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Shun Fuji - are they paying attention?
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Thread: Shun Fuji - are they paying attention?

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    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Shun Fuji - are they paying attention?

    I was in WS the other day (returning something not knife related) and couldn't help but take a stroll by the knife case. I hadn't really been keeping up with "main stream" knives so the "Shun Fuji" line was new to me.
    I don't want to start yet another thread about the pros and cons of Shuns, I just wanted to comment that the blade profiles - especially on the main chef's knife stuck me as very different for Shun. It's probably the least European profile that I've seen from them (aside from their pro/ single bevel line). the handle has obvious influence from the Kramer Meji knockoffs that they did. The profile seemed rather TKCish, but blade was much wider overall, especially at the heel.... it actually doesn't look too far off from the custom blade shape of my Rader.

    I didn't get a chance to play with it, because the poor sales person was being bombarded by a couple looking for a Shun rock n' roll or rollie pollie or whatevertheheckyoucallthisthing

    However, there still seem to be some "features" that anyone other than the rollie pollie crowed may question: such as the intentionally handle-heavy design (if you watch the video on the linked WS page, they claim it's so that the knife falls handle first when you drop it... maybe shun got tired of replacing broken tips?)

    ... and they still riddled the sides with more holes than a Moritaka... although these are supposedly "speed holes" that help with sticking or something... (always reminds me of this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVV_COOey0E & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAPmqX-FyvU)

    Anyway, I guess my point/ purpose is that I thought that it was interesting that Shun was making some knives that at least *look* different from their typical, more euro-profiled blades. Do you think that this is influenced from them paying attention to the knife knuts and high-end custom market, or just coincidence?

    WS page & video: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produ...key=cshun-fuji

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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin0505 View Post
    I didn't get a chance to play with it, because the poor sales person was being bombarded by a couple looking for a Shun rock n' roll or rollie pollie or whatevertheheckyoucallthisthing
    I would call that the Shun CTS (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome).
    Michael
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    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    Even though the profile seems more in line with what I like to use, I am not sure I could bring myself to pay $400 for a single shun.....Not that I am bashing them, far from it. I just believe it seems a bit overpriced for what you get.
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
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    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwrightthruya View Post
    Even though the profile seems more in line with what I like to use, I am not sure I could bring myself to pay $400 for a single shun.....Not that I am bashing them, far from it. I just believe it seems a bit overpriced for what you get.
    No doubt...lot of nicer knives for the same $...and people (mainly people around here) that I would rather give my $ to than Shun/WS...

    Cheers

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    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwrightthruya View Post
    Even though the profile seems more in line with what I like to use, I am not sure I could bring myself to pay $400 for a single shun.....Not that I am bashing them, far from it. I just believe it seems a bit overpriced for what you get.
    Well, a san-mai blade with pattern-welded cladding, sg2 (PM) core, and integral bolster is never going to be cheap, no matter who makes it. The "premium" level suns are not made from cheap materials and IME they are constructed and finished very well.

    However... again, as to the point of the post, I'm not trying to discuss the value of Shun... we all know that they are pricey.... there are other options... yada yada, its been beat to death. What I thought was more interesting was that it appeared that they where trying to make something different than the typical big-bellied "CTS" model (as Michael calls it).

    Do you think that this is because they are paying attention to the knuts? Or because the general population is starting to become more educated and develop better technique? It still seems that they feel like they need to add on "features" like the speed holes and heavy butt cap to sell it to Americans (which, I'm sure is more the fault of the market than the mfg), but I was wondering / hoping that we are starting to see a mainstream shift (or at least more options) in profiles.

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    I'm just speculating here, but, I think the fact that Henckels, Shun, and to a lesser extent, Wustof, have started making knives with profiles closer to Japanese and professional knives reflects the public's interest in these type of knives from what the public has seen on TV, rather than what we (the knuts) want or know is good.

    As I recall, the earlier designs from Henckels, such as the first Miyabi knives, were not well received at all. Rather than looking at great examples of Japanese wa knives, they made a kind of bastard child of German and Japanese design and a pretty big fail.

    Also, I think Shun's success has a lot to do with marketing and initial discounts (I remeber being able to buy something ridiculous like an 8 piece set with block for about $400 or something around that price about 6 years ago). Also, I remember sales people pushing the sharpening service. They're now an established "high-end" name. Recall that Kasumi came out at about the same time and they certainly didn't get the market penetration that Shun did; I personally thought the Kasumi knives were nicer but never used either until later.

    As for the continued creation of new lines of knives by Shun, I think that is also a marketing tool. From what I gather (just remembering off the top of my head), the materials used by Shun don't vary much, e.g., VG-10, SG-2. So, the new lines have superficial changes - new profile, more bling, different handle. If they're actually changing the grind, thickness, taper, etc., that may reflect a change in philosophy to make better performing knives, rather than better looking knives, which has been my general opinion about the company.
    Michael
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    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    Speculating as well...I really do not think they are paying attention to knife knuts. After all, we are a very small part of their customer base. They are more concerned with grabbing those people who are tired of the traditional German knives, and wanting to move up to a higher performance blade. As was said earlier, their continuous new lines of knives have mostly superficial changes, but are the same overall design. I have to admit, this new line does seem a little different, in that it has more of a Japanese feel, but that could be something as simple as a new design leader on the team.
    It really comes down to simple economics, and good business practices. They are most likely not concerned with making higher performing knives because the majority of their current customer base believes they are already the best performing knives made. Why spend the money in R&D to completely reinvent something that is still in its stride when superficial changes are easy (Read Cheap).
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
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    Unfortunately in the constant quest to come up with something new, exciting and eye catching for the BB&B crowd (whether it works better or not), it's all too easy to come up with something like this:

    http://ab.wsimgs.com/wsimgs/ab/image...161/img70b.jpg

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ofZoWQstox...0/DSC_0175.JPG

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    Senior Member Justin0505's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehunter View Post
    Unfortunately in the constant quest to come up with something new, exciting and eye catching for the BB&B crowd (whether it works better or not), it's all too easy to come up with something like this:

    http://ab.wsimgs.com/wsimgs/ab/image...161/img70b.jpg

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ofZoWQstox...0/DSC_0175.JPG
    Heh... I saw that thing too... every time I see, it I think that it looks like some kind of metal eating monster took bites out of the edge of a regular slicer and I say "nom nom nom" to myself and laugh.

    Also, Michael and Cwright: you both sound so cynical... but is it still cynicism if it's true?
    I am well aware that a company like Shun would never produce a knife just in hopes that the lunatic fringe would buy it, because even if all the regular on both KKF and ITK bought one, I doubt that it would even pay for the industrial engineering and tooling costs associated with a new line.

    However, I know that some companies (often in the automotive and gaming industries) do employ people who's job is just to monitor and sometimes interact with people in forums and other social media because marketing-savy companies are often aware that the extreme fringe does have a ripple effect on the rest of the market and can play a useful part in generating buzz and indirect sales.

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    Senior Member cwrightthruya's Avatar
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    Not cynical at all. Sorry, I did not mean to come across that way. I actually own a few (3) shun's, and they are not bad knives. My initial comment about how expensive they were was simply based on sticker shock, as I have not even looked at that brand of knives in about 3 years. When I purchased my 3, all of them together costs less than that single chefs knife, so it was to say the least, surprising. My other comment stems from a background in business management (although that is not my profession). It is seriously bad business practice to waste resources reinventing the wheel before it's time. It is better to put money into marketing to your target audience, which you have to admit is incredibly fickle this day and age, than to undergo the cost of design shifts.

    I think the analogy of the automotive and gaming industry is slightly skewed. The reason being that those are two very specific industries, where there is still fierce, and even placed, competition driving the market. Thus manufacturers need to do something more than just market, giving us the next gaming consoles.

    A better analogy might be to liken shun to Microsoft (and lately, Apple). I know someone will disagree with this, but.....Microsoft's operating systems have undergone very few changes under the hood in quite some years. The first really good innovation was in windows XP where they moved completely away from a dos based system. Since that time, they have done very little to the basic structure of their operating systems (although they would have you believe otherwise), very similar to Shun. They have instead spent their time making GUI tweaks that have you believe they have completely invented the wheel. Shun is at the top in its niche market, where their customer base is a group of people who are just beginning to expand their knowledge and only have German knives to compare against. Their competition from other companies like Global, which apparently has not changed their designs in quite some time, is minimal at best.

    So no malice or cynicism intended toward Shun...Just the observation that they are most likely happy to be at the top, with little to no competition.
    With that being said, I do find it interesting that it seems they are attempting to produce a knife with a more traditional profile, maybe it has to do with changes in culinary school??? I only say this because all the chefs where I work use Shun exclusively.

    Regards,
    Chris
    At Death's Door You Only Have 2 choices. Die Happy or Die Regretfully.
    Knowing this...........Choose 1 and Live!!!!!!!!!

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