Just bought a Shun knive, what do I need to do honing/sharpening-wise?
I just bought my first good knive! A Shun 8" Chef's knife. Haven't used it yet, but it looks awesome, haha! One salesperson, told me I only need to sharpen it once a month, another told me I need to hone it after every use and sharpen it once a month. I think the latter was just trying to sell me a bunch of excess honing steels/sharpeners. Either way, I only bought the knife, and figured I could find something cheaper online. Do I need to hone it after every use? I will probably use it 2-3 times a week.
I have no idea how to hone, but I'm assuming it is pretty simple, I'm sure there is a video on youtube that describes how to do it. Any suggestions???
There is an old post on this matter. You may find it useful:
Personally, I don't think you should hone your Shun knife with a honing steel. If you like to keep your knife sharp, you can do a light sharpening (maintenance sharpening) whenever you feel the knife is slightly dull. This can be once a week or once a month.
For full sharpening, you have the option of doing it yourself or send your knife to Shun manufacturer (KAI) for free knife sharpening services.
I would NOT use the Shun electrical knife sharpener.
I don't own a Shun but one of their reps told me recently that you should only sharpen one of their knives every 3 years and you can send it to Shun for that sharpening. I was told that to care for the knife at home you should use the Shun grooved steel. Of course I had a different opinion but hey, I don't work for Shun.
Personally I would advise you go learn how to sharpen your knife at home. If you don't want to free hand sharpen on a wetstone then get an AdgePro Apex sharpening system. It's an investment but well worth it. I hone my Japaneses knives on a leather strop charged with chromium oxide between sharpening which is done when honing alone does not produce the fine edge performance that I want. This is usually caused by micro chips that then need to be sharpened out. A good loop to view your edge is a great tool to have to inspect the edge for damage.
Every 3 years does not sound too bad. On its website, it states there is no reason to send the knives in more frequent than once a year. Here:
"How often should I sharpen my knives?
Shun knives should not need sharpening more than once a year, less often depending upon the level of use. When the knife will no longer slice through a ripe (not over-ripe) tomato easily, it is time to sharpen your knife."
I don't think there is a hard timeline enforced by KAI. That is, if you want to send the knives in more often than once a year, I don't think KAI will stop you.
Like you, I cannot agree with the Shun grooved steel statement. I would rather not use the steel at all.
I just sharpened my Shun for the first time, after 3 years. I used an oil stone to do it. The blade has a few nicks out of it, and the tip has a chunk off of it too (because my husband has misused it, not me!). Anyway, I steel it before and after (nearly) every use. The only trick to this knife is that the blade angle is slightly different than my other knives. My Shun is at an 18 degree angle, rather than a 15 degree angle.
How often you sharpen or hone is up to you. If the knife is not performaning to to your expectations then try honing then sharpening. Alot depends on how much you use your knife and what you are using it for. I have two Shuns plus three traditional Japanese knives. I do not hone on every use. There is no need. I would highly recommend that that you do learn to hone and sharpen your Japanese knives or send them out to a qualified professional.
I would not use a grooved steel on your Shun knives. If you do use any type of steel, I would go with a smooth polished metal hone or the borosilicate glass hone by HandAmerican. These will be much gentler on your blades. The glass hone will cost you though. I think it is around $80 at Chefknivestogo.
Other than that, you can go with a leather hone/strop. It can be loaded up with chromium oxide powder or diamond spray. This is what I am moving to. A leather pad and CrO powder can be had for around $25. Nicer set ups will cost more.
use a ceramic rod once in a while for straightening the edge, don't even think about sharpening it for at least a year. That's my experience with my Shun santuko. It's an awesome knife.