Chef Forum banner

Looking for advice/recommendations ... I won't put the S word in the title but it's a knife question

1261 Views 13 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  rick alan
Hello everyone! First I would like to say I only decided to post after 30 minutes of going through the search list for Shun.

I was in Williams Sonoma today for some other things and tried some knives while I was there. I really like fruit and veggies and that is most of what I do, and I just eat out for sushi. Anyway the lady handed me a Shun Santoku 6" around $255, and it felt incredible. I really just dug it and tried it out. The western chef one seemed like it had too much rock to it if that's the right word and felt less balanced. Tried some Wusthof and another one along with some lower Shun but that first Santoku was great. I had never heard of Shun before, but I've had a Wusthoff 5" for a long time that I never liked

Now I see they are not the best choice, but I was just curious who has objectively better product for same price - seems like Shun is all right but everyone says buy elsewhere. I didn't see too much continued discussion in the posts to that end.

I'm a musician and have worked in service industry. Been cooking for 12 years at home but am unstudied. Especially ignorant to knives, I like to sharpen. I've been using a large knife that was probably 60 dollars for a long time and I've wanted something better and with more inspiring design and wood handle. I love well crafted tools.

I'd prefer to only have one knife as I usually am only using one and enjoy the simplicity or peace of mind. The lady told me not to cut meat though with Santoku and I thought well I wouldn't want two so I'd get a paring knife to make it 3.

I'd rather just buy one knife for 200-350 though. Seems like more than that and I might not be able to take advantage of it

I tried to preemptively provide the background info that I saw in other posts, saw you guys say send me a message for more info. Are recommendations for hand crafted makers not allowed on the post?

I have two friends that are chefs and one said theyre all right and would be ok for me, the other said no look at chefsknivestogo.

Edit: Updates below but just wanted to add sharpening preference - I would like to work at that and sharpen with every or every other use at home and not take it in often. Unsure about carbon/regular preference. Like the japanese thing from what I've been able to hold
See less See more
1 - 4 of 14 Posts
What exactly does this mean? This is repeatedly stated by a couple of folks on this forum. Compared to what.. or what are the "ideal" measurements for thickness... and who's ideal is it?
Shun, in my experience, are around .020-.025" behind the edge, with a severe convex that makes it seem even thicker. A typical German is around .035 (though the Ikon I have was right around .015, as was the Vic Rosewood a picked up for a review). Of course most folks don't thin their knives and I don't doubt some edges get to be .06+ with time.

This is all way too thick for my preference which is .010" max. A laser probably <.005.

For carbons there are also a lot of choices in Blue #2, which is very nice stuff. Aside from carbons, which the OP may or may not want to deal with, There are many choices in AEB-l stainless, which is about as easy to sharpen well. There are the Richmonds, Kikuichi, Sakai Takayuki, and some others I forget offhand. You can cruise the CKTG site as was suggested to you.

For a small American custom maker there is HHH knives. Murry Carter used to be out of your price range for the most part, except for his small basic Funyakis and nikiris, but his new Muteki line is a great buy. These are all white steel #1 with stainless cladding.

See less See more
Thanks Rick. That really helps me understand your repeated comments. For a straight razor that I put to my face for shaving whiskers I understand your concern. For a cooking knife, I guess we don't share similar experience. That just isn't necessary for cooking. Very cool to a knife geek (intended to be a positive nomenclature) but not for a chef/cook, especially a home cook. But great conversation; I enjoyed it.

p.s. None of my Shun Classic or Premiers have a "severe convex", even considering the factory edge. I've seen that on German knives as delivered but never on a Shun. I never put a micrometer on my knife so I can't comment on the measurements.
When I mentioned Shuns as having a "severe convex" to them, its a relative term, in comparing them to some other knives in the price range. They're certainly not as severe as a typical German.

The fact is many professional cooks are singing the praises of lasers and other knives of more refined (read "thin") geometry. They are actually a large part of the market for these knives I think. And of course no sushi/sashimi chef is going to be seen without a proper chisel-grind edge. They insist a very fine cut is part of what makes the product.

Myself, I do a lot of very thin slicing in my typical days prep, and the quality of the product just wouldn't be there without a very thin and acute edge. Otherwise I'd be making mush more than anything else in many cases. Even when not slicing real thin, you can just see the difference in the cut. And for raw vegetables that means something, to me anyway, and a considerable [though perhaps still relatively small] number of other folks.

I'm hardly a knife geek. I am half-ways toward being a "practical" sharpening geek though. I'm happy at this time using a thinned Vic Rosewood, with a handle carved out for better fit, for general vegetable chopping. I only bought it to do a review, but it wound up replacing another cheap stainless knife I did a thinning job on.

For the finer work I use a 9" Ikon slicer, picked up before I really knew anything about knives. Too bad I didn't find out about Cheftalk a few months sooner. Aside from the low-end steel, they have decent geometry as is, though of course I thinned it a bit. That one will do till I can find a suitable slicer/suji in one of the CPM alloys I'm partial too. As for the Vic, well eventually I'll be looking to get something also having a finer grain and better edge retention.

See less See more
^ you are a knife geek though. Not using the term geek perjoratively.
Ahahaha, well I am a bit of an engineering geek, and of course knives fit into that well.

CS I don't know how the auctions go, if that's what is done, his one-off customs probably go for quite a bit of money, like $1K+. He does sell a line of knives where the blade is made for him by an American manufacturer named Lampson, and which then handles and finish grinds himself. I understand they have very good grinds and heat treats. They run very reasonable at $250 for a 240 I think. There are other knife makers like him, they usually have backlogs.

Always wondered about the lasers. I don't need an extremely thin blade to cut very thin. I can cut very thin slices with a fat blade. Must admit it's a bit easier with a thin blade, though. But I do need proper food release. So I prefer a moderately thin, strongly asymmetric Japanese knife. But a well-tuned French carbon will do as well.
Those lasers are commercially much more interesting. They don't last, but get sharp, and cut. No geometry problems, no steering and not too much wedging. Keep them sharp by any means, and replace them in time.
If your looking for performance with an average knife though, have a relief bevel of some 5 degree or more behind the very edge. A bit more won't harm, but you don't need a laser for kitchen work.
Not the overall thickness of the knife, of any necessity, but the thiness behind the edge. That's what your asymmetric edge gets you, correct?

A laser I'd guess has about 2deg/side lead in to the edge. 3deg is really loads fatter as [the geek here] has laid it out in a computer model, and this I'd say is closer to what a good, nicely convexed, non-laser gyuto would have leading into the edge.

As far as thickness behind the edge goes I feel 0.25mm/.010" for a gyuto is already overkill, and don't see need for anything thicker.

The Geek
1 - 4 of 14 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.