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Pensacola Tiger
03-22-2013, 11:18 PM
When I posted my observations about Shun knives after living with them for a month in the first part of “The Shun Experiment”, cwrightthruya graciously offered me the opportunity to borrow three other Shuns to expand on my findings, and I accepted.

The three knives were a Shun Classic 8” VG10 chef’s with kullens, a Shun Elite 4½” SG2 chef’s and a Shun Classic 3½” VG10 sheepsfoot paring. They were deliberately delivered dull to afford me the opportunity to sharpen them. And they were dull, unable to pass my standard test of cleanly slicing a folded paper towel rolled into a half-inch cylinder.

Contrary to expectations, sharpening was no more difficult that any other stainless, though not as easy as putting an edge on shirogami. I used a Shapton Pro 320 to create a fresh bevel on each knife, then refined the edge with a Shapton Pro 1k, and polished it with a 5k. Because it would not have much contact with a board, I took the paring knife a step farther with an 8k Shapton Pro. Deburring was accomplished on a hard felt block.

I tried to use the knives as much as possible in combination with a few of my “regular” knives. What follows is my impressions of each of them. Forgive the use of stock photos, as I did not think to take pictures until after the knives were on their way back to cwrightthruya.

(The first part if The Shun Experiment is here: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/10264-The-Shun-Experiment)

Shun Classic 8” VG10 chef’s

http://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx226/Pensacola_Tiger/Shun/file_zps25ffa1b7.jpg

I made every attempt to use the 8” chef’s for my prep work, and early on confirmed that the profile, which is designed for rock chopping, was not the most friendly to my usual style. I stuck with it, but was thankful when the experiment was over and I could return to my accustomed gyuto profile.

I found the height of the tip made it difficult to use effectively, forcing me to hold my wrist uncomfortably.

The kullens did not seem to make any difference in food release, and should be considered cosmetic only.

Edge retention was good; the edge only needed stropping during the month I used it. I did not see any evidence of chipping in that time.

I think that someone transitioning from a Wüsthof to a Shun would find it much more accomodating than I did.

Shun Elite 4½” SG2 chef’s

http://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx226/Pensacola_Tiger/Shun/file_zpsac6fc3c3.jpg

The 4½“ Elite chef’s has a profile very much like a deba, and, in fact, is marketed as a deba-style chef’s knife, but it can in no way be considered a deba. I found the knife to be an amusing toy to use for quartering limes, but of little value in actual prep work. My wife, on the other hand, thought it was the perfect size for general use (shudder).

Shun Classic 3½” VG10 sheepsfoot paring

http://i758.photobucket.com/albums/xx226/Pensacola_Tiger/Shun/file_zps544fb43f.jpg

I found the 3½” sheepsfoot paring to be the most useful knife of the three, and was sorry to see it go back to cwrightthruya. Those of you familiar with the standard Shun Classic paring know the handle is one of the more comfortable available, and I found the straight edge of the sheepsfoot to be very easy to use. If you are dissatisfied with your current parer, you might want to try a sheepsfoot.

Conclusions

Contrary to some reports, I did not find these Shuns particularly difficult to sharpen, though other flavors of stainless are certainly easier. It may be that since Shuns are a "gateway" Japanese knife, that many Shun owners are also beginning sharpeners and this creates the impression that they are hard to sharpen.

The bottom line is that the dislike of the Shun Classic chef’s profile is probably justified, at least for those of us used to a Japanese or French (Sabatier) profile.

Rick

EdipisReks
03-22-2013, 11:44 PM
i've never found Shun VG-10 to be hard to sharpen. i agree that the Elite "chefs knife" looks useless.

Gravy Power
03-22-2013, 11:47 PM
Nice write up. Was there any difference in sharpening the SG2 versus the VG10?

cwrightthruya
03-22-2013, 11:50 PM
I'll third the notion that the 4.5" "Chef's Deba" is fairly useless. It's not bad for mincing garlic, but other than that I have never found a use for it. However, everyone who comes over and wants to "help" me in the kitchen ALWAYS goes for it first ;). I deliberately keep it on my mag rack right beside my "ugly" patina'd gyuto's.

Pensacola Tiger
03-22-2013, 11:55 PM
Nice write up. Was there any difference in sharpening the SG2 versus the VG10?

None that I noticed.

cwrightthruya
03-23-2013, 12:01 AM
Nice write up by the way.

Gravy Power
03-23-2013, 12:12 AM
This kinda has me thinking. If anyone would like to take my school-issue Mercer's (pairing, boning, chef's) for a month and write a review I'd happily accomodate.

ThEoRy
03-23-2013, 12:43 AM
Conclusions

Contrary to some reports, I did not find these Shuns particularly difficult to sharpen, though other flavors of stainless are certainly easier. It may be that since Shuns are a "gateway" Japanese knife, that many Shun owners are also beginning sharpeners and this creates the impression that they are hard to sharpen.


Rick

Agreed. I hated sharpening them after an early experience with my boss's 10 year old Shun a long time ago. It was just super thick behind the edge and gummy feeling on the stones. I never liked the edges I was getting with it. After I fell into a few Shuns last year however, I sharpened them up with ease and was able to put killer edges on both the VG 10 blades and the SG 2. Gained a new insight into Shun at that time. Haven't had any trouble with any vg 10 since. I could tell a similar story about my Tojiro yo deba as well.

franzb69
03-23-2013, 12:56 AM
only vg 10 i've had some trouble with was my yoshihiro petty.

beyond that, i found my tojiro and my mother's shun santoku sharpens up fine.

theLawlCat
03-23-2013, 01:38 AM
I'll always have some love for Shun even if I probably wont ever buy another. I wouldn't be here if I hadn't randomly bought one and then realized that I liked sharp things.

marc4pt0
03-23-2013, 02:21 AM
+1 to that!

jai
03-23-2013, 02:51 AM
i dont really like shuns at all mainly because of the profile and overall feel of the knives but my shun elite honesuki in sg2 is a really awesome knife love it for deboning. and the edge gets killers sharp maybe i was lucky.

JBroida
03-23-2013, 03:15 AM
i've now sharpened probably over 200 shuns, and while they arent difficult for me to sharpen or deburr, here's one thing i've noticed... over half of the knives i sharpen (many new) have grind problems on the faces of the knife that cause uneven bevels (high and low spots)... they are often visible by the naked eye. That, to me, shows a lack of QC, and i have a problem with that. Also, i see more shuns with chips in them than almost any other knife. Now i would normally chalk this up to the fact that many people who are new to knives buy them, but i see the same percentage of chipping with users who own other japanese knives (i.e. misono, masamoto, aritsugu, etc.) when their other knives are not chipped. FWIW, i also see a lot of hattori HD's with chips.

Notaskinnychef
03-23-2013, 03:24 AM
I agree with the shun knives being gateway knives. They got me in to this world of sharp things and while I only use their paring knife (and have their "U2 utility knife in the drawer), looking online for similar knives and more importantly looking for alternatives, i found this place so that's a point for shun.

Side note, that U2 knife is actually quite comfy and is fantastic for making sandwiches, use it from start to finish lol. Bought it and the paring for 41 bucks each while back on amazon.ca :-)

Crothcipt
03-23-2013, 03:26 AM
Nice write up.

Dream Burls
03-23-2013, 09:53 AM
I agree with the shun knives being gateway knives. They got me in to this world of sharp things and while I only use their paring knife (and have their "U2 utility knife in the drawer), looking online for similar knives and more importantly looking for alternatives, i found this place so that's a point for shun.

My relationship with Shuns is very similar. A couple of Christmases ago I decided to buy my wife a new set of kitchen knives. I didn't know squat about them at the time so I went on line and did some research. Unfortunately that did not include KKF. I went with a set of Shuns because they sounded like they were good value. My wife was thrilled with them, coming from an old line of Henckels. I continued my research, found KKF and Marko and the rest is history. She is still happy with the Shuns. I sharpen them with my Norton stones and don't have a problem with that. My favorite is the Shun Kramer bread knife. The scalloped edge is really cool and cuts like a dream. Shuns will alway have a place in my heart as being the vehicle that brought me to KKF and ultimately to the creation of Dream Burls.

augerpro
03-23-2013, 11:41 AM
I just picked up the Shun Premier sheep's foot parer and it is a great little knife! Looks like they might be closing it out though.

dmccurtis
03-24-2013, 02:36 AM
Agreed, particularly regarding grind issues.


i've now sharpened probably over 200 shuns, and while they arent difficult for me to sharpen or deburr, here's one thing i've noticed... over half of the knives i sharpen (many new) have grind problems on the faces of the knife that cause uneven bevels (high and low spots)... they are often visible by the naked eye. That, to me, shows a lack of QC, and i have a problem with that. Also, i see more shuns with chips in them than almost any other knife. Now i would normally chalk this up to the fact that many people who are new to knives buy them, but i see the same percentage of chipping with users who own other japanese knives (i.e. misono, masamoto, aritsugu, etc.) when their other knives are not chipped. FWIW, i also see a lot of hattori HD's with chips.

Gravy Power
03-24-2013, 10:26 AM
After I posted the thread about VG10 steel, I went back to my Asian cooks knife (http://www.zappos.com/shun-classic-7-asian-cooks-knife-stainless-steel?ef_id=UU76GAAAAWzksZ@z:20130324130528:s) and gave in sever passes on my 1,200 and 5,000 grit stones. My rookie skills are probably improving as i was able to put a pretty keen edge and polish on it. Also, if I recall correctly, I purchased this knife for around $99 on clearance at SLT. So in this case, I think it was a farily good deal.

Now, I definately can't say that for their elite lines. I would be curious for someone to do a review on their new Blue Steel line. Regardless of the outcome I won't be buying one thoug.

The Anti-Chrysler
03-24-2013, 04:58 PM
A Shun Classic 8" chef's knife was the one that got me started on Japanese knives, but as much as liked the edge, I dislike the geometry. Not a fan of the German profile. I do have pretty high hopes for the Fuji line, I've handled a few, and they are very nice. Thin blades, choil and spine are nicely rounded, fit and finish is first rate. Best of all, they have a much more Japanese blade design, and are comfy to hold.

NO ChoP!
03-25-2013, 10:33 AM
I used a coworkers gokujo boner, because I was too lazy to run to my car...

I was pleasantly surprised. Was very efficient with six tenderloins.

Prior, I've only sharpened coworkers. They always look nice ootb, but lose that new luster and shine quickly.

franzb69
03-25-2013, 11:05 AM
salty uses a gokujo boner. he likes it. =D

NO ChoP!
03-25-2013, 08:09 PM
I think Saltys boner is a Tojiro, though...

marc4pt0
03-25-2013, 08:37 PM
have the shun gokujo, was a gift from twin girls who had worked with me for several years. It IS great on tenderloin and other similar fabrications.

franzb69
03-26-2013, 12:32 AM
both tojiro and shun have a gokujo boner

=D

Notaskinnychef
03-26-2013, 02:43 AM
That's a lot of boner on one page

NO ChoP!
03-26-2013, 08:41 AM
Take em wherever you can get em....they don't come as easy with age.

vai777
03-27-2013, 03:50 PM
my wife uses the Shun Santoku...hell, I'll admit it...it's a damn fine knife. It's not a laser but it gets the job done and the edge retention is great.