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Kershaw Shun Knives

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I have a 10-inch Shun cook's knife and a 3.5-inch paring knife that I like very much. However I have had some issues keeping them sharp in the past. I am well aware of the knife sharpening tutorial and Q&A session, I have read through them both several times but I still have some specific questions I was hoping to find help with.

First of all, does anyone know if Shun knives are chisel edge? This may be something of a stupid question but it doesn't seem obvious to me and it has been suggested to me that the best way to touch up a chisel edge knife (in lieu of a steel) is a fine grit waterstone. I am looking to purchase a set of waterstones for sharpening in the future but do not have the budget for it now, but would atleast like to purchase something that can keep my knife quite sharp inbetween visits to a professional sharpener. Whether it be a good ceramic steel or a fine grit waterstone does not particularly matter, I just want to make a good choice and don't feel sufficiently educated right now to choose without outside help.

Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated

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i too just purchaced a shun but have not sharpened it yet,,,but in the brochure that came with it it recomended a whetstone at a 16 degree angle,,,thats all it says. good luck

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I have a 10-inch Shun cook's knife and a 3.5-inch paring knife that I like very much. However I have had some issues keeping them sharp in the past. I am well aware of the knife sharpening tutorial and Q&A session, I have read through them both several times but I still have some specific questions I was hoping to find help with.

First of all, does anyone know if Shun knives are chisel edge? This may be something of a stupid question but it doesn't seem obvious to me and it has been suggested to me that the best way to touch up a chisel edge knife (in lieu of a steel) is a fine grit waterstone. I am looking to purchase a set of waterstones for sharpening in the future but do not have the budget for it now, but would atleast like to purchase something that can keep my knife quite sharp inbetween visits to a professional sharpener. Whether it be a good ceramic steel or a fine grit waterstone does not particularly matter, I just want to make a good choice and don't feel sufficiently educated right now to choose without outside help.

Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated

I do not know about sharpening this particular brand of knife, but as far as buying a whetstone, check out the stores in your local chinatown, as I have found them to have decent stones for a very good price.

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You will get loads of good advice if you post your questions on one of the two cutlery forums on the web:

Fred's Cutlery Forum:

http://216.91.137.210/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=6

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showforum.php?fid/26/

The experts are there and very helpful.


*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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Send a PM to Octaveman and ask him to reply to this thread. He will have the answers you need.


Baker of "impaired" cakes...

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You don't need a 'set of waterstones' for two fine knives.One two-sided stone (1000-4000x) from Lee Valley will work well for you. They have a large selection of Arkansas and Japanese stones available. I don't remember if they are in the Montreal area but they are in Ottawa, and on line.

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What Jay said, and I'd add that you probably do NOT have a chisel edge. Check out the knifeforum posted above. Lots of great folks there eager to help. They also have a forum on keeping you knives sharp :) Dave ( D_R_Sharpening) has a wealth of knowledge on sharpening and is always willing to help.

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Hey everyone, thanks for all the help. I will check out the forums suggested and hopefully find some answers. As to the set of waterstones bit I had planned on getting a 1000x, 4000x, and 8000x but didn't realize there were two sided stones available (as far as I could tell these went for a minimum of aobut 50$ a stone). As to the chisel edge question, I suspect I don't have a chisel edge either but am still uncertain as I have seen "left-handed" shun knives advertised.

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That is because shun knive have shaped handles which are different on right and left handed models


Jeremy Behmoaras

Cornell School for Hotel Administration Class '09

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So I am not a professional cook, just the average everyday home cook. I have been looking at knives, Wustof, Hinckel, Shun, Global etc. Shun was out of my price range, at least the knives they had at Williams Sonoma so I said forget it. I have looked online and the other sets of Shun are really not that badly priced, but I really do not know any people who have used them so I have no point of reference on them.

As a lark I put five Shun stainless knives in my cart on the metrokitchen website.

This is all hypothetical right now so here is what I "got":

Kershaw Shun Stainless 2-1/2 in. Bird's Beak Knife $63.95

Kershaw Shun Stainless 3-1/2 in. Vegetable Knife - Alton's Angle $76.95

Kershaw Shun Stainless 6 in. Utility Knife $71.95

Kershaw Shun Stainless 7-3/4 in. Cleaver $172.95

Kershaw Shun Stainless 7 in. Scalloped Santoku Asian Chef's Knife $114.95

Kershaw Shun Stainless Sharpening Steel $39.95

The total was $540.70. There is no shipping charge for ground shipping on orders over $49. Curious as to what anyone thinks.

Anyways, after spending far too much time in Williams Sonoma staring longingly at the knives someone was nice enough to let me hold a few and see what I liked. So I like the Global. They are reasonably priced and they are beautiful. I do not want to buy a set because I never need the bread knife,( I don't eat a lot of bread as a rule.) so that is a complete waste and there is always something else I never need in there too. I want to purchase only what I will need, but I need some help in figuring that out.There are too many damn choices. Chef knives, santoku, deba, oh and what kind of paring knife/peeler? There is a sheeps foot, birds beak, ( I guess for tournading, if that is a word, veggies.) forged peeler, and oh the really cool 4 in asian paring knife, which is what I may end up with. Utility knives, vegetable knives, boning knives, sashimi knives, filet knives. I am so confused! I think one thing extra I will get is the fish bone tweezers. I know those will be incredibly handy. I am leaning towards a serrated utility knife as one choice. Figure that will be handy for most anything. Also there is a great butcher's knife but again not really sure about anything. Any and all imput would be helpful. I did like the Shun knives that Williams Sonoma had but they are really expensive, and they seemed limited to the ergonomically correct knives and one other type. I am still leaning towards Global. Input on the Shun knives would be especially helpful.

Also would someone explain the different grits on the whetstones? I was looking at them and not sure what each means or what would be good for my knives. I was thinking about the diamond steel also or should I just do one of the electric sharpeners?


Edited by kristin_71 (log)

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Ooh boy...I can see how your overwelmed by all the selections and choices of knife styles. It's not as bad as you think so have a glass of wine and relax.

First it would be helpful if you told us what kind of things you would use your knives for. In other words, do you just do veggie prep (slicing, chopping, mincing, etc.), do you bone your own chickens or duck, etc. You've already said you don't need a bread knife so that's good to know. Do you tend to slice a lot of meat like roasts, turkeys, etc?

This thread is a good place to start as this subject was recently discussed in this very forum. It also discusses where to buy the knives and where to send them to get professionally sharpened. The knives I recommended start at $50 and are very good for the money.

Basically, there are just a few knives that you really "need" as a home chef. Some people like Santoku's and others prefer the Gyuto or chef's knife. I prefer the gyuto myself because it's less stumpy (only word I could think of). The Santoku only gets to about 6 1/2 inches long and that's just too short IMHO. The Gyuto gets to a more usable size and is just as versatile if not more so because of it's length. Weight and balance is not really an issue in the smaller sized Gyuto's either. By smaller I mean 240mm and under.

Other knives to consider based on what you do in the kitchen is a Honesuki or boning knife or a small western deba. Either one of those is great to have if you bone your own chickens or if you work with whole fish. It's a heavier duty knife to take on those jobs that the gyuto probably should not do (essentially anything that involves bones). If you want a small petty then you could get one of those too but again, it's up to your style of cooking. Frankly, I use my Gyuto for 90%-100% of the tasks on any given night from mincing shallots/garlic to cutting up an onion or slicing whole heads of cauliflower. Serrated knives tear the food, non-serrated knives slice the food.

Doing your own sharpening is a worthwhile skill that honestly doesn't take a lot of expertise to learn, practice or perfect. In a nut shell, the lower the grit the courser it is. Grits under 1000 are for repairing chips or reprofiling your bevels. Grits from 1000 to 2000 are good starting points for sharpening a dull knife. Grits from 3000-5000 are used to further refine the edge and start to put a nice polish on the knife. Anything above that (8000 and above) are pretty much polish stones that also serve to refine the edge to that scary sharp level. For the beginner sharpener, I would suggest getting the following grits: 1k, 3k, 5k and maybe 8k if you want to get that uber sharp edge. The 8k is not necessary for a knife to be extremely sharp. I would also suggest the DVD sold by www.korin.com. It is very helpful to seeing the process as reading about it might not be all too clear. In the knife discussion above I believe someone posted a link to Chad's sharpening tutorial. it would be a great idea to read that and use for reference and use the DVD for visual confirmation.

This should be helpful in getting you started in the right direction. Feel free to ask any question you can think of.

Cheers

Edited to add that if you have stones and do your own sharpening, a steel will not be needed. A quick light swipe or two on the highest grit stone will straighten out your edge just fine. But if you insist, the glass smooth steel sold at www.handamerican.com is ideal.


Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I do the basic chopping, mincing etc. I do deal with chicken, lamb, beef etc as well so I don't need too many knives. Just what I need to help me get dinner on the table.

So I guess what I need to know is what is the difference between the chef's knife, the asian chef's knife and a heavy weight forged chef's knife?

Global actually makes their chef knives in sizes from 5 in to 12in. The santoku is a 7in which is a pretty good sized knife to me. While at home I would constantly use my mom's Wusthof 5in chefs knife and I really loved it. Felt like I had good control. So what is your take on utility knives, and flexible boning and fillet knives? Instead of a vegetable knife should I get a small deba? What about paring knives? There arer alot of choices. Is there really any difference between a regular paring knife and a spear paring knife? Also what is the deal with the birds beak and sheeps foot paring knives?

I reall appreciate your help on all this. :smile:

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Anyways, after spending far too much time in Williams Sonoma staring longingly at the knives someone was nice enough to let me hold a few and see what I liked. So I like the Global. They are reasonably priced and they are beautiful. I do not want to buy a set because I never need the bread knife,( I don't eat a lot of bread as a rule.) so that is a complete waste and there is always something else I never need in there too. I want to purchase only what I will need, but I need some help in figuring that out.There are too many damn choices. Chef knives, santoku, deba, oh and what kind of paring knife/peeler? There is a sheeps foot, birds beak, ( I guess for tournading, if that is a word, veggies.) forged peeler, and oh the really cool 4 in asian paring knife, which is what I may end up with.

Bob's right about the Tojiro mentioned in your homework reading :raz: . It is a very good knife at a reasonable price -- probably the best performance to price ratio available today. The handles are a little blocky though, which concerns me a little here because you seemed to like the sleeker Global handles. Handle feel is a very personal thing and can be the difference between loving a new knife and having a very expensive paper weight.

Ya know what? If you liked the Globals, get the Globals. They're good knives. Start small. You can do 90% of everything you'll ever need to do in a kitchen with just a chef's knife -- 100% if you stretch your technique a little. Add a paring knife and a bread knife and you'll rule the world. And given that you don't eat a lot of bread you can skip that one or get that nifty 4" Asian paring knife or a Santoku as your option knife instead.

Just checked -- Global has a three piece starter set with an 8" chef's knife, the GS7 paring knife you liked and a santoku/nakiri sort of thing that looks like a hell of a veggie knife. Not bad for $162.

Bob and I would be considered pretty hardcore knife nuts. Our tastes are a little exotic for most. However, I have to admit I was very pleasantly surprised by the Global G2 chef's knife. It's light and lively, balances well and cuts like a champ. It doesn't have the esoteric steel or provenance of a bunch of the knives in my collection, but Globals are reasonably priced and you have the advantage of being able to try them out in the store to see if they suit your hands. I'd say they're a good fit.

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I appreciate all this advice. Ok another question; a usuba knife? Says it is a veg knife, would this be useful? Going to go read about the Tojiro now.

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I do the basic chopping, mincing etc. I do deal with chicken, lamb, beef etc as well so I don't need too many knives. Just what I need to help me get dinner on the table.

So I guess what I need to know is what is the difference between the chef's knife, the asian chef's knife and a heavy weight forged chef's knife?

Global actually makes their chef knives in sizes from 5 in to 12in. The santoku is a 7in which is a pretty good sized knife to me. While at home I would constantly use my mom's Wusthof 5in chefs knife and I really loved it. Felt like I had good control. So what is your take on utility knives, and flexible boning and fillet knives?  Instead of a vegetable knife should I get a small deba? What about paring knives? There arer alot of choices. Is there really any difference between a regular paring knife and a spear paring knife? Also what is the deal with the birds beak and sheeps foot paring knives?

I reall appreciate your help on all this.  :smile:

Hmm, let's take this a point or two at a time. You really only need two knives, a big one and a little one :wink: everything else is optional. Your big knife (chef's/gyuto) should usually be at least 8 inches long. Anything less than that won't reach all the way across a pot roast and will be a pain to use for any length of time. Your little knife (paring/petty) will be somewhere between 2-1/2 and 4 inches in blade length. The curved, bird's beak knife is specifically for peeling and tourné-ing (turning) vegetables. If you don't tourné, skip it. The sheepsfoot blade -- the one with a flat edge and spine that turns down to meet the point -- is good if you use the "granny technique" where you hold your vegetable in one hand and cut against your thumb. The spearpoint model is more useful all around because you can use it on a cutting board more easily without banging your knuckles. The choice is up to you and your style of cutting. If you're not sure, go with the spearpoint.

Your third knife, the option knife, can be whatever you want. It depends on your cooking style, level of skill and cuisine choices. A deba is a heavyweight knife, even in the small sizes. It's for chopping -- usually cutting the heads off fish or doing rough cleaning/fillet work. If you don't do a lot of that, a deba is not your best bet. Same with a boning or fillet knife. They're roughly the same size and shape. The boning knife will be stiffer, the fillet knife more flexible. In a pinch you can substitute one for the other with little difficulty. But if you don't do a lot of boning or filleting, you can skip these, too. I've boned ducks with a paring knife. It's not that hard.

If you eat a lot of vegetables, a santoku or nakiri might be a good choice. These are thin vegetable knives with wide blades for scooping. They're shorter than chef's knives or gyutos.

This is completely ignoring the difference between these knives and heavy, forged German or French knives. Those are a different animal entirely. They have thicker spines, more obtuse edges, softer steel and full bolsters (generally). They are sturdier in hard use but require more maintenance. The Globals and other Japanese made knives will be thinner, lighter and have sharper (more acute) edges. They don't stand up to abuse as well as the Germans, but are plenty strong. The Germans (and French) would be SUVs, the Globals would be, say Mazda Miatas.

In general, the German/French model has been prevalent for the last 30 years or so but the Japanese have made huge inroads, especially in professional kitchens. Knife cognoscenti usually gravitate toward the Japanese made knives. We'll take performance over dump-truck-like sturdiness any day.

Hope this helps,

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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I appreciate all this advice. Ok another question; a usuba knife? Says it is a veg knife, would this be useful? Going to go read about the Tojiro now.

An usuba is the dressier, more professional version of the nakiri. Both are blunt nosed, thin bladed vegetable knives. In traditional use of the terms, though, the usuba is chisel ground (flat on the back with a very wide edge bevel on the right side) and is for professional restaurant use. The nakiri is double beveled (ground from both sides like the knives you are used to) and usually thinner and lighter weight. Think of it as a santoku with a flat nose.

Let's see if this works. That's a traditional nakiri on top, a traditional usuba in the middle and a westernized usuba on the bottom. gallery_8529_2752_24467.jpg

Hope this helps,

Chad


Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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So I guess what I need to know is what is the difference between the chef's knife, the asian chef's knife and a heavy weight forged chef's knife?

These terms are used very loosely in the industry. There are basically two schools of thought when it comes to design of a chef's knife. The European chef's knife has a few features that the Japanse Gyuto does not. It is thicker, heavier and has a softer blade. The profile is also wider or taller. There is also a bolster at the heal (back) of the blade that adds weight to bring the blade heavy balance back. Japanese knives have harder blades and are thinner and lighter as a result. These harder blades help keep the edge sharper for longer periods but are also somewhat more fragile too because of their hardness level. Some Japanse knives are harder than others but even those that are on the softer side are still harder than their Euro counterparts. The Gyuto has a more French profile in that it's not as tall. The Shun is not a good representative of Japanese knives as it's chef knife has a much taller profile than the Gyuto. A gyuto is light, sleek and very manueverable. Think of the Euro chef's knife as a mini van while the gyuto would be a sports car.

Global actually makes their chef knives in sizes from 5 in to 12in. The santoku is a 7in which is a pretty good sized knife to me. While at home I would constantly use my mom's Wusthof 5in chefs knife and I really loved it. Felt like I had good control.

Global makes some good knives. I'm not all that familiar with them but have heard they make a line that is quite good. Depending on your budget there may be better choices out there that could get you additional knives for the same amount of money.

So what is your take on utility knives, and flexible boning and fillet knives? 

I rarely use my 120mm petty/utility knife. I might for cutting up fruit but that's about it. I've never used flexible boning knives. The stiff Honesuki I use to bone chickens does an excellent job and am happy with it's performance. It has a much higher knuckle clearance than flexible boning knives that makes it great for cutting through joints, ribs or the back. I don't have a fillet knife as I have no need for one. They would be used for fish.

Instead of a vegetable knife should I get a small deba?

No, a deba by nature is a thick and heavy knife. It's intended use is for breaking down fish (lopping off heads/tails) in Japan. A western deba can be used in western kitchens for heavy duty work like for chickens and fish. A veggie knife should be your chef or Gyuto. A deba would be too thick and heavy for this.

What about paring knives? There arer alot of choices. Is there really any difference between a regular paring knife and a spear paring knife? Also what is the deal with the birds beak and sheeps foot paring knives?

Got me on this one too as I don't use paring knives either. Haven't really the need for one. I think the latter types you mentioned are for specialty work on veggies. I don't think the average household needs them. If you wanted a 3-4 inch knife, then a standard paring knife would be fine.

Edited to better resemble the English language.


Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Wow, Chad, your quick. I would shy away from getting a santoku and a gyuto as they are duplication of knives. They both do the same thing. I also echo what he said about length...nothing smaller than a 210mm or 8 inches for your chefs knife.


Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Wow, Chad, your quick.  I would shy away from getting a santoku and a gyuto as they are duplication of knives.  They both do the same thing.  I also echo what he said about length...nothing smaller than a 210mm or 8 inches.

I agree with you, Bob. A gyuto/santoku combination normally would be a little duplicative. That set I posted earlier, though, comes with the 8" G2 gyuto and a 5-1/5" nakiri looking knife as well as the 4" parer. They're calling the nakiri thingy a "utility knife," but if that ain't a mid-sized veggie knife I'll eat it. Dunno, looks like it might be a good combo for her.

Of course, I'd also steer her toward MACs and Tojiros if there were a way for her to see if the handles fit her hands. One of the nice things about Globals is that you can test drive them in nearly any Williams Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond or Sur La Table.

Chad

edit: spellig


Edited by Chad (log)

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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ok the Tojiro are beautiful too. Thanks for all the advice. It is going to be a couple of weeks before I get the knives but this has been so helpful.


Edited by kristin_71 (log)

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Chad...Utility knife? Phththt. It's only an inch(?) smaller than the chef. That's funny. Yeah, the Tojiro's handles are a bit square.

Kristin, let us know what you plan on getting. Hope we didn't just make it more confusing. I had a harder time buying my first Japanese gyuto than I did deciding on a digital camera. If you've ever done the research on camera's, you know what I mean.

Cheers


Edited by Octaveman (log)

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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I am going to get (I think)

4in paring knife

8 in chefs knife

51/2 in veg knife

and maybe the 7 in deba because I do alot of fish.

Also think I am going to get the fish bone tweezers as those will be really helpful. Does this cover it? :biggrin:

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What brand(s)? What's your budget? Each knife doesn't have to be from the same maker. The cardinal rule to buying knives is spend the most amount of money on your most used knife. Then you can get lower priced styles that will still be good. Why spend a lot of money on a knife you won't use that often is the basic thought.

I think those are good. I still think the 5 1/2 veggie knife is not needed but that's me. What would you use it for? Definately get the deba.


My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

My music: Coronado Big Band
 

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Iam really partial to Global because I have held them and I know how they feel in my hand. The three knives were part of a three piece knife set that was $162.95. There is another three piece set that has the utility knife in it, but that is what the chefs knife is for right? It is just a smaller version.I just looked at a three piece knife set as opposed to buying them all individually, but if the veg knife does the same as the chefs knife what is the point?

But with all that said I have looked into Shun as well. I really like their stainless line. Sleek and functional.

shun


Edited by kristin_71 (log)

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Looks like a good choice to me, too. Bob right about putting most of your budget in your most used knife. And don't be afraid to mix and match among brands. Mismatched handles are the sign of a relaxed, confident cook.

As for the veggie knife, well I suspect Bob and I just going to have to disagree. I use a 270mm gyuto or chef's knife nearly 95% of the time, but it is nice to have a smaller knife if I just want to dice some mushrooms or something. Having a veg knife is also very handy if you cook with someone. Two big knives in a standard household kitchen leads to bumping elbows or worse. It's nice when your partner can do some of the prep while you're using the big knife. Just another point to consider.

Chad


Edited by Chad (log)

Chad Ward

An Edge in the Kitchen

William Morrow Cookbooks

www.chadwrites.com

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