HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


Any thoughts on the Shun 7 1/2" Double Hollow Ground Santoku as a good all-purpose knife?

Hey everyone! First post here...

I'm looking to get my first semi-high-end knife to supplement an ok set I've been using for several years. I was leaning toward getting a traditional 8" chef's knife, but am intrigued by this Shun from WS: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

It seems like a very good deal at this price. I actually held several knives at the store today, and I liked both the Shun and the Wusthof Classic knives. I didn't care as much for the Global I tried.

I have some moderate knife skills, though I'm actually going to take a course at a local community college just to supplement my skills. I've used both a chef's knife and santoku at home, and don't necessarily have a preference. If forced to say which way I've leaned, I would say I tend to pull out the chef's knife more often than the 7" santoku.

The woman at the store described this as almost a cross between a santoku and a chef's knife.

I'm sure ANYTHING I get will be better than what I've been using, but I'm just wondering... I'm figuring on staying around the $100 range, give or take a few bucks.

Anyone else have any experience with this knife?

Thanks for your thoughts and input!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. No hands-on experience with this particular knife.

    To me this looks more like a cross between a santoku with a Chinese cleaver. I suppose Shun santokus in general have more curvature near the knife tip, so it is more like a Chef's knife in that sense. However, this particular Sumo santoku is simply wider than the Shun Classic santoku, not longer, so it does resemble a Chef's knife.

    Since you said you like a Chef's knife a bit better than a santoku, this Sumo knife may not be your best buy -- although several people here do like it, I am just not sure if it is for you. Knives can be personal. If you like to have a Japanese influenced Chef's knife that is under $100 and performs well, you may want to consider something closer to these:


    or this one:


    There are nicer ones at higher price points.

    P.S.: A Shun knife and a Wusthof knife are very different. One is much sharper and the other one tougher.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      yowch! for around the $100 range... there are better places than WS.

      1. re: Chowrin

        I agree with both of the above posters you can do allot better than WS.That Tojiro is a very sweet knife,and it's less than the Shun. I personally think "dimples" or hallow ground knives are a marketing ploy. The sumo looks really heavy(no pun intended)

      2. re: Chemicalkinetics


        " so it does resemble a Chef's knife." should be " so it does NOT resemble a Chef's knife."

      3. depends on how good you are at taking care of your knives. Owning wusthof or any other heavier knife isnt like a japanese steel knife they require extra care and attention. You have a thinner blade whice people have been known to chip since they aren't used to it. Also they have to be hand washed and towle dried or blade will rust.And most important is they cant really be sharpened on a regular sharpening steel. Best results are only done on a 6000-8000 grit wet stone.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MOSFET

          i own a similar knife (shun santoku 5 1/2 " double hollow) and never had a rusting issue and i've had it for over a year. while i'm not proud to say this but i don't take extra care with this knife. i wash it and leave it in the drying rack with all my other dishes and treat it like all my other regular knives.

        2. I have a stainless steel shun santoku and I use it relatively interchangeably with my chefs knives. If this model is similar to other shun knives, the handle is designed for people who are right handed and it's double not single bevel. The Shun is heavier than my other Japanese knife, which is a Mac, and it holds a very sharp edge. I don't treat it any differently than my other knives.

          1. I hadn't seen this model before. Interesting. A bunch of things to consider.

            The edge looks straighter than most shun knives, which IMO is a good thing - it makes more sense for a thinner Japanese blade to be pretty straight anyway.

            The wide profile will make this knife especially good for vegetable prep, whereas a longer skinnier knife is often more useful for slicing meat.

            From the pics and reviews, I suspect this knife is thin behind its edge like other Shuns. This will make it cut cleaner and more effortlessly, but it also makes me doubt the description's claim that you can use this knife to "cut through whole chickens," which sorta insinuates that light bones are no problem. Shun's VG-10 has always been prone to chipping with rough use, and I see no reason to think this is an exception.

            Looks like shun is ripping the Glestain design with multiple rows of grantons. I usually don't think much of grantons, but the Glestain design actually works pretty well for Glestains. I can't tell if they're deep enough or textured enough to work as well on this Shun, but might be a nice design point.

            If you do take a knife course, chances are they're gonna teach you to "rock" the blade while cutting anything smallish. You'll find that rocking still has it's uses, but straighter, thinner, and often sharper Japanese edges work better and last longer if you push cut or chop instead of rocking for most tasks (of course there are other types of cuts that come in handy in specific situations).
            Take a look at this video. For push cutting, skip to 1:10. For rocking, skip to about 2:15.
            For chopping, take a look at this video.

            The price really isn't bad for what this is (as long as that's something you're sure you want). I can't think of any other good blades with that profile for the $100, and definitely not any that are damascus clad, if you like that look.

            For an all-around chefs knife, I prefer a gyuto personally. But you said you didn't like the Global, which has much more of a gyuto shape and feel. Some of the other suggestions in this thread (which were for excellent knives, BTW) would have a similar shape and feel, though a different handle and edge geometry. What didn't you like about the Global?

            6 Replies
            1. re: cowboyardee

              Hey Cow,

              I think it depends on which photos you look at, but in these pictures, their profiles do not look horribly different:



              You are right. $100 for that knife is a good deal assuming if the person likes a the geometry first. I personally think it looks like a good deal, but I have no problem with wide blade knives as you know.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                Thanks for all the feedback. It's given me a lot to think about.

                I think I am leaning more toward a chef style knife or possibly a gyuto. I do eat a lot of meat, so a design that's geared more specifically toward vegetables may not be the best choice for me as an all-around all-purpose knife.

                I didn't really like the handle of the Global; that was my big problem with it. (Not a huge fan of the look either, but that's an extremely minor consideration for me.) I liked the handle of both the Wusthof and the Shun.

                I'm not 100% confident in my ability to "baby" a knife, although I do tend to take care of things that I pay a lot for and enjoy using. I've heard that the Shuns tend to chip sometimes if you're not careful with them. Is this an issue for other Japanese knives as well (like the ones listed in the above posts)?

                Another thing that had drawn me to the Shun (and even WS) is the fact that if there's any sort of issue with the knife I would likely have an easy time returning it (within a given time frame anyway). I also like the fact that Shun will sharpen the knife for the lifetime of the purchase.

                I appreciate the other suggestions (from Chef Knives to Go) and those look very interesting. Obviously to a novice like me, these names are unfamiliar. I'm open to considering options like this.

                This whole thing reminds me of the music world... I'm a guitar player, and this whole thing reminds me a bit of musical equipment. Most players just go to Guitar Center and buy a Fender guitar and a Marshall amp. However, I always recommend boutique builders who are hand-wiring amps - often for a similar price point. The people who are unfamiliar with these builders tend to still go to Guitar Center and buy a mass-produced product. And for the most part, most of them are happy with what they get, which is fine. :)

                I'm also trying to avoid getting sucked into this too much and buying TWO knives! lol A nice heavy duty Wusthof or something similar and either this Shun or another Santuko option. Can I resist the temptation???

                1. re: KaBudokan

                  Nice knives,be they German,Japanese,French or American made are very addictive, so be careful. I think a Santuko is a great all purpose knife.The only thing I don't use it for is deboning.It slices,dices,chops most foods with ease and accuracy.

                  1. re: KaBudokan

                    "I've heard that the Shuns tend to chip sometimes if you're not careful with them."

                    Yes. You have to be a bit more careful than a Wusthof, but I don't think you need to be extremely careful. I consider a Shun knife as a higher performance knife than a Wusthof, and higher performance knives simply require a bit more care.

                    As for the Tojiro knife listed above, it has a very similar knife spec to Shun, so they are probably about the same. The Fujiwara FKM mentioned is a bit softer, so maybe a bit tougher too.

                    "I also like the fact that Shun will sharpen the knife for the lifetime of the purchase"

                    That is an important service from Shun. You have to really think about if you are going to take advantage of this option. It sounds great, but many people do not use it.

                    There is nothing wrong with the Shun sumo Santoku really. The question is really "Is that a knife you will be comfortable with?" and I just don't know.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      I'm actually considering picking the Shun Santoku up. Apart from simply holding the knife and judging the weight/handle, etc., I find it hard to get a sense of the feel of the knife in the store. WS has a fairly liberal return policy, so I feel like I can "sample" the knife and if I am unhappy with the way it handles at home, I could return it.

                      I'm basically using some profits from some ebay sales of Le Creuset to buy a knife or two. I could conceivably spend $200 and still have a bit of money left over to put toward a bill or something responsible like that. lol The Le Creuset was picked up for a steal at a local warehouse store, so it's something of "found money."

                      I'm already getting sucked in and considering 2 knives... lol I need to stop by BB&B today for something else, so I may peruse the selection over there. 20% off coupons are both my friend and enemy... lol

                      1. re: KaBudokan

                        I have the Shun Classic 6.5" nakiri, and the thing that immediately struck me when I first picked it up was that it feels significantly heavier and less nimble in the hand than my other Japanese knives (Global, Glestain, Kumadori, Tojiro-PRO, Misono UX-10). For chopping vegetables, I don't mind the greater heft of the Shun, but to me, the main attraction of Japanese knives is their lightness and precision. If possible, I'd suggest that you try out both the Shun and a lighter Japanese knife at home and see which you prefer. If you like the big grantons (as I do), a Glestain santoku would be a good choice for comparison.

                2. Well... A little follow up report.

                  I did buy the Shun at WS today. It seemed like a good deal, and I felt comfortable with making the purchase knowing I could return it easily if I didn't like the knife.

                  I made a big pot of chili when I got home. Sliced some stewing beef into smaller cubes than what I purchased (the grocery store I popped into didn't have a whole chuck roast I was looking for), I sliced a couple onions, some celery, jalapenos, and a couple bell peppers.

                  So... As expected, this knife is amazing compared to anything I've ever used before. I knew that any knife I got would leave me with that impression, but I'm thinking that the Japanese sharpness blew me away even more than one of the German knives would have. Everything sliced incredibly easily. I didn't do any tomatoes, but I did let the weight of the knife slice down through the pepper, starting with the outer skin. Ridiculous. :)

                  I also really liked the feel of the knife. I do like the Shun handle quite a bit; it was very comfortable, and although it may be heavier than some of the other Japanese knives (maybe?), it was much lighter than any I've used. Even being a bit tentative with the new knife and getting used to it, I was able to chop vegetables MUCH faster than I could before.

                  I felt good with the geometry of the knife - the curvature of the blade was ok for me. I could see how some people may like a straighter edge for chopping, but I didn't run into any issues. I'll need to see how I like it as I use it more and a little of the novelty wears off.

                  The knife actually rang up at $170 when she scanned it, and then she had to adjust the price to $99.

                  Did I mention before that I'm thinking of getting a second knife?

                  And on that note... I actually bought a paring knife at BB&B, and was really thinking about buying a carving knife there too... lol There was a Victorinox forged paring knife in their clearance section. I know the Forschner knives are very highly regarded, and these seemed pretty nice - made in Solingen, etc. The paring knife was $12. It's nice - sharp and feels good in the hand. In addition to this, there is an 8" forged slicing knife that would end up being $30. It's this knife: http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/produ...& . I have a slicing knife from the set that I had started with. I'm debating picking it up, but I'm not sure if it's worth upgrading this, as I don't know how often I would use it - if it would be worth the upgrade, even at a fairly cheap price.

                  Finally... While at WS, I noticed that the Shun Classic 6" was priced at $69 (!!!!), and they also had a Ken Onion 8" Chef's knife for $149.

                  I'm still considering getting a chef's knife or a Gyuto. I'm not sure I want to spend $150, and I am pretty sure I don't want a 6" chef's knife. Too bad on both counts. lol I may think about getting the Tojiro when they're back in stock, though I do still like the fact that Shun will sharpen the knives if I send them in. (And if I have two, I can send one at a time so I always have a good knife at home...)

                  Thanks for the advice! Even though it may seem like I ignored some of it, I'm certainly listening and appreciate it all!

                  58 Replies
                  1. re: KaBudokan

                    Thanks for the feedback. Feedbacks are very important. To be honest, what you are feeling toward the Shun knife may be the so called "Honeymoon" phase, so it will interesting if you can update your experience in a week or two. Yes, 6" Chef knife is a bit short for most people.

                    Have fun with your new knife and keep us updated.

                    As for the Tojiro, what do you mean by "when they are back in stock"? I just checked they are in stock at Chefknviestogo. Or do you mean they are in stock at Williams Sonoma? I didn't know W-S carries Tojiro.

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Would this geometry knife with its cleaver like height have an advantage when slicing larger harder items like potatoes -- or would a thinner profile knife (e.g., traditional chef's) be just as effective?

                      1. re: iyc_nyc


                        In my experience, the thickness of the blade will have more impact in cutting something like a potato. The thinner the blade, the easier it is for the knife to slice through the object with less wedging resistance. There are thin blade Chinese cleaver like CCK, and there are thin blade Chef's knife like some of gyutos.

                        In short, I think a Chef's knife will work just fine as long as it is not too thick.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Sorry, Chem -- meant more the width/height of the blade, not the thickness of the metal - does that make sense?I know thinner metal will encounter less resistance, but does it help to have a 'tall' blade like the cleaver shape?

                          1. re: iyc_nyc


                            I understand. What I wanted to say is that the blade thickness makes the difference, and not the blade width, not for potatoes anyway. I don't think the width/height of a blade makes a big difference for potatoe. Now, a wider/taller blade can be useful for big and hard objects. While any knife may get stuck when cutting a butternut squash. A wide blade knife won't get buried in a food item and allows me to tap the knife spine to cut through the item. There are other advanatges of a wide blade knife. It can be used a scoop. It can be a bit safer because knuckles can guide the knife at all time... etc. However, I don't think it makes a huge difference for potatoes. On the other hand, a narrower blade knife gives you more control.

                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        The Tojiro DP is out of stock at chefknivestogo - I signed up to receive an email when it is back in stock.

                        1. re: KaBudokan

                          Yes, you are correct. I wasn't paying attention. Thanks.

                          :) I remember I signed up for notification for a CCK knife and that worked, but I signed up for a sharpening stone and I failed to get the email.

                      3. re: KaBudokan

                        KB, I've kept out of this discussion mostly because cowboyardee said pretty much everything I was thinking. :-) I do agree with the folks who feel this knife is a good deal at $100. And I agree that Chem's comparative photos do seem to show a more curved profile than what appears on the WS site (which I, personally, don't care for).

                        Since you now have a 7-1/2" (190mm) santoku, what length gyuto do you think you'd use most? If you have a Sur la Table close by, you can check out the new Shun "Asian Chef" knife:

                        Over the holidays they had it on sale for only $99, & it's still listed at that price on the SLT front page of their website (so you might be able to push for that price: http://www.surlatable.com/category/CA...). It would give you a 2nd Shun & would have the traditional gyuto shape. But it's only 7" (180mm), so I don't know if it fits in with what you'd like for gyuto length.

                        I, too, love the Shun handle shape, but for me only the smaller diameter ones (like on this new 7" gyuto & on their 6" utility) provide the control I like. If I were starting over & not wanting to pay over $100 retail, I'd probably buy one of these gyutos:
                        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Pro...: 401px; HEIGHT: 233px

                        1. re: Eiron

                          Great suggestion as always. That Shun Asian Chef's knife does look good. I don't understand why it is 7" long though. An extra inch would be nice. On the other hand, it does have a fairly straight edge profile, so its useable length for slicing could very well be longer.

                          1. re: Eiron

                            I would probably consider it if it were 8".

                            I'm thinking about betting the Shun Classic 8" through BB&B, but I'm not sure.

                            I'd like to get either a gyuto or chef's knife as the 2nd knife. At that point, I may decide I truly like the Sumo, or I may decide the chef's knife is better for me. I could balance the pros and cons of each and decide if I want to keep both or only one for now.

                            And yes, as Chemical noted, I am DEFINITELY in the honeymoon period right now. ANY knife I got would be such a jump up from what I've been using, so it's hard to objectively judge this specific knife. I love it relative to my past experiences, but maybe not compared to others out there.

                            I am still being tempted a bit by some of the other Japanese knives, even though my head is telling me I may be better off with a Shun - with the free sharpening, local support, etc. Then again, the other part of my head is telling me that I could probably get a better overall knife for the money if I go for a less mainstream brand. lol

                            Again, thanks for all the help!

                            1. re: KaBudokan

                              KB, if you are seriously leaning towards the Shun 8" chef's knife, then I'd strongly encourage you to take the Shun Sumo along with you to BBB. At only 8" (200mm), I think you might find it too close in size/shape to the Sumo to justify its cost.

                              At that point, I think most of the folks here would probably recommend at least a 210mm (8.3") gyuto from one of the previously mentioned makers. The combination of 20mm extra length & straighter edge will give you a knife that "cuts longer" than what you'll get from the curved Shun edge.

                              1. re: Eiron

                                Unless, of course, if KaBudokan prefer the curved GermanChef's knife over the straight French Chef's knife...

                                1. re: Eiron

                                  I agree about the length issue. Since KB already has a 7.5" (190 mm) santoku, I'd suggest that he consider getting a longer gyuto -- either 9.5" (240 mm) or 10.5" (270 mm). IMO, the 7.5" santoku and 8" chef's knife are just too functionally similar, especially since the Shun santoku has a pretty curved profile anyway.

                                  1. re: Eiron

                                    I agree with tanuki soup.

                                    To maximize the difference between the gyuto style knife and the more curved Shun KaBudokan already has, I might recommend going up to 240 mm on either a Tojiro DP, Fujiwara FKM, or Misono Moly. Assuming Kabudokan is a reasonable sized adult with a not-super-cramped kitchen (mine is pretty tight and I have no problem with a 240), a 240 mm gyuto handles at least as easily as an 8 inch German, but gives you more blade to work with for cutting larger/more items and more efficient slicing.

                                    I like the profile on the Shun Asian chef's knife, but I bet it cuts, sharpens, and retains its edge pretty similarly to a Tojiro DP. At $150 for a 7 incher, I'd say that's only worthwhile compared to the above options if you KNOW you will regularly use the free sharpening service or if you're just in love with the look of it or the feel of the handle.

                                  2. re: KaBudokan


                                    Shun knives are good. Yes, they are pricer than knives from lesser-known Japanese brand. Like you said, Shun knives have free sharpening service and its overall warrenty service is better than almost all other Japanese brands. Yes, you are paying for the name recognition, but you are also paying for a stronger service and warrenty. Will you need it? You will have to decide that.

                                    For good knife sharpeners like my friends cowboyradee and Eiron, the free knife sharpening from Shun does not add much because they can sharpen their knives better than the Shun factory.

                                    On the other hand, for people who do not like to sharpen their knives, free knife sharpening is a very attractive offer. You will use a Shun knife for a long time, and let's say you will use it for the next 10 years and let's say you will request one sharpening service per year, that is 10 sharpening services.

                                    Most knife sharpening services cost about $6 - 15 per knife and you will have to pay for shipping both ways. Shun only requires you to pay for shipping to the factory. It will pay for the return shipping costs. A little math will tell you that free knife sharpening can worth a lot.

                                    In addition, most knife sharpeners do not know how to handle the lower angle Japanese knives and may sharpen a Japanese knife at the wrong angle. When you send the Shun knives back to the factory, you know at least the knives won't be messed up.

                                    In short:

                                    1) You may able get a better knife for the money if you are willing to learn to sharpen your knife.

                                    2) You may NOT able to get a better knife for the money if you are NOT willing to sharpen your knife.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics


                                      I spent some time last night watching the sharpening tutorial videos on the chefknivestogo site. And... it doesn't look as intimidating as I thought it was in my head... lol

                                      You guys are killing me and my slightly obsessive personality! I'm now thinking I should pick up a very basic sharpening setup - maybe a combo stone until I gain some confidence. I could see sharpening as something I would actually enjoy doing. Especially since I think it would be very rewarding.

                                      Before watching the videos I had a vision of sharpening as a magical art form passed down from generations of mystics and wizards. Undoubtedly there are many many levels of skill and art involved, but it also seems like something accessible to a beginner with rewarding results.

                                      The other impression I had was that if you didn't know what you were doing, you would do irreparable harm to a knife just by looking at a sharpening stone. After a bit of research, it seems that as long as you are fairly careful, you can learn the skill with minimal risk.

                                      Having said all that... I did see that the Tojiro DP's are back in stock now at chefsknivestogo now. In regards to the 240mm gyutos - when I've seen 10" knives in the store, they seem very large, but that's because I'm used to an 8". Is what others said - that using a 240mm Tojiro (or similar) would functinally not be that different from using my old 8" heavy knife? (It's probably a bit heavier than the German ones - maybe not, but it's definitely significantly heavier than the Shun, which people have said is heavier than the Tojiros...) I'm a touch above 6' tall with big hands. (One of the reasons I didn't like the Global was the handle felt small in my hand.)

                                      If I get past the sharpening issue, this also brings up the option of "just" getting one solid Gyuto and sharpening stone and returning the Shun. I dunno... As I learn more I know I know less. :)

                                      Oh yeah - one other question. Would the Tojiro wa handle be similar to the handle on the Shun Classic line? I liked both the Shun handle and the handle on the Wusthof Classics I held. I'm assuming the western Tojiro handle is at least similar to the Wusthof.

                                      1. re: KaBudokan

                                        You're right KaBudokan. Sharpening your knives on a whet stone is not as intimidating as people make it out to be(I'm also a newbie) .If I can get hair popping results than anyone can. Here's my setup

                                        Sugimoto 1000 grit
                                        Arashiyama 6000 grit + Naniwa nagura stone
                                        Truing stone
                                        Stone holder
                                        Old leather belt for stropping
                                        Sounds like a lot($200.00) but the results are amazing.

                                        1. re: petek

                                          Splex 1000 grit - $22.95
                                          Suehiro 6000 grit - $25.95
                                          scrap of grippy rug underlayment to hold 1000 grit stone in place - $0
                                          old belt for stropping - $0
                                          - or -
                                          scrap planed board for strop base - $0
                                          piece of leather to glue to planed board - $10
                                          leftover glue for strop leather - $0

                                          But, if I were going to buy starter stones today, I'd get the 1200 grit Splex @ $23.50 instead of the 1000, & pair that with the same 6000 I got. That would make a little nicer jump between stones without having to feel like I need to fill in the gap with something else (like I do now). These two stones by themselves would make an excellent "do I really want to get into this?" setup, IMO.

                                          1. re: Eiron

                                            Damn Eiron,that's $150 less than I spent.
                                            You guys in the U.S of A are so lucky to have so many e retailers to choose from.
                                            Oh well no regrets :)

                                            1. re: petek

                                              Well, I did "cheap out" & NOT buy the nagura, flattener & holder that you did.

                                              I figgerd I could get in at least a half dozen sharpenings before needing a flattener. The rug grip holds the stone really well & I use it on top of my cutting board that spans the sink, so I can easily splash the stone with water.

                                              The naguras all look like a dense chalk block. What is it like for consistency? I was toying with the idea of using regular chalk for "slurry" on my 6000 grit stone.

                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                The nagura is slightly "softer" than the 6000 grit stone(I think)
                                                Not only does it create a nice slurry,but it also cleans the black residue left from the steel. Not sure about the chalk for slurry but I'm sure someone on here can elaborate.
                                                And whatever works for you is not really" cheaping" out.

                                              2. re: petek

                                                Hey Petek i'm not far west of you(about 45min) and even decent retailers are had to find in this area , seems like they are all a year behind the US

                                                1. re: Dave5440

                                                  Dude, we can always complain. I like to complain that there are so many more selections in Japan than in US. :D

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Well yes there is always, always something better, but up here with few choices internet research takes on a whole new meaning

                                                  2. re: Dave5440

                                                    We're lucky to have" Paulsfinest" from Quebec",Knife" here in T.O and "Knifeware" in Calgary,but compared to the U.S we're way behind. But considering that the population is 10 times that of Canada it's understandable.

                                                    1. re: petek

                                                      Where's "knife" never heard of it, Pauls doesn't have what I want , I did buy some stones there though.

                                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                                        Knife is on Queen west here in Toronto.Great shop, the owner Eugene is great to deal with.He carries about 5 or 6 different lines or makers of knives + stones.He also sharpens and has knife sharpening demos,very informative
                                                        Next time you're in the city check it out.

                                            2. re: KaBudokan

                                              I agree with Pete. Sharpening is not as intimating as some people make out to me. Hey, that is actually the first real step of our human race -- learning to sharpening tools from stone -- the Stone Age.

                                              Sharpening can be fun, and it definitely make you enjoy your knives more. It is very rewarding because most people can get their knives sharper than the original factory condition. You think your new knife is sharp? You may just change your mind in a week.

                                              You can start out for $30-40 and you can spend more than $300 for your sharpening kits. The combo stone works and I started out that way, but I would advice getting a ~1000 grit stone (noncombo) first. This is because a 1000 grit stone can handle most of the maintence for a normal kitchen knife . In the future, if you want to expand from the 1000 stone (up or down) you can do so very easily.

                                              A 240 mm Tojiro, due to its lighter weight, will feel very nimble to you, even more so than a standard 8" German chef's knife. The length is still the length. A 240 mm Tojiro will be long. So if you have a small cutting board or a very small kitchen, then you do have to worry about getting a 240 mm, but you shouldn't worry from its wieght-aspect.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                Yea,I'm not to keen of combo stones either.I've heard that the coarser stone particles can contaminate the higher grit stone,but hey I'm no rocket surgeon.
                                                And I agree with the 240mm gyuto size,especially for someone with larger hands.

                                                1. re: petek

                                                  Nah, I don't know about contamination part. I just think it is actually cheaper in the long run to get a 1000 grit stone. Moreover, many combo stones are like 1000/6000 or even 1000/8000. These are too big of a jump for me. It really takes forever to smooth out a 1000 edge using a 6000 grit stone. For me anyway.

                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    I thought I could just get away with a 1000 grit and I did,for a while, but the addition of the 6000 makes a huge difference.
                                                    To each their own I guess

                                                    1. re: petek

                                                      No , I agree that a higher stone is needed. I just think for "testing out if knife sharpening is for me" A 1000 stone is good enough.

                                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  Thanks - more stuff to think about... :)

                                                  And just for reference, while the Shun is much sharper than what I'm used to, I can definitely tell that it's not as sharp as knives I see in demos. It doesn't cut paper readily, and I sliced a tomato for a sandwich today. It did cut it fairly easily, but definitely required a bit of pressure and pushed on the skim a bit more than I see in demos.

                                                  So... I think I am going to order another knife - probably a Tojiro. I think I'm debating whether or not I need the Shun and a Gyuto/chef's knife as well. If not, I may order the 210 Tojiro and return the knife I like less.

                                                  By the way... have you noticed that I'm indecisive??!?!

                                                  1. re: KaBudokan

                                                    "By the way... have you noticed that I'm indecisive??!?!"

                                                    Yeah, not like any of the rest of us around here!! :-D

                                                    1. re: KaBudokan

                                                      Most knives come "sharp out of the box" but I'm sure the knives you saw in the demos are hand sharpened by the owners themselves.
                                                      It's hard not to be indecisive,so many choices,so little time..

                                                      1. re: KaBudokan

                                                        Most of the demos are from people who hand sharpened their knives. Of course, there is a balance between sharpness and edge retention. You may able to get your knife extremely sharp but it may not last for more than 10-15 strokes, then the question becomes "do you want to spend 10 minutes (or longer) every day sharpening your knife?" We make compromise. I like to keep my sharpening session to no more than once a week, so I will only take my knife to a sharpness which can handle that duration.

                                                        Any knife manufacturer intentionally do not take the edge too sharp because it does not want you to feel your knife loses its edge in 3 months. Shun knives have a 16o edge angle and finished on a 1000 grit stone. Most of us here (like cowboyardee, Eiron and Pete) probably sharpen at an angle lower than 16o and definitely finish on a stone higher than 1000 grit. Therefore, it is not a surprise that these people produce knives much sharper than typical factory settings.

                                                        "I think I'm debating whether or not I need the Shun and a Gyuto/chef's knife as well. If not, I may order the 210 Tojiro and return the knife I like less."

                                                        If you are to order the Tojiro, you will pretty much have to keep that knife. So your real option is (a) keeping both the Shun santoku and the Tojiro gyuto or (b) return the Shun and just keeping the Tojiro gyuto. Again, returning the Tojiro is probably not an option.

                                                        We are all indecisive when it comes to knives. We care about knives, we care about the stones and we care about the time we want to spend with them. :P

                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                          keep both and get yourself a nice Nakiri!!
                                                          But seriously. Keeping the Shun just for the "free" sharpening service is not a good reason to keep it. You should keep it because it feels good in your hand,takes and keeps a sharp edge and is easy to maintain.
                                                          just my 2 cents.

                                                          1. re: petek

                                                            :) Keeping the Shun for free sharpening service is a good reason for a person who does not want to sharpen his knives, but that looks to be no longer true for our friend KaBudokan anymore. An irrevalent point soon to be.

                                                            Nakiri is a great knife. In many ways, I believe a Santoku is simply a cross between a nakiri and a western Chef's knife. Afterall, Santoku is a recent invention after the Japanese met the Europeans.

                                                            Now, I may want to push that nakiri idea just a bit more. If Kabudokan wants to entertain the idea of a nakiri, then I think he needs to consider a carbon steel nakiri and not a stainless steel nakiri. What do you think, Pete?

                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                              I think we might be pushing things for KaBudokan a bit here Chem. I don"t own a Nakiri(yet) but I think you know how I feel about carbon VS stainless steel. I own both stainless(Kasumi.not the best but similar to Shun) and carbon(Moritaka) and the difference is unbelievable,carbon steel kicks ass!
                                                              But that's a topic for a whole different thread.

                                                              1. re: petek

                                                                "I think you know how I feel about carbon VS stainless steel."

                                                                Actually, I didn't know, but now I do. :) I am not surprised. Afterall, you admire those Moritaka knives a lot (I remotely remember you want a Moritika Nakiri). I guess there are stainless steels as good as carbon steel, but dollar for dollar, carbon steel knives are better than stainless steel knives. Yeah, a completely different topic. Let's talk on a different thread.

                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                  I just picked up a Moritaka Honsuki so the Nakiri is on the back burner for a bit :)

                                                                  1. re: petek

                                                                    Please write a review when you have a chance. No need a long detail one if you don't want. A photo and a 5-10 sentence on your experienec is sufficient.


                                                                    1. re: petek

                                                                      Dang - looks like I missed a whole bunch of fun on this thread today.

                                                                      Petek - please review that honesuki once you get a chance to play with it a bit more. Whatever insight you'd care to share would be appreciated. Hope you like it.

                                                                      Kabudokan - I believe you should just learn to hand sharpen your knives (though of course the edgepro is also a great option). Not because I think everyone should hand sharpen or anything. I just think from your posts that you're the type of person who'd get something out of it - that the force is strong with you.

                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                        Chem and cowboy
                                                                        I haven't has a chance to use the honesuki(or the santuko that I picked up at the same time) at work yet but I have had time to sharpen and play with them a bit.
                                                                        Fit and finish is typical of Moritaka ,Kurouchi is what it's called. All Moritakas have D shaped handles which I find very comfortable.I did the balancing on a knife,push paper and cut paper in mid air tests(I'm such a dork) and they both passed with flying colours. The honesuki has a good heft to it,heavier than the santuko and almost as heavy as my 240 gyuto.
                                                                        I'm lovin' them.
                                                                        Photos to follow.

                                                                        1. re: petek


                                                                          I love that. It is so rustic, traditional and tough at the same time.

                                                                          What does balancing on a knife do? As far as I know, it tests the human more than the knife. I do push paper cut all the time. This is the way I test for edge deterioation. I do mid air paper cut rarely, and when I do, I scare myself because I thought I might cut myself (I had to swing the knife really fast).

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            Parlour tricks I guess. I'm a man with way too much time on his hands....
                                                                            I love the Kurouchi finish. There are a few knife makers that use this finish on their steel.
                                                                            Check ot this website.
                                                                            Edit Can't get the link to work so just google knifeware Calgary

                                                      2. re: KaBudokan

                                                        Get yourself a basic edgepro apex sytem and go from there , easy as watchin the video on how to do it, great results and you can do all your knives present an future.

                                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                                          I want to reiterate Dave's point because it is an excellent point and I don't want it to get buried. EdgePro Apex (a tool I have not had the pleasure to use) is considered by many as the best home sharpening device both in term of its high performance results and the ease of use.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Ease of use is an understatement , I managed a mirror edge in 90min on my first attempt(granted it was on a really soft furi),for contrast it took me about 5 hrs to take the edge on my 7000mc to 12deg a side. I don't think what i paid for the kit was a lot considering the results , but the cheapest kit is close to what you would pay for shipping on 10 knives.

                                                          2. re: Dave5440

                                                            Hey Dave.
                                                            Did you have a chance to check out "Knife" yet?
                                                            The website doesn't have prices or specific knives but I'm sure if you shoot Eugene an email he can help you out

                                                            1. re: petek

                                                              I checked out the website, a little vauge but i might drive up next week and check it out, not doing anything for the next 8 weeks after having hand sugery

                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                Yup.the website is a little vague but if you do go to the shop you'll see some really fine blades.I know he carries some awesome deba's(had my eye on a couple). He ain't cheap but he carries nice stuff.

                                                                Hope it's not your knife hand that you had the surgery on.

                                                                1. re: petek

                                                                  No I started with my left hand , 2 months from now it will be my right

                                                                    1. re: petek

                                                                      If the first one is any indication it will be a breeze

                                                  2. re: KaBudokan

                                                    Thanks for the write up. I'm also curious to see how your impressions evolve a month or two from now.

                                                  3. I love the feel of my Shun Classic knives in my hand. I find the shape of the handle fits effortlessly and makes chopping or slicing large quantities a breeze. I'm a woman with a very small hand so your mileage may vary.

                                                    Incidentally, the shape of the Shun Classic handles is specifically designed for the right or left hand. In fact, when you buy the product, the salesperson should ask about your handedness. I assume that all the knives are made for both right- and left-handed users, but I don't know. The Williams Sonoma page doesn't mention anything about choice of handedness. If you live in a household where there are both left-handed cooks and right-handed cooks, Shun Classic is probably not the best choice for you since each person would need his/her own knives.

                                                    1. The knife I use the most is one my Dad made out of a power hacksaw blade back in the 50's, or 60's. mom used it constantly, and now I own it.

                                                      A lot of what I see nowadays on knives I feel is marketing gone wild. You can slap any label, or name on a knife, but if the steel, or heat treating isn't that great it is just another knife. Educate yourself on steels to get what you want. I prefer carbon steels due to their higher carbon contents over stainless. Look past the marketing names, and find out what they really are. Carbon content is rated in points (%). 1095 is a plain carbon steel with 95 points of carbon. 52100 has 100 points of carbon. Mild steels like 1018 are so low in carbon that they are essentially nonhardening. For a good edge I would look for something well over 50 points. The more carbon it has the harder it can get with proper heat treating. Bad heat treating will leave a crappy knife even if it is made from good steel. 1095 is interesting in that it can be fully hardened , and used in brittle items like files, or tempered to a blue range in which case it is used for making springs. That is why heat treating is important. Same material with vastly differing results. Very hard=brittleness, long edge retention, Softer temper range = toughness, less edge retention.

                                                      As for sharpness, look at the intended purpose to determine blade angles, and edge retention. Example; an ax, and a razor blade. One is more of a sharp wedge, the other is thin and very sharp. Each has its intended purpose. The ax will maintain a sharpness required to do its purpose for quite some time, while a razor blade will dull rather quickly in comparison to the amount of work done. You can get an ax razor sharp, but the edge won't last nearly as long. A usable blade needs to be hard yet retain some toughness. A fully hardened steel like 52100 won't flex much due to it being very brittle in that state. In order for it to be more useful it can be tempered to toughen it up some. Less edge chipping, and it won't shatter if bent, or dropped. Thin blades usually have a little flex to them, some like a fillet knife have a lot of flex. The more flexible the less hard it is, and lower edge retention.

                                                      One of the top bladesmiths lives in Henderson NV, just down the road form me. He makes beautiful pattern welded knives, and swords of various types. These are not wall hangers per se, but actual working blades based on historic designs from Europe, and Asia. The Samurai type swords are revered by some, yet when compared to some of the European blades out there, he says that they feel like a club. I believe that a lot of the "Japanese" named blades are just another marketing ploy, because they are fashionable at the moment. That is just my opinion. I haven't needed to look for a knife, and if I ever need a new one I'll make it myself.

                                                      If you want to find out about knives/steels/etc check out a knife maker forum. Matter of fact you could even get a custom made knife from a bladesmith. Educate yourself, and look beyond the hype. I have also found that a lot of the "good" names are now being produced in China, a fact which is often hidden in the packaging. That alone would be enough for me to make my own, or support a bladesmith.

                                                      Excuse the semi-rant, but it is just how I feel.

                                                      28 Replies
                                                      1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                        Lucky for you that you not only live down the road from a bladesmith,but you can make your own knife!
                                                        Are you saying that most Japanese knives are inferior, made in China marketing ploys?
                                                        I'd love to support a local bladesmith but there aren't many, if any in my neck of the woods.

                                                        1. re: petek

                                                          You may be surprised how many bladesmiths there are in the US. Look up a blade forum, and you will find makers from around the world. They also ship their wares.

                                                          I haven't used any of the whizz bang knives being sold because the one my Dad made 50 plus years ago is still going strong, and will probably outlast me. I really only use a couple of knives. The one Dad made, a paring knife, and a large chef type knife made by F.Dick. The F.Dick is even rarely used most of the time. Dad's is the go to knife.

                                                          The only point I wanted to make was educate yourself on what makes a good knife so you don't get sucked in by the marketing ploys. A couple I have seen used to death is titanium anything, and aircraft grade aluminum. One of the most common aluminums, 6061, is used in aircraft, and spacecraft as well as common household items. Nothing special , but aircraft grade sounds sexy.

                                                          Slapping a Japanese name on an otherwise common knife makes it mysterious, exotic, and possibly easier to sell. Not saying that i how it goes, but it could be. Look real hard to find out where it is MADE, not just assembled, or where the corporate office is located. A lot of old names are now being produced overseas.

                                                          It isn't luck that I can make a knife, it is years of building my knowledge, and craftsmanship. You can to with the right training. There is a lovely gal in Australia that makes some absolutely beautiful knives out of 52100. Making knives isn't magic. It does take some learning in regards to metallurgy, but it isn't like quantum physics by any means. The toughest part for some is the actual hand skills needed. A lot of metalworking is by feel. That and a good eye for design will help when making blades.

                                                          Another site I frequent is iforgeiron.com there are several bladesmiths on there, as well as the other major knife forums like British blades. IFI alone has around 14,000 members worldwide. Check it out, you may find a new addiction.

                                                          1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                            I live way up in the" great white north"(Canada) and you'd be surprised how few blade smiths there are up here. And the ones we do have here are backed up till 2012-2013,which seems typical of any kind of handcrafted item.
                                                            I actually looked into purchasing a North American made blade,but price and wait time were the deciding factors for me.I like buying local,which seems like a contradiction(buying Japanese knives from a local merchant) but at least I can go into his shop and feel the steel and pick his brain.
                                                            By no means was I suggesting that it is buy luck that you can make your own knives,the skill,knowledge and training are something I highly respect of any craftsman.
                                                            Right now 1 addiction is enough for me.

                                                        2. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                          "Carbon content is rated in points (%). 1095 is a plain carbon steel with 95 points of carbon. 52100 has 100 points of carbon. "

                                                          I think it is not in unit of %, but in 0.01%. A 52100 steel has ~1% carbon -- obviously not 100% carbon.

                                                          'I prefer carbon steels due to their higher carbon contents over stainless.'

                                                          I like carbon steel knives too, but I am pretty sure that statement is not always true. The Shun knife discussed by the original poster has 1% carbon, same as a 52100 you mentioned. The Shun Elite knives have ~1.4% carbon, higher than 1095 or 52100.

                                                          'The Samurai type swords are revered by some, yet when compared to some of the European blades out there, he says that they feel like a club.'

                                                          That is interesting. I assume your friend means these samurai swords are very dull when he said they are like clubs, afterall they cannot be very heavy.

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            Yes the carbon content in steels won't exceed 2%, but it is referred to as points of carbon - not percentage. The % was added to illustrate that it meant a percentage of carbon in the mix, not something else. Kind of like when I talk about tenths at work when measuring things. I don't mean .1" but rather .0001" one ten thousands of an inch.

                                                            The first 2 numbers are the major alloying elements IE : chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, etc..These elements can drastically change the characteristics of a steel. I used D-2 for making die sets for punching steel. The D-2 is a high carbon( 1.5%), and high chromium steel that has great wear resistance, but isn't as tough as other steels when hardened. It is used for knives by some makers, but it can be difficult to forge due to its being an air hardening steel which means it has to be worked very hot. So carbon isn't the only thing to look for in a blade.

                                                            The reference to club like swords was in reference to their handling characteristics.

                                                            1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                              Miyabi MC and MCD lines are 3% carbon

                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                Powdered metal steels can cram more carbon in there, basically. ZDP 189 and Cowry x are both up there. (SG2 is around 1.4%).

                                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                  So is it still steel?with 3 percentage points of carbon

                                                                  1. re: Dave5440

                                                                    Yep, AFAIK. Don't know what else you'd call it.

                                                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                                                        Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. I certainly wasn't trying to take a jab at you. Just saying that ZDP189 and Cowry X are still classified as steels as far as I know.

                                                                    1. re: Dave5440

                                                                      Generally anything over about 2% is considered a cast iron in the iron/steel industry. They pull the carbon out of cast iron then put back in what they need to make steel alloys.

                                                                      Looks like they are leaning heavily on carbides formed to get the hardness in the ZDP/Cowry alloys, and that they are generally laminated due to their brittleness.

                                                                      This site has some knife info that you might find interesting.

                                                                      1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                        So I have a cast iron knife then, beyond that I give up reminds me of an expression my father used to say to me a long time ago , and i have been on gaters web-site for a long time now , great information there no doubt

                                                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                                                          Well, I don't know about calling your Miyabi knife a cast iron knife -- because it wasn't "casted"


                                                                          Why can't we just call it a powder steel knife? (which it is)


                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            Oh but if it has more than 2% or sorry 2 points of carbon it is cast iron, black&white, in stone. I am bowing out of this one

                                                                            1. re: Dave5440


                                                                              I do have a question about your Miyabi. (if you think it is off topic, we can start a different post).

                                                                              What is your general feeling toward your Miyabi powder steel knife? I think you said the Miyabi is your first real good knife, right? Based on rumors/words of mouth, I assume it holds its edge really well, but was it painful to sharpen and/or reprofile the bevel? Thanks.

                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                Well it's right on topic I think, so here goes My first "good" knife my mother in law bought me a cutco, It was far better than I was used too but no edge holding,second was a furi it was better but same edge problem, so I got a global it was better but I hated the handle after a few uses, which is all it took for about 2 inches of the edge to break off cleaning a fish. That led me research my next one a lot more. Initially the miyabi was great right out of the box light, very sharp and thin it cut root veg like butter compared to anything i'd used before. I had it for about 6 weeks using it about 5 times a week before I decided to get an edge pro kit, even as I got my EP it still wasn't in need of a touch up at about 12 weeks, so to practise I put mirror edges on all of our assortment of furi's, cutco's and global. To do one of my wifes cutcos I needed to order a 120gt stone as i would have taken forever to get all the chips out with a 220. So back to the miyabi at about 16 or 17 weeks it had degraded enough and I was practised enough with EP to try it. It looked like it was 16 or 17 degrees and I initially wanted to take it to 10 but gater from zknives.com recommended only taking it to 12, so away I went it took about 40min with the 120 to get the new angle (and remove the chips i'd put in it from cutting up a chicken) and about another 50 min to finish with a mirror edge. A good magnifying glass is essential for both sharpening and inspecting before you start, I use the glass at the end of each stone to make sure the edge is uniform before I go to the next stone. Cutting with the new angle , awesome, cuts raw carrots like they are cooked, I also cleaned a bunch of trout with it using it like a paring knife and only the tip, plus I cut up about 4 more chickens and put some very tiny chips in the tip again but 15min to clean it up is well worth the performance. Whew long winded tonite
                                                                                As a side note earlier I said it took me about 5 hours to do it, that was taking breaks(I can only work for about 5min at a time because of my hands, in 20 weeks they will both be fixed) and cleaning and soaking my stones and spread over 2 nites. Actually was about 90 min solid work

                                                                                1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                  "My first "good" knife my mother in law bought me a cutco"

                                                                                  That is same as cowboy. He said his first good knife is a Cutco.

                                                                                  "which is all it took for about 2 inches of the edge to break off cleaning a fish."

                                                                                  Amazing. There are tons of stories on CHOWHOUND about Global knives snapped off.

                                                                                  "so away I went it took about 40min with the 120 to get the new angle (and remove the chips i'd put in it from cutting up a chicken) and about another 50 min to finish with a mirror edge."

                                                                                  Putting a new bevel always take significant amont of time. 1.5 hour actually does not sound long at all for reprofile a new knife. I don't know if it is considered long using an EdgePro. Anyway, I am sure you will like your next knife (Moritaka). Please update us when you get a chance to play with your Moritaka. Thanks.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    I think I'm going to get a Watanabe 165mm Blue steel deba , I have time to wait for it , but I am still waiting to hear back from him, and the 120 stone really shaved it off fast , but I think the 120 is silicon carbide maybe that is why it cut so well

                                                                                    1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                      Opps. I must have mixed you up with another person regarding the Moritaka knife. :P ( I think I mixed you up with Petek)

                                                                                      Watanabe sounds great. He is busy as huck though. Aogami (blue paper steel) is awesome.

                                                                        2. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                          "They pull the carbon out of cast iron then put back in what they need to make steel alloys."
                                                                          Not even close

                                                                          1. re: Dave5440

                                                                            If that isn't even close, please explain how it is made?

                                                                            In case my first response was too simple for you.

                                                                            Iron ore as smelted has a very high carbon content. In order to make the smelted iron ore usable the carbon content is reduced, then added back in to make up the proper percentage along with any other elements (Manganese, copper, chromium, nickel, vanadium, etc) to make the desired alloy. ALL steel starts out as cast iron in the beginning. It is through refining, alloying then subsequent mill processes that convert it into steel products.

                                                                            Don't know how much time you have spent in a foundry, or what your metal working background is, but I have been around it all of my life.

                                                                            As to the term cast iron, I said that in the metal industry it is GENERALLY put on iron products with a carbon content over 2%, with new techniques the VHC steels are going beyond what WERE the standards in the industry. I have seen huge advancements in metals, and metalworking just in my lifetime.

                                                                            Instead of just saying "not even close" back it up with your vast knowledge of steel. Enlighten me.

                                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                Nice to see that you agree with me. By the way iron is not steel, it is a component of steel.

                                                                                From your link;

                                                                                Alternatively pig iron may be made into steel (with up to about 2% carbon) or wrought iron (commercially pure iron). Various processes have been used for this, including finery forges, puddling furnaces, Bessemer converters, open hearth furnaces, basic oxygen furnaces, and electric arc furnaces. In all cases, the objective is to oxidize some or all of the carbon, together with other impurities. On the other hand, other metals may be added to make alloy steels.

                                                                                And since you like WIKI; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steel

                                                                                When iron is smelted from its ore by commercial processes, it contains more carbon than is desirable. To become steel, it must be melted and reprocessed to reduce the carbon to the correct amount, at which point other elements can be added.

                                                                                1. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR

                                                                                  From the origalnal link iron ore contains no carbon , the coke it is smelted with gives it the carbon content it is also mixed after with pig iron and scrap to bring carbon content up , the melting and reprocessing does not elimenate the carbon as you implied it dilutes it to the correct carbonn content, if this is what you meant all along I missunderstood you. But back to carbon content my knife is 3% carbon so that makes it iron according to you, it also contains 20% chromium so that should make it stainless as well . You also mentioned D2 in a post , are you a tool&die maker or machinist?I found some interesting things about d2 forgings as well

                                                                                  1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                    You need to go back and reread it. Also look up Bessemer process. Look for the terms oxidizing , and decarburization,, both mean to remove carbon. In an oxygen rich environment the carbon burns out. What did they do before they had scrap available? Scrap is not used when making pure steels due to whatever unknown elements are in it. Steel crap is not sorted for alloy, it is all just piled together. Where I work we separate our non ferrous scrap,; brass, copper, and beryllium copper alloys. Our buyer gives us a better price due to knowing what we are sending him. When it comes to steel though, it doesn't pay to separate. Also if scrap is used to dilute pig iron, what do you do the the extra carbon that is in whatever scrap that you are tossing in. Not much diluting is going to happen with high carbon scrap.

                                                                                    In blacksmithing you have to be careful of leaving a high carbon piece in the fire if it is oxidizing (excess oxygen available) as it will lower the carbon content of the item some.

                                                                                    Yes, I am a machinist, and I am currently employed as a tool maker in a machine shop. I have also worked at a foundry. If you want to get into steel discussions cruise on over to www.iforgeiron.com there are guys on there that have worked in foundries , metallurgists, guys who smelt their own iron from ore they dig, and general metal geeks.

                                                                                    Do you realize how many types of stainless are produced? All stainless means is that it stains-less than regular steel, and has a minimum of around 11% chromium content. It will rust/corrode in the right environment. When we turn stainless parts we have to send them out for passivation to restore their non rusting properties.

                                                                                    D2 is some nice material when used correctly. I made punching die sets to perforate steel tube shapes when I had my machine shop. It has excellent wear properties in that application. It also machines nicely. Forging has to be done in a narrow range, as too low of a temp will cause cracking, and too hot can burn some of the carbon content out a well as affect the internal grain structure in ways that are detrimental.

                                                                  2. re: BIGGUNDOCTOR


                                                                    I agree with your last post. I was saying exactly what you just wrote: carbon content is not the only thing. So I won't say carbon steel knives are better than a stainless steel knives because of carbon content. My reply was addressing an earlier point you made:

                                                                    "I prefer carbon steels due to their higher carbon contents over stainless"

                                                                    I also would not say it has to do with tungsten or vanadium or molybdenum.. etc. Afterall, a stainless steel can have just as much tungsten as a carbon steel. There is no real restriction on these elements. I will simply focus on the real difference: chromium.

                                                                    In the big picture, the difference between a carbon steel knife and a stainless steel knife is the level of chromium. Stainless steel, by its very definition, has to have high chromium. This, in the big picture, put a restriction on stainless steel knives which carbon steel knives do not have. It is as simple as that.

                                                                    I still don't understand the comment about the samurai sword handle like a club if it is not heavier and not more dull, but that is getting off-topic.

                                                              2. Yet another update... lol

                                                                I decided to splurge and go ahead and order a Tojiro DP 240. I have enough room to work with a longer knife, and I can see the advantages to having the extra length for certain tasks. I'll have to see how comfortable I am with it, but I am hoping once I get used to it I'll like it a lot. At that point I can decide whether or not I want to keep both knives, and if I do, I can "justify" it because of the differences... :)

                                                                I may go ahead and order a couple of stones as well.

                                                                Just curious - in looking at the edge pro (and wicked edge) system, I also saw the "Sharpmaker" system. Looked interesting, and it seems the 30-degree edge would be about right for typical Japanese-style knives. Anyone have anything good or bad to say about it? I think learning to use the stones is probably a better plan, but I was just curious. (The other systems looked good as well, but they also cost significantly more.)

                                                                16 Replies
                                                                1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                  Of course, I'd love to hear your impressions of the Tojiro DP once you've played with it a little bit. For me, it took a little while to fully get used to and appreciate a longer gyuto, but now I wouldn't go back.

                                                                  I haven't used the Sharpmaker, but I know enough about it to tell you a little. It can create good results, and the visual trick it employs to help you keep a consistent angle is quite helpful for some people - there's probably a much shorter learning curve than there is with traditional freehanding. The rods it uses seem not to need flattening or soaking, which is another upside. Because the sharpmaker makes it easier to hold a correct angle and first time users of whetstones tend to have a lot of wasted effort, it may actually be quicker than freehanding on a stone for a beginning sharpener. Also, I think the Sharpmaker comes with an instructional dvd which supposedly has some useful information on sharpening - I haven't seen it though.

                                                                  On the downside, it is somewhat limited by the width of its abrasive rods - a wide stone is gonna cut faster than a narrow rod of the same grit. As such, it's easier to use to keep an already-sharp edge sharp rather than making a dull knife sharp again. And once you're decent with stones, they're gonna be much quicker than a sharpmaker. It is also a bit limited in having only a few choices of grit. That shouldn't be much of a consideration unless you intend to get deeper into sharpening - the spyderco should leave a good edge. Though the sharpmaker rods can be placed flat and used like a stone, there are obviously limited angles at which you can use the sharpmaker in its usual design. And while 15 deg is fine for most Japanese edges (including Tojiro DP), you might prefer to have the option of changing angles, either to mimic original geometry, or to reprofile, or to thin behind the edge, or to add a microbevel.

                                                                  I'll add that there is no reason a waterstone has to be lying flat and horizontal when you use it. When I started sharpening, I used a protractor (that I printed from the internet) and placed one end of the stone up on a stack of cards or books at a 15 deg angle. I then sharpened keeping the knife as horizontal as I could. It worked as a visual trick, though maybe not as well as keeping the knife vertical (and I bet you could rig your stone to sit at a 75 deg angle and then hold the knife vertically too, if you wanted). I stopped doing it because it became counterproductive as I got better.

                                                                  1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                    I have a 210 mm Tojiro DP. It is a good knife. Reasonable price, good stainless steel (VG-10), decently hard, thin, take on a nice edge... etc. I may agree with cowboyardee's previous statment... I think the edge retention is good, but not amazing. It is probably no better than my CCK knife and definitely worst than my Tanaka blue paper steel knife. Overall, it is an excellent knife and it was the very first knife which makes me ask the question "Why would anyone pay >$100 for a Wusthof or Henckels when they can get a Tojiro for ~$75."

                                                                    Sharpmaker is a great tool for maintaining an edge. It is not aggressive and inflexible for more creative tasks, such as putting new bevel, reprofile an edge, thinning out the blade.... etc. For most people, it is a good tool. Like Dave5440 said, Edge Pro is better. It is more flexible and it is faster, but it is more expensive.

                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                      Edge Pro is a great tool for maintaining an edge. It is not aggressive and flexible enough for more creative tasks, such as putting new bevel, reprofile an edge, thinning out the blade.... etc. For most people, it is a good tool.

                                                                      Have you used one? It's good for all of the above, and as far as being aggressive if 120 isn't enough it's not to hard to make an 60 or 80 grit for it

                                                                      1. re: Dave5440

                                                                        No, I have not had the pleasure to use one, but I heard very good things about the Edge Pro and I have seen some video demonstration to believe it is fairly easy to use.

                                                                        I wrote my last reply incorrectly. I should have said the Spyderco Sharpmaker is not aggressive.

                                                                        Thanks for the correction

                                                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        "it was the very first knife which makes me ask the question "Why would anyone pay >$100 for a Wusthof or Henckels when they can get a Tojiro for ~$75.""
                                                                        Quoted for truth. I guess some people like the feel of a German knife better, or insist on using their chefs knife like a meat cleaver. But in terms of quality and performance for your dollar, there's no comparison.

                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                          Or how about Watanabe, they start around 75 as well

                                                                          1. re: Dave5440

                                                                            What line of watanabes are you referring to? I thought most of their gyutos were pretty expensive, although they do sell very affordable nakiris.

                                                                            Also Fujiwara FKM are reputed to be quite excellent, at $75 for an 8 incher. There are a handful of other reputedly great Japanese knives available for under $100. I just have the most experience with Tojiro.

                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                              I misread Watanabe web-site(it's very confusing) he does have some inexpensive knives but any gyuto is substantially more.

                                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                Is Watanabe the first knife which changed your view?

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  I wish i could say it did but no , after getting sucked into marketing hype and spending a lot (at the time) of money on my first knife and finding it didn't stay sharp for more than a week using it at home, I stumbled on http://zknives.com/index.shtml and accelerated my learning curve , thats how i ended up with a myiabi, but I need a deba but I want a harder steel than what they make their deba's from and I like the fact Watanabe isn't a corporation it's just a guy that loves knives, so that's where my next one is coming from , at least when i hear back from him, crazy busy is what they are so I might have to wait awhile

                                                                          2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                            Well, part of my thinking at this point is that since I'm going to be an expert sharpener soon... ;-) I can sharpen my current 8" chef's knife and continue to use that if/when I need a brute force knife that I'm not worried about chipping or abusing in other ways. lol In other words, when I want to use it as a cleaver. :)

                                                                            1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                              That's a fine plan. It's not that I have anything against hacking through small bones with a German chefs knife (in my case, an old henckels knockoff). I just prefer to have a main knife that's a little more precise and sharp as well.

                                                                              1. re: KaBudokan


                                                                                Have you ordered your knife and stones? In another post, you sound like you have placed an order. If you have not, we may able to make very small suggestion to your stones. To go the cheapest testing routine, I suggest a Bester 1000 stone -- also avaliable from Chefknivestogo (but there are plenty other places offer it)

                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                  I did actually order them already. I actually followed Eiron's suggestion further up in this thread. 2 stones and shipping from Mike's Tools came out to about $60. The only thing I wasn't sure about was weather to go with the 1000 or 1200 for the coarser stone - I ended up going with 1000. If I decide I want to continue with my own sharpening stone adventures, I figure I can get an in-between stone down the line if I need to.

                                                                                  1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                    Eiron's suggestion is very good too. You can never go wrong with a 1000 stone. The question is always the other stones. Do you need a 3000 stone before going to another stones or can you jump straight to a 6000 stone.... these questions.

                                                                                    1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                      If you're in a room full of 1000 grit Japanese synthetic waterstones, you could pick one at random and chances are it would be perfectly fine. I have my preferences, but we're distinguishing between products that are all quite serviceable, IME.

                                                                                      Some higher grit stones can be a little trickier to use for beginners than others, and some definitely leave pretty different finishes that others, even at the same grit. Most lower grit stones seem to be pretty decent (though I've heard people complain about some I've never tried), but I'm picky about very coarse stones since when I do bust one out I usually have a big job to do with it, and also it forms the basis for all your work on higher grits - if you leave a poor bevel with a coarse stone, yo're probably not gonna fix it with your finer stones.

                                                                          3. As an interesting heads-up, the Shun double hollow santoku is no longer available from WS. I had the sense that they were discontinuing the model and that they wouldn't be around, which is why I picked that one up on a bit of an impulse. I figured when they were gone, they were gone, and since it was a good deal that I could return if necessary, I went ahead and grabbed it.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                              I never did weigh in on it , I think it is an intersesting looking knife looks like it would work well and from experience the grantons actually do work and at that price you can't go wrong

                                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                                Yeah - my guess is I'll probably end up keeping it. :)

                                                                                As far as the grantons... I sliced some potatoes with the knife the other day, and without a doubt, at the end of the potato, the slice on the smooth side of the knife did stick (it almost felt suctioned on), but on the other side the slices did not stick nearly as much.

                                                                              2. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                Enjoy! It looks like a fun knife, good geometry.

                                                                              3. So now... I'm pretty sure I'm going to return the Shun.

                                                                                I received the Tojiro the other day and had a chance to use it a bit over the weekend. I like it a LOT.

                                                                                Using it made me realize that I do prefer the chef's knife/gyuto style better than the santoku. At this point, I don't think I can justify more than one "large" general-purpose knife - meaning over 7". I'm pretty sure I'd be reaching for the gyuto constantly, and would really just look for "excuses" to grab the Shun.

                                                                                At some point I may end up grabbing the smaller Shun Santoku that's on sale from Sur La Table, or maybe even the 7" Asian chef's knife w/ cutting board mentioned above.

                                                                                I definitely feel like I've been bitten by the knife bug, but I also think just sticking with the Tojiro makes more sense for me right now. My original "plan" was to invest in good individual knives slowly that I would use a lot. The Tojiro certainly won't be my last knife purchase, but it's a great start.

                                                                                Besides, I remembered that I've been meaning to buy one of these for a while, and returning the Shun that I won't use consistently means I can get this, which will also get a lot of use:


                                                                                It won't cut a ripe tomato, but I like it...

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                  What the heck is that thing?

                                                                                  I am glad that you like the Tojiro. As stated before, it was not my first good knife, but it was the knife which makes me changed my view. Best.

                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                    "What the heck is that thing? "


                                                                                    It's a wrap-around intonatable bridge for an electric guitar. (Where the strings go through on the body of the guitar.) I've needed to replace the bridge on one of my guitars for a while - almost forgot about until the other day when I played and broke yet another string. Since I was considering returning the Shun, and this is around the same price, it made sense to me to return the Shun and feed my other addiction... :-)

                                                                                    1. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                      :) I don't play musical instruments, so it was really tough. I kept thinking about cookware, and I thought ... maybe it is part of a pasta machine. Anyway, have fun.

                                                                                  2. re: KaBudokan

                                                                                    I'm sorry to hear you didn't fall in love with the Shun. On the other hand, I'm thrilled to hear that you love the Tojiro. Of course, that opens up Pandora's box - there aren't a whole lot of other knives to explore with geometry similar to the Shun wide santoku, whereas there is a whole world of awesome gyutos that may well call out to you softly in the night.

                                                                                    At any rate, enjoy that tojiro, and please give us an update or two as you keep using and become acquainted with it.

                                                                                    Also, you can most definitely use an axe to cut a ripe tomato - just have to sharpen the heck out of it.