HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Shun Knives--Preference?

I know there are a lot of knife threads on here, but I'm still not finding an answer to my question, so here goes.

If one were to look only at Shun knives, which line would you pick and why?

Let me qualify this--I can't buy the classic because the handles are right-handed and my husband is a lefty. Right now I am making do with a Forschner which is great but perhaps a little too light. And my husband really doesn't like it.

I know the Ken Onion line seems to be getting phased out and you can get a great deal...but I feel like people have said the design of the handle makes you cock your wrist at a weird angle.

Has anyone tried the Shun Edo yet? They're at Williams-Sonoma but they're REALLY new.

Also, I pinch the knife when I hold it, so I like knives with a bolster that has a bit of an ergonomic space for the fingers, and a wide finger guard (like the Ken Onion). I don't have much of a technique with knives yet as I just learned how to properly hold a knife not all that long ago. Definitely have sliced myself less since learning this, but I still feel like I need to take a class!

I am not saying I HAVE to buy a Shun, but I won't buy something that I have to mail order without trying first. And I'm trying to figure out, aside from feel, if there is any reason to put one Shun line above another, so that I can compare it to other brands....Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You started by saying that "which line would you pick and why?", but then you also said "I can't buy the classic", so I am going to assume you are not asking for my preference, rather for a knife for you and your husband.

    Shun Classic, Shun Steel, Shun Pro, Shun Alton's, ... all have D handles.

    Shun Premier, Shun Elite, Shun Kaji, Shun Bob Kramer Euro (Sur La Table), Shun Bob Kramer Meji (williams sonoma), ... have neutral handles.

    Shun Premier blade is made of VG-10 and cladded with stainless steel. It is essentially made with the same technology as Shun Classic. It is the less expensive of the lines I have just mentioned. Shun Elite, Shun Kaji, and the two Shun Bob Kramer blades are made with SG-2 powder steel. The two Bob Kramer's lines are more expensive.

    Knife geometry matters. For example, the Shun Bob Kramer Meji knives from Williams Sonoma has more of an Asian pushing cutting influence, whereas the Shun Bob Kramer Euro knives from Sur La Table will do well for rock chopping. Which one is more suitable for you will depend on your knife technique.

    Here is a video demonstration of Shun Bob Kramer Meji by our favor SaltyDog


    P.S.: I know nothing of Shun Edo. Do you have a weblink to it?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      "I know nothing of Shun Edo. Do you have a weblink to it?"
      not much out there, but a Google search brought up some info on the Shun facebook page:

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Chem, I believe the knife in that video is actually a handcrafted Bob Kramer Meji knife, rather than the Shun production model. The Shun models look quite a bit like Kramer's handmade knives. I don't know how they perform, as I haven't tried one.

        Gorgeous-looking knives though, and if they perform as well as I've heard, they're quite drool-worthy.

        1. re: cowboyardee


          You are probably correct. Thanks for the correction. Won't want to mislead Danish.

          ".... they're quite drool-worthy" Which one are you talking about? The custom ones or the Shun ones?

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            The production model looks so much like the hand-made ones that you could barely tell the difference from the video alone (aside from the gold bolster). But Salty's comments on another video make it clear.

            Also, I'm calling the Shun models drool-worthy. I had been pretty indifferent to Shuns before they released the Kramer model. If they managed to get the geometry similar to that of Kramer's other knives, they would have a real winner on their hands IMO.

            That handmade Kramers are also drool-worthy need not be said.

        2. re: Chemicalkinetics


          The youtube video is probably of a custom made Meji knife and not the Shun Meji knife.

        3. Though I kind of like the girth of the Shun Elite handles, I've heard some say that they aren't everyone's cup of tea. They are kind of thick. I think bigger hands might fit them better with the Elite line.

          1. Check out the Miyabi Fusion line at Sur La Table. Similar market category as Shun (Miyabi is owned by Zwilling/Henckels). Early reports are quite favorable for a mass market knife.


            Here is discussion of the knives

            10 Replies
            1. re: deeznuts

              Nice. It is similar to Shun in some aspects, but the Fusion's 9-12o edge bevel is very acute. The price looks good.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                The Fit and Finish apparently are really nice too. Rounded spine and everything. I am thinking of trying one out. IF they had a nakiri I would have bought one already.

                1. re: deeznuts

                  Is that right (about fit and finish)? This line you mentioned is pretty exciting. VG-10 core, HRC 60, and an edge bevel of 9o-12o. Sure, some of us sharpen our knives at ~10o, but we also don't abuse knives. I am surprise that Henckels finished theses knives at 9o-12o and put them on the shelves.

                  $80 for a 7" Santoku and $130 for a 8" Chef knife are not bad prices, unlike other Henckels lines.

                  Interesting. I am also looking at a Nakiri for the last two weeks, although I am looking for a carbon steel Nakiri. I have been eyeing on this one:

                  or maybe a cheaper one

                  I am taking my sweet time in shopping the Nakiri.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    according to knifeforum members the FNF is superb. Shun FNF is already superb, and it seems Miyabi/Henckels took it a step further. It's quite a beauty. I think I have yet to handle one (thinking of getting a gyuto) maybe I'll take a trip to Sur La Table and play with it. Maybe sell of my Kanetsune if so. I'm a sucker for aesthetics. Why function over form or vice versa, when you can have function and form.

                    1. re: deeznuts

                      I just handled one this last weekend. I did like the fit and finish, and the overall look of the knife is impressive. I did cut some carrots with it, but not enough to give me a good feel for how it cuts. The carrots they had were just too thin and small.

                      It was nice to have the thin blade, and it actually took a second or two to let my mind come to terms with a thin-bladed Henckels.

                      The only thing I will say is that I found them pretty heavy. If you like German cutlery, you will probably like the weight of this knife. Compared to the Shun elite I was also handling, they seemed a lot heavier to me...but it is all relative I guess. I didn't have my usual knives to compare them to.

                      1. re: smkit

                        Interesting. Do you know why it is heavy even though it is thin blade? Does the weight mostly come from the handle?

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          That would be my guess. The handle does have a lot of bling. With that said, the handle was comfortable, and it may have been that it just had a different balance. Not a bad balance, just different.

                          1. re: smkit

                            without handing one My guess too is the handle. It's a full tang and bolster (I guess Henckels just couldn't let go all the way). We all know Full tangs and bolster aren't necessarily needed,

                            But it's interesting that Eiron found it heavier than a kanetsune, which I have, that also has a full tang and bolster


                            1. re: deeznuts

                              BBB currently lists the Miyabi 5000 series knives, which (I think) is what they had when I was looking. I was able to compare them directly with the Shun Classic, but not directly (in the same store) as the Kanetsune.

                              My Kanetsune KC-102 (8.3") weighs 155g.

                              My KC-202 (the one you've linked, also 8.3") weighs a bit more, around 200g I think.

                              The Shun Classic 8" is listed by Michael Chu as 212g.

                              I can't find any weights listed for the Miyabi 5000 8", but Michael also lists the Henckels Pro-S 8" at 264g. I seem to recall that the Miyabi 5000 was even heavier than the Pro-S line, but I could be mistaken.

                        2. re: smkit

                          I agree about the weight. When I was considering the Shun knives I ended up buying, I also looked at the Miyabi line (whatever BBB was carrying back around Christmas 2009). They were just too heavy for my tastes & I much preferred the weight/balance of the Shun & Kanetsune knives I handled. Miyabi knives are definitely well-finished, but still too Teutonic for my preferences.

              2. i hadn't heard about the ken onions being discontinued. does anyone know of a site with good deals? i wouldn't mind adding a full size chef's knife by them to my current arsenal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: davmar77

                  Amazon has the 10" and 8" Chef's Knives priced at $199. I just added the 10" to my set.


                2. I have both the 8" and 10" Ken Onion chef knives and could not be more pleased. Love the way they feel in my hand and love the way they cut.

                  1. I am normally a Mac guy myself. I am also a lefty so the shun classics are not an option for me. I realize they can be ordered for lefties but I wont buy a knife that I havent held, and holding a right handed classic doesnt work for me.

                    I have a question though, does anyone have any experience with the Shun Premier line? I need to get my buddy a wedding gift and these knives look great. They have that wow factor that you want when you are giving gifts. As I said I love my Macs , but they are not as appealing to the eye as the shuns are, especially the premier line IMO.

                    Does anyone know how the quality of this line is compared to other Shun lines?

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: pony boy

                      First, make sure you buddy does not mind getting knives for wedding gift. Some people hate that.

                      Shun Premier is similar to Shun Classic in term of blade technology.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I had a feeling you would be the first to respond :)

                        He definitely knows that I am getting him a knife and he is thrilled about it.

                        Thanks for the info

                        1. re: pony boy


                          Really? How did you know that?

                          By the way, Shun Premier handle has no left and right hand orientation.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            I read this forum on a semi regular basis, and I can say one thing is always true; if there is a knife or cookware question you will be around to lend extensive knowledge about the subject :)

                            I noticed that the Premier handles work for either right or left handed people. I still dont think I will be getting one for myself as i am partial to the standard western style handle like the ones found on Macs and Tojiro's. (Never used a Wa handle though)

                            On the topic of knives and "handedness" I am pretty frustrated at the challenge of finding a yanagiba for a lefty. I realize I can order them, but as I said earlier I like to handle a knife before I buy it. I guess I will have to either order one and take a risk, or purchase a sujihiki.

                            1. re: pony boy

                              Wow, you flatten me. Thanks. :)

                              In the case you are going to buy Shun Premier for your friend, you should later visit him and play with the knife. The Wa-handle I have is similar to Shun Classic handle. An asymmetric D shape cross section handle. There are, of course, the very traditional octagon cross section handle. I would love to own one.

                              Yanagiba shopping in real stores can be a challenge for left handed users. If the handle is right handy, then I guess you just have to hold it on the right hand and "estimate" the feel. If the handle is octagon, then it will be easier because you can hold it on your left hand. The blade will be right handy, so you just have to order the left hand version. No easy way out.

                    2. I'm left handed and have a right handed Shun classic. It's really comfortable, hence why I bought it without even realizing it was made for right-handers (embarassingly enough.)