Shun Premier vs. Shun Reserves

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by BDD, May 26, 2012.

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  1. May 26, 2012 #1

    BDD

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    Do you (preferably owner of Reserves) think the Reserves are noticeably better knives than the Premiers functionally (sharper...and maybe aesthetically)? With it's use of a different and more exotic steel combination?

    I priced out an "essentials" set and they are roughly the same. Difference is I don't see a fork for the Reserve knives to use with the carving knife included in this set http://www.internetkitchenstore.com/store/viewitem.asp?idproduct=2570. Whereas, I can get a Premier set w/ the fork.
     
  2. May 26, 2012 #2

    Andrew H

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    First off welcome to the forum, BDD.

    Shuns aren't bad by any means, but you could definitely get much more out of $1200 with other makers. The main difference between the knives is the core steel, SG2 vs. VG-10. Both are stainless and pretty good kitchen steel knives. VG-10 doesn't get a ton of love on this site, and SG2 should hold your edge longer. Until you start sharpening yourself, which is very enjoyable and rewarding, you won't notice a huge difference between steels.
     
  3. May 26, 2012 #3

    BDD

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    Thanks.

    To have the Reserves hold the sharpness a little longer? For a home user? Probably not worth the extra cost.

    I am looking at MAC and Tojiro too. Tojiro, being one of the best bang for the buck. Unfortunately they don't make a carving life/fork set. So I'd have to buy from another brand (like maybe Shun's Premier line). :) Then there's steak knives...which Tojiro also doesn't make.

    Other suggestions?
     
  4. May 26, 2012 #4

    Vertigo

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    Are you fixed on having everything come as a set with a block? What types of knives do you specifically need? Is $1200 or so roughly what you're looking to spend?
     
  5. May 26, 2012 #5

    slowtyper

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    The best idea IMO is to mix and match a bunch of different makers. For nerds like us thats the fun part, getting to try out different makers and steels.
     
  6. May 26, 2012 #6

    BDD

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    Well, I don't NEED TO get a set from the same brand. Like I said I could buy some Tojiro (gyuto, bread & utility). Then buy the Shun Premier carving/fork set. It just happens that the Shun Premier line carries all the knives i'm looking to buy. The Reserves near the same money (minus the Reserve fork...can't handle them or do a tomato cutting test).

    if any of you have specific recommendations instead of my Tojiro/Shun Premier idea...that and with the Tojiro...I can't handle them or see them first...i would have to order online and hope i like how they feel in my hands.
     
  7. May 26, 2012 #7

    chinacats

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    henckels and whustof both sell matching sets and cost less...profile is similar to shun and f&f is likely better imho...
     
  8. May 26, 2012 #8

    Marko Tsourkan

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    Shun Reserve line looks like a continuation (with a slight redesign) of Shun BK line. SG2 is not particularly user friendly steel ( high wear resistance, difficult to sharpen on water stones). Buying a knife that you have to send out to sharpen (and pay for it), doesn't seem to make much sense. Sharpening your knife is is an integral part of an experience of owning a knife.

    You don't get much edge retention on Henckels or Wuesthof, as both are known to heat treat their knives not particularly hard and their steel selection on their SS knives is not that great. I don't know what line you are referring to, so can't comment on steel. Fit and finish should be good, as these are likely machine-made knives.

    M
     
  9. May 26, 2012 #9
    The Shun Reserve knives appear to be the old Shun Kramer line without the Kramer markings or mosaic pin. The SG2 steel is at least a step above the VG10 of the Premier line, and will be most apparent in increased edge retention for the Reserve.

    Whether the aesthetics of a matching set of knives is more important to you is entirely your call. Most everyone here has what could be termed an eclectic collection of knives because performance is valued more than uniformity, and that will affect the recommendations you get. You could have the best of both worlds by having custom handles put on some high performing knives and having a fork rehandled to match as well. Pierre Rodrigue has done some really stunning forks - see them here: http://www.kitchenknifeforums.com/showthread.php/4250-Well-I-ll-be-forked!

    Actually, if I was going to spend the kind of cash you are on Shuns, I'd be talking to Pierre about some custom knives. A chef's, a slicer, a fork, a boning knife and a small utility from Pierre is going to be in the ballpark of what you are about to spend on factory made knives.

    If you decide not to "mix and match", and to stay with one knife line, Henckels and Wusthof have been mentioned as alternatives, and you may want to look at the Sabatier knives at The Best Things: http://www.thebestthings.com/knives/sabatier.htm

    Oh, and welcome to KKF!

    Rick
     
  10. May 26, 2012 #10

    Vertigo

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    Kochi 240mm Kurouchi Wa Gyuto - $280
    Konosuke 270mm White #2 Sujihiki - $204
    Tojiro DP Boning Knife - $99
    Tojiro ITK Bread Knife - $63
    Gesshin Ginga 180mm Stainless Petty - $180
    OXO Good Grips Grill Fork - $11
    500/1200/5000 grit water stone set with loupe and deburring block included - $150
    Boardsmith 2" x 16" x 22" Hard Maple endgrain cutting board - $152

    Total: $1139 + shipping costs

    The joy you'll feel in 6 months when you realize you're a lot happier with your sweet knives, awesome board, and your ability to sharpen than your Shun Set could have ever made you: Priceless
     
  11. May 26, 2012 #11

    stereo.pete

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    +1 Yeah, what he said!!!!!
     
  12. May 26, 2012 #12

    BDD

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    Hi Marko,

    Regarding German knives like Wusthof (Classic series) I was thinking the same thing. That they don't retain an edge that well (compared to a Japanese brand...or French...K-Sabatier). But I've also heard others say that German knives can hold the edge. Just not as long as Japanese knives if used for hours on end. That German knives will just loose their edge first. And never come out of the factory as sharp as the Japanese knives (though part of that has to do with the angle of the cutting edge).

    About sharpening...I do plan to take a course offered by my knife shop on sharpening using whetstones. That or bring my knives to the shop for honing/sharping if I get lazy.

    Reserves harder to sharpen. Will keep that in mind.
     
  13. May 26, 2012 #13

    Deckhand

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    Pensacola tiger gave you the advice I was thinking. Get a set from Pierre Rodrigue and you will be extremely happy. Vertigo also gave great advice if you are a want to buy now kind of guy. Jon's videos from Japanese Knife imports can show you how to sharpen well and he has online classes. You will be a lot happier with either advice than your current mindset.
     
  14. May 26, 2012 #14

    BDD

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    Thanks for the recommendations RIck. But as a home user I think I'll put off going with custom knives for now. I'd rather have the ability to easily exchange the knives if I'm not happy with the quality. So I think I'm going to stick with buying from my local shop.

    I have no problem with mixing/matching. Open to going that route too. And while there is the option of having the handles redone custom by Pierre...I doubt I'll go that far. Again, because I am just a "at home cook" and not a working chef.

    And I think I am going to be getting Japanese knives (possibly K-Sab Vintage Au Carbone). Not considering the Wusthofs or Zwilling Henckels.
     
  15. May 26, 2012 #15

    Marko Tsourkan

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    Everything is relative.

    German knives are typically hardened low to mid 50s RC (Classic lines). At that hardness, you going to need steeling it to keep edge straight (it will roll).

    Majority of Japanese knives are hardened to 58-63RC, but steel choice (simple carbon steels, like White or Blue) won't hold edge for long either.

    In a pro environment, you may get 2-3 shifts worth of cutting on one sharpening from Japanese knives and less than one shift from German (with some steeling in between). Almost nobody here uses German knives, so it is hard to give you more precise information, but for edge duration for Japanese knife in pro environment is what I have read here and on other kitchen knife forums.

    Geometry on Japanese knives is typically thinner than on traditional (convex ground with bolster) German knives and they take a keener edge than German knives.

    M
     
  16. May 26, 2012 #16

    oivind_dahle

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    If you are a home chef and there are more members of the family, I think you should consider smaller blades than the nuts here suggest. And if you have more people in the household you should consider stainless.


    Gyuto: 180 to 225.
    Petty: 120 - 150
    Parer: 80 - 90


    However if you are the only member gonna use this, then buy a cheap knife set for the rest and invest for yourself in some really fun ****.
     
  17. May 26, 2012 #17

    Eamon Burke

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    Ditch the suji, ditch the boner, replace the fork with one for Pierre Rodrigue, and use the money you save overall to buy a nicer gyuto from someone around here. But other than that, yeah.
     
  18. May 26, 2012 #18

    BDD

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    From that list of knives I can only find Konosuke HD and Tojiro (ordered).

    Don't think I'll go custom for now.
     
  19. May 26, 2012 #19

    Eamon Burke

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    You don't have to go custom. Just saying to go handmade. Anything from a Takeda to a Martell.
     
  20. May 26, 2012 #20

    BDD

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    Have been considering Takeda too.

    And why handmade (over quality factory made..like the Shuns)? Any particular reason?
     
  21. May 26, 2012 #21

    Eamon Burke

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    They have more sentimental appeal. I don't see a lot of home cooks with the kind of love relationship they get with handmade knives.

    Pro cooks often get to love their factory blades because they put them through hell together, it's like an old pair of gym sneakers.

    But home cooks, even the ones that really admire their Shuns, Globals, Konosukes, Suisins...of the folks who aren't serious knife nuts, the handmade knives hold a special place in their heart.

    That is something worth considering when purchasing something you could give to your grandkids--having a knife that's more like a fingerprint than a postage stamp.
     
  22. May 26, 2012 #22

    BDD

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    Personally, I don't think I could have that kind of connection unless the knife was custom made one-off. So for me the difference between opting for a Shun or Takeda would have to be for functional reasons. Performance. Aesthetics. Design.

    Any how back to Premier vs Reserve. :) Though I think my questions have been answered. Would still like to hear opinions from owners. Or those that have used either/both.
     
  23. May 26, 2012 #23

    rsacco

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    There are Tojiro steak knives out there. They are sold on a site that is not allowed to be mentioned here. Just search Google for "Tojiro DP Steak Knife 4 Pc Set" and you should see the site that sells them in the top of non-paid search results.
     
  24. May 26, 2012 #24

    Amon-Rukh

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    I decided to try out a bunch of Shuns at SLT a while back while the fiance was looking at bakeware. The 8" premier chef's was the one of the bunch that I kind of liked--it's like a thinner, nimbler German style knife (lots of belly, good for rocking). The slicer had too much belly and too little clearance for my liking and the 10" chef's seemed a bit unbalanced and again too much belly. The tip was not very useful at all. I don't know the reserves, but if they are like the Shun Kramers, then I'm not a fan--the handles are too fat and the whole thing just doesn't come together as a pleasing whole for me. Trying them out made me want to run home and chop onions with my Shigefusa to soothe my nerves. There are a lot of options in the price range of the reserves/SKs that I would opt for first.
     
  25. May 26, 2012 #25
  26. May 26, 2012 #26

    Marko Tsourkan

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    Why? Have you seen that knife up close or held it? I seen one up close - didn't do anything for me.

    There is bid difference between hand made and machine made knives.

    One thing I have noticed is that people when start go budged, buy bunch of knives, and later put them For Sale for less what they paid.

    My advice is less is more - buy fewer but quality (relative thing) knives and enjoy them rather than keep buying more knives, looking for the "one". Sometimes, short of getting a custom, you won't find it.

    M
     
  27. May 26, 2012 #27

    oivind_dahle

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    If I had to go for a set, I would still consider that one.
    However I don't go for sets, I go for the best of the best.
    You new on the forum or something?
     
  28. May 26, 2012 #28

    Gravy Power

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  29. May 26, 2012 #29

    obtuse

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    This is great advice.
     
  30. May 26, 2012 #30

    unkajonet

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    BDD - have you spoken to any of the vendors who have sub-forums here? Both the custom makers and the vendors who carry multiple lines of knives all have excellent reputations as far as product and customer service.
    A few people have come close to saying it, but have not flat out said it: for the amount of money you're willing to spend, you're doing yourself a disservice by not at least seeing what some of the other vendors have to offer. If you want something from Shun, by all means, get it. But IMO, just a little more research will get you a much better product.

    Oh, and welcome to the forum. The more, the merrier.
     

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