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Thread: Shun Classic petty

  1. #1
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    Shun Classic petty

    I like KAI a lot for their pocket knives. The Kershaw Blur is my EDC.

    I am less fond of their Shun kitchen knives, at least the Classic line. These knives are made of VG10. I have sharpened a number of these knives and noticed that more than one of them had a tendency to chip when sharpened at angles that are pretty normal for Japanese knives (12-15 degrees). Some people like the Damascus cladding on these knives, but I find it makes them too busy.



    Nevertheless, the Shun 9 cm petty is my favorite petty knife. It is very ergonomic. The handle feels very good in the hand, which is important because you hold it fully in your hand when peeling something. And I like its profile, which makes it useful for a variety of tasks.





    There are also Shun petty knives with a sheepsfoot profile and a bird's beak profile, by the way.



    The geometry is also good: the blade is convex and near the edge it even looks somewhat concave. So it is pretty thin behind the edge.

    I haven’t noticed any chipping on this knife, but I never sharpen it lower than at 15 degrees. My petty isn't for hard use anyway.




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    Of course also on my blog, where you can read it nicely formatted, along with many other reviews: https://japaneseknifereviews.wordpress.com/

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    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Nice review, curious what makes this a petty vs parer? Anyway, I find this to be a pretty classic shape. Do you like the handle shape?
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

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    Mark, your reviews are very well organized. I appreciate that.

    If I may add my experiencce with the 150mm version. The knife was a good cutter and the handle elegant and comfortable (and did not shring). I had basically 2 issues with the knife. One was chipping and it was quite pronouncedapplying microbevel helped a lot, but did not completely mmitigate the problem. The other was the lack of toughness to the blade. It would bend rather easily and stay bent even with mild force. Once I decided to put it flat on stones (to 'improve' the finish) I found out that the face of the blade was wavy and had to remedy that attempt with fine sanding paper That weakend the damasccus pattern and actually looked nice at the end.

    Even though not perfect - it was about the best knife available in normal shops in Germany ane we bought ours before their prices went up. The knife served us well for several years until I got snobbish and replaced it with Yoshikane SLD petty (which is of course in different league). If Shun would improve their HT of the VG-10 and make the cladding less soft, it would still be a very reasonable alternative.

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    I've got the 150 petty or "utility" knife as well. My first J knife. Does well with in hand work. Silverskin machine. Not at its best on the board. No issues w chipping.

    Pens Tiger did a good review on several Shun a couple years ago - including this one. Don't have the Google-full to insert a link.


    Thanks for the review Mark.
    Older and wider..

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    I like the profile; at least the edge doesn't go straight into the handle or merge into a bolster like on most (a dislike I have for most paring knives while sharpening). But how does it compare in cutting performance to a cheap Herder?

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    Thanks, guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by chinacats View Post
    Nice review, curious what makes this a petty vs parer? Anyway, I find this to be a pretty classic shape. Do you like the handle shape?
    Yeah, I like the handle shape a lot. The knife feels very well in-hand.

    English is not my first language and to be honest I'm a bit confused about the difference between a petty and a parer. A parer is usually a short knife (< 10 cm) and used a lot for peeling, as I understand it. A petty can (but not necessarily is) be longer up to the size of a small gyuto. In that sense this Shun knife would be both a petty and a parer. To confuse things even more we also have the utility knife (synonym of petty?) and, where I live, the office knife (used to refer to both petties and parers?). What do you guys think?

    Quote Originally Posted by Matus View Post
    If I may add my experiencce with the 150mm version. The knife was a good cutter and the handle elegant and comfortable (and did not shring). I had basically 2 issues with the knife. One was chipping and it was quite pronouncedapplying microbevel helped a lot, but did not completely mmitigate the problem. The other was the lack of toughness to the blade. It would bend rather easily and stay bent even with mild force.
    If you like the shape of the knife - handle and blade profile - but not the (hardness of the) steel, the Zwilling miyabi might be an alternative (http://www.knivesandtools.nl/nl/pt/-...mcd-shotoh.htm). Its shape is very similar to the Shun, but the steel is apparently PM steel hardened up to 63 HRC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark76 View Post
    English is not my first language and to be honest I'm a bit confused about the difference between a petty and a parer. A parer is usually a short knife (< 10 cm) and used a lot for peeling, as I understand it. A petty can (but not necessarily is) be longer up to the size of a small gyuto. In that sense this Shun knife would be both a petty and a parer. To confuse things even more we also have the utility knife (synonym of petty?) and, where I live, the office knife (used to refer to both petties and parers?). What do you guys think?
    This has long confused me as well... I'm no expert but this is what I came up with.

    The word 'petty' is derived from the French word 'petit' (small) and tends to refer to essentially a scaled down gyuto or sujihiki (depending on blade height, but you can find both profiles). These usually range from 13-18 cm, but there's no strict definition (so some people call 10 cm knives a petty as well). I think the main difference with paring knives is that paring knives are mainly intended for in-hand work & peeling and not really for board work, while petty's are a bit of both. Most people find the extra length on a petty more difficult while peeling. Utility knives are the usual way to describe knives that fill the gap between 10-20 cm, although knives often sold under that name don't have the extra height a petty would have (they are usually 'lengthened' office knives, or like small serrated bread knives).

    But it's becoming a bit of a mess as paring knives (often called office knives in our regions due to French influence) are starting to look more and more like mini-chef knives. Only exception is the sheepfoot blade like a Herder. But these days a lot of the paring knives are delivered with a lot of belly on them. By my knowledge there aren't really any traditional Japanese knives resembling European paring knives (I think they had other blades to do peeling and such), so most of these Japanese paring knives (like this Shun) are sort of cross-over attempts to cater to Western audiences. This might also explain why they are so much half-paring knife half-petty.

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    Thanks Joris. That sounds pretty reasonable and correct to me. It would be nice if someone whose first language is English could confirm this. Anyway, I now call the Shun knife a paring knife on my blog.

    When I did research for my ideal paring knife I found exactly one "true" Japanese knife (i.e. excluding brands with cross-overs, like Shun, Tojiro and Global) with a wa handle and a blade profile of a paring knife. Unfortunately I forgot which one it was... (A wa handle does not seem ideal to me for in-hand work.) What do Japanese use for peeling?

    And what's the French influence in office knives? My French is not terribly good, but I thought it meant "bureau".

  10. #10
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    Mark, that is an interestingly looking small petty indeed - I like the design.

    I have my own definition of petty and parer knives. In my view - the essential difference is that parer knives are used for in-hand cutting and thus usually have blades of up to some 10cm and the blade are relatively narrow. Ideally the parer does not have exposed heel since it points directly against one's thumb (and those heel are usually super sharp). Therefore I tend to call most small knives 'petty' (like the 80mm Kato). My ideal parer is the Blazen 110 in R2 (narrow and thin blade, no pointy heel and holds edge exceptionally well) - the best for in-hand work I manage to find. I use it a lot.

    Jovidah - Herder knives (I have tried the K2 in stainless and carbon) are just too soft (basic stainless or carbon steel with not too high carbon content - about 0.7%) with not very well finished handles (the wood needs attention as soon as you buy it). They are exceptionally thin and easy to sharpen though and have often interesting designs (the K series in particular). I would still (out of curiosity) like to try their 1922 series and the B1 knife which has interesting design and higher carbon content, though the price a bit too much IMO. I would avoid their low end knives. I tested one in stainless and it was the most easy to bend knife I have ever had in hand. In short - the Shung Classic - even if I have some reservations - is in entirely different performance class than the Herder knives.

    Mark, I hope I did not get too off-topic here. I am looking forward to your future reviews

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