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Another Shun thread...don't hate me

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I'm looking into purchasing a set of quality japanese style knives. Now, mind you, I'm just a home cook. No specialist at all...I just enjoy cooking and I can't stand using a set of crappy knives


I was given a shun classic santoku for my birthday a while back and I love it. Works well, fits in my hand nicely, and looks pretty slick. After reading a ton on this forum, it seems as though many of you aren't big fans of shun knives. I've looked into some others that have been suggested (tojiro, mac, misono), but what I've seen doesn't really grab my attention. I'm a visual person. Of course, function is above all, but it's gotta be visually appealing. I'm not gonna go buy a smartcar just because it saves on gas (my sincere apologies to the smartcar owners who read this).


And so, like many others, research wasn't enough...I needed firsthand advice. I've tried to compile my "requirements" below:


Stainless steel - seems like carbon requires more maintenance/upkeep

About the same price range as shuns...less money is always better

Visually appealing - I think I like the shun look because its sort of a middle ground between exotic and plain...enough to look japanese-ish but not quite enough to be purchased directly in japan (I believe it's the handle that gives it this type of look)

Uniformity - I'd like a matching set...this is a low priority though



post #2 of 18

Hattori (aka Maruyoshi) makes some VG-10 blades you might like:


These are epically better than Shun in every regard.

post #3 of 18

Matching set?  These are knives, not tires! :P

post #4 of 18
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post

Matching set?  These are knives, not tires! :P



The best decision I ever made, knife-wise, was hand picking the best make and model ->for my purposes<- for each type of knife in my kit.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I was kinda expecting a few responses about the uniformity. I'm just a tad OCD, but like I's a low priority. If I had a choice, I'd choose the same look. But if different makes/models result in a better knife set, I'm all for it.

The Hattori look nice but the more knives I look at, the more I think it's the handle. I think I like a seamless handle. I'm not a fan of the rivets. Thanks for the suggestion though!
post #6 of 18
Originally Posted by rptort View Post
The Hattori look nice but the more knives I look at, the more I think it's the handle. I think I like a seamless handle. I'm not a fan of the rivets. Thanks for the suggestion though!


Cool, I actually prefer Japanese (wa- handles) myself, which do not have rivets. Is the "damascus"/ink-on-water pattern a deal-breaker for you, or are you mainly concerned with excellent fit and finish?


Thoughts on this one?


Here are two of my favorite non-"damascus" lines:


You can also find solid metal "damascus" blades:

post #7 of 18
These are a visually stunning set. I have the 180mm gyuto which my wife uses. Riveted handles, but they are nice. VG-10 Custom Damascus

I also have a nakiri from the Inazuma range that Fritz referenced above that I like. Nice and light, good looking and holds an edge for a long time - for a home cook.

Nothing wrong with having a knife set that's all the same smile.gif
post #8 of 18
If you don't like riveted handles you could have a look at these:
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
- Inazuma aren't bad, but I like more of a plain blade...correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the "decorated" blades are called damascus?
- Konosuke are out of my price range but very nice looking knives
- Gesshin are a definitely possibility (particularly this one: How do these compare to shun?
- Not a fan of the solid metal handle
- Saji are pretty knives indeed...but also beyond my budget
- Ryusen are also very appealing...slightly beyond my budget though and I think I like more of a plain blade. I may be able to find other models do these compare to shun?
Thank you both for your suggestions!
post #10 of 18
Originally Posted by rptort View Post

the gesshin uraku white #2 is carbon steel FYI

post #11 of 18
You could look at

there are a number of Tanaka VG10 damascus knives which may be a bit more of what you are looking for.
I have one of his blue 2 240 gyutos which I like, a lot.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Can you explain the blue steel? Not familiar with it.

Also how do the previous knives compare to shun?
Edited by rptort - 5/6/14 at 9:52am
post #13 of 18

And more precisely, google aogami

Aogami is the Japanese name of blue steel.
Edited by Benuser - 5/6/14 at 10:12am
post #14 of 18
When you ask how the knives compare, depends what you are comparing - steel aesthetics etc.
I've never had a shun so cannot speak for them. The consensus seems to be that they are good knives, but that you can get better for the money.
That begs the question of how do you define better smile.gif

Most of the knives are VG10, or something similar, so they should be similar for getting an edge and holding it. I cannot comment on how the companies heat treat the steel.

Prices vary considerably - mainly due to f&f and aesthetics.

My best advice to you would be to find a knife that appeals to you within your budget and go for it.
Once you have a knife in mind you can search for reviews. If you cannot find any, then ask any specific questions you have here.

I'm not aware of any particular brands to steer clear of because of bad knives, other than some dodgy f&f on some of the cheaper lines.

Hope this helps
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 

I appreciate the advice. I've been checking out a bunch of knives and of course continuing to read a lot in the forum. I think for now I've decided to wait a little longer on a good knife and purchase some sharpening equipment.

I have some cheap no-name knives to practice with but I have a few questions regarding waterstone flattening. I have my eye on the 3-stone sets on cktg. From what I've read they seem like a solid starter set that will last me a while. However I'm wondering about the flattening place that comes with the 8-piece set. Is it good? I also remember reading a thread where BDL mentions the difference between flattening and lapping. Can anyone elaborate on this?
post #16 of 18
Some thoughts.

I wouldn't get hung up on flattening yet, it will probably be a while before you use the stones enough to dish them, and for you to acquire the skills and consistency for it to be an issue smile.gif

Some practicalities.

Go for a bigger stone over a smaller. I find a surprising difference between a 20x6.5 cm stone and a 17.5x5.5cm stone. It may not sound like much but it is significant. I find it easier and more consistent on the bigger stone.

I prefer splash and go over soaking them for 10 minutes. I find that I sharpen more frequently if I can just grab the stones and get started.

Build yourself a sink bridge. Less mess and more convenient if space is an issue. You can buy them for~$60 last time I checked. I used some scrap wood from my garage. 5 pieces of wood and not a square angle between them. Works a treat though.

Build yourself a bench strop. I only did that a few weeks ago, wish I had done it months ago.

You should only need a 1000 ish and 4000 ish stone to get started. Maybe only a 1000 ish if your current knives aren't that good.
post #17 of 18

I bought a Shun Santoku and paring knife combo. Still have not used the pairing knife at all, i prefer the cheap house paring knives. They are rugged, they are plentiful and I'm comfortable using them fast and efficiently. The shun paring knife is very pretty though. 

post #18 of 18

I can understand the matching set business. I have rather severe OCD. Like, actual, clinical OCD. It wasn't until I bought an all-clad skillet at a really good sale price that I was comfortable with not having a matching set. You have to look at it like this.


It's your set. They might not match eachother, but they match you. Once you have just a handful of knives that genuinely perform perfectly in your hand, you'll be indifferent about the set not matching. 


Remember, it's your set. 



For what it's worth, I bought Shun knives. I like them -- but I don't love them. I'm looking for something else, and considering selling the Shuns. They are lovely knives, but they just don't quite feel right in my hand. I could do better.  I am considering global. I think they are ugly as hell.  I'm reminded of Master Shake in the episode of Aqua Teen Universal Remonster. 


"you know, it's ugly as hell but it frickin' does everything!" and ultimately the thing that matters is how your food looks. If you're knives are ugly, but they feel great and you make perfect, beautiful cuts -- you've found your knives. That's what I don't like about the Shuns - despite the very good edge, I can't make consistent cuts. The knife isn't for me. I also need to practice, but I hope I am illustrating my point. 


And higher price doesn't correlate with quality -- not necessarily.  But knives are an investment - if you find a perfect knife that's too expensive - put some money away. It's worth it. Don't settle on cutlery -- especially on the essentials - a chef's knife, maybe a paring knife, a good carver if you eat meat, whatever it is. 

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