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Jan 28, 2011 02:43 PM

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:

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!

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  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: . 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: 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:
               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.