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Sharpening Suggestions + lots of questions, Please Help...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
OK. I am sure all of the information I am looking for is covered (in great depth, I'm sure) all over this forum. I've done an extensive amount of searching, reading, researching and trying to figure this all out. I've caught the knife bug and I am totally overwhelmed now. Confused as well. I apologize in advance if any of this is just kicking a dead horse...just too confused to put this info all together.

What I would like to know, in a condensed version, is, essentially, what would be the best way for me to sharpen my knives. Or perhaps to be more accurate, what is the best way for me to get them razor sharp again. Keep in mind my skill (and knowledge, as it's becoming increasingly more apparent) is that of a beginner/novice. I really want to learn how to do this all myself though...that's another monster in and of itself though.

I'll just break this down into a few smaller questions:

1- Should I sharpen my blades myself, or with my limited knowledge/skill, should I leave it up to a pro?

2- If I leave it up to the pros, should I have it done locally or should I send them back to the manufacturer(well this actually only applies to one of my knives) to have a new edge put on? Is there somewhere you guys know of to send my knives if I can't find someone locally that I trust?

3- Is that Wustohf pull through 'sharpener' as bad for my knives as I think it is? To clarify, I got one of these things for my birthday a while back and I ran my 8" slicer through it and I could see the metal just tearing off the blade and it left some tiny nicks in the blade...and it definitely didn't come out razor sharp. I have since put it down. I was suprised, because one of my coworkers has the same pull through device for asian blades (the red one) and I had used it on a few occasions to tighten up a house knife (dexter sani safe line) quickly before cutting tomatoes or something, and it left the blade razor sharp...none of that metal shavings and nicks in the blade. I was impressed then and now I'm confused.

4- Are electric counter-top sharpeners any good? If they might suit me, any suggestions on a proper one (chefs choice model # or whatever)?

5- Where's the best place to get a good combo stone to start learning with, something that will suit my day to day needs. Nothing crazy. Where do I start...Would that be better than an electric one? What grits should I get on a combo stone...can you suggest one?

6- A good all-around steel? I hear a lot about those idahone, fine ceramic ones...I'm eyeballing one. It won't break the bank either. Perhaps you have a better suggestion?

OK, I'm sure I've left some things out of this...I got distracted while I was typing this up and lost my train of thought. Again, I would like to apologize in advance if all of these type questions have been covered elsewhere. I just can't help but think there's someone out there who gets off on knives that wouldn't mind taking a few minutes to steer me in the right direction.

If it bears any relevance to my questions, and something tells me it does...here is a list of my meager, but capable knife set-

-A Henckles International (the Spanish ones) set I purchased a Costco a few years ago, not the best knives, but work just fine for me and certainly not terrible knives.

That includes
-8" Slicing Knife (has served me as a very narrow cooks knife for a while)
-8" Bread Knife
-7 or 8" boning/fillet Knife, not exactly sure
-4" paring knife
-7" Santoku
-3" Miniature Santoku style knife
-4" Tomato Knife
-A smaller boning/fillet knife, maybe 5 or 6", probably 5"

Not the best set...but a decent group of knives for what I paid and they all certainly get the job done and have served me well for the past few years. Haven't seen too much use until recently because I work as a pizzaiolo, but have since started doing some serious cooking.

Also in the kit are,
-very cheap, very heavy cleaver from walmart that I can use until it breaks then toss it and get a new one


-8" Shun Ken Onion Chef's Knife

I couldn't do without a proper chef's knife anymore, and my mother happened to find that one on sale just before my birthday. It seems, from what I've read, that a lot of people like to hate on that knife...but I think it's a great knife. and its crazy sharp.

Oh yeah, What about the angle on that knife? Should I be honing at a 15 or 16 degree angle, as opposed to the 22.5 for the rest of my 'German' knives? Would a fine ceramic steel (and should I not use my henckles steel with the shun) be good to use on the Shun. What about the Shun electric sharpener?

Ok, I promise I'll stop here. If you have any advice, suggestions, input....I would be thrilled to know.

Thanks so much!

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 

Ill admit that was neither a quick question or a simple one. Again, I apologize if all these things have been covered elsewhere.

If one of you guys with a repository of knife knowledge could just help to steer me in the right direction, it would be such a big favor. Everytime I search around I get so lost in terminology and get stuck googling products and so on and so forth. I just need someone to give me some advice on what the best options (and your opinion on) for getting a super sharp, proper edge on my knives are.

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
post #3 of 14
If you enjoy using a sharp knife when you cook, you should definitely learn to sharpen yourself. Furthermore, your Internationals aren't worth taking to a pro. You'd spend as much on sharpening the set as you did on the set itself.

Henckles Internationals are never going to take a great edge, no matter what you do -- it's the alloy they're made from -- something very much like 420J2. On top of that, the alloy is extremely soft and won't hold anything more acute than 20* or so without collapsing. Not only soft, but tough too -- and difficult to sharpen.

Your best bet in a stone (for freehanding) might well be a Norton IB-8, which is a combination stone whose sides are "coarse India," and "fine India" respectively. If you've never heard of India stones, or if you have and don't know what the term means -- "India" is Norton's trade name for their series of aluminum oxide manmade oilstones. Norton's other line of synthetic oilstones is "Crystolon." Crystolon stones are "faster" but leave more "scratch" than equivalent India grits.

If you really wanted to max out the edge, you could jump to a hard Arkansas or maybe a 2000 grit waterstone -- but you're going to spend a lot of time trying to polish an edge that really doesn't want to be polished. And then, it will lose it right away.

Anyway, the IB-8 is a good stone at a very reasonable price -- more than suitable for the Internationals.

The problem with sharpening machines for YOU is that your Internationals and Shun don't mix very well. I'm hestant to recommend Chef's Choice two angle sharpener, the 1520, because it's a lot of money to spend to sharpen Internationals, which you'll probably grow out of very quickly. But Chef's Choice "Asian" 15* sharpeners only sharpen to 15*, which is far too actue for the Henckles to hold without collapsing.

Your best all-around choice for the Internations might be something very aggressive, along the lines of a Warthog; but I hate to see you spend the money on them. I'm afraid a Chantry would be too aggressive, and it's not much cheaper. Maybe a Myerco (from Blackie Collins) might work, but I'm not sure if it's really a long tem solution. I hate to recommend any of the other gimmicky carbide sharpeners -- but on the other hand, you don't have a lot to lose.

If and when you do upgrade from the Internationals, you'll probably go to knives that either start with a more acute edge than 20*, or can and should be profiled that way. BTW, the problem with the Internationals is all about their weak edge taking and holding characteristics. They're cheap but their just so frustrating.

The Shun is made from VG-10 and already bevelled to a 15* edge angle, 30* included angle. You really don't want to take it any more obtuse than 15*.

It's possible to start the Shun on an India combi, but it will take forever to sharpen and won't get anywhere near the polish it deserves. Something like a Suehiro, Naniwa, or Norton combi waterstone with grits in the range of 1000/5000 would be OK.

That puts you in the position of owning an adequate and relatively inexpensive kit, but you'll have to learn to sharpen -- it's not conceptually very difficult, but it takes some plenty of practice, twenty or thirty blades, before you can sharpen with any consistency, and another twenty or thirty blades before you can polish.

A third alternative to freehanding and machines, is a tool and jig type sharpener called a "rod guide." These come in two flavors, "rod and clamp" like Norton and Gatco; and rod and table," like Edge Pro. All of the rod guides are a bit fussy in their set up requirements and take down requirements; and our a little problematic around the tip. The Edge Pro is a much better system than any of the rod and clamp systems in both of these areas -- but it is expensive.

A Lasky "Diamond Plus" kit may well be your best option in terms of sharpening all your knives without going through the whole freehand thing. It will work, but in the end, probably won't be a permanent solution. I'd feel like a total putz telling you to spend $200 on sharpening supplies for Henckels Internationals.

About the Shun -- I'm a hater. But who cares what I think? You've got it. You like it. How can I hate that? And no matter what reasons I have for preferring something other than a Shun it does have good edge holding and edge taking characteristics. It's a knife that can get very sharp and should be kept that way.

Unless you're buying a Chef's Choice which doubles as a steel, you'll want a 10" or 12" Idahone fine (around $20 and $30, respectively). Killer "steel," for the money.

Disclosure: I'm a freehander currently using a 4 oilstone + 2 rod hone kit to sharpen a mix of vintage carbon Sabatiers. I've had at least some personal experience with all of the stones discussed here (and lots and lots more) and with knives very much like yours.

Keep asking questions,
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
BDL- Thanks so much.

From what bit of reading and lurking around here I've done...I had a sneaking suspicion that you might would be the person to tackle my questions.

After taking about an hour to read through that (researching the products you named as I go), i feel like the lansky diamond system probably would be the best way to go. Seems like it would be a good investment to serve my purposes for the time being. I intend to invest in a few combo stones as well and learn how to freehand. Oh yeah, can you adjust the angle on the lansky? And is it worth it to invest in the ultra fine and sapphire sharpening hones?

Also...so yeah, i think I've been denying it to myself, but my Henckles International Knives are kinda crappy. After getting this whole knife buzz going in the past few weeks here I've been putting some serious consideration into getting an entirely new set and leaving the old ones to my girlfriend(she is losing her mind in the kitchen when I am at work with my roll). I also think if I'm going to start getting serious with cooking as a career it would be worth it to spend the money on a set of knives that will serve me for a lifetime.

Until I can manage to afford a set worthy of carrying me through a career in the kitchen, I think regular blade maintenance and an occasional sharpening will do me just fine.

Of course, this brings up a few more questions...

if I use my knives for a few hours a day, honing before and after each use (REALLY need to get a fine ceramic idahone for that shun), how often would you expect I should need to put on a fresh edge? Is it just a matter of necessity or should I sharpen at regular intervals?

Also, until I get an idahone (clearly, im not taking in tons of money...i have to save up for these kind of things, hah), what would be the best way to hone my shun? Could I use the steel that came with the Henckles International set? Would it do damage to it...or would it do anything at all..haha? The only other steel at my disposal are the flat dexter steels sitting around at work...and my chef has a Wustofh steel...not sure what kind...

And one last question: If I want to invest in knives that will last me a lifetime (if that's even possible), what would you recommend? I'm partial to German style knives (that shun was a gift...), not very picky about brand...just want to have some great knives. I like heavier blades, something sturdy feeling with a nice, broad belly to them. Can you recommend a quality line/set...or even a few great knives that would cover the basics. I would like to at least have an 8" or preferably 10" chef's knife, a paring knife, a petty/utility knife, a cheap bread knife (may just hang on to that henckles...although I have my eye on that offset f dick), and a quality fillet and boning knife.

Also been looking into K Sabatier's. My chef at work is taking a trip to the outlet in S.C. soon and I think I might tag along. The Au Carbone are beautiful...just never handled one...do they have the heft that a German knife does?

Go for a set or buy the pieces independently?

I probably should have just PM'ed you on this one...I get the feeling you are very knowledgeable on the subject, I could pick your brain forever...hah

Well, Thanks again. I really appreciate you taking the time to get me headed in the right direction.

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
post #5 of 14
It will hold you until (if and when) you get some serious knives. Except -- and this is my bad, my brother -- the Lansky "multi angle" clamp only goes down to 17*. You'll want 15*, and that's Gatco. Gatco actually goes down to 11*, which is good for double bevels -- in and when you want to play with that. Don't buy your Gatco from Gatco (or your Lansky from Lansky) do a little research they're very heavily discounted.

Freehanding is very useful. Since you're starting out with a rod guide, you don't need a combi (unless you want to schlep it back and forth to work. My suggestion is a Naniwa SuperStone 1000# and some beater knives from a flea market. When you can flatten the stone, raise a burr and deburr, it's time to think about moving up to a finer stone.

It's not only a good way to learn to sharpen, you get a better answer to your next question.

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

You really can't take the Shun too fine. "Worth it," is another matter. I can't say whether it's worth the money and the extra effort on the stones to you. I'm not sure if Gatco sells finer diamond hones or not. But I think (and you'd have to check) that the Lansky hones and rods would work with a Gatco clamp; they just wouldn't fit in the Gatco case.

Anyway, better to learn to freehand and build up to a Naniwa 5K; and, ultimately a serious polishing stone (or strop) if you decide you want some serious (and unnecessary) polish.

You're going to think they're worse than "kinda crappy," once you start sharpening them. Not enough reward for the amount of work -- and that's what knives are really all about.

Definitely worth it to get knives which don't punish you. However, work knives don't last forever. Start by building your kit one knife at a time, and don't worry about buying a "set."

What could it hurt?

Every two or three days. Once a week at the most.

It doesn't matter with the Internationals. Use anything. Once you start sharpening the Shun you'll want something fine enough not to mess up the edge. By the way, steeling is almost as much of an art as freehanding. You've got to use a fine enough steel and good technique or you'll create an edge so scratchy it acts like a saw.

Yes, I can, but ...

Short answer: There are a lot of German knife makers, some of whom aren't even Germans whose top end lines are remarkably similar. From a blade performance aspect, it doesn't matter at all. They use the same basic alloy, the same profiles, and the differences in hardening don't make much of a difference at all. All are made to extremely high levels of fit and finish. So, once you've restricted yourself to a "top of the line" German, you're looking at (very good) handles, price, cosmetics, and the highly overrated "balance."

Give me some time to decide if I want to tackle the issue of choosing high-end German knives for the blog (and eventually my knife chapter) before I get into the ins and outs of the many different lines. Generally though, I think there are much better knives for the money coming out of Japan.

Regarding the choices you made about which profiles will constitute your set: Seems very practical and well thought out to me. You'll want your next chef's knife to be around 10" ("around," because Japanese knives don't hit an exact 10"); you'll find plenty of use for a 10" or longer slicer; and you can get along fome with a very cheap paring knives -- even disposables are plenty good.

You can't get me to trash K-Sab au carbone. I own several now, and have owned a few more over the years. Every one of them a wonderful knife. If you can live with the little bit of extra maintenance carbon requires over stainless... They aren't as heavy -- which is a wonderful thing after the first couple of minutes of prep. They are just as strong, just as stiff, and feel incredibly right. They have a wonderful, agile profile -- perhaps the world's best. They get much sharper than any modern "German" knife, sharpen easily, maintain very well on a steel, and hold their edges far better than any knife using the common European stainless alloys.

Set unless you've got a ton o' bucks. And even then.

Thanks for the [redacted] compliment. PM is fine for personal messages, but the board is better for these sorts of questions. A lot of people lurk with exactly your questions; and it gives some of the other guys who know as much or more than me a chance to offer other perspectives.

If you want a more normal, spontaneous and just generally more human conversation, we can exchange phone numbers.

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much. Its becoming pretty well obvious to me that I have much to learn. At least I have plenty of time to learn it.

That's a lot for me to chew on right now...I think I can rest easy for the time being, I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before another slew of questions pop into my head.

Thanks again, I really appreciate your time and advice.

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
post #7 of 14
Just a couple of followups. BDL and I agree on pretty much everything these days, I find -- he's very persuasive! But there are maybe some things that could use a little fleshing out.

Stone Grits
Initially, BDL suggested a 1000/5000 combo, then just a 1000. I agree. Why?

The lower the grit, the faster the grind and the coarser (toothier) the edge. If every edge under a microscope looks like a saw, the coarser the stone the more the edge looks like a ripsaw instead of a fine cabinetry saw. 1000 is a great place to be, in the sense that it grinds pretty quickly even with bad steel, but it leaves a fine enough edge that you won't regret it when you start cutting food.

When you move up a grit level, you're "polishing" your edge. Only the Shun of the knives you mention will actually take this, because only that one has good enough steel that you can polish finely anyway. If you are going to use a rod system for basic sharpening while you learn to freehand, you can polish your Shun on the rods just fine and keep your freehanding focused on one thing at a time, which is a very, very good thing. Keep it simple!

At some point, you will get much better knives that can take a better polish. Then the question will be what sort of polish you want, and why. But if by that point you already have good freehand sharpening skills, you can simply select a good polishing stone appropriate to your needs. Same goes for getting a coarser stone for resetting edges and fixing chips. A decent 1000 stone will continue to serve, and there's no need to buy things now when you won't get much out of them.

New Knives
There is one serious objection to BDL's beloved Sabatier au carbones: they are carbon. I love carbon, don't get me wrong, but you are looking for work knives. In many work environments, carbon can be difficult to maintain properly. Regardless, in a number of jurisdictions carbon knives contravene local health regulations, as do certain kinds of wooden handles. So before you go buying carbon all over the place, be sure you'll be allowed to use it legally, and that you can maintain it in the face of your workplace craziness.

Myself, I am partial to certain inexpensive Japanese brands: MAC and Togiharu strike me as excellent value here. The more basic stainless lines are excellent, and those knives will take and hold a wicked edge. When you eventually get sick of the Ken Onion (sorry -- I don't like it either), you can get a nice VG-10 gyuto replacement or something for rather less than that knife generally costs, and will quickly come to wonder how you survived so long without it.

On paring knives, I should note (as I always do) that at least one knife maniac expert and pro chef I know swears by Victorinox-Forschner paring knives, which come 3 to a pack for about $12. They can be sharpened fairly well, and when they finally give up the ghost you just retire them to an honored place as box cutters and go on to the next one in the pack.

Stones and Flattening
Bear in mind that Japanese synthetic waterstones require flattening. There are many options here. One popular one I hear about a lot is to use fine drywall screen, mounted on a sturdy base. You just take your stone, mark the surface with a crosshatch-pattern of pencil lines, and grind on the flattener in an irregular pattern, switching hands and directions often to keep it random. When all the pencil lines are gone, the stone is flat. It's good practice to keep some sort of flat reference surface around and give a stone a quick once-over before sharpening. Just lay down your pencil and give a few quick rubs. If the abrasions are even all over the surface of the stone, you needn't go right down to removing all the pencil; just sharpen away. If you get abrasions at the ends and none in the middle, keep grinding until the stone is flat: you've got a dished stone and will have mediocre (or worse) sharpening results.

Good luck!
post #8 of 14
Maybe great minds think alike, or maybe dumb ones run in the same small, stupid circles. The jury is out. Could go either way.

A combi stone is a way of learning to sharpen with an eye on moving up to better stones later; or depending on the particular sharpener and particular stone, it can be an end in itself. A combi waterstone made heap plenty sense as a companion to a Norton India combi -- which is not bettered by separates, and an all time great stone as the IB-8 or IC-11.

Since Dave's already decided on doing most of his sharpening on a rod and clamp diamond set; he might as well learn to sharpen on a 1000 worth keeping. I love the Naniwa Super Stone as a beginner's stone not only because it's fast, soft, has a lot of feedback, has a base which gives good feedback, and is cheap and easy to flatten, but because it's particular type of feedback will punish some of the more obvious sins. The Naniwa combi -- much less so.

Anyway, it's pointless to try polishing until you've learned to sharpen. Might as well hold off on the 5000 grit until you can learn from it.

You said exactly the same thing. So there.

I'm not going to waste the bandwidth quoting all of Chris's writing. It's been a long time since I worked in a professional kitchen, and I wasn't aware any codes excluded carbon steel. While I can think of a zillion reasons Chris must be wrong, he probably isn't. In any case, worth checking.

Carbon IS extra trouble, and requires frequent rinsing and wiping during prep. Sabatier carbon isn't particularly hard, and will probably require at least a couple of steelings per service. Extra trouble? Yes. But western made stainless knives need to be steeled just as frequently, and all knives need to be rinsed almost as much. Still, carbons do require more. Too much more? Can't say for you. They weren't too much for me, but when I was cooking carbon was by far the best choice. A guy who used to contribute here, "Cooking Angry," and cooked (or cooks?) in a high-end steak joint bought a 10" K-Sab for work, and absolutely loved it.

I can't say too many nice things about the MAC Pro series for work in a restaurant kitchen. I hear good things about the Togs, but don't have enough personal experience to really comment. By the way, there are some excellent Japanese carbons as well.

Chris, I get the feeling Dave isn't interested in a discourse in dialogue form of what's wrong with his Shun. Tempting though.

Chris talks about our mutual friend (virtual friend in Chris's case; lunch buddy in mine) KC. He does love the disposable Forschners. FWIW, I prefer the Forschner Rosewoods which are worth sharpening, but are so cheap you don't mind throwing them away when they sharpen down to nubbins.

post #9 of 14
I'm reliably informed that carbon steel is banned in New York City, for example. :o
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Actually, I would like to know why exactly it is that you guys dislike the ken onion so much? I am not particularly beholden to the knife, just happens to be the best piece in my kit now...its big and shiny and sharp. If it is good for one thing, it has perked my interest in quality knives?

OK- Thanks for the additional info, but again, this raises a few more questions...

-If not the au carbone, which sabatier line would you fellas pick from for solid work knives...my most pressing purchases at this point, would be a 10"-ish chef's knife and a paring or petty.

-About the carbon...I was under the impression that the shun blade I have also had a high carbon content. I've been washing it and drying it like an anal maniac. Is that even necessary?

-Ive been eyeballing MAC, in particular the PFK-50, MBK-95, MBK-110 and the 6'' boning knife w/ the sheath...not sure of the model number...its only like $30 though. What you you all think of these?

I've looked into the forshner knives as well. they look/remind me of 'house' knives and scares me. I guess If I were the only one handling it, it wouldn't take the damage all the ones at work do. We have dexter-russel sani safe by the way, and they suck. There has got to be a better 'cheap' knife out there. Think the owner may be buying some new knives soon. Maybe I catch catch him ahead of time and steer him toward forshner.

Thanks again, sure I will come up with some more questions in time...
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
post #11 of 14
There are lots of reasons I don't recommend any Shun chef's knife/gyuto. The two biggest are geometry and valie. Regarding the Onion specifically, it has way too much belly; and there are a number of much better much knives for the money.

You're past the recommendation stage with that knife. If you like it, you like it; all that matters.

I wouldn't recommend any of Sabatier's stainless knives. Although I prefer their geometry to the Germans, my feeling is that the quality of the blade ally is so inferior to similarly priced Japanese, stainless, western style chef's knives, it's not worth buying a Sab.

Since Chris's post, I researched the question of whether carbon, i.e., not-stainless knives were allowed in NYC restaurant kitchens. I looked at the Restaurant Owner's guide, the "What to Expect During Inspection" pamphlet, and called the NYC Health Dept., Restaurant Division. As far as I can tell, or the two people I talked to at the Health Dept., no one knows anything about the prohibition to which Chris referred.

In my experience, Chris is as reliable and accurate as they come; but I think he was misinformed. For insance, Chris's informant may have been in some special situation where the inspector was able to require NSF approved knives or something. Let's wait to hear more from Chris.

Based on my research, there doesn't seem to be a general carbon ban for restaurant kitchens. Assuming that's correct: I don't recommend carbon knives to anyone who isn't already sure they're willing to deal with the extra care carbon requires. Similarly, I don't recommend Sab carbon (or any other knife, for that matter) to anyone who isn't willing to accomodate thier sharpening requirements. If you can handle those things, carbon has a lot of advantage, and K-Sab au carbone compares very well with some really good western style Japanese carbons -- Kikuichi Elite, Masamoto CT, and Misono Sweden to name a few. You can buy better carbon for more money (Masamoto HC, for instance), and get almost-as-nice carbons for less money (Kanemasa, Fujiwara e.g.).

Words do not suffice to describe the creamy delicousness that is a good French carbon chef's knife. Nevertheless, here goes. Not too heavy, not too light. Get sharp. Steel up very nicely. Perfect geometry. The end.

Sabatiers aside, if carbon were prohibited, most sushi bars would close their doors.

When knife folk talk about "carbon," or "high carbon" we don't mean high-carbon stainless which is a different animal altogether. Because stainless has so much chrome in the alloy, very complicated formulations are required to get it to perform as well as a good carbon for a blade.

Your Shun is thre layer, "san mai" (aka warikomi) construction. It's three layers; a hagane (the middle layer which is used for the edge) and two jigane (outer layers, making production cheaper). In the case of Shun, all three layers are stainless -- so you can relax.

The Professional series are incredibly good knives; and an excellent choice for a professional kitchen. The handles are as good as any in the industry. The blades are much stiffer than any other high-end Japanese knife, something most western cooks love. Their edge taking and holding properties are extremely good. If you're looking at any sort of budget, I'm not sure I'd spend the money on a MAC Pro paring or petty (PFK 50), but would definitely spend it for the chef's (MBK 95 and 110). Not necessarily THE first choice, but certainly among them.

The "boning knife w/ the sheath" is really a fishing knife. It's a good knife if you like a knife like that -- which I don't. Also, it's very thin VG-1 and isn't the easiest knife in the world to sharpen on stones; the MAC rollsharp actually works pretty well on it.

Forschner Fibrox (and Rosewood) are definitely a step above Dexter Sanis; but just a step. In the same high-value, commercial class, have your boss take a look at Mora. Much better blade steel; same bunk, NSF approved handles.

Looking forward to it,
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks again. I definitely know who to look to now if I have any more knife questions.

“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
“Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one's life.”

Check my blog and leave comments!
post #13 of 14
Get one an Edgepro Apex.

Use it with 3M lapping film.

I've tried it all and this is the least time consuming and most consistent method I have tried. You will be amazed. Don't use water or oil. Just wipe down the stones or lapping film when they get dirty.
post #14 of 14
Hi Dave.

On the love/hate relation people could have with shun products, there is a thread (flame ? ) going on at Fred's : Why is there so much neg about Shun Pro? - Foodie Forums

You'll certainly find plenty of opinions regarding this brand.

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ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Food & Equipment Reviews › Cooking Knife Reviews › Sharpening Suggestions + lots of questions, Please Help...