Why all the Shun hate?

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Matus

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... I've also owned / used the 150mm petty they call a "utility" knife. That was my first Jknife.
Shun is a real enabler :) 150 'utility' knife was also my first J-knife.
 

Unstoppabo

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Shun's are like the Chinese takeout of cutlery. They took some of the better features of Japanese knives (harder steel, lower edge angle, thinner blade) and combined it with a German profile and construction (heavy handle, bolster!) because that's what the mass market expects on 'high-end' knives. Then they wrapped it all up with a Japanese 'inspired' design aesthetic and let the marketing team go crazy. The result is a product that prioritizes looks and profits ahead of authenticity and pure performance. It's fat behind the edge to be a bit less fragile and most of the knives we love would chip a lot worse if subjected to the abuse most Shun's are subjected to.

Compared to the other commercial options 20 years ago (Global yuck), Shun's represented a big step in the right direction and as much as we hate on them, they probably did more than anyone to raise awareness for Japanese cutlery. I know there were other Japanese brands in the states before Shun but they were more pro oriented and tbh, although I like the Misono UX10/Mac's/etc., I'm not a fan of western handled Japanese knives. IMHO the traditional, relatively light wooden handle is one of the key design features of Japanese cutlery because it results in a blade heavy balance point that performs better. If you feel more comfortable with a western style handle, the Chromax looks nice and other affordable options you may want to look into include Carbonext and Tojiro.

The only Shun I've ever owned is a Blue Kiritsuke I got on clearance ($170 for the 8 inch). Although it doesn't get much use now, the blue steel core is easy to sharpen and takes a scary sharp edge. OOTB it was also super thin behind the edge (slight hollow grind) and the rest of the grind was pretty good. The Shun customer probably wasn't ready for a reactive core or hollow grind, which is probably why they discontinued the line, but I think it was a good buy. That mirror finish is damn flashy but still brings a smile to my face. It was also one of the few stainless clad carbon knifes on the market when it came out 5-6 years ago so a bit innovative. Maybe they were trying to appeal to more knife nuts with this one.
 

Michi

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I have used only one Shun knife ever. That's the 210 mm SG-2 Shun Hiro I bought early on, when I got interested in Japanese knives. Since then, I've added quite a few more, including a Masamoto KS, a Sukenari HAP-40, a Yoshikane SLD, a Hideo Kitaoka white #2, two Takeshi Saji blue #2, plus others.

All of these are good knives, in my opinion. And I still reach for the Shun Hiro a lot. It's a seriously good knife. Good balance, good profile for things where I want a bit more belly, razor sharp, easy to sharpen, good food separation. I have absolutely no complaints about this knife, and I would let several others go before letting go of the Shun.

Yes, it's mass-produced. Yes, it has zero sex appeal. Yes, it has zero collector's value. But it's a knife that works well. Which is what I care about the most when I need to deal with a bunch of tomatoes or chillis, or a hard lump of parmesan…
 
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Twigg

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I own one Shun, a "Shun Classic 6" Gokujo Boning Fillet Knife". It looks cool. It is a PITA to sharpen and keep sharp. I do not like it. I really am not sure what to do with it anymore as it just sits there. It would be mean to give it to someone. I have never purchased or even tried another knife with VG-10 or VG-MAX after getting my Shun (first experience with the steel). I have read that Kurosaki's & Yamamoto's VG-10 heat treats are very good, but I have yet to try either. Perhaps it is unfair, but Shun has made me very hesitant to ever try a VG-10 knife again. I know that is probably silly, but I have yet to get past it.
 
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Michi

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I own a Böker Urban Trapper, which is VG-10. It's sharp, but not easy to sharpen. On the other hand, edge retention is good, so I don't have to deal with it all that often.

The only other VG-10 I have owned is a Kurosaki Fujin 165 mm santoku. That one was scary sharp. But I sold it again before it ever needed sharpening. It was too thin and laser-ish for my taste. I really didn't like those "ping" sounds it made on the board if I torqued it even the slightest bit while cutting. But, if you are into lasers, that knife will definitely do it for you.
 

DitmasPork

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I tried the 8" Shun classic chef knife at the store the other day and I really liked the fit and the finish. If Shun is overpriced at $120 what other better options are out there? Do knife people just hate them because they are generic?
"...people just hate them..."
Depends on which "people" you're referring to! Some "people" love Shun knives, I know a "people" that're big Shun fans—comes down to personal preference. I'm not a big fan—too shiny, too common for my tastes.
 

tostadas

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how quick do they rust? Do they rust or they just develop a hard patina? I own a couple of knives of Alaska (D2 steel) never had any issues with the rust. I also have a few cheap mora knives that I intentionally left in lemon juice and mustard to create a hard patina.
It depends on the maker. But if you are used to dealing with other types of carbon steel knives, in general it's not much of an issue after initial patina develops. Just wash it when you're done using it, and intermittently if you're dealing with highly acidic foods.
 

drsmp

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The Shuns are quite prone to chipping. If you want to get a mass produced but much better quality knife I’d go with a Miyabi. Takamura , Yoshikane and Kurosaki are hard to beat. A little patience or a WTB on the BST would get the most bang for the buck
 

SeattleBen

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If you already own and haven't destroyed a carbon steel knife you'll be fine with any of the above listed knives.
 

Honerabi

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I tried the 8" Shun classic chef knife at the store the other day and I really liked the fit and the finish. If Shun is overpriced at $120 what other better options are out there? Do knife people just hate them because they are generic?
The Shun 8" Classic was my introduction to Japanese style knives. I have since acquired several of the Kanji line, and the Zwilling Bob Kramer chefs knives.

IMHO, I think people on this forum turn their noses up at Shun because they are mass produced, and are made of stainless steel. The "purists" go for the hand-made knives from high-carbon steel. This type of steel is able to achive a much sharper edge, and retain it longer than stainless steel. However, it does rust. You have to be dedicated to maintaining the knife(s).

I'm just getting going in the custom Japanese knives. The metallurgy is fascinating (VG10, white and blue steels, aogami super blue). And then there are the families involved in the forging. Have fun!
 

MowgFace

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IMHO, I think people on this forum turn their noses up at Shun because they are mass produced, and are made of stainless steel. The "purists" go for the hand-made knives from high-carbon steel. This type of steel is able to achive a much sharper edge, and retain it longer than stainless steel. However, it does rust. You have to be dedicated to maintaining the knife(s).
While i think your point is valid, many of us here have stainless steel knives and love them. I turn my nose up to any knife that has features that i do not care for. A crappy profile, for one, is an absolute deal breaker for me. I would happily use their 7" Japanese Chef knife, which is just a 180 gyuto.

I think ignoring the fact that many box store knives appeal to aesthetics over long term maintenance and performance will make a new comer here think there is something wrong with Shun. There is not, but they put value in many aspects of a knife that those in this community do not agree with. More accurately we are not the target demographic of Shun.

People in this forum and forums/communities like this one are the pioneers of what the market is turning into. When i got into the knife game almost a decade ago i would have NEVER expected to see Jikko or Murray Carter Brand knives sold at Cultery and more. They are listening.
 

kayman67

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The reality is that they aren't all that bad. With some, I had the surprise to outperform at cutting even knives with a lot of praise for their geometry. What's funny, though, I think none of them are still in production. Hm.
 

kayman67

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I own a Böker Urban Trapper, which is VG-10. It's sharp, but not easy to sharpen. On the other hand, edge retention is good, so I don't have to deal with it all that often.

The only other VG-10 I have owned is a Kurosaki Fujin 165 mm santoku. That one was scary sharp. But I sold it again before it ever needed sharpening. It was too thin and laser-ish for my taste. I really didn't like those "ping" sounds it made on the board if I torqued it even the slightest bit while cutting. But, if you are into lasers, that knife will definitely do it for you.
Most guys using VG10 pocket knives were really pleased with them and consider VG10 a very well balanced alloy for the job.
 

Barmoley

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Most guys using VG10 pocket knives were really pleased with them and consider VG10 a very well balanced alloy for the job.
Shun screwed up early heat treat of VG10. I don't know about now, but when they first came to market and became popular they were very chippy and not just because people didn't know what they were buying. There was some of that too. I was very careful with them and so were a few friends I gifted them to. I sharpened them myself so can't blame factory edge either, even though that was burnt on many of them as well. They just chipped whatever I did. Had to make edges much thicker more obtuse to prevent it, but then they didn't cut as well. So yes we here are arrogant about knives, but bad knives are still bad. If I wanted a relatively inexpensive stainless or almost stainless, I'd take a look at Gesshin stainless, gonbei AUS-10, Gesshin Uraku stainless, Kaeru stainless, or tanaka ginsan, there are others too just depends on preference and budget.
 

kayman67

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Well, you said it. But then again, something as thin as a SRS15 Takamura has very low changes of survival in the hands of someone that just got into this kind of knives. So, is the alloy bad?
 

Barmoley

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Well, you said it. But then again, something as thin as a SRS15 Takamura has very low changes of survival in the hands of someone that just got into this kind of knives. So, is the alloy bad?
No alloy used in knives is bad. I'll ignore just horrible knives made out of inappropriate steels, but even then most steels usually used for knives can make good knives. VG-10 or SG that shun uses are fine steels. Shun's early treatment of VG-10 was bad. Clearly it was good enough for Shun to dominate and become a very successful company, but we are on this forum for a reason and to discriminating users Shun knives are not the best for the money in most cases.
 

ModRQC

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My two cents about one point of this discussion: someone said that to Shun there are higher quality alternatives of similar pricing, mentioning Miyabi amongst others.

I’m currently in the process of a second exchange towards a Miyabi 4000FC 8 in. Gyuto.

Choil shot of the first unit - ‘nuff said:
670A3A32-F640-4D68-91C9-A14EF710E6B6.jpeg


spinal shot of the second unit - ´nuff said:
5EC59C91-418D-4670-ACE4-4039429AAABA.jpeg


My Miyabi Shotoh has some of the bolster deformation we can see on both above shots. Happily enough the blade doesn’t shoot off direction nor present with a deformed grind. My two Diplômes also have more or less minor faults: the Gyuto shoots slightly to the right, though in this instance not enough to cause problem and barely noticeable, the blue bands on the Santoku handle are inconsistent and jagged at places - couldn’t care less about it but still.

My point being: even a handmade forge welded clad like my Moritaka doesn’t have such major faults that it would be pretty much unusable like the two Miyabi Gyutos. Even where it doesn’t have the most regulat grind, and where it does have a ton of minor imperfections. Other J knives I had were pretty much faultless and with only little lovely imperfections that added to character.

I long thought that buying a manufactured knife Vs. genuine handmade wad a tradeoff from f&f and just well-treated typical SS steels to better steels sometimes even heat treated superbly, and better balance and better profiles or choice thereof.

I’m not sure right now I would still go with the assumption of a better F&F for manufactured knives, unless proven otherwise. Misono for example don’t seem to ever fail a knife by that much a margin. Shun on the other hand is one I heard enough reports of that they might - and I think almost single-handedly make for such a poor appreciation for VG-10 around these parts - where when you’ll read it’s hard to sharpen, it pretty much always seems to be a Shun knife.
 

kayman67

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The heck? Hm. I own one. Except a stupid idea not to finish the entire top and spine in one go (for some unknown reason, looks like crap), mine is just perfect. What I don't understand about them is who ever decided to pair a nice light blade with such a heavy handle. They feel like 2 different knives in one. Opportunity missed, I guess, for a very nimble knife. There is absolutely no balance to speak of.
 

LostHighway

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how quick do they rust? Do they rust or they just develop a hard patina? I own a couple of knives of Alaska (D2 steel) never had any issues with the rust. I also have a few cheap mora knives that I intentionally left in lemon juice and mustard to create a hard patina.
D2 is a tool steel with about 12% chromium so it almost meets the standard for stainless. In Japanese knives SLD or SKD11 (Hitachi steels) are both very, very similar to D2. Japanese carbon steels like Hitachi Shirogami and Aogami do not contain chromium and are more reactive. Ginsan is about 14% chromium so even more stain resistant than D2.
 

TSF415

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I think people confuse turning their "nose up to something" with someone actually having a knowledgable view of something. I have/had shuns and I don't think less of people who have shuns but that doesn't mean I think they are good knives. For someone with a 20percent coupon to bed bath and beyond who is insisting on purchasing from there, I would recommend shun over Wusthoff. But for someone who asks for a recommendation for a good budget knife, I wouldn't recommend shun.

I'd eat a par-baked frozen pizza if there was nothing else available but I most definitely would prefer a hand tossed fresh pie.
 

Ceriano

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I think people confuse turning their "nose up to something" with someone actually having a knowledgable view of something. I have/had shuns and I don't think less of people who have shuns but that doesn't mean I think they are good knives. For someone with a 20percent coupon to bed bath and beyond who is insisting on purchasing from there, I would recommend shun over Wusthoff. But for someone who asks for a recommendation for a good budget knife, I wouldn't recommend shun.

I'd eat a par-baked frozen pizza if there was nothing else available but I most definitely would prefer a hand tossed fresh pie.
I got lucky that 20%coupon didn’t work the other day!
 

Benuser

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D2 is a tool steel with about 12% chromium so it almost meets the standard for stainless. In Japanese knives SLD or SKD11 (Hitachi steels) are both very, very similar to D2. Japanese carbon steels like Hitachi Shirogami and Aogami do not contain chromium and are more reactive. Ginsan is about 14% chromium so even more stain resistant than D2.
The different Aogami steels do contain some Cr. Whether that's related or not, they aren't specially reactive, compared to less charged carbons.
 

Ceriano

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D2 is a tool steel with about 12% chromium so it almost meets the standard for stainless. In Japanese knives SLD or SKD11 (Hitachi steels) are both very, very similar to D2. Japanese carbon steels like Hitachi Shirogami and Aogami do not contain chromium and are more reactive. Ginsan is about 14% chromium so even more stain resistant than D2.
thanks this is great info! What about stainless clad? Is it more corrosion resistant? This is the knife I’m look at in particular:

Wakui Gyuto White 2 stainless clad kurouchi Nashiji finish

 

Honerabi

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I have used only one Shun knife ever. That's the 210 mm SG-2 Shun Hiro I bought early on, when I got interested in Japanese knives. Since then, I've added quite a few more, including a Masamoto KS, a Sukenari HAP-40, a Yoshikane SLD, a Hideo Kitaoka white #2, two Takeshi Saji blue #2, plus others.

All of these are good knives, in my opinion. And I still reach for the Shun Hiro a lot. It's a seriously good knife. Good balance, good profile for things where I want a bit more belly, razor sharp, easy to sharpen, good food separation. I have absolutely no complaints about this knife, and I would let several others go before letting go of the Shun.

Yes, it's mass-produced. Yes, it has zero sex appeal. Yes, it has zero collector's value. But it's a knife that works well. Which is what I care about the most when I need to deal with a bunch of tomatoes or chillis, or a hard lump of parmesan…
I've been on the verge of picking up the 10" Shun Hiro. Have had the bread slicer for a few months. It is a beautiful knife. It's just very heavy forward.
Am going down the rabbit-hole of custom Japanese pieces. The Aogami Super Blue is interesting.
 

P.Smash

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Compared to most of the knives used by the general population of the entire world (Walmart kitchen knife block set) they are freaking top fuel dragsters on the cutting board. I have a couple that I bought when I first got into this awful addiction and every time I let my buddies use them they are always blown away. That said I rarely use them anymore, they’re a great affordable beater knife to me....IMO
 

ModRQC

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May I enquire why all the love for Mac - rather expensive molybdenum vanadium steel with the MTH-80 having dimples very near the edge...?
 

kayman67

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Because Macs are cool, to start with :)
If anyone has a Shun, it's just not cool. And I could add a few more.


The price for this baby is for me impossible to understand.
 

ModRQC

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Yeah I know the german stuff is expensive for no good reason, but I’m still looking for a serious answer about the Mac - and also my comparison for price was more towards the 100$-150$ CAD price for on top of my head Misono / Sakai Molybdenum among a fair amount of other makers as well vs around the 200$ mark of a Mac.
 
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