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Shun Knives

Looking at Shun knives and wondering if anybody has some feedback? They seem to be rated well. I have been wanting to treat myself to a piece or small set of cutlery. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. Do you have a specific question or just a general question?

    Shun knives are good knives. Maybe a bit expensive, but good quality. The Shun Classic (the most popular model) are made with VG-10 core steel hardened to 61 HRC. This is much harder than the typical Wusthof and Henckels. Shun knives are have a sharp 16 degree bevel angle, so they cut better than its German's counterparts.

    49 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      General inquiry but considering the Japanese style.

      1. re: CCSPRINGS

        There are few other brands you may also want to look into -- if you are looking for more a Westernized Japanese knife (Shun knives are not full Japanese knives, they are Westernized Japanese knives).

        There are Tojiro DP knives:

        http://www.chefknivestogo.com/tojirod...

        Fujiwara KFM:

        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/FKM...

        JCK VG-10 series:

        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/KAG...

        Many many other choices too. Want something flashier? Ryusen Tsuchime Damascus:

        http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/Ryu...

        ..... many choices.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Chemicalkinetics (and all) --

          Have been reading your comments and they're all great.

          I've decided on Shun. I am going to probably buy 4 knives. I have however not decided on which Shun line to get. I am finding buying knives a bit like buying mattresses -- lots of similar models, sold exclusively through different outlets with varying and hard to compare pricing.

          Specific question: Shun Premiere vs. Shun Kaji (William Sonoma)

          Quick Pro & Con:
          - Shun Premiere is more affordable (good)
          - Shun Premiere has similar blade technology to Kaji (good)
          - Shun Premiere can be purchased at Amazon (good)
          - Shun Premiere has typical Japanese knife weighting and is a little blade heavy (ok)

          - Shun Kaji looks great and has more European weighting (good)
          - Shun Kaji is much more expensive and is only sold at William Sonoma (bad)

          All things equal, I'd rather have the WS Shun Kaji, but I also feel like a bit of a moron b/c I believe the ultimate blade technology is pretty similar.

          Open to suggestions and guidance from the group.

          Thanks

          1. re: ratheramused

            "I am finding buying knives a bit like buying mattresses -- lots of similar models, sold exclusively through different outlets ...."

            Welcome. In my experience, mattress shopping is worse, because different chain of stores use different names for the same mattress.

            Now, I assume you are talking about Shun Premier and Shun Kaji. Beside the price and geometry differences, the two lines actually have very different cutting core steels.

            The Shun Premier knives use a VG-10 steel core and are harden to a 60-61 HRC level, which is hard by European stainless steel knife standard, but very normal for Japanese standard.
            The Shun Kaji knives have a SG-2 powdered steel core and are ~64 HRC hard.

            Therefore, the Kaji core is much harder than Premier core, and Kaji steel will hold an edge longer. However, the Kaji blade will take more effort and skill to sharpen than Premier edge.

            I would say these two lines of knives are quiet different. Before its retirement, Shun Elite is the mass market version of Shun Kaji. Both Shun Elite and Shun Kaji use SG-2 steel, but Shun Elite knives were sold by anyone (not exclusive). There are still some Shun Elite knives floating around if you are interested, though not much cheaper.

            http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

            Which Shun Kaji knife are you interested in? The 8" Chef's knife? It is $250. Henckels has also launched the Miyabi Birchwood with a very similar steel technology at the same price point:

            http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO...

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Chemicalkinetics -

              Thanks for the quick reply and comments.

              Stuck on a deserted island with piles of root vegetables and oodles of pork shoulder, which would you choose based only on blade? (assume that fit and finish are both considered great)

              Thanks

              1. re: ratheramused

                A tough but fair question. I feel if I am on an island, then it is easier to sharpen a Premier knife because it is softer.... but that is probably not really answering what you have in mind.

                Ok, I will answer the questions in a two other ways.

                From a pure competitive cost argument, the SG-2 Kaji is slightly better. A Shun Premier 8" Chef's knife is $150, and a Shun Kaji 8" Chef's knife is $250. While I can easily find another VG-10 knife below $90 (60% of Premier’s $150), it will ne harder to find another SG-2 knife for $150 or below (60% of $250).

                The Kaji edge is better, but a person may not notice all of its advantages. For an average home cook, the biggest difference is probably the edge retention. The Kaji knife will appear to stay sharp longer. If you are going to get one knife and money is not a huge restriction, then a Shun Kaji is a nice treat for yourself. On the other hand, there is a real $100 price difference between these two lines. You can buy both a Shun Premier 8” Chef’s knife ($150) and a Premier 7” Santoku ($100) for the same price of a Shun Kaji 8” Chef’s knife ($250).

                So I think it also depends if you want to buy any other things in the near future.

                Usually, I don't bring this up, but we are talking about $250 knives already.
                Watanabe Shinichi makes some very well respect knives. A 210 mm Kurouchi Gyuto (~8.25 inch) Chef's knife is $260. Here is a picture of a shorter 180 mm version ($230):

                http://www.watanabeblade.com/english/...

                http://youtu.be/pgFg__pfxKI

                Its cutting core is made of the Japanese blue paper (aogami) steel -- a carbon steel, not stainless steel. It is a made-to-go, hand made knife, and he can customize the length, the thickness, the handle.... to your liking (with additional but reasonable fee). I bought a nakiri knife from him and it is very nice. Dave bought a deba and also likes it. The fit and finish is fine, but not as good as Shun knives. Shun knives fit and finish are very good.

              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                I was just looking up the Kaji knive HRC spec. I'm assuming it would be in the 65 HRC range being a SG2 steel/Damascus blade. Odd the Kai website doesn't mention it. I guess it's too knew. Along with the Fuji line. No matter. Too expensive for me (home cook). I'll likely be getting the Premier instead.

                Still, does any one know if the Kaji (or Fuji) line is being sold in Toronto (Williams-Sonoma too?...No CDN WS website)? If so where? I haven't spotted them at the usual Toronto knife shops (Slice & Sear). Nor "Internet Knife Store".

                1. re: BDD888

                  SG2 is more commonly taken to hrc 63 or so.

                  I'm thinking it's likely that even the Canadian WS carries the Kaji line, but I can't say for sure. You can reliably find new Shun kaji/fuji knives on Ebay, if nothing else.

                  1. re: BDD888

                    <Odd the Kai website doesn't mention it.>

                    I don't think it is too new. The Shun website for whatever reasons removed a lot of information. I agree with you that Shun SG2 steel knives used to be listed as 64-66 HRC. Some think that number range is a bit too high to be realistic.

                    Williams Sonoma should carry Shun knives including Kaji and Fuji. However, particular Williams Sonoma may not have them at the moment. You can probably call ahead of time before visiting a particular store.

                    1. re: BDD888

                      I don't know the Shun lines at all, but unless its a Williams-Sonoma only line, there is no reason to purchase it there. Nella on Bathurst and Bloor carries a large number of Shun and can order them in if they don't have what you want, and at a much lower price.

                      The Healthy Butcher also often has low priced knives.

                      1. re: TeRReT

                        I doubt I would ever buy from WS. I know how overpriced they are. WS is just a one-stop-shop for "entry-level hi-end" cookware.

                        As for the HRC rating for the Kaji/Fuji knvies...I don't think a range of 64-66 is too high or unrealistic. As there are other Japanese knife makers using this same kind of steel with such HRC ratings (http://www.1couteaujaponais.eu/KATSUH...).

                        There's another kind of exotic JP steel "r2 powdered" which I think had a HRC range of 65-67. Takamura Suminogashi (http://knifewear.com/knife-family.asp...). Crazy. :) And at almost $600 for a 210mm gyuto...bit more than I'd like to spend on one kitchen knife. But people are making them. Just better make sure you or some one is qualified to sharpen such knives. Not easy.

                        Will check Nella. Try to see them when I have time. Thanks.

                        1. re: BDD888

                          It's not 'too high' or 'unrealistic' for a knife in general to be tempered at 64-66. I don't think that's what anyone meant. Rather, people are saying that they suspect Shun was exaggerating the hardness of their knives when they claimed that their knives in SG2 were tested in that range. Maybe they selected an extra hard sample for testing. But as I noted above, that is harder than SG2 is typically tempered (not all powdered metals are tempered to the same hardness), and Shun's other offerings in SG2 have not quite acted like they were tempered north of 65, performance-wise. I think "Unrealistic" was Chem's gentle way of saying Shun was full of it when they used to list their SG2 knives in that hardness range.

                          Doesn't mean it's a bad knife, BTW. Just saying that if you bought one and got it independently tested, my money would be on results of 62-63 hrc.

                          1. re: BDD888

                            BDD,

                            Cool. Williams Sonoma can have overpriced products. On the other hand, it is usually reasonably priced for big name items like Shun because these brands have a recommended price tag, so you will pay pretty much the same at Williams Sonoma vs Bed Bath and Beyond. Like TeRReR has said, you don't have to buy your knives there. So are you looking to get a Kaji knife? Or still thinking about it? A Shun Kaji Chef's knife is about $300. It looks like a good knife. Have you considered other brands as well?

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                              I'm looking at Shun Kaji/Premier and Tojiro DP so far. Being a home cooking enthusiast I don't see any point in spending more than $200 per knife (and if I did spend more it would be because of it's un-exagerated HRC number).

                              The Kaji for it's alleged high HRC rating and good looks. Unfortunately I might not be able to buy them in Toronto...will need to check with our WS locations when I return home (we have 4).

                              Only problem I have with the Kaji/fuji line is that it doesn't look like you can buy knives individually. You need to buy them in sets of 8-knives or more. At least according to the WS.com site.

                              For just under $400 US/CAD...other brands include Takeda, Fujiwarea MNM...etc. And this would be as much as i could justify spending on one knife. HRC rating of 63-65 or not.

                              I would like to keep my knives under $200 each. Don't really see the point in spending more to be honest. I'm sure any sub-$200 chef's/gyuto knife would more than suit my needs.

                              1. re: BDD888

                                If you're interested in hard knives, keep in mind that HRC isn't necessarily the be all and end all factor in edge retention at low angles. For example, the Aritsugu A type gyuto is renowned for amazing edge retention, surpassing many harder knives. There are numerous downsides worth mentioning - it is very slow to sharpen; the factory grind is inconsistent; fit & finish can be lacking; it comes without an edge and you'll have to take a while to grind one in yourself; it generally needs to be thinned behind its edge as well... still, it's a reliable go-to choice of line cooks who want a knife with extreme edge retention and toughness (resistance to chipping) at low edge angles. Since you're a home cook, it might offer more edge retention than you need, frankly, considering the downsides.

                                The akifusa 9 inch gyuto prices in just under $200, and is probably both harder than the shun and with better edge retention. It's on the thick end for a gyuto. PM steel, like the Shuns you're looking at.

                                The Kikuichi TKC also is known for having excellent edge retention. It is thinner and boasts a better fit and finish than some of the other knives I've mentioned.

                                The first real gyuto I owned was a Hiromoto AS. It's got impressive edge retention as well. Its edge is carbon steel (aogami super, just like the Takeda), and it's a little thick by current standards of popular gyutos. Every time I bust it out, I'm still pleasantly surprised by how well it performs and how good it feels in the hand.

                                All I'm saying is there's a lot of factors beyond hardness that make a Japanese knife worthwhile, and harder isn't always better, or even necessarily better at holding a low angle edge with great retention. The Shuns are somewhat unique in their look and their profile, so if that appeals to you, by all means pull the trigger on one. Besides hardness, what factors appeal to you in a Japanese knife?

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  Besides HRC? Fit & Finish. Prefer a western handle (rivets...like the Shun Kaji...but with the texture of the Fuji...heh). And looks (knives like the Takeda for me looks unfinished...as if it was tossed around in the shop before being sent to retailers...not crazy about that type of look even if it is using some exotic JP steel). Cost as well (under $200 per knife is best, willing to go as high as $400 for a gyuto).

                                  Shun Premier 8" is $188 CAD
                                  Shun Kaji 8" is $299 US (should be the same in CAD$)
                                  Shun Fuji 8" is $399 US (same in CAD$...not sure why it's $100 US more at US WS...same blade different handle).

                                  Will Google your recommendations. Thanks.

                                  1. re: BDD888

                                    Just found out that Shun Kaji/Fuji series knives are not sold in Canada. Called this one local shop "Internet Knife Store". Carries the complete line of Shun knives except the Kaji and Fuji. DAMN!! Guess I'll be getting some Premiers...or possibly Tojiro DP's. Not sure yet. There is also other brands like MAC, Kasumi....though I don't like the round looking handles of the Kasumi's. Which cost similarly to the Premiers anyway.

              3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                Large hand question: My hands are very thick and I need XXL gloves and even that is tight. Have heard many comments over the years. My hand measures: 4 1/2 inches from just above the thumb to the outer edge on the pinky side. When I curl my hand / fingers like I would around a knife its 4 inches from the outside edge of the pointer finger to the outside edge of the pinky finger. Fingers are thick too. The average guys wedding ring only goes 1/2 way up my pinky. Don't know where these hands came from (5' 10" 215 lbs). Very good for grabbing a felon by the throat but not for holding a knife. Fills the entire handle of a Wusthof classic chefs knife from the back edge of the bolster to the point on the back of the handle curve. Not to small but no extra room.

                Have read a lot about the Shun, Mac & Tojiro DP. The Tojiro DP seems very reasonable and it wouldn't be catastrophic if it dropped and chipped. My problem is, are the handles big enough? (Same size as the Wusthof or are they smaller?

                1. re: Tom34

                  Hi Tom,

                  I don't have a Henckels right now, but I have handled one before after sharpening it.. I would say Tojiro handle is about the same if not just a tad smaller than a Henckels' handle -- assuming my memory is good.

                  For someone with a very large hand like you, I want to point out two suggestions. The first one is a minor one, which is that you can warp tape/thin cloth on the handle to make it larger. The second one is more important. Most people who find knife handle being too thin or too short also hold the knife in a death grip mode or hammer-holding mode.

                  The pinch grip is the acceptable knife holding technique. A third to almost half of your hand is on the blade, depending if you want to use two fingers (more common) or three fingers (less common) pinch grip. Not only it will make the handle thickness and handle length less of an issue, but more importantly, it is safer to use, and give the wielder more control. It may take 1-2 weeks to get used to be, but it is an effective style. I would give it a try if you have not.

                  Here from the infamous Chad Ward.

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq0FH2...

                  A photo:

                  http://stellaculinary.com/pics/profes...

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    CHEM & PETEK,

                    Thanks for the quick responses. My experience with Japanese style kitchen knives is pretty limited to NON high end. My Wusthof chefs knife has always done a good job but is a little crude with very fine work. Was looking (chefs knives to go) at the Tojiro DP Nakiri 165mm $69.00 and the Tojiro DP Nakiri Damascus $79.00. I would use these for more delicate work and I think the pinch grip would work well and the big hands wouldn't be an issue. Any advantages between the regular DP & the Damascus . Would the Damascus finish release better than the regular DP or is it just the opposite.

                    The next step would be the 240 mm Chefs knife. Thats where Petek's Moritaka with the 6 inch handle would probable be worth the extra $$$$ with my hands.

                    I know this is off topic but any thoughts with sharpeners for both German and Japanese knives? I have read a lot about the Edge Pro Apex & also just saw something that I think they call the "Wicked Edge". Any experience with these?

                    Happy 4th.........Hope you enjoying good BBQ & Suds..........Tom

                    1. re: Tom34

                      <Would the Damascus finish release better than the regular DP or is it just the opposite.>

                      Some people like Damascus's appearance. There should not be any performance difference.

                      Mark carries both the western handle and the Japanese wa wood handle for Tojiro DP. The Japanese handle is a tad longer (0.5 cm). :)

                      <I have read a lot about the Edge Pro Apex & also just saw something that I think they call the "Wicked Edge".>

                      No hands-on experience. Edge Pro Apex has a better reputation.

                      I ate BBQ yesterday instead of today. :)

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Thanks.....Will try calling Mark today.

                        1. re: Tom34

                          Hmm, sorry. I forgot to include the link. Here is the wa wood handle nakiri. Unfortunately, it is only 0.5 cm longer. It is slightly more expensive than the western handle too (not sure why Mark sells it at a higher price point).

                          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/toshsa1...

                          By the way, are the typical knife handles too small for you because of their thinner or their length? Often, Japanese wa wood handles are longer, but also thinner. This is a very general statement, but something to think about. More importantly, a wa wood handle is almost always lighter, so the overall knife weight decreases and the center of mass (balance) moves forward.

                          I think the "pinch grip" will help much in either cases -- if you have not used it yet. The pinch grip moves your handle forward to the blade and it moves your handle grip above the handle instead of surrounding the handle.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Have a call in to Mark....no time to talk today.....he is trying to catch up after the holiday....Hope to get a call back Friday.

                            Length is more the issue but I think the lack of a bolster will help that some. The weight of the Western style handle will be more in line with what I am used to.

                            Saw the Global Mino Sharp Plus 3 sharpener on Marks site. He claims its pretty good on the site. Any thoughts?

                            1. re: Tom34

                              Yes, the handle of the Tojiro and Henckels are about the same size in length. The Henckels could be slightly thicker.

                              I have never used the Mino Sharp Plus. It is pretty expensive. My feeling is that, for that money, you can either get one to two good quality flat stones which will give you better results as long as you are willing to spend time learning knife sharpening, or get a Sharpmaker which is easy to use:

                              http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Tri-An...

                              cowboyardee has written a very friendly and comprehensive overview of sharpening options. If you like to read, then here it is:

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7971...

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                CHEMICAL & PETEK,

                                Torijo DP 10 inch chefs knife & DP nakiri arrived today. I know the old Wusthof's are true work horses but OMG are the Tojiro's thin and sharp. Also like the flatter bottom (less Belly). Handles were the same as the Wusthof but the lack of the heavy bolster made the pinch grip much more comfortable because there is not much room between my fingers.

                                Also got the Edge Pro Apex 3 today. Right out of the box with no practice so to speak I was able to put a sharper edge on the Wusthof knives than when they were new from the factory. This sysytem is by far the best I have ever seen and I can't wait to get the movements perfected. Worth every penny, and it was quite a few I might add.

                                Next is a cutting board up grade. Currently have a 1 inch thick white polly board for meat & chicken but was thinking of an upgrade to leave on the counter for non proteins. Have been looking at the John Boos 2 1/2 inch thick end grain Maple boards (about $140.00 for a 15 x 20). Any thoughts on Boos boards?

                                THANKS, Tom

                                1. re: Tom34

                                  Hi Tom,

                                  I am very happy to hear your good experience thus far. Please feel free to contact us about your new experience (good or bad). Yes, Tojiro DP is a really good knife series. What amazed me even more is the very reasonable price. For only $80, you can get a great performance 8" gyuto Chef's knife. If you ever feel the knife heel is too sharp for pinch grip, then feel free to round it out a bit with a sharpening stone. I didn't have to do it for my Tojiro DP, but it is definitely an option.

                                  <Also got the Edge Pro Apex 3 today>

                                  Wow, you are totally serious, man. I do know some people use an Edge Pro system to turn into amature knife sharpeners.

                                  <Any thoughts on Boos boards? >

                                  I have not used a Boos board, but it is pretty much the industrial standard. I do not expect you will have any problem with a Boos cutting board. Michagan maple Cutting Boards are equally respected.

                                  You can go for a custom cutting board such as BoardSmith Dave's ones. You can actually find very good deal of cutting boards now and then from HomeGoods and TJ Maxx for $25-35. Many of them are from Catskill.

                                  http://www.amazon.com/Catskill-Crafts...

                                  http://www.amazon.com/Catskill-Crafts...

                                  You will need to be a bit more careful when you shop at HomeGoods and TJMaxx because some of the boards have cracks. However, it is really a great deal if you find a good one.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Chemical....Petek....Cowboyardee

                                    20 x 15 is about the size I am looking for. Was thinking the 2 1/4 thickness should be beefy enough (enough glue surface between pieces of wood) to help prevent cracks & warping. The 3 inch (plus) boards are a little to heavy & add to much height to the counter.

                                    MICHIGAN: From what I have seen these are 1 3/4 thick @ about $80.00. Then they jump to about 3 1/2 inches thick.

                                    CATSKILL: From what I have seen these are 2 inches thick @ about $80.00 and seems the cheapest per square inch which kind of scares me a little as it appears built to big box store price point specs which often puts quality behind price. Also some bad reviews.

                                    BOOS: They have a 2 1/4 thick 15" x 20" board for about $135.00. This seems middle ground.....not price point but also not at the level of the custom Board-Smith.

                                    I will try to look at the sites you guys list and the discussion boards today as time permits......Thanks, Tom.

                                    1. re: Tom34

                                      <BOOS: They have a 2 1/4 thick 15" x 20" board for about $135.00. This seems middle ground.....not price point but also not at the level of the custom Board-Smith.>

                                      Hmmm, some people like Boos. Others like Boardsmith. I won't say one is definitely better than the other. Boardsmith's boards are definitely prettier, but I really won't say one lasts longer than the other.

                                      I don't expect Catskill be anywhere the level of Boos, but if this is your first wood board, then Catskill may be a good place to start. (I have no idea if this is your first wood board or not).

                                      By the way, back to your knives, did you get the standard Western handles or the Japanese wa wood handles? I assume the formal, but I am curious.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Went with the Western handles....Just read that whole thread "Confused About Cutting Boards" that Cowboyardee listed below. I posted a couple of questions on that thread if you get a chance to look. Thanks, Tom.

                                      2. re: Tom34

                                        I got the maple 12x18 BoardSmith for xmas & it's great! I also have a maple Boos butcher block that my mom bought back in the '70s (I think). The block is still in good condition but we don't have space for it in our kitchen so we never use it for cutting.

                                        I've read too many poor reviews of Boos cutting boards to consider their products. I think the BoardSmith maple 12x18 at $93 or their 16x22 at $152 comparably priced to the Boos product, but with a better reputation for quality.

                                        1. re: Eiron

                                          Yeah, off today and been doing a lot of reading and there are quite a few bad reviews on the Boos. Like others have said though, Boos probably puts out a 100 boards for every 1 BoardSmith which may account for the higher # of complaints. Either way though, after all the reading I am not as keen on a Boos.

                                          1. re: Tom34

                                            <Boos probably puts out a 100 boards for every 1 BoardSmith which may account for the higher # of complaints. >

                                            Probably way more than that ratio. I won't be surprised that the ratio is greater than 1000:1. Just look around how many Boos boards are out there. Boardsmith Dave is pretty much a one-man army. Another problem for Boos boards is that many people who purchase one do not know much about wood boards.

                                            A somewhat related story, I believe Dave Martell (a famous knife sharpener) said that many of his customers are surprised that expensive kitchen knives need sharpening. In fact, I have read random and ignorant statements online like this. Once I read that a person complained and wrote something like "I don't understand why these Shun knives go dull. I paid over $1000 for the entire set of Shun knives. I expect them to last forever and not need sharpening". You know. If you have a customer like this, he/she will be unhappy with whatever products are bought. A statement like is as logical as believing a Ferrai does not need gas because it is expensive.

                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA621_...

                                            My point is that the customer base for Boardsmith is probably better educated in the art of wood board than the customer base for Boos.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              So what's your point regarding a better educated customer? That they're less likely to complain? Or that they're more likely to seek out a better product?

                                              1. re: Eiron

                                                Chem can correct me if I'm wrong, but I figured the point was that you might see proportionally fewer complaints about the quality of the Boardsmith's boards just because you're not seeing so many complaints about consumer-caused problems.

                                                Likewise, I'd speculate that the Boardsmith's customers tend to be better educated for no better reason than that the Boardsmith isn't well known, so the fact that his customers have found him in the first place would normally indicate that they've done a little extra research into cutting boards.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  cowboy,

                                                  Your explanation is exactly how I feel. Thanks. I need to find that old post. I now remember what he said... Something about if he has to pay >$200 for knife, then that knife better not rust in an automatic dishwasher. (He was arguing that why can't Shun knives be put in a dishwasher).

                                                  As you can see Eiron, you will hardly ever get that kind of complaint for say a custom knife maker like Watanabe.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    Just got home and turned on the computer. I think the better educated customer theory is probably true. I have found that serious hunters & fishermen seek out top shelf equipment and usually take very good care of it. Likewise, somebody who seeks out a custom BoardSmith is likely going to keep it oiled and not leave it sitting in a sink full of water.

                                                    CHEM & COWBOY & OTHERS, ,

                                                    Back to the grain issue. I saw your post Chem on the different way the end grain expands (side to side) & edge grain (Top to Bottom. If I am getting the point correctly, the edge grain board does not absorb water as well as the end grain but (Top to Bottom) expansion is more likely to cause warping in the sense of cupping. The cupping would seem to be more prone to splitting because the grain is going the same direction with long continuous seams. On the other hand, the end grain soaks up water faster but the expansion is side to side so cupping is less of an issue and the seams are not long and continuous so splitting is less likely. (Thats assuming boards split at the seams ?????)

                                                    I will be honest, I never put this much thought into a cutting board. Glad you guys did. Somebody mentioned Michigan boards. They have quite a few in the 1 3/4 thick range, mostly edge grain though. Any experience with them and would the 1 3/4 be thick enough.....seems Boos and others are running 2 1/4.

                                                  2. re: Eiron

                                                    Oh, I am thinking more along the line that better educated customers have better basic knowledge and know how to better care for the product. For example, I know you understand and like kitchen knives. So you understand a Victorinox knife needs sharpening, a Shun knife need sharpening, and a custom made Hattori knife also need sharpening. Whereas there are some people out there who has enough money, but not enough understanding or interest to take care of a knife.

                                                    This is also why I think there are more complaints of Shun knives than of Tojiro knives. I don't think Tojiro DP knives are a whole step better than Shun Classic knives, but if you read online, there are way more complaints against Shun knives than against Tojiro knives. It is just that there are some people who bought Shun knives have little idea what they are doing. Some of the complaints are legit, but some are full of unrealistic demands.

                                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                    Chem, Petek, Cowboyardee........

                                                    Still reading up on cutting boards. A local restaurant / bar supply co sells 1 3/4 thick "Rubber Wood" cutting boards at a very reasonable price. Any thoughts/experience with them. Being marketed to restaurants I would think they would be pretty tough considering how things get abused in a commercial kitchen.

                                                    Also any final thoughts on which boards (Edge v End) are more likely to warp & split / crack from moisture.

                                                    Will be pulling the trigger this coming week.

                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                      You know... that is an excellent question, but I don't have an excellent answer.

                                                      Yes, rubber cutting boards are very popular in restaurants. There is a short nytimes article which does a decent job of summarizing it:

                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/1999/08/04/din...

                                                      I have one and have used it for quiet awhile. I like it in many ways, but surprising the one thing which I dislike is knife retention on the cutting board. My knives go dull about 3-10 times faster on my rubber cutting board than my wood cutting board. Keep in mind that the "3-10 times" figure changes depending how sharp your knives are. The sharper the knives, the quicker the deterioration.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/725933

                                                      I know TeRReT also has experience using a rubber cutting board and did not like it. He said something it was driving him crazy. I believe cowboyardee has used one, so I will let him speak about it, but I believe he does not love it.

                                                      That being said and all, there are many advantages of rubber boards. At the end, it is about your need. Some people like plastic poly boards because you can stick them into a dishwasher. Others prefer glass cutting baords. I don't think there is one board which can satisfy all our different needs. You just have to prioritize our needs and purchase accordingly.

                                                      <Also any final thoughts on which boards (Edge v End) are more likely to warp & split / crack from moisture. >

                                                      I cannot say for sure. As mentioned, in my experience, end grain boards do not warp like edge grain board. However, all my end grain boards are much thicker than my edge grain boards... so this can be an unfair comparison. Interesting, I see more splitting for end grain than edge grain.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        Thanks for the quick response. I am not sure if the thing I saw was actually rubber. It looked like a regular 1 3/4 thick edge grain board and was called "Rubberwood". I was wondering if it was wood cut from some kind of rubber tree? I saw it on "TheWEBstaurant store & also at Camden Bar & Restaurant supply's web site.

                                                        I read your post on the different types of expansion for the 2 types of grains and it makes perfect sense. I am still hung up on the idea that a well oiled edge grain board with the tight closed grain on the surface will repel almost all of the moisture from a "quick" rinse under the faucet but an end grain board with the open end grain will soak up a good bit no matter how fast its rinsed & dried. Maybe I am just too hung up on the potential problems associated with rinsing a wooden cutting board after reading all the problems / bad reviews.

                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                          Oh I see. Sorry. It is probably from rubber trees as you have said. I think it is ok.

                                                          I won't spend way too much for your first wood cutting board (is it your first one?). Don't think of your first wood cutting board as a waste. Many people have more than one wood cutting board. Get one and see if you like it. If you do, then you can get a nicer one and use the older one as a "butcher board" or something.

                                                          I just bought a very cheap $13 wood board from H-Mart last Friday for the heck of it. It is very light, so I believe it is soft wood. Single piece with no joint (except for two decorative pieces). I oiled it Friday night, so I will give it a try today.

                                                           
                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            I got to thinking about your advice (inexpensive starter wooded board) and think your right. Just went out today and picked up the Winco 12"x 18" x 1 3/4" edge cut rubberwood board at a local restaurant/bar supply co for $28.00 out the door. Lot of board for the price. Store owner said they have quite a few in the field and have had no complaints. .

                                                            Will fool around with it for a while, judging size, learn proper care, see how the rest of the family treats it... etc... and buy the good one down the road.

                                                            Can't say enough about the Edge Pro Apex 3. Chef / owner friend coming over tonight with a bunch of Wusthof & Henckles Chefs knives to see it sharpen for himself.

                                                            Thank you & everyone else for the advice on the knives etc.

                                                            Tom

                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                              Good to know. When the time comes, you can retire this board as a beat up board. Even if it has slight cracking or slight warping, you can most likely use it has a butcher board. In some ways, it may turn out to be your most useful board because you can abuse it more. Please do let us know about your experience with the rubberwood board, since I know next to nothing about it.

                                                              <Chef / owner friend coming over tonight with a bunch of Wusthof & Henckles Chefs knives to see it sharpen for himself.>

                                                              He should take you out for a lunch or something. :P Maybe a free baseball ticket.

                                          2. re: Tom34

                                            Nice purchases.

                                            "Any thoughts on Boos boards?"

                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/857418
                                            There's a decent amount of discussion about Boos boards and some of the popular alternatives on that thread. It's still active.

                                            1. re: Tom34

                                              <Torijo DP 10 inch chefs knife & DP nakiri arrived today>

                                              Nice! congrats and enjoy your new blades!!

                                              <Any thoughts on Boos boards?>

                                              I've read good and bad reviews about them,there's plenty of other options out there,do some research before you pull the trigger...( I bought a 16"x22" "Carolina Maple Slab" from the boardSmith a couple years ago,a bit spendy but well worth it,in my humble opinion)

                                  2. re: Tom34

                                    Hi. To me the handle on the Shun, Mac & Tojiro DP are more or less the same size and on par with the Wusthof. You might want to check out the Bob Kramer knives, the one designed for Shun is the largest / most hand filling handles I’ve held.

                                    I can’t comment directly on the Tojiro knives, but my findings with other Damascus vs non-damascus clad knives were it made little to no positive or negative functional difference and is mainly cosmetic.

                                    1. re: JavaBean

                                      Thats good to know Damascus vs Non Damascus. Also good to know the Western handles on the Japanese knives are about the same size as the German ones. I guess its makes sense since most of the Japanese knives with Western Handles are probably sold to us and we do tend to have bigger hands. Will check out the Bob Kramer knives. Thanks. Tom.

                                2. re: Tom34

                                  <Large hand question: My hands are very thick and I need XXL gloves and even that is tight.>
                                  Those are some pretty big mits you got there Tom.. :D
                                  But seriously,have you had a chance to hold any Japanese style knives with wa handles?

                                  My Moritaka 240mm's handle is 5 1/2" and my Konosuke 240mm has a 6' handle that might make a difference for you.
                                  If not you can always get a custom handle made for you,but that might cost more than the actual knife so..

                              2. there are many, many threads about the various Shun lines and how they compare to other brands - i pulled up a bunch for you to read...
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/722996
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781979
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/749480
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/762557
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678407
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/769337
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/672395
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/406360
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570883
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786512
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771400

                                i *finally* treated myself to a Shun Santoku a couple of years ago, and it's the best & most enjoyable knife i've ever owned. i need to replace a few of my knives, and i'll likely go for more Shuns unless i find something else that blows me away. (i'm definitely done with German, but i may look into another Japanese brand like Global.)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Above and beyond the typical reply. Will call in sick this week in order to read all the links. Thanks

                                2. This may work just fine.

                                  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc....

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                    Hmm, I would suggest you to take a look of these in the store just to be sure. They are single bevel knives.

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      Wow! I wasn't aware Shun made single bevels..

                                      1. re: petek

                                        Yep, the entire Shun Pro and Shun Pro II series are all single bevel knives with solid VG-10 steel (not cladded). They are the traditional knives from Shun, like deba, yanagiba, usuba. Here:

                                        http://www.kershawknives.com/searchre...

                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          $400. is not a bad price for 3 knives,but learning to use and sharpen single bevels is a whole different ball game.

                                          1. re: petek

                                            That is a good looking set for 400$. Single bevels (at least on the EP) are really easy to sharpen, takes half the time

                                            1. re: petek

                                              How does using single bevel knives make things different? I have only used Wusthof Classic knives.

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                From my limited experience with a sigle bevel, they can steer themselves through a long cut if you don't correct it, and they seem to prefer to slice using the entire blade. That's it that's all I can remember right now

                                    2. Never had a santoku but everyone seems to love theirs.

                                      http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                        A santoku is a good all purpose knife. Why are you so set on Shuns? Plenty of other great options at that price point.

                                        1. re: petek

                                          I am flexible, but they caught my eye because I have a Williams-Sonoma gift card.

                                          1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                            Well then..that puts a whole new perspective on things. :)

                                            1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                              Shun Santoku is not bad. The only thing you may want to be aware of is that Shun Santoku has a slightly more curved blade profile than many Santokus, especially those from Japan, like:

                                              http://www.moritakahamono.com/jpg/ks1...

                                              http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/ima...

                                              Some people love this more curved (more belly) feature, while some don't. The more curved feature allows you to do better rock chopping, so it retains some level of a Western Chef's knife.

                                        2. I have been very pleased with my Shun Santuko. It is superior to the German knives i have. I especially like the lifetime free sharpening. That is whhat tipped the scale for me

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sarge

                                            "I especially like the lifetime free sharpening"

                                            That is gone now. How unfortunate. I also have a Shun bread knife which lost its free sharpening service.

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

                                          2. Another possibility.

                                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: CCSPRINGS

                                              That is a beautiful knife and there was another CHOWHOUNDER who loves this line of knives. The only thing for you to consider is that it is an utility knife and many people do not use utility knives often.

                                            2. Just as an option, here are some sets from Japanese Chef Knives.

                                              http://www.japanesechefsknife.com/JCK...

                                              They also have some pretty good sets. Get the third set down and spend a $100 on a nakiri, which will buy you a very, very nice nakiri.

                                              The W-S single-bevel Asian set is interesting, but I personally would go for something a little more versatile.

                                              As for Shun, I have one shun, and I must admit that I still find their handles some of the most comfortable. If you like the D-shaped heavy handle (i.e. you are right handed and maybe used to German hefty knives), then you'll probably like the feel of them.

                                              Some people don't like the VG10 steel because other alternatives are out there that are better, but it has been a solid performer on many good knives. I just sharpened my shun and worked out some chips, and now I can't wait to use it again.

                                              l know it is old hat to say this, but even with Shuns and their sharpening service it would be advisable to learn how to maintain them (stropping/honing) and sharpening.

                                              15 Replies
                                              1. re: smkit

                                                Smkit,

                                                "Some people don't like the VG10 steel because other alternatives are out there that are better,"

                                                I have good experience with VG-10. It can get chippy at times, but it seems to be pretty easy to sharpen and can form a fine nice edge. Since you are more in touch with news than I am, do you know what stainless steels are currently being regarded better than VG-10. Not counting the powder steel like SG-2 or Cowry-X..etc. I know some people has claimed VG-1 is underrated and that VG-1 is on par with VG-10. Still, that is just on par, and not better. Thanks.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                  I wouldn't consider myself 'in touch' but the AEB-L (Swedish ball bearing steel) craze is hot a la Devin Thomas and all of his fancy damascus mixes (which I love). Also, CPM-154 (crucible particle metallurgy) steel is used by a lot of custom makers these days. I've also seen some stainless Damasteel being used.

                                                  1. re: smkit

                                                    I have heard of the AEB-L due to Devin Thomas, but I wonder if it is just because Devin is such a master with this steel that he tempered the steel just right. This, of course, get back to an earlier point about heat treatment in house. The reason I bought this up is that most people would consider 420HC to be a generic and rather unimpressed steel. Yet there are claims that when 420HC is tempered with great care to a relatively high HRC, it can surprise some of us. Just a thought.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      I'm not really familiar with knives made of 420HC. What makers/brands use it in kitchen knives. I've seen it referenced in non-kitchen knives before.

                                                      I am sure Devin's heat treating helps a lot, but I also think as his stock rises, more and more makers will be using or trying out AEB-L (13c26). Marko is starting to make knives and though his first one is out of 52100, I could see him trying out AEB-L too (but I could be wrong). Adam Marr (a knifeforum moderator) is also venturing into knives and he is using AEB-L. See link.

                                                      http://marrknives.com/?page_id=94

                                                      And just wait until Devin's son graduates with a Ph.D. in metallurgy. There will be a strong cadre of AEB-L supporters in the kitchen knife world.

                                                      Even Mark Richmond from Chef Knives to Go has an established relationship with Devin and is having Lamson make knives for him under his own 'Richmond' brand. I wouldn't put it past some AEB-L from him in the future.

                                                      1. re: smkit

                                                        I would like to see his thesis when completed , would you have access to post a link? I just looked at the composition of AEB-L , it's pretty low carbon and CR

                                                        1. re: Dave5440

                                                          He is just starting his Ph.D. program this year, so you will have to wait on that one.

                                                          And sadly I'm no expert on these steel issues. It can give me a headache, but I do get the spillover knowledge from all the steel nuts on the forums. The C number is lower with AEB-L (about the same as 440a but higher than Chem's 420hc). But what does that mean exactly in terms of performance -- I'm not sure? When people talk about the qualities of AEB-L they often mention the small carbides in the steel. I claim ignorance and I am sure someone will set me straight.

                                                          All I know is that this is what I have coming is: one blade in CPM154, one in O1, one in Damasteel, and two others with O1 with damascus in other steels (15n20 mostly). The O1 and nickel gives a nice contrast for damascus from what I understand.

                                                          1. re: smkit

                                                            "AEB-L they often mention the small carbides in the steel"

                                                            Yep, that I heard too, but apparently it is greatly affected by the heat treatment. No idea, just what I read.

                                                            Devin must have his son really early because he ain't that old.

                                                            1. re: smkit

                                                              From steel talk , AEB-L's carbon content it can only go to 57~58 RC, pretty soft IHO, The blades you have coming are made from good steel , just watch the O1 for rust, I'm not familiar with Damasteel but if it's cladded O1 it should be easier to care for

                                                              1. re: Dave5440

                                                                From what I undertand, AEB-L can be heat treated into the 60s (especially by Devin).

                                                                Damasteel is a bit fuzzy to me, but I think it is a powder technology that creates a damascus pattern. It is a patented process out of Sweden versus the forge welding/folding process where you have a core steel. BUT I could be wrong.

                                                                As for O1 and rust: I am not afraid of reactive/patina/rust. Martell is making his blade out of O1. And btw here is the other O1 blade coming my way.

                                                                http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sho...

                                                                1. re: smkit

                                                                  "From what I undertand, AEB-L can be heat treated into the 60s (especially by Devin). "

                                                                  This is the reason why I said earlier that it has much to do with Devin's heat treatment in house. I don't think any random dude's AEB-L is nearly the same. This is very different than say a very well studied steel like the VG-10, where I have a good expectation of the VG-10 properity despite the vendors.

                                                                  Devin's knives ain't just any random AEB-L off the street, which is probably not the same situation for Cut Brookyln.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    It's hardenability is directly dependent on it's carbon content , 0.65% should only go to 60 rc according to the chart, But that being said another article I read said it goes 63~64 as quenched but declines to 60 with tempering, so maybe the chart is tempered as it would't be usable without tempering

                                                                    1. re: Dave5440

                                                                      Good information. I didn't know that.

                                                                      I think Devin said his knives are tempted to ~61 HRC. We are not talking about extremely hard knives. Something along a typical VG-10 knife, but something harder than the standard German knives.

                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                        Most all i've read about aeb-l says it's very close to 440B and very easy to grind

                                                          2. re: smkit

                                                            Speaking of which, Marko just posted today his jump into knives and Devin is supplying his steel (san mai) and licensing his heat treatment. Sounds interesting.

                                                            http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/sho...

                                                    2. re: smkit

                                                      "Just as an option, here are some sets from Japanese Chef Knives."

                                                      That Carbon Steel Lovers Set is real nice and a great price to boot.I thought about picking up a Misono Swedish carbon,probably the hankostu.

                                                    3. I love my 8" Shun Ken Onion. I am not too crazy about the other knives. It is my grip. There is not much of a bolster and I tend to nick myself. BTW there is going to be a special on the 6" Ken Onions coming up later in the summer.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Candy

                                                        I've known people who like the Ken Onion handle, but it is such a distinctive shape that a lot of people don't find that it fits their hand or knife grip well. If it fits, I am sure it works though. I've grown fond of the D-shaped handle, but I am righty.

                                                        Btw, I did find my shun blade to be a bit 'chippy'. They were very tiny chips that many people wouldn't notice, but chips nevertheless. I just worked them out last week and put a nice new edge on my shun, so it is now in good working oder. The chips could have been from when I was using a bamboo cutting board way back when.

                                                        1. re: smkit

                                                          The regular Shun can be ordered in the left hand style. They do make them. The ken Onions make you pinch up on the grip so that you are using your whole forearm (as you should) when chopping. I am amazed at the number of people I encounter who don't have the vaguest idea of how to hold a knife.

                                                          I have a Shun that a rep gave me. It was a small (now discontinued) Altons Angle. With only cutting cheese and hard sausages, my knife almost became micro-serrated. I was able to sharpen it thoroughly and bring back and even edge. It is fine now. My rep was very surprised to see that edge with micro-serrations.

                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                            Yeah, I am aware that you can often special order D-handled knives for lefties (not just Shun), but I think the ubiquity of the right-handed D-handles means that righties are more favorable towards them. I could be wrong though. I would hate to special order D-shaped wa handles for every knife brand I own. Octagonal wa handles are a close second for me though and are easy enough to find.

                                                            I agree completely that most people don't grip a knife properly, but even if you do, all the bumps and curves of western handles can fall in the wrong spot for a user. That is one reason why people recommend handling a knife before buying. As I use wa handles mostly, the curvaceous western handles seem more and more out of place in my hand. It wasn't always that way, but it is my preference now.

                                                            To each hand his own I guess.