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Looking into a single high end chef knife

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 


Hi Everyone,



 



I've been reading through the forum that past hour or so and think this is a great place to ask my question.



 



I am looking to get a knife for the holidays (as a gift for myself) and can spend up to $200. I cook at home frequently and I am tired or not having a real knife in the kitchen.  I am big on pocket knives and have several that I sharpen myself I keep them sharp enough to shave with. In the kitchen though I really don't have much to work with, I can't even slice a tomato and that needs to correct itself asap. 



 



I am looking for a single knife that is high quality, razor sharp, stainless steel (at least on outside to prevent corrosion), stylish, and comfortable.



 



Currently I am looking at:



Shun Classic 8 inch



Shun Premier 8 inch



Mac MTH-80 8 inch



Messermeister meridian 8 inch



 



I am open to any additional suggestions or comments, Thanks


Edited by carter840 - 11/12/12 at 9:19am
post #2 of 10

The two Shun options you mention will fit the bill quite nicely.  I have both and find them to be among my favorite knives.  I use the Shun Premeir more because I like the handle better than the Classic.  Blazingly sharp, easy to maintain, and really nice looking.  What more could one want?

 

Although I grew up with German blades and American Carbon steel, I like the Shun better for everything except butchering chickens (or anything heavier than that).

 

I'm sure the Shun-haters will be here soon, so I will go away and leave you with that thought to consider.  good luck!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Shun certainly seems to produce a stylish and well crafted knife, but I too have seen a lot of "hate" for the brand.  I suppose the real question is why is any other brand better for the cost.  I would be interested to here any such arguments. Also is there a place where folks like to purchase knifes online?  I would be happy to use any sites that offer good prices but also benefit folks on this forum or within the community.
 

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianShaw View Post

The two Shun options you mention will fit the bill quite nicely.  I have both and find them to be among my favorite knives.  I use the Shun Premeir more because I like the handle better than the Classic.  Blazingly sharp, easy to maintain, and really nice looking.  What more could one want?

 

Although I grew up with German blades and American Carbon steel, I like the Shun better for everything except butchering chickens (or anything heavier than that).

 

I'm sure the Shun-haters will be here soon, so I will go away and leave you with that thought to consider.  good luck!

I must also ask about the difference between shun classic and shun premier?  Some reviews online indicate that the premier are more fragile than the classics. If this is the case the classics seem like a better option. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

post #5 of 10

The Mac is a much better option than Shun IMO. There really is a plethora of good choices in this price range, not that there's any thing wrong with your choices but it's certainly not where I'd be looking once you break the $150 price point.

The Sakai Yasuki from BluewayJapan on eBay, and the JCK series from Koki stand out to me and I'm sure BDL can suggest several others in a similar price point.

Take your time shopping. That's half the fun. ;)

 

Dave

I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is another chef. I'm always excited about learning new things about food.
Paul Prudhomme
Reply
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 

I guess as I have been doing a bit of research my concern with the Shun's or any knife that we have discussed thus far is durability. I intend for this to be my all purpose kitchen knife, and although I will baby it I also want a knife that I can use on meat or fish even if there is a chance of hitting bone.  Some folks seem to be indicating that some of these knifes are very brittle and prone to chipping from such use.

post #7 of 10

I don't think we hate Shuns but I think we have found better for the same money. What I like about Shuns are its Fit & finish, customer service, looks good,and decently sharp OOTB. However, the classics use VG-10 and for that price we can get better materials or get VG-10 for lower cost. Personally, I've used Shun Kaji's and while they are quite good, I found that I wanted lighter and thinner knives. Also Shun's have a german profile which promotes Rocking chops instead of push cuts. A lot is personal preference.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

Well I just assume be honest with you and frankly with myself.  I think I am already in love with the Shun line or products.  The fit and finish has already won be over. What I am struggling with now is whether to get an elite, premier, or classic.  The price on these is pretty much the same imo.

 

I intend to later add a paring knife and then more of a cleaver style of knife (hopefully) shun has one that is a bit thicker than their other blades and can take a bit of abuse.   BTW I do have to plain carbon old blades from japan that I got at a yard sale years ago.  Both are a little rusty and one has a bent tip, but they are scary sharp and I plan to restore these so I will have some more traditional Japanese shapes in my arsenal. I'll post more on those one I dig them out of storage.
 

post #9 of 10

There are a lot of questions posed in this thread.  Some are explicit, others implicit. 

 

The differences between the Shun Pemier and Shun Classic are mostly cosmetic.

  • The Classic uses a straight, black, pakka wood, "D" handle, available in either right or left handed;
  • The Premier has an ambidextrous handle with an ergonomic bump, and has a natural wood layer exterior;
  • Both blades have the same, high-tip, exaggerated German profile ;
  • Both blades have a VG-10 jigane enclosed in a soft, stainless, pattern welded hagane;
  • Shun Classics are "suminagashi," Damascus appearing pattern which extends all the way down to the edge;
  • Shun Premiers are "tsuchime," hammered pattern, which ends at a cosmetic hamon line with a Damascus appearance; but

 

Neither blade is "Damascus" in the sense that neither has a Wootz metal edge.  Rather the blades are san-mai, which means they're a three layer laminate with a cutting core (jigane), with a layer of pattern welded softer alloy (hagane) on each side.  Much of the pattern welded hagane used by modern makers is purchased either as a single sheet, rather than made by the knife maker.  And Shun (which is actually just a Kai trade name) is one of those makers which buys in sheets from (I believe) the Takefu Steel Company. 

 

I don't like Shun for lots of reasons and wouldn't buy one -- especially not a chef's knife.  But don't extend that too far.  I don't have a stake in whether you buy one or not.  Rather, I think it would be a good idea if you knew what you were getting into and what your options are.  In the greater scheme of things Shuns are not bad knives.  Lots of people like them for good rationale. 

 

There are some basic questions you need to answer before making sense of your choices.  For instance:

  • Do you prefer the German, French or an even flatter profile?
  • Wa or yo handles?
  • Laser, thin, or robust? 
  • How do you sharpen? 
  • How do you maintain, otherwise?  And, most importantly,
  • How important is money? 

 

BDL

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

BDL, 

 

Thanks for chiming in.  I have read a number of your posts on this forum and was hoping to get your input as well.  To be honest I don't know enough about kitchen knives to be able to answer most of your questions.  I am an engineer by trade and a pocket knife guru so to speak.  So although I don't know about kitchen knives, I do know about blade steel and construction. I also know how to appreciate a sharp and high quality knife, for me this just doesn't exist in the kitchen- that's what I am trying to change. I typically sharpen my blades on a series of 4 Arkansas stones,the first two are called soft and then hard and then I have a black stone and a translucent stone both are progressively more fine. I use these stones and also lightly use a steel grooved rod I have. My typical pocket knife is a 14 degree ZDP 189 blade that is surgical sharp. I often will cut things in the kitchen with it- I think it's time that ends. I am looking for a knife that cuts clean and easy, is scary sharp, and thin but not overly fragile.  I also think that fit and finish are really important to me, I tend to be OCD about that so imperfections do tend to irritate me.  As far as knife style is concerned I am not too picky since I still have not developed enough of a technique to really care.  From my current experience, I like mostly japanese style blades, but still do like a little bit of belly (I do rock my knife a little). 

 

I am frankly looking for a work of art that cuts with precision and stays reliable requiring minimal maintanance.  I can handle using a steel to maintain an edge, and could sharpen on stones a few times a year (too busy for more than that). I would like to stay away from plain carbon  because I don't think I can handle the maintance with that. 

 

So if not a shun, can anyone recomend a beutifully crafted blade that has similar performance.  I am also looking for something that will come out of the box in great sharp shape, I don't want to have to spend my time or money to get the knife better.  I basically want something that will be wonderful out of the box.  I have read a few posts on this forum where people say you can make X knife better than a shun on MAC if you rework the edge-> I want to compare knifes with the edge they come with (although using a steel rod isn't a big deal). 

 

So far I have only really seen one other suggestion that appeals to be and that is Sakai Yasuki.  It does not have any belly, but frankly I think it may be better for me to work with something without any belly. So is there any more info on this knife and are there other similar suggestions perhaps with even finer craftsmanship? 

 

Thanks and hopefully that makes sense. 

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