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Upgrading from a Shun Classic 8 to possibly a Miyabi Birch SG2...opinions?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi all, this is my first time posting in the great forums here.

 

I have a set of Shun Classics, and the 8" chef's knife has chipped after about one and half years of moderate use, as many have noted here. I love the feel of them (the D-handles are perfect for my small hands), and prefer that to the "German" feel. I checked out and love the feel of the Miyabi Birch SG2, and am curious as to how the chipping on those is, from those who have real world experience with them. The steel is different from the Shun Classic, but since they're Japanese and have a similar light feel that I personally enjoy, I'm worried that chipping might be an issue with them, as well.

 

I have a great price for one, brand new, from a friend: $179. But I'm willing to spend a little bit more for the right knife. The German handles in general don't feel good for me, so I need that thinner, lighter feel that my Shuns and the Miyabi Birch have. Global is not an option, as I personally don't like their handles.

 

Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 14

@Headlands welcome to here.  Post some pictures of your knife and the chipping. It happens and it is likely a minor repair.

 

The SG2 is an even harder more brittle steel than what you have on the Shun.  If your technique is not spot on, you'll probably damage that one too.

 

My suggestion if you plan to get these types of knives is to learn to sharpen them.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 


Thanks, MillionsKnives. I'm actually away from home for a few days so I can't post a pic until Monday. But thanks for your recommendation to learn how to sharpen -- I need to do that, for sure.

 

The Shuns are the only higher quality knives I've owned (aside from a couple of Wusthofs a while back that I didn't care for because of their feel and large handles). I'm fairly new to the deeper elements of the knife game. Is there another knife type with a similar handle shape that I can look into that you would recommend? 

post #4 of 14

This one https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/ikazuchi/products/ikazuchi-240mm-stainless-clad-blue-super-wa-gyuto  and Konosukes have small handles

 

I wouldn't let the handle limit your choices too much.  You can always 1) swap it out 2) sand it down

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MillionsKnives View Post
 

This one https://www.japaneseknifeimports.com/collections/ikazuchi/products/ikazuchi-240mm-stainless-clad-blue-super-wa-gyuto  and Konosukes have small handles

 

I wouldn't let the handle limit your choices too much.  You can always 1) swap it out 2) sand it down

 

I didn't even think of sanding a handle down - great point. Thanks for the recommendations. 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the recommendations. And I didn't even think of sanding as an option for handles -- great suggestion.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Headlands View Post
 

Hi all, this is my first time posting in the great forums here.

 

I have a set of Shun Classics, and the 8" chef's knife has chipped after about one and half years of moderate use, as many have noted here.

Welcome, Headlands!

 

Chipping, more often than not, is caused by two things: 1) improper sharpening; or 2) a cutting surface other than wood or "soft plastic."  Glass, metal, stone, hard plastic cutting surface are a definite no go with knives like yours (or any decent knife, for that matter). 

 

Unless there is a defect in the metal used to make the blade, one or both of these is likely the culprit. 

 

Typically, the blades are made of good steel with good hardness.  However, there is a trade off between hardness and flexibility.  A hard blade will keep its edge longer, but, it has less flexibility and can be brittle.  Over sharpening or chopping on surface other than wood can cause chipping.  Even a hardwood surface can chip one of these blades if the blade is used improperly.  But, that's usually due to operator error (i.e. chopping too hard) or the blade was not properly sharpened (the edge was too fine and the metal breaks off).  

 

I agree with MillionsKnives that the chipping is likely a minor repair.  Shun should have resources that can guide you in the learning process of sharpening your knives.   There is likely some good info that can be found with a quick internet search.  But, I would not recommend that you practice knife sharpening on your expensive knives.  Even pro chefs send their blades out to be professionally sharpened.  Its one of the factors that must be considered when upgrading into the "super knife" category. 

 

However, none of this really solves the problem of how you are going to fix your chipped blade.  More than likely, there is a professional blade sharpener near you.  Assuming they are reputable, and not some dude with a grinder working out of his garage, they should be able to repair your knife and sharpen it, if needs be. 

 

Sharpening your own high end knives takes practice and skill and more importantly, time.  If you are unable to devote yourself to all three of these requirements, I would encourage you to find a good, reputable professional and send your knives out to be professionally sharpened about once a year.  

 

Good luck and once again, Welcome to Chef Talk.

 

-V 

"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
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"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
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post #8 of 14

The other thing that can chip your knife is rock chopping or anything else causing a torsional force

 

PS I do like the Miyabi birchwood.  For that price I'd go for it

post #9 of 14

Which reminds me, don't use them on bones.

"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
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"Wine is sunlight held together by water." - Galileo
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post #10 of 14

The 240mm Ikazuchi handle is tied having the longest handle of my 240 wa-gyutos (we're talking the difference of just a few mm over 4 or so knives) and is not narrow feeling in any way. It's a very well-sized and satisfying handle to hold, fits the blade very well.

 

Headlands - regarding the handle feel and comfort you would probably be okay with the feel of most all wa-gyutos (wa: the japanese style wooden handle without the rivets and such).

 

How are you currently sharpening your Shun? I'd be surprised if you have chips that can't be sharpened out with some effort.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

All great advice, thanks everyone. I took the Shun to a pro sharpener here in L.A., and he got rid of the chips, though he said that it seemed like a weaker edge that was too thin much deeper than usual even for a Shun, and that I would likely have more chipping problems. I had someone else sharpen it a while ago and they might have done a bad job, or I might have gotten a bad one and not realized it until recently.

 

I might try the Miyabi since it's such a great price, and I will make sure to follow better knife use. I think I have some bad habits that could use correcting. 


Edited by Headlands - 2/5/16 at 5:33pm
post #12 of 14
You're in LA? Go pay a visit to Japanese Knife Imports, drool over glass cases full of great knives. biggrin.gif
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 


Ooooh! That's dangerous. But I'm gonna do it anyway. :lol:

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Virgil View Post

Welcome, Headlands!

Chipping, more often than not, is caused by two things: 1) improper sharpening; or 2) a cutting surface other than wood or "soft plastic."  Glass, metal, stone, hard plastic cutting surface are a definite no go with knives like yours (or any decent knife, for that matter). 

Unless there is a defect in the metal used to make the blade, one or both of these is likely the culprit. 

Typically, the blades are made of good steel with good hardness.  However, there is a trade off between hardness and flexibility.  A hard blade will keep its edge longer, but, it has less flexibility and can be brittle.  Over sharpening or chopping on surface other than wood can cause chipping.  Even a hardwood surface can chip one of these blades if the blade is used improperly.  But, that's usually due to operator error (i.e. chopping too hard) or the blade was not properly sharpened (the edge was too fine and the metal breaks off).  

I agree with MillionsKnives that the chipping is likely a minor repair.  Shun should have resources that can guide you in the learning process of sharpening your knives.   There is likely some good info that can be found with a quick internet search.  But, I would not recommend that you practice knife sharpening on your expensive knives.  Even pro chefs send their blades out to be professionally sharpened.  Its one of the factors that must be considered when upgrading into the "super knife" category. 

However, none of this really solves the problem of how you are going to fix your chipped blade.  More than likely, there is a professional blade sharpener near you.  Assuming they are reputable, and not some dude with a grinder working out of his garage, they should be able to repair your knife and sharpen it, if needs be. 

Sharpening your own high end knives takes practice and skill and more importantly, time.  If you are unable to devote yourself to all three of these requirements, I would encourage you to find a good, reputable professional and send your knives out to be professionally sharpened about once a year.  

Good luck and once again, Welcome to Chef Talk.

-V 
I would like to add that micro-chipping is very, very common with all kinds of steel OOTB and is often remediated by a few sharpenings where a bit of steel got abraded. Must have to do with factory buffering I guess. Don't hesitate to use a rather coarse -- i.e. JIS 400-500 -- stone and start fairly behind the very edge.
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