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View Full Version : Shun Alternatives (or knives around $100)



Don Nguyen
12-29-2012, 05:39 PM
I know everyone says there are better alternatives than Shun for the same price range (or around $100), but for the life of me I can't remember which ones they were.

What are those alternatives, and what do they have that Shun doesn't? Non-VG10 steel?

EdipisReks
12-29-2012, 05:44 PM
the issue with the classic Shuns is profile, at least with the chef knives. i'd take the basic Miyabis, Tojiro DP, Global, and Fujiwara FKM knives over the Shun classic chef. the Shun classic knives honestly aren't bad deals, in my opinion.

Crothcipt
12-29-2012, 06:04 PM
I was gonna say Tanaka but at that price it's pretty much vg-10. I would also say Miyabis, and Global's also at that lvl. I was also thinking Togiharu at that lvl too, but they are a little over 100 for a 8".

EdipisReks
12-29-2012, 06:07 PM
this used to be a lot easier, but most of the value knives have gone up in price, sometimes significantly.

Andrew H
12-29-2012, 06:13 PM
Suisin Inox Westen through JKI, CarboNext, Miyabi.

Crothcipt
12-29-2012, 06:15 PM
Honestly John has a few knives that look good at that price, haven't tried them but I would like too at some time. :)

EdipisReks
12-29-2012, 06:20 PM
Suisin Inox Westen through JKI, CarboNext, Miyabi.

i haven't used a Suisin Inox Western or CarboNext, but those seem solid.

Chefdog
12-29-2012, 06:30 PM
i haven't used a Suisin Inox Western or CarboNext, but those seem solid.

I have used a coworker's Suisin western inox and it was a solid knife, no complaints. I own a Suisin western in carbon steel, and it's been a beast for years, and even cheaper than the inox while still being amazingly non-reactive for inexpensive carbon.
To the OP, I wouldn't put too much emphasis on "non VG-10", and more on a reputable maker. Based on a few students' shun knives I've sharpened, their version of VG-10 feels rubbery and leaves a tinfoil-like burr, while my Hattori feels buttery smooth on the stones and takes quite a nice edge very easily.

With the prices the way they are today, I'd have a hard time not spending just a little more and going straight for something like a Hiromoto AS/G3 or Masamoto VG. an extra $50 up front over the span of the knife's life is pennies a day at most. And you're getting a known performer with no obvious weaknesses. YMMV, IMHO, etc...

EdipisReks
12-29-2012, 07:33 PM
i've never had an issue de-burring VG-10, regardless of maker. it's good steel.

Chefdog
12-29-2012, 07:47 PM
i've never had an issue de-burring VG-10, regardless of maker. it's good steel.

It wasn't difficult to deburr by any means, more like it was way too easy to grind up a big, floppy burr. I've seen it a couple different times, like the steel was way too soft and you could pull a burr in no time that literally looked like foil.
Anyway, I suppose the point I was getting at was that the skill of the knife maker is more important than the steel, most of the time.

Don Nguyen
12-29-2012, 08:53 PM
Thanks guys. Good to know about the VG-10 too.

K-Fed
12-29-2012, 09:39 PM
I picked up a masazumi gyuto from he who shalt not be named as a Christmas present for one of the chefs that I work for. It seems well made but a touch thick behind the edge and whatever Swedish stainless that is used in it has quickly taken a bit of patina. It did sharpen up really well though and has held it pretty well.

lancep
12-29-2012, 09:41 PM
Depending on what type of knives you are looking for, how about Masahiro Virgin Carbon (e.g. see here: http://www.phoenixknifehouse.com/masahiro.html)
and the Minamoto Kotetsu knives (same as the Kumadori sold by Japan Woodworker) sold here: http://japan-blades.com/category/chef-knives/by-brand/minamoto-kotetsu? The former are a very nice knife in carbon steel, and the latter are Sandvik stainless that is cryogenically hardened. Both are western handled, don't know if that matters to you.

Notaskinnychef
12-29-2012, 10:19 PM
I'm happy with my carbonext. When you factor in their insanely cheap shipping, the fact that they are a smidge over your price point seems to break even. Plus their customer service is fantastic.

franzb69
12-29-2012, 10:41 PM
It wasn't difficult to deburr by any means, more like it was way too easy to grind up a big, floppy burr. I've seen it a couple different times, like the steel was way too soft and you could pull a burr in no time that literally looked like foil.
Anyway, I suppose the point I was getting at was that the skill of the knife maker is more important than the steel, most of the time.

certainly says a lot about the FH gyuto from JCK. many say that it's the best vg10 knives for the money.


I picked up a masazumi gyuto from he who shalt not be named as a Christmas present for one of the chefs that I work for. It seems well made but a touch thick behind the edge and whatever Swedish stainless that is used in it has quickly taken a bit of patina. It did sharpen up really well though and has held it pretty well.

if you could later on talk about the masazumi a bit more i'd like to know about that knife. it seems to be quite affordable and looks to be a bang for the buck knife from what i can see.

K-Fed
12-30-2012, 11:30 AM
certainly says a lot about the FH gyuto from JCK. many say that it's the best vg10 knives for the money.



if you could later on talk about the masazumi a bit more i'd like to know about that knife. it seems to be quite affordable and looks to be a bang for the buck knife from what i can see.
I didn't cut anything with it when I had it but next time I have it home with me for a sharpening I'll do a little cutting with it. One thing i can say is it is definitely asymmetrically ground for right handed users with the left side of the blade nearly flat and right pretty strongly convexed. It is also a little on the narrow side compared to some other gyutos. It's about the same height from heel to spine as my glestain.

franzb69
12-30-2012, 12:58 PM
i see. thanks. sucks for me then. i'm a lefty.

thanks =D

Pensacola Tiger
12-30-2012, 03:14 PM
I didn't cut anything with it when I had it but next time I have it home with me for a sharpening I'll do a little cutting with it. One thing i can say is it is definitely asymmetrically ground for right handed users with the left side of the blade nearly flat and right pretty strongly convexed. It is also a little on the narrow side compared to some other gyutos. It's about the same height from heel to spine as my glestain.

You must be referring to the Masazumi, rather than the Hattori FH. Mine is ground pretty much 50/50.

Gravy Power
12-30-2012, 05:06 PM
I was referred to a 240 Fujiwara carbon model on here. It cost about $85. I like it but it's nothing compared to some of the higher-end knives I've used. I'd love to hear some pro's weigh in on what they think of it.

Chefdog
12-30-2012, 05:22 PM
You must be referring to the Masazumi, rather than the Hattori FH. Mine is ground pretty much 50/50.

I think he was. Mine's also as close to 50/50 as I can tell.

keithsaltydog
12-30-2012, 05:48 PM
JKI has the Gesshen Uraku at 155.00 wt. a Saya.I bought one of these to be a Poss. contender for students.Jon says it's hardened to around 60 hrt.It sharpened up nicely,I got the octagon wa-handle,he has them wt. western handle as well.After I sharpened it started cutting diff. foods,preparing meals etc.The edge seems to be holding up well,no micro chipping.

Another thing I like about this knife(Thu it has nothing to do wt. function)is the Kanji is cut in instead of stamped or stamped recess.It is a little taller fr. spine to edge at the heel than a Fujiwara.

Most of the VG-10 I sharpen are shuns,I used a Tojiro wt. VG-10 core for a while before I gave it to my Nephew.VG-10 for me anyway is not hard to sharpen at all.The Tojiro DP was much better than the old Stainless I used before I became a carbon junkie.I feel that it is good quality stain resistant steel,the problem wt. it has been put on some pretty thin edge knives,which are in turn abused & the steel is blamed.

pumbaa
12-30-2012, 07:33 PM
Anyone mention the $50 vg10 chef knife shun knock off at IKEA

Jmadams13
01-01-2013, 12:27 PM
I have one. It's not that bad. Sharpens nicely (OOTB was awful) and has decent, but not great retention. The "Damascus" pattern is cheap, and scratches easily, but really no big deal (I might polish it off soon.) I use it as my beater or loaner knife to the dishwashers or waitstaff when they need a knife. It was a gift from my mother for my 30th, but use it a few times a week. I did thin it a little behind the shoulders, as it did wedge a little. But IMO its a decent knife for 50$. Just make sure you get the VG10 model. They have a non VG10 chef knife as well. The VG10 has the "Damascus" etching. I'll try to get a picture for you

Benuser
01-01-2013, 04:08 PM
In the VG-10 discussion: loved the JCK Kagayaki VG-10 series so far for the blade - the design is a question of taste... Quite easy sharpening, once the OOTB edge abraded. As always. Still don't know if it is about buffers or heat treatment that average J-blades need some steel to get removed.
But these are a little above the price limit set by the OP.
How about the Kagayaki Basic? VG-1 if I remember well, interesting price point, traditional design.

Lefty
01-01-2013, 04:51 PM
I used a Kagayaki VG10 for a little stint, and found it to be a nice knife. I actually like the strange purple handle and overall look, so that was never an issue for me. I remember being. Impressed by the edge it took, but I had a feelin that it would be chippy. It almost felt over hardened, and as though it might be brittle, but I never did chip it, or use it long enough to know for sure. The basic JCK VG1 has always had my attention, because I have a little Calphalon Katana nakiri that my wife will use from time to time, and I'll even play around with it for fun. I still like the little guy, despite its obvious strikes against it (balance is pretty far back, damascus purely for show, made in China...the known culprits). To be honest, I've been more impressed with the VG1 in the Katana than I have with any VG10 I've used. With that being said, I've never used a Hattori....

stevenStefano
01-01-2013, 06:14 PM
I had a Kagayaki VG10 and it ain't bad for the price, especially if you're looking for a cheap wa-handled knife. For VG10 though, the Hattori FH is way better

K-Fed
01-10-2013, 01:24 PM
So a little bit of an update. I have the Masazumi gyuto that I bought one of the chefs that I work for as a christmas gift home today for a sharpening and like I said I would I did a little bit of cutting with it to get a better feel for the knife. I just diced an onion as I want to keep that fresh of the stones edge for chef but it gave some good feed back. Firstly like I said before this knife is definately NOT stainless by any stretch of the imagination. After just a few weeks of use it's developed a pretty solid patina. Not carbon patina, but it patinas more than my TKC's or the hd that I had. The edge that it takes to me is a little different. Maybe I'm just used to semi stainless and carbon blades, but it must have some larger carbides in it because even though it takes a very keen edge it feels and cuts like it retains a good bit of bite even at a high polish. While cutting the onion I didn't notice any wedging and it went pretty smoothly. Food release was decent. All in all, I know I could do some more cutting and give a better review, it seems to be a pretty darn good blade for not a lot of money and should definitely be considered when looking for something in a low-ish budget.
Just went back to read the description of this blade and it's been changed to Sandvick carbon... sooooo, most likely carbon steel.
http://i.imgur.com/kQmoE.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/NBTwm.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/wPSNz.jpg

ccubd
01-10-2013, 02:46 PM
After doing a bit of research, I have more questions... As that usually goes. :knife:

What about these: Fujiwara Carbon Gyuto, Tojiro Shirogami ITK, Miyabi Kaizen, and Hiromoto Gyuto(A bit over-budget)

All 240mm. I'm trying to get at quality of steel vs craftsmanship discussion.

joetbn
01-10-2013, 03:00 PM
After doing a bit of research, I have more questions... As that usually goes. :knife:

What about these: Fujiwara Carbon Gyuto, Tojiro Shirogami ITK, Miyabi Kaizen, and Hiromoto Gyuto(A bit over-budget)

All 240mm. I'm trying to get at quality of steel vs craftsmanship discussion.

I love the Hiromoto AS, I got a 240mm just over a year ago, it's absolutely a fantastic blade for the buck. Fit and finish of the handle are the only complaints, and for me I knew I was buying a $110 blade with a $10 handle attached and was more than happy with that. It's also worthy of future upgrades, I'm sending mine off to Dave for a custom handle, thinning, and etching.

mhlee
01-10-2013, 03:06 PM
After doing a bit of research, I have more questions... As that usually goes. :knife:

What about these: Fujiwara Carbon Gyuto, Tojiro Shirogami ITK, Miyabi Kaizen, and Hiromoto Gyuto(A bit over-budget)

All 240mm. I'm trying to get at quality of steel vs craftsmanship discussion.

Honestly, if you're willing to get into the $150 range, I would focus less on quality of steel vs. craftsmanship and get right to performance, i.e. geometry, cutting ability. No matter how good the steel is, if it's not a well designed knife, it won't cut well.

At your price range, I would consider the Gesshin Uraku or Suisin Western Stainless at Japanese Knife Imports. While I haven't tried these specific knives, I do have an Uraku Deba that I really enjoy using, and I've been happy with every single purchase from them. I would recommend giving Jon a call tomorrow (they're closed today). And, you're going to get great customer service from Jon who's in California. You may not get good customer service if you buy from the other vendors that sell the knives you listed.

chinacats
01-10-2013, 07:39 PM
Honestly, if you're willing to get into the $150 range, I would focus less on quality of steel vs. craftsmanship and get right to performance, i.e. geometry, cutting ability. No matter how good the steel is, if it's not a well designed knife, it won't cut well.

At your price range, I would consider the Gesshin Uraku or Suisin Western Stainless at Japanese Knife Imports. While I haven't tried these specific knives, I do have an Uraku Deba that I really enjoy using, and I've been happy with every single purchase from them. I would recommend giving Jon a call tomorrow (they're closed today). And, you're going to get great customer service from Jon who's in California. You may not get good customer service if you buy from the other vendors that sell the knives you listed.

:plus1: completely

franzb69
01-10-2013, 10:13 PM
thank you for the review on the masazumi. been waiting around for that one.

=D

sounds good to me.

K-Fed
01-10-2013, 10:31 PM
thank you for the review on the masazumi. been waiting around for that one.

=D

sounds good to me.
I think it really is a great knife for the money and would take it over a tojiro or fujiwara every day.

franzb69
01-10-2013, 11:02 PM
I think it really is a great knife for the money and would take it over a tojiro or fujiwara every day.


sounds like a great option. will definitely put it on my list of wants. too bad the knife type selection is limited. wouldn't mind getting a suji and a honesuki in that price as well. carbonext will be that then, if i get to settle a "deal" with the local customs officer. lol.