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Caring for Shun Knives

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I apologize, I remember was a discussion on here about the Shun honing rod and recall there being some strong feelings pro and con. I've not been able to find it and realize it may be imbedded in a thread with a different topic - if you recall the thread or opinions I'd appreciate your help.

We've been very lucky to receive Shun knives over the holidays. I'm wondering what kind of honing rod to use with them - any and all thoughts would be appreciated. I think we'll eventually want to learn how to sharpen them on our own but we're not quite there yet. Thanks for any and all advice.

If it makes any difference we've got a chef's knife,large and small santoku, sheep's foot and traditional paring knife (and then the serrated knives which I won't be messing with!).

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  1. I would use ceramic(MAC/Idahone) or glass/borosilicate(Hand American).

    chefknivestogo.com carries both kinds I think.

    http://chefknivestogo.com/sharpening-...

    7 Replies
    1. re: petek

      Hi Pete,
      I seem to remember you being the one who had argued against using the Shun honing rod. Is your reasoning the same as cowboyardee's? I'd be pretty upset if I chipped the blade while honing! Thanks for your input!

      1. re: olympia

        "I seem to remember you being the one who had argued against using the Shun honing rod"
        It was probably one of Chows resident expert knife knerds..but from what I understand(thanks to Chowhound and other various knife forms)harder steels(hrc 60+) perform better with ceramic and glass honing rods with less chance of chipping.Softer steels(hrc 55-58) work well with traditional grooved steel rods,I don't know the science behind(there is one) it so maybe someone will chime in and explain it further.

        1. re: petek

          Oops, sorry if I got you confused with someone else! There was a big discussion of the
          Shun rod somewhere but I just can't find it! Maybe google would be more of help than the search function. Hmm........

          Yes, google did turn up the thread I was looking for:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/666432

          1. re: olympia

            "Oops, sorry if I got you confused with someone else!"
            No worries... :)

            1. re: olympia

              That is ok. I always confuse Petek and Dave5440 (inside joke)

        2. re: petek

          Dumb question - is this still something that you would use after each use? I see some refer to this as a sharpening rod. Also, would you use the finer side on a more regular basis or both sides?

          Also, do you happen to know anything about the Messermeister rod? I see one reviewer of the MAC preferred it. Thanks!

          1. re: olympia

            'Dumb question - is this still something that you would use after each use?"

            Not a dumb question at all.If your knife doesn't feel sharp after you've used it,then you should hone,strop or sharpen it.
            I have no personal experience with Messermeister rods(or any specific rods) since I've switched to harder Japanese steel.

        3. I agree with petek. If I had to pick, I'd say the idahone ceramic rods will offer the best bang for your buck. I kind of think of glass and borosilicate as geared toward people who do their own sharpening to a fairly high grit.

          The problem with shun honing rods is they are grooved steels which can tend to chip a knife's edge; meanwhile, most of shun's knives are made of a steel that is a little more prone to chipping than most. It's just a bad match.

          2 Replies
          1. re: cowboyardee

            "I kind of think of glass and borosilicate as geared toward people who do their own sharpening to a fairly high grit. "

            Agreed and they're pretty darned expensive to boot(I'm still tryin' to make my own boro rod..)

            1. re: cowboyardee

              I'm guessing it'd also be best to avoid my Wusthof rod too, right? Thanks for your help!

            2. Do you have any sort of sharpener? If not, you will need one or the occassional professional sharpening ($6-8 probably per). Here's a good resource that discusses a lot of "sharpening stuff" http://sharpeningmadeeasy.com/

              I look at rods this way: they CAN be useful for rehoning the edge but they mostly exist just to "realign the edge back upwards between sharpenings". Technically you could easily perform the same function using the cardboard back of a notebook and a stropping motion. Or a scrap of leather ... or a smooth leather belt. Seriously.

              So, I would rather see your money go towards some type of real sharpening system, that you can use long-term to keep that edge razor sharp. I personally just don't see rods as necessary in any way to the care of your knives and it would be easy to use the wrong angle and cause harm vs. nice controlled stropping motions.

              2 Replies
              1. re: jkling17

                Good point about stropping jk.I use cardboard and an old leather belt and they work well.The secret to success is correct angles and pressure,whether it's stropping on cardboard or honing on some sort of rod.

                1. re: petek

                  Ask that question here:

                  http://knifeforums.com/forums/showfor...

                  They'll answer all your questions and tell you more about sharpening than you ever wanted to know. There are other forums for knife phreakes too.

                  I think that oven proof glass bowls are the same material as expensive boron silicate rods, and you can use the bottom of those for the same purpose. Mostly I just use a diamond sharpening stone and then lightly hone on a ceramic or fine diamond rod.

              2. Hi Olympia,

                I hope this is not too late. This is probably the one:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/666432

                I would argue that you won't need a honing steel for maintaining your knives and even if you want to, you will want to avoid the Shun medium grooved honing steel.

                Edited: it seems you have already found that thread.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Thank you so much for finding it! I had tried many (wrong) combinations searching on here.

                  1. re: olympia

                    "I had tried many (wrong) combinations searching on here."

                    Here is a secret (ok, not a real secret, but ..). Sometime it is easier to search CHOWHOUND posts using google than using the CHOWHOUND search function. I will leave it to you to come up the explanation :D

                    Try this on google search "chowhound shun honing steel"

                    *Edited: Just realized that you did use google. Awesome*

                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      "Here is a secret (ok, not a real secret, but ..). Sometime it is easier to search CHOWHOUND posts using google than using the CHOWHOUND search function."
                      _________

                      Not just here but many places.