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Best way to sharpen Shun Classics?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

My Shun Classics are in need of a sharpening and I dont want to send them out to be sharpened. I want to learn how to sharpen them with whetstones, however I dont know where to start. If anyone has any experience sharpening Shuns I would love to get your opinions. Also, I was given a Shun electric sharpener when I purchased my knives from WS, I have never used it, mostly because I was worried that it would damage my knives. Does any one have any experience with this sharpener, good or bad? One more question, I was given a minosharpener, I have done some research and found that this is a product for Global knives. To my knowledge, Globals and Shuns have the same blade angle, so is the minosharp a good option for a quick sharpening for my Shuns, or should I stay away from it?

 

Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 17

I often sharpen Shuns on a belt grinder.  I don't know anything about the Minosharp; hopefully someone here can chime in with an answer.

 

The short answer is that there's nothing different about sharpening a Shun than any other knife.  If you're used to German knives then the Shun will be harder steel and ground at a more acute angle than you're used to.  Shun bevels are around 16 degrees per side vs. the 22-25 degrees per side more common with Wusthofs.  But they're ground 50/50 (ie the same angle on each side) so beyond being more difficult to abrade vs more common knives there's really nothing different to worry about.

 

Globals are actually convexed, aren't they?  I haven't run across many Globals, and the one I've sharpened I also did on my belt grinder.

 

Generally though I do Japanese knives on water stones.

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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #3 of 17

The three stage Minosharp is pretty good.  If you don't want to learn how to sharpen, and you can't afford an EP, it's as good as an "Asian" Chef's Choice electric -- maybe slightly better in that it doesn't seem to load up quite as fast.  The biggest drawbacks are that (a) you're stuck with a 15* flat bevel no matter what you'd choose; and (b) although they do load up with swarf, neither cleans up up very well.

 

Just as an aside, never sharpen a dirty knife; rinse and wipe the knife dry frequently during the sharpening process. 

 

I don't remember offhand whether Globals ship convex or not.  When I get a knife to sharpen, no matter how it shipped, it gets what I give it.  With Globals that's a 15* flat bevel with a 20* "micro bevel" on top.  Globals go out of true very easily and can use the extra durability they get from multi-beveling.  

 

Shuns seem to do best with a flat 15*. 

 

BDL

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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies,

I do want to learn how to sharpen my Shuns, but I'm not too sure on what I need to start with.  I have a budget of $100-$150, but again I don't know what whetstones to get. 

 

The minosharp I have, has 2 slots.  Can the minosharp be used for Shuns, if I need to use it in a pinch?

post #5 of 17

I use a shun classic as my main workhorse at work and I recently purchased a 1000k shapton whetstone and plan on getting the 5000k shortly. I had one of those chefs choice asian machines and while it did a decent job it wasn't even close to what I was able to accomplish for an edge using stones. Just practice on cheaper knives and you'll figure out the technique and follow the direction BDL gives you because he has some very good advice. You could get a decent stone setup for short money (Compared to the machines) if you shop around.

post #6 of 17

New to the forum and own Shun Classics.  I see that I lot of people sharpen their own knives, but KAI is offering free sharpening service with customer paid shipping.  Would the professional chefs not this service? If no, why not?

 

Newbie here with a slightly dull Nakiri here.  Obviously, the honing steel wont work on this

 

Side note - Why would KAI include a right handed handle honing steel in a right handed knife set, I have no clue!)
 

post #7 of 17

The best reasons to do your own sharpening are quality, control, and time.  If you're happy with the factory edge quality and can deal with the turn-around time, you might as well use Kai's free service.

 

You can effectively steel Shun VG-10 knives -- even nakiris.  However, there are limitations:

  • Steeling is primarily a way of truing an impact burr (aka an edge which is bent out of shape).  It's not actual sharpening, or at least it shouldn't be; and  
  • Because the knives are so chippy you have to be darn careful and use very few and very light strokes. 

 

Since the Shun steel is bilaterally symmetric, the D handle is neither right nor left handed. 

 

BDL

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post #8 of 17

Thanks for your input!  The last item I've sharpened by hand (which I do pretty well) were family hand-me-down shears for suit tailoring many years ago.  I might give it a shot when I invest in a kit in the near future.  Time to spend a little bit more money on a sharpening kit!  I do like the factory edge it had, possibly since I've haven't experienced any better, so I will probably use their service for now.

 

I have been very careful with these thanks to hanging out with my mother when I was growing up using her knives, (I'm Korean so all we had growing up were Asian knives) but I'm hesitant to steel more than I have on my nakiri.

 

About the steel handle though, I have no complaints about the comfort or it's effectiveness of it.  It's just that KAI says that they offer "left handed" profiles as special order but in their standard set includes the "right handed" profile for the handle of the steel (which most would grip with the left if you are a right hander)  At least my steel handle is actually profiled for a right hander (same as knives) and not bilaterally symmetrical. Perhaps, they have changed the design?

post #9 of 17

Most Shun steels have four sided handles, and those are ambidextrous.  However, Shun uses a "D" handle for its "Classic" series knife steel.

 

The proper handle/hand position for a D handle is with the round part of the D against the palm.  If a knife is D handled, the D will either be right or left handed, but not ambidextrous; because holding a right-handed D with the round part against the palm of the left hand would result with the knife edge pointing up towards the user and the spine down towards the board -- not a great way to cut onions. 

 

Fortunately for us southpaws, Shun not only makes left-handed handles for their knives, the right-handed handles aren't particularly insecure or uncomfortable used in the left hand.

 

However, a honing steel is not a knife blade.  Steels must be bilaterally symmetric because their tops and bottoms are used as part of the same function.  Shun Classic steels are round, which means that they don't really have a left, right, top or bottom.  No matter whether the steel's D handle is held with the right hand or the left, the steel will still present an appropriate surface to the knife. 

 

But, ambidextrous or not, fitting a D handle on a steel was a dumb idea.  Because the steel will always held with the same hand position, it will functionally have a top and bottom which get used, and left and right sides which don't.  Thus the steel will wear unevenly. 

 

BDL

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post #10 of 17

Thanks for the response!

 

Can you or anyone that knows explain another thing about the steel for me?

 

The ring/Hand guard above the handle has a bevel to it.  I've heard that it's a 16 degree bevel (Haven't measured but I'll believe that) to provide a relatively easy angle reference for honing.  Now with that said, the ring/hand guard is not round but has a flat portion to it.  seems to be beveled at a different angle as well.  Is this for another type of blade that Shun makes?

 

Thanks again,

 

Rob
 

post #11 of 17

The "flat portion" prevents the steel from rolling off the counter and hitting your wife's foot. 

 

BDL

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post #12 of 17

Classic.   TY. 

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post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The "flat portion" prevents the steel from rolling off the counter and hitting your wife's foot. 

 

BDL

 

That's silly, my wife never enters the kitchen.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by boar_d_laze View Post

The "flat portion" prevents the steel from rolling off the counter and hitting your wife's foot. 

 

BDL


Haha! makes sense.  Thanks again!

 

Rob

post #15 of 17

BDL I was under the impression the angled section on the shun steel was to aid users to hold their knife at a proper angle for steeling.  I feel like I read it somewhere in some piece of Shun literature, but I cant seem to find where it was.  Any thoughts on this? 

post #16 of 17

I was under the impression the angled section on the shun steel was to aid users to hold their knife at a proper angle for steeling.  I feel like I read it somewhere in some piece of Shun literature, but I cant seem to find where it was.  Any thoughts on this? 

 

This is from the Shun Classic Steel page at WS:

  • To guarantee top performance from your cutlery, use this steel to hone knife blades. The forged-steel rod helps restore a knife's sharp edge by trueing it – that is, smoothing and realigning the blade's cutting edge.

    • Built-in 16-degree guide helps you hone at the correct angle.
    • Rod is forged from high-carbon steel.
    • Durable PakkaWood handle resists moisture and has a D shape, to sit comfortably in the hand.
    • This NSF-certified steel meets the high-level safety standards for professional kitchens.
    • Designed by Shun, a Japanese company that has produced fine cutlery for more than 90 years.

[Emphasis added]

 

The idea of including an example of the appropriate angle -- the same at which the knife was sharpened -- is a nice touch.  Too bad whoever edited the copy couldn't spell truing correctly.

 

BDL

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post #17 of 17

Awesome, I wasnt sure if I had simply made that up or it was in fact useful information. Thanks for your help!

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