of pics, but the rest looked like it might be in Persian. Sorry, mono linguist that I am, I don't speak or read any of these. Any advice would be great! Thank you!, Laura

                                                                                              2. Eiron,

                                                                                                I have several knives. A Shun Fuji 8.5 Chef ($400), zwilling pro 8" ($150 Paid $75 on EBAY used) and a ~80 yr old High 9" carbon butcher knife. (2 bucks at an estate sale 20 yrs ago) I love all three. If the house were on fire and i could only grab one with my photos and family on the way out it would be the 2 dollar one.
                                                                                                I just got lucky with this knife. I do use the Shun and butcher kinfe as the go to blades. For the money the Zwilling Pro is a very nice knife. I have given several of these away. The I would suggest that you go test drive several knives at the store. I think that the balance and feel of a knife in your hand is important. Once you have good knife you need to have good sharpening stones. I use large king 1000 and 6000 grit stones. Youtube has many videos on how to sharpen. Don't spend all of your money on the knife and forget the stones. They all get dull after a while, some sooner then others. The Damaskas steel blade on the shun sharpens to better than a Scalpel. I know because i make Scalpels for a living and have measured both of them. (1.5 micro (MILLOINTH) inch flat on the edge from the factory)

                                                                                                Beware the Damaskas steel is brittle. I broke my first shun de-boning something. This is because of the blade hardness and the folded layres of steel. look at the blade edge and make sure that there is no wavy fold lines close to the edge.

                                                                                                Happy cooking

                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: haneykl

                                                                                                  Hi haneykl!

                                                                                                  Wow, I am humbled by your response to this thread! It's been more than 3 yrs since I began this search, & I initially ended up with these knives:

                                                                                                  In the years since, I've also bought three Forschner Rosewood knives (7" santoku, 8" bread knife & 3-1/4" parer), a Shun Classic 4" parer, & a 3 Rams (Chinese) fruit knife (kind of like a long usuba).

                                                                                                  For stones, I have Spyderco medium & fine ceramics, & 1000, 3000 & 6000 grit Japanese water stones. I use the harder ceramics for the softer steels, & the softer water stones for the harder steels.

                                                                                                  Happy cooking to you, too! :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: Eiron

                                                                                                    Great photos, and great knives. Thanks for sharing. Eiron has seen became a knife expert and making knives and all:


                                                                                                    As for your broken Shun knife, is that the one from your photo, or a different one? How bad area we talking about? Just a broken tip maybe?

                                                                                                    Shun has reasonably good warranty. You should contact Shun (KAI) and see if they are willing to replace it for free or free sharpening to remove (rounding) of the broken section.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                      The one in the photo is the replacement. Williams and Somoma was kind enough to give me another one after i explained that i did not think that i needed to keep the receipt for a $400 knife. My rationale was that it should be good for life. Lesson learned. It is an awesome knife and i am very careful with it now. It did not break at the tip a 1/8" chip broke out of the middle of the blade.

                                                                                                    2. re: Eiron

                                                                                                      <In the years since, I've also bought three Forschner Rosewood knives (7" santoku, 8" bread knife & 3-1/4" parer), a Shun Classic 4" parer, & a 3 Rams (Chinese) fruit knife (kind of like a long usuba). >

                                                                                                      Don't you also have a Kanetsune or two? Or did you sell both of them?

                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                        Yes, I have the 210mm Kanetsune gyuto, but I gave away both the Farberware & Henckel 8" chefs knives. I also still have the Shun 150mm petit, & the Cutco 5-1/4" santoku. And, of course, I enjoy using any of them more than the drawer-full of poor quality knives I had when I started looking. :-)