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kbjesq

What is this knife?

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I was the lucky recipient of this knife set as a gift - it is a set of Shun knives (11 assorted kitchen knives plus 6 "steak" knives, a honing steel that I'm afraid to use and a block to store everything). Lest anyone doubt that these knives are darn sharp, I managed to cut myself just taking them out of the manufacturer's packaging! The sharpness level is insane and to be honest, I was afraid of them for a long time and I only recently started using them daily. (My old go-to knife was a 9" carbon steel Sabatier chef's knife, which I still have and love). Anyway this is the set:

2012-03-12_20-18-29_70 (2).jpg

And as a bonus, the set came with this "mystery" knife - separately packaged and printed on the side as follows: "ultimate 4" paring knife".

2012-03-12_21-05-17_52.jpg

This is a close up of the "ultimate 4" paring knife":

2012-03-12_20-11-42_571.jpg

Try as I might, I cannot seem to find a proper use or application for this knife. Can someone please enlighten me regarding the proper application for this item as well as hints on how to use it? My knife skills are weak at best. This knife has certainly presented a challenge. I can't even figure out how to hold it properly. It says "paring knife" but the blade seems too long and deep for a paring knife (at least the type with which I am familiar). Also the cutting surface is wavy, which makes it especially hard for me to handle confidently.

After having it in the kitchen for awhile now and not being able to find any use for it, I'm really curious about why this knife was designed and for what purpose.

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What a lovely gift!

The knive is unusual and kind of scary looking - here's the Williams Sonoma description: Perfect paring knife has a unique hybrid shape that combines the characteristics of a standard paring knife, sheep’s-foot paring and bird’s beak paring knife for deft preparation of fruits and vegetables.

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It's funny that you quote the Williams Sonoma description because that is where the set came from! I actually went back to the store with the knife and asked for some help. (I had read the description but I'm a literal person so I need a "show me how to use it with a carrot" type of demo). Anyway the staff was very nice and polite, but to be honest, they didn't have a clue what to do with this knife, either. :blink:

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I have a tiny bird's beak that I hardly ever use except to peel kiwi :laugh: That curvy part is used for carving-type tasks like turning new potatoes into seven-sided footballs and otherwise torturing food. The blade does look a little wide for that, and a bit awkward that the curve is in the base and not the middle. You wouldn't use that to cut a carrot into discs for stir-fry, but if you wanted to cut your carrots into short lengths and turn each piece into a football, you could.

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These knives are meant to be used for carving in hand, not on the table like this:

knifeskillsimage51.jpg

(eGCI Knife Skills)

In truth, most knives in a knife kit are useless and you're safe ignoring pretty much every knife except the chefs, paring, bread & boning knife 99% of the time.


PS: I am a guy.

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For sure you will need to find out how you can sharpen it, if you don't have a special tool.

I would re-grind the edge and make it into a paring knife. It is good steel Shun uses.

dcarch

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I'm completely envious of that knife, actually - if you're not going to use it, you could send it to me! Before I moved I had one very similar which I purchased as a carving and garnishes knife, but which somehow disappeared between Canada and Ecuador. It's not held in the "normal" way of paring knives - I normally used a grip like the one shown in the photo above, or grasped the back of the blade between my fingers with the handle nestled into the palm of my hand (a technique I still use when carving or making garnishes).


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Aha! I suspected that this knife might have been intended for use in the hand as opposed to a cutting board. How unfortunate. It is a lovely-looking knife. But it will remain in the block. I am not sufficiently competent to safely use this "ultimate 4" paring knife". I'm already missing part of one finger thanks to a mandoline!

ETA: I would love to gift the knife to a loving home, where it would be safely and properly used for its intended purpose, but I don't want to offend the generous person who gave me this set! :wink:


Edited by kbjesq (log)

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It looks awkward to me.

Is this another of Shun's innovations that encourages people who really know nothing about knives to buy a set because of the "interesting" shape, no matter how useless?

The basic Shun knives are very good, if not excellent, and in my opinion, they do a disservice in including an oddball knife like this in the set.

I would prefer an additional "normal" paring knife as those are the knives I use the most.

Several years ago I gave a set of Wusthof knives to a friend that had 3 paring knives: a 3 inch straight, a 3.5 inch "classic" and a 4.5 inch "classic" and she uses them all, as well as all of the other knives in the set. There are no unusual shapes or sizes to confuse someone who is not a knife expert.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I'm with andiesenji above. But I will go further. I can't see the point of Shun's oddball designs. They seem "show off" and useless. Designed to wow the easily wowed.

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If I had that knife, I would DEFINITELY keep it in my knife bag -- for conversation.

"Here's my French knife. Here's my carving knife. Here's my pairing knife. Here's my serrated knife."

"What's THAT knife?"

"That's my STABBIN' knife. Don't worry, I'm not a stabbing hobo, I'm a singing hobo. [Picks up banjo and begins to sing] Nothin' beats the hobo life / Stabbin' folks with my hobo knife!


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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If I had that knife, I would DEFINITELY keep it in my knife bag -- for conversation.

"Here's my French knife. Here's my carving knife. Here's my pairing knife. Here's my serrated knife."

"What's THAT knife?"

"That's my STABBIN' knife. Don't worry, I'm not a stabbing hobo, I'm a singing hobo. [Picks up banjo and begins to sing] Nothin' beats the hobo life / Stabbin' folks with my hobo knife!

Now that you mention it, the thing does look like one of the knives the survivalists fancy - there's a store near here that caters to the folks that live in the "back country" and off the grid.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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If I had that knife, I would DEFINITELY keep it in my knife bag -- for conversation.

"Here's my French knife. Here's my carving knife. Here's my pairing knife. Here's my serrated knife."

"What's THAT knife?"

"That's my STABBIN' knife. Don't worry, I'm not a stabbing hobo, I'm a singing hobo. [Picks up banjo and begins to sing] Nothin' beats the hobo life / Stabbin' folks with my hobo knife!

Now that you mention it, the thing does look like one of the knives the survivalists fancy - there's a store near here that caters to the folks that live in the "back country" and off the grid.

LOL.....that store should be getting quite busy with the end of the world happening this year. Doesn't the Mayan calendar quite this year?


edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Hello all, NG here.

Yep, looks like a Ken Onion design.

Great for the collector, much like his folding designs, but I really don't see the need for a recurve in the kitchen myself.

More of a slasher than a stabber, like a modified Kukri :)

I'm finding that I'm not liking these "cobalt steel" series though.

They are selling as VG-10 cores with damascus wrap, but I'm seeing that maybe they may have too high of a carbon content in them.

They do not like water it seems.

Good for show, but I've worked on several sets and the KAI line from Kershaw all are showing pitting and rust. Some customers swear they are handwashing and drying, but the pitting is not only visual, but extremely visual under a scope.

I've run into Caphalons that seem identical ... same exact problems.

That said, seems out of place in the kitchen for the most part, but they are pretty and do hold an edge pretty well.


Edited by bishop (log)

http://www.zbsharpening.com - Professional Knife Sharpening Service

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How'd I miss this thread?

I agree with some of the posters above - it's a novelty knife, like many others Shun/Kershaw produces. The recurve design is similar to some of the Kershaw "tactical" knives, in fact. Sharpening would require a round or triangular rod; the Sharpmaker would be about ideal for this application.

bishop - welcome to the forums. In what context did you work on the Shuns? Have you also noticed edge chipping on the knives? This has been a problem on some (not all) of mine.


This is my skillet. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My skillet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it, as I must master my life. Without me my skillet is useless. Without my skillet, I am useless. I must season my skillet well. I will. Before God I swear this creed. My skillet and myself are the makers of my meal. We are the masters of our kitchen. So be it, until there are no ingredients, but dinner. Amen.

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How'd I miss this thread?

I agree with some of the posters above - it's a novelty knife, like many others Shun/Kershaw produces. The recurve design is similar to some of the Kershaw "tactical" knives, in fact. Sharpening would require a round or triangular rod; the Sharpmaker would be about ideal for this application.

bishop - welcome to the forums. In what context did you work on the Shuns? Have you also noticed edge chipping on the knives? This has been a problem on some (not all) of mine.

This info is for those interested that may have these knives and my experience with them.

It may help in prolonging their shelf life.

Thanks for the welcome Dakki!

I sharpen knives as a business. Have been running across this particular run of Shuns and they are almost identical to a series by Calphalon.

I researched some and turns out the cores have a high amount of carbon, so no dishwasher, no water soak, no drip dry.

Hand wash and dry only.

Its a spinoff of Onions Spec Bump type knives, a bit milder bump, the heel I'm not sure what for.

I collect knives as well, and have the Spec Bump .. great folder and tactically a nice slicer as it gets to the meat with that belly.

You can sharpen them on a gritted wheel with some hand movements, a sharpmaker (will take time to bur), or like I like, a concave stone from a WEPS system for the recurve.

You can see the edge even from Kershaw is not totally consistant, it fattens in the recurve, but no matter, it'll cut, just like a hawksbill.

Chipping and pitting, on the core edge, polish and rust on the spine and handle.

I'm thinking the damascus is just an overlay and the VG-10 may be VG-1 on this particular line.

Not sure.

I'm guessing the price point would tell.

The Calphalon clearly state VG-1 and warns no broiler, no freezer, no dishwasher, no drip dry.

Problems are identical on both lines so would not be surprised if Kershaw is making both.

Calphalons I worked on were labeled made in China though. Shuns Japan. Parts? Assembly?

Edge/Core are pretty much the same in hardness, just the handle felt any different and not by much, very similar.

Same amount of pressure and grit types on both to get some bur.


http://www.zbsharpening.com - Professional Knife Sharpening Service

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That particular blade is a design effort, purely to attract buyers.

With the current resurgence of Custom Knife collecting, many designs surface with no application other than distancing the design from the pack. Ken Onion makes some very nice knives, some of which may or may not be practical, I own none of his knives.-Dick

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I'm happy to report that nearly 4 years later, I still have the entire set of knives and all of my fingers. I use all of them, even the weird one (maybe not in the way it was intended, but I'm happy and it's my knife so who cares?)

I always hand wash and hand dry all of my knives,  putting them away safely immediately after use, so these are no different.  

And I'm grateful to the person who gave them to me. I think of him every time that I use these knives.  It was a generous and thoughtful gift. 

I still have my carbon steel 9" chef's knife by Sabatier, and I love that one too, for different reasons (it was my first "real" knife purchased well over 30 years ago) 

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