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Dec 1, 2011 01:19 PM

Shun Classic 8" chefs knife.

I've been looking to purchase a chefs knife and Chem made some suggestions of reasonable Japanese knives. And he also mentioned, in another thread, a very expensive Shun designer knife. And, it made me look at the Shuns. I pretty much discounted them as they seem to out of favor by the knife community here.

So after looking at hundreds of knives I believe I really like the Shun Classic 8" Chefs Knife

I love the profile of the knife, it just seems perfect and the handle plus blade width should allow my knuckles to clear the cutting board. The handle also seems very user friendly and easy to clean. The blade is VG-10 which I understand is pretty hard and a good performer. The reviews on Amazon are pretty good.

I'm a little concerned about sharpening but think if I go with this knife I will also get there Steel that includes a angle gauge to keep the user at 16 degrees. I would love to sharpen this myself when it gets dull so I emailed Edge Pro about maintaining the double bevel of the Shuns and Ben (From Edge Pro) said he actually prefers double bevels and I should be able to keep the knife sharper than the factory edge with his system.

Anyway, I feel some will think the Shun is too expensive for what you are getting But at $140.00 UDS it seems expensive but not over the top.

Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks..

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  1. Shun knives are good knives. Eiron and I are vocal supporters of Shun. Eiron more so than I do. Shun knives are a bit out of favor with the knife community here as well we other knife communities because they are more expensive than many comparable knives. There are very few bad things I can say about Shun's quality. While I think a Tojiro DP gyuto is a better value knife than a Shun Chef's knife, a Shun knife has better fits and finish.

    I do want to make a correction that the knife you have listed here is a Shun Classic Chef's knife, not Classic Pro. :) Shun has a Shun Classic line and a Shun Pro line, but they are different.

    I strongly argue against getting a Shun steel. You may find the following conversation entertaining:

    8 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Thanks for the correction Chem, I think was able to change the name. The knife I'm interested in is the Classic not the pro. I looked closely at the Tojiro but the Gyuto just does not seem to have the height to clear my knuckles.. I could be wrong because I cannot hold it but it just looks ever so slightly thinner or the handle is deeper.

      Interesting thread about the steel.. I do have a ceramic rod that may be a better choice? Any thoughts on keeping it sharp? Thanks.

      1. re: Ross101


        How do you hold your knife? The reason I asked is that many people who encouter knuckle clearance do not use the pinch grip. A pinch grip is very useful and give you more control of a knife, and considered by many as the best grip -- certainly so in Western cutlery skill.

        As for keeping your knife sharp, there are few things you can do to lengthen the knife between sharpening. Use a wood or plastic cutting board. Use your knife only in a up to down motion, and do not move the knife sideway across a cutting board. Do not twist the knife edge while cutting.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          Hi Chem, I use the pinch grip mostly but often extend my index finger over the spine. And, do have a bamboo cutting board.. Interesting I thought you were supposed to move the knife in a small saw motion not up and down as it would damage the edge (banging it on the board). I must have that backwards! I've seen videos demonstrating this (I think)

          One thing I may do if I decide on this knife is buy it from Chef knives to go and ask Mark the best way to maintain it long term. He did mention a steel for his Richmond knives.
          He seems to know a lot about sharping and has pretty much all the equipment for sale. Thanks..

          1. re: Ross101

            Hi Ross,

            You must have large hand since you have knuckle clearance while using a pinch grip. :)

            " I thought you were supposed to move the knife in a small saw motion not up and down"

            I am not entirely sure about the saw motion. A rock cutting method is the rock chop.


            The method I talked about is often refered as push cut (with small forward or backward draw).:


            Either is fine.

            Mark will likely steer you away from the Shun knife. I don't think he hates it, but probably not one of his favorest.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              I do have large hands and the pinch grip seems to allow me more clearance. The picture below is a perfect example of my preferred grip.. I did write Mark and he suggested his 240 mm Addict but it will be to big for my wife (she cooks too).. I need a compromise but would like to stay away from a Santoku (I have two old ones).
              thanks for all your help.

              1. re: Ross101


                I would read more on the internet about Richard Addict before making a decision. Good luck.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Thanks Chem, I really respect your opinion and will look at it again.. I did a lot of browsing and saw several videos demonstrating how sharp it is. It is a amazing knife for sure. The CPM154 steel seems superior and Mark gives the impression that it will hold a edge for a long time..

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Mark has a image of the next new knife, the Richmond Artifex @210mm

        1. Ross, if you're a leftie, be sure to handle the shun before you buy it. some of the handles--on my shun santoku at least--have a sort of D shape that seems designed for people who are right handed

          1. Ross... I'll supply what I'm calling the dissenting opinion. I do own a large range of Shun; not to my... chagrin, but certainly to my wallet's (and wife's) opinion, as I think there are better options out there within the same or cheaper price point (as owning nice knifes isn't all well and good... I want better, as my Shun knives were my gateway to Japanese cutlery as a whole).

            I purchased a custom knife set from Shun, that included a nice set of knives: 6 and 8inch chef, 9in slicer, 9in bread, 6in utility and a 3.5in paring. "Woohoo" I said, "I never had to buy knives again". 8-10 months later I gradually became increasingly disappointed with my Shun... There are two (legit) reasons why the knife community isn't a fan of Shuns: 1) Value and; 2) steel/temper quality. As a production piece with high volume, Shun knives when tempered, or mor specifically, when quenched, because of the large volumes the factory that produce these run there are inconsistencies in cooling time and temperature. When doing hardening cooling is what matters. When you produce 500 knives a day and quench them in the same liquid, or quench 50 knives at once, they don't cool nearly as fast as 5-10, or even one knife at a time. The result is larger crystalline structure to your steel.

            What this meant for my knives was chipping. Lots and lots of little micro-chips along the entire length of the edge, as a result of their inconsistencies, which is unfortunate. The truth is that I probably just got a bad blade, and not all of their blades have this issue. But at $140, why not buy a Tojiro?

            2 Replies
            1. re: mateo21

              Tojiro can be a little chippy too. I mean, it's all a matter of degree, but both use VG 10 at a pretty standard temper, and both can be prone to microchipping. My experience has been that they're pretty comparable in terms of microchipping with comparable usage. Couldn't say which brand has more 'bad' blades that are even more prone to chipping than usual though. Also, since the Shun's profile encourages rock chopping, chipping may be a little more common in Shuns just because of the cutting motion people use.

              Using a good cutting board (end grain hardwood is ideal) can help. And if you sharpen your own knives, a microbevel can also make a big difference without hurting perceived sharpness much.

              1. re: mateo21

                Thanks for your experiences with the shun blades. That does make me worry I'm making the wrong decision..

              2. My thoughts -

                The Shun chef's knife is perfect for someone who wants the harder steel & better cutting edge of current Japanese stainless steel cutlery, but prefers using the curved Euro profile over the straighter Asian profile. No, they're not the best value. But Shun has never tried to promote itself as a value brand. When you consider that the Henckels Four Star 8" chef's knife retails for $100 (at CKTG), then the Shun Classic knife is properly priced IMO.

                Get the Shun electric sharpener or Shun combo waterstone rather than the Shun ridged steel.

                I love my Shun 4" paring knife & 6" utility knife. They take an edge well, they feel great in my hand, & they're pretty to look at. (The appearance is part of what you're paying for, y'know.) But, I bought them thru Bed, Bath & Beyond with 20% discount coupons. I never would've bought them at full price. And, as much as I like them, I'd probably buy different knives today.

                I won't buy any of the larger handled Shuns simply because I don't like the way they feel.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Eiron

                  My paradox using my shun is that when i feel like using a santoku ill usually prefer my Mac because its lighter and thinner. When i want to cut something that requires a heftier knife ill go for a german style chefs like f dick or solingen. So the shun sort of languishes in the middle somewhere and doesnt get used as much.

                  1. re: chuckl

                    chuckl, I understand exactly what you're saying. The Shun chef knife is not my cup of tea, but if you had to have just one knife to straddle both styles, then I think the Shun falls in there somewhere.

                    1. re: Eiron

                      Im a little nervous about splitting a butternut squash with it, though it would probably be fine

                  2. re: Eiron

                    I never thought anyone would suggest the electric sharpener.. I own a chefs choice and feel it almost ruined my henckles.. Thanks for the info though, I will look into the waterstone.

                    This weekend I'm going to go to a williams sonoma and actually handle the Shuns. I may come to the same conclusion that the handle is not for me. Thanks.

                    1. re: Ross101

                      I agree with Eiron on waterstones. I think most waterstones on the market are good choice. Ross, are you left handled? If so, look for into the Shun Premier Chef's knife.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Hi Chem.. I'm right handed and I think the Premier Chefs knife is really quite interesting.. Not sure the advantages or disadvantages of this over the Chefs Classic but I would love to hold both.. Thanks for the heads up on this.

                        1. re: Ross101


                          I have a busy day today. If you are right handed, then don't worry about Shun Classic knives. Shun Classic knives have handiness to them, and most of them are right handed. I thought you worry about the right handed handle because you are left handed.

                          Shun Premier knives have no handiness.

                      2. re: Ross101

                        Ross, your're ready to use a grooved steel, but not the electric sharpener? What do you know about the Shun electric sharpener? Do you think it's the same as the Chef's Choice? The design is different between the two. I was merely suggesting a better alternative to the grooved steel.

                        Yes, do some research that includes actually handling knives. Web pics can only give you the barest of info.