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Shun knives.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've been tickling the idea of getting a new chef's knife..

This kind of caught my attention: Ken Onion's Chef's Knife. (It wont let me post the link until I post more... but you can get to it by going to alton brown's website and clicking on shun's knives and its all the way at the bottom.)

What do you think?
post #2 of 6
My sous chef rocks a Ken Onion. He likes it and the sous chef at the restaurant next door likes his too. The steel is a good one, VG10. It sharpens up about as easily as my french carbon knife and the Ken Onion is pretty hard (62rc I think) so the edge lasts for a **** of a long time. There are thinner(read: sharper when sharpenned properly) blades out there for less money. What you are essentially buying a Ken Onion for is the shape of the blade and handle.
About this... my sous chef no longer has a knife scar at the base of his index finger because the ken onion doesn't let you pinch the blade in the same manner. A good thing to most but I happen to enjoy my knife scar and refuse to sand the corners of the spine of my cook's knife. If you happen to be more normal and less of a nostalgist, the ken onion is easier on the mits.
Then you get into the function of it. I feel it places your hand in a position that isn't as controllable as a traditional western or japanese hanlde. This is just my opinion and the two K.O. users I know dissagree.
If you are interested in a knife that has the same core steel try the Hattori HD at Japanesechefsknife.com. It gets raves on a few forums and is cheaper.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
The HD series is pretty nice as well... hmm... curious what makes those grain like markings in the steel? is it just for decoration?
post #4 of 6
The "grain markings" come from a layer of faux damascus pattern welding on the outside of both the the Hattori and the Shuns. The Japanese call it "suminagashi." It's not an integral part of the cutting blade, but a kind of cladding called san-mai (three layers). The stainless blade core is placed between two layers of soft, pattern-welded stainless and the three layers are heated and "forged-welded" together. This kind of construction serves a purpose with certain kinds of steels, but with the VG-10 used in Shun Classics, it's more of a way of getting the decoration on the blade. Unfortunately, because the cladding is so soft, one of the problems with the Shun is that the pattern is very easily damaged (and somewhat expensive to repair).

The Ken Onion has a nice handle which some people love, and other people ... well not so much. Unfortunately it's attached to a rather unexceptional knife -- as good Japanese knives go. Don't get me wrong, a Shun will kick a Wusthof's butt in every performance respect. But compared to actual good knives -- say a MAC Professional, a Masamoto VG, or a Sakai Takayuki -- not so much.

Cooking Angry and I both use an old fashioned K-Sabatier carbon cook's knife, less expensive than even a Shun Classic, and I suppose you could say primitive in comparison. But it's a better edge, a more useful profile, and the K-Sabatier handle and extended ferrule have a comfortable magic even the Onion can't match.

FWIW, I started rounding the spines on my knives over before Cooking Angry was born.

I'm not suggesting you run out and buy a Sabatier au carbone; it's definitely not for everyone. Nor am I saying a Ken Onion isn't worth buying and loving; nor, for that matter, am I saying it's not the perfect knife for you. Just be aware that most people who know knives think there's much better for the money.

Good luck,
post #5 of 6
I have a few shun's and I wasn't impressed by them. I saw a cook I work with using them and I decided to buy a few. After using them and putting them through their normal paces, I just felt they were over rated. By no means are they a bad knife, there's just much better out there. They are a good start if japanese knives are your thing.

With that said, I'd recommend the Hattori over the Shuns. If your willing to forgo the damascus pattern, I'd give Masamoto VG or the Misono UX-10 lines a look. IMHO, they are the best of the mass produced stainless knives. Also, I would recommend the Hattori FH series. For christmas this year I'm hoping santa will bring me a few (fingers crossed).
post #6 of 6
OI!!! BDL, I'm not saying it's not smart to round the spine and avoid knife scar. In fact it is very practical. I don't generally consider myself practical and between college sports and being a line cook I am well aclimated to "macho".

I am basically trying to say that I didn't mean to offend. And BTW, I still have alot to learn just from reading your posts.

Can't wait to read your book.
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