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Just bought a Shun knive, what do I need to do honing/sharpening-wise?

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Hi,

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???

Thanks!

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  1. There is an old post on this matter. You may find it useful:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6664...

    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.

    http://www.kershawknives.com/sharpeni...

    I would NOT use the Shun electrical knife sharpener.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      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.

      1. re: scubadoo97

        Hi Scubadoo,

        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."

        http://www.kershawknives.com/sharpeni...

        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.

      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

        i got one for a gift a couple of years ago and we have yet to have the need to sharpen it and we use it a lot. we have about $1,000 of good knives and this is my favorite.

        have fun!

      3. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

            1. 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.

              1. My suggestion is to return it for the 7" santoku or the 7.5" sumo santoku. Geometry is much better than the 8" chef knife.

                A ceramic sharpening rod may be of some use, but I'm not sure, I've never used one; I use waterstones and usually touch up my knives once a week to once a month, depending on usage. Any regular steel would be of absolutely no use at all, as Shun VG-10 is harder than the steel used in honing steels. It is also hard enough that the edge won't fold over after use, as in softer steels.

                If you find a good, local sharpener who sharpens by hand on water stones, utilize his service once every 3-6 months.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jaykayen

                  The only reason to sharpen a knife every 3 months is if you literally abuse the heck out of it. I know professional chef's who will use a knife more in one day that most home cooks would use it in a month or more and they typically only have their knives sharpened once (maybe twice) a year.

                  Question...why would anyone spend the money on a high-end knife like a Shun and not even know what the salesperson is talking about when they mention honing? Brilliant.

                  1. re: JayL

                    JayL,

                    It is not uncommon for Japanese chefs to sharpen their Japanese knives on a daily basis -- at the very least on a weekly basis. This is not because Japanese chefs abuse their knives. Far from it.

                    It has to do with steel strength as well as expectation. What is sharp to a person is not necesary sharp to another person. Some people are happy as long as the knife can cut a carrot. Others demand the knife able to cut a hair hanging in mid air.

                    Jakayen is pretty knowledge about knives.

                    1. re: JayL

                      Just because they are chefs doesn't mean they know the first thing about knives.

                      And is your question for me, or the OP? I hone on my stones, not a rod.

                  2. I get the sense that the OP is confusing honing with sharpening?

                    1. An easy and inexpensive way to hone is with a leather strop http://www.woodcraft.com/Catalog/Prod... charged with chromium oxide. The liquid or dry powder work better than the inexpensive waxy stick http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...

                      Mount the leather on a raised surface. Many people use a 2X4. A little chromium oxide to coat the leather and now you have a strop. To find the angle to strop at, lay the knife down on the strop and slowly and gently raise the spine while sliding the edge foward. As soon as you feel the edge bite the leather you are at the correct angle. Now do several light passes in an edge trailing motion at this angle. At the end of the pass, stop and lift the knife off the leather and repeat. Don't do it like you see a barber strop a straight edge. Flip the knife and repeat for the other side. Find the edge and strop lightly. Lift at the end of each pass. Diamond sprays will work even better than the chromium oxide.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        +1 on the leather strop.

                        1. re: scubadoo97

                          We should have a new post about leather strop.

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            Murray Carter, the opinionated one, hates stropping. he thinks that the lifting at the end you describe rounds off the edge. Even if you don't lift, the inherent give of the leather rounds off the edges, taking away some of the sharpness.

                            but then again he also only sharpens with a 1k stone, and he handheld sharpened in front of one of the KF members before. Handheld meaning he held the stone in one hand and the knife in the other and sharpened.

                            1. re: deeznuts

                              deeznuts,

                              There is definitely different philosphies on stropping. In my experience, stropping on a bare leather belt seems to help. The way I see it is that the stropping help remove loose teeth from a freshly sharpened knife. I agree that the "give" from a leather belt will contact the edge at a wider (obtuse) angle, but that should remove the loose teeth at a more so than rounding off the primary bevel. In short, I think it will be a net gain for someone like me.

                              I suppose if the knife has a few to no loose pieces hanging off the edge, then stropping may have an overall negative effect, but that be unlikely for me.

                              1. re: deeznuts

                                Lifting the knife striaght up instead of flipping (like barbers do with straight edges) it is suppose to keep the edge from rolling.

                                1. re: deeznuts

                                  Using a light touch, proper leather, and good technique should eliminate rounding of the edge. I use Dave Martell's method that I saw on his video and the way he lifts the blade when departing from the leather surface is easy on the edge and shouldn't round it. With that said, I am still new to the leather hone with diamond spray. Here is the one I have.

                                  http://www.japaneseknifesharpeningsto...