Shun Blue Steel Knives
This may be old news for some people, but it has not been mentioned here. Shun is launching a new line of knives with a blue steel (carbon steel) core enveloped in stainless steel. This allows a cutting performance of the blue steel, and the easy of care for the stainless steel. The core steel is hardened to 61 Rockwell. They also have octagonal handles (except the Menkiri knife), and are sold with knife saya (sheath). Based on Chefknivestogo information, it will be Blue 2.
I bought a Shun Classic 10" Chef's Knife a few years back...used it once or twice, and it sat on the rack pretty much ever since. I find 10" to be a clumsy size on most home counters...regquires a huge board and lots of space.
Sold it on Ebay after watching it hang there too long.
Since then, I've stuck with my Shun Premier Wide Santoku and 8" Chef's...They are great knives, easy to care for, and never had to sharpen either. A little honing goes a long way. I don't understand this obesssion with 'sharpening'. What do you people cut stuff on, cement?
Anyway, I digress...
Saw the Shun Blue Steel, and despite my previous experience with the Classic, just HAD to have it!
So now I've got the 10" Kiritsuke, and holy cow, what a different experience!
Firstly, it's does have some belly, so you can pull off a rock chop, it just takes some practice ajusting to the relatively shallow depth of the blade. You also don't need to do any 'whack' chopping - it's sharp enough to do the work on it's own, you don't have to give it momentum.
One thing I did notice..there is no lateral give in this knife. Once it touches the board, it's not twisting anywhere. I assuming that attempting too much torque would cause potential chipping with a carbon blade. Flaying around like a sous-chef in Kitchen Stadium just ain't gonna happen, either. It requires controlled straight up and down cuts. My cuts are cleaner, more precise, and I've slowed down perceptibly. Speed turns out to be unimportant when working with a knife like this. I also find myself using the entire length of the blade...the tip drag-slices through an onion with precision and the slices stay together. Turn 90 degrees and through you go...no extra horizontal cuts required. The onion is cross-sectioned in layers anyway, so why attempt more sloppy through cuts and risk fingers?
Ok, it's not an actual Kiri - It's double bevelled, and the 16 degree angle will prove interesting if and when I ever need to actually sharpen it. Likely it and myself are off to KNIFE on Dundas West... I may even consider taking lessons.
Also, the 16 degree thing is complemented by the Shinogi-like taper midway up the knife...definitely aids in seperating items from the blade. I think it's actually more effective than a hollow ground blade.
I love the handle, and find the balance interesting...Slightly higher than most. But who doesn't love a challenge with a potentially deadly weapon?
Hope any or all of this helps. Ask any questions you can think of and I'll try to keep up. There's still lots of experimenting that I need to do with the knife, so if you have a specific task in mind, I'll try to report the results accurately.
<One thing I did notice..there is no lateral give in this knife. Once it touches the board, it's not twisting anywhere>
You can either say this is a knife issue or a cutting board issue. I have a few very sharp knives, and I have a few cutting board. My knives do not get stuck in my wood boards, but they get have this stuck feeling on my rubber board, which means they cut too deep. One can either say the knife is too sharp for the board or the board is too soft for the knife.
<Likely it and myself are off to KNIFE on Dundas West>
Hey, you must be from Canada near Toronto. I had the pleasure of visiting KNIFE and Tosho Knife Art. They are small, but nice. Well, KNIFE is much smaller.
<Hope any or all of this helps>
Thanks for sharing your experience.
It's a hard maple board. I'd say that it doesn't cut to deep so much as 'stick'...Plus, with the length, there's little opportunity for twisting.
I'm in East York, so when/if I feel the need to learn how remove steel from this blade safely, that's likely were I'm gonna have to go.
I really hope you folks can think up some tasks for this knife to perform, so that I can report on the result. It feels like I'm going to spend a lot of time learning what this thing can do.
<I really hope you folks can think up some tasks for this knife to perform, so that I can report on the result. It feels like I'm going to spend a lot of time learning what this thing can do. >
Interesting knife. I believe a double bevel Kiritsuke is meant to be a chef’s knife. It would be interesting to know how it performs against other styles of chef’s knives across a broad range of tasks…slicing, dicing, chopping…small to large, soft to hard items.
<I assuming that attempting too much torque would cause potential chipping with a carbon blade.>
Yes. Hard, thin edges do not respond well to hard impacts or torqueing. Be mindful of very dense objects like winter squashes – keep your cutting stroke straight, and if the blade get’s stuck, don’t force it, just back it out. Also be careful when rocking / walking the blade from side to side across the cutting board – make sure the edge is not entrenched in the cutting board between strokes.
Can you elaborate more on the blade grind; how it tapers from heel to tip and from the spine to the edge. Or post a couple of pic like this…
After a painful amount of time trying to work out the fine-tuning on this camera...I think I've got something that will be helpful...
You can see how it has a regular Shun width at the top, but just above the 'beading' which is done to accentuate the blue steel, I belive, there is a shinogi-like change of angle to the 16 degree bevel on both sides.
The blade grind I would characterize as coarse. There are alot of shard edges to make it this inflexible once it's hit a hard maple board, even with a light touch.
Nice photos. It looks like a very well made machined knife.
<ut just above the 'beading' which is done to accentuate the blue steel>
It does have a shinogi-like there. Although I was looking at below and not above -- e.g. closer toward the edge.
<There are alot of shard edges to make it this inflexible once it's hit a board>
I assume this will be an easy fix with a sharpening stone.
Great pics, thanks for taking the time to do them. It looks a lot nicer in the second round of pictures, and seems to have all of the bell and whistles of a Shun…well made, flawless fit & finish, pretty cosmetics, nice handle, etc. The mirror finish on the upper part of the blade, above the shinogi line is really nice. I didn’t realize the Kasumi or misty finish on the upper part of the blade road, below the shinogi line was sand blasted & coarsely textured. Hmmm…on paper, a coarsely textured blade road may help prevent foods, like apples, potatoes, or cucumbers from sticking to the blade, but as you said also creates a lot of friction.
On pic 3 and 4, it looks like Shun used a low, flat or sabre grind and left the upper portion of the blade (spine to shinogi line) a bit thick to provide rigidity; makes sense why you said the blade has no flex.
Looking forward to hearing more about it.
Interesting. Many unanswered questions:
- What will they cost?
- Which form of blue steel are they using? OTOH, most blue steel tends to be pretty decent. Even the blue steel in the cheap Tosagata nakiri I have is pretty nice.
- Most importantly, will Shun mess up the geometry?
The honesuki might wind up being a good buy for a lot of shun's regular customers if the price is right (and they don't mess up the geometry). I have no idea why Shun's customer base would want a kiritsuke (they are very cool, but a little difficult to use), or a especially a menkiri.
They should be launched at $200-250 a piecce:
According to Mark Richmond, it will be blue paper #2, so it is certainly not the most expensive blue steel, but it may be the best for average home cooks, since blue#2 is toughest. As for why they pick on these four knives. I am not so sure. This blue steel line is in partnership with Chris Cosentino, so maybe he has something to do with this (or not).
You are right. The four knives they are launching are certainly interesting:
Shun Blue Pro Utility/Butchery Knife (looks like a hankostu)
Shun Blue Honesuki
Shun Blue Menkiri
Shun Blue Kiritsuke
Some people from knife forums think the menkiri bocho will be a great seller just because of the shape (read the original post)
A lot of people who collect Japanese knives like to collect sobakiri (much like menkiri) and yanagiba. That being said, I don't see knife collectors want to collect Shun knives.