Shun Cutlery Knives

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Types of knives

Shun makes nearly every type of Japanese knives including Santoku, Deba, Nakiri, Gyuto, Sashimi, Honesuki, and Kiritsuke. It as well makes different kinds of Western knives such as carving knife, utility knife, paring knife, boning/fillet knife, brisket knife, bread knife, and slicing knife. It has different series of knives. The main ones are:

Shun Classic

This is the company’s first and largest series. It features a wide variety of Japanese and Western-style knives. The blades consist of a VG-MAX core which is clad with 34 layers of stainless Damascus steel on each side, resulting in beautiful wavy pattern that’s unique in each blade. The blades have a hardness level of HRC60-61 and are double-edged, hand-sharpened to 16-degree angle each side.

The knives feature full tangs that are covered by D-shape ebony pakkawood handles with bolsters. The c series has the largest collection of knives that are of different types and sizes. They include Chef’s, Paring, Santoku, Nakiri, Utility, Kiritsuke, Honesuki, Bread, Hollow Edge Nakiri, Master Utility, Double Hollow Edge Wide Santoku, Serrated Paring, Ultimate Utility, Hollow Edge Slicing, Serrated Utility/Tomato, Gokujo Boning/Fillet, Hollow Edge Chef’s, Bird’s Beak Peeling, Dual Density Serrated Bread/Utility, Chinese Vegetable Cleaver, Flexible Fillet, Offset Bread, Asian Chef’s, Hollow Edge Santoku, Steak, Hollow Edge Brisket with Saya, Meat Clever, and Heavy Chef’s knife.

Shun Classic Blonde

The Classic Blonde series is similar to the original Classic series in every aspect, except the handles which are made of D-shape blonde pakkawood with bolsters. Besides that, the options are a bit limited. The knife types in the series include: Chef’s, Santoku, Nakiri, Paring, Bread, Steak, and Master Utility.

Shun Dual Core

The knives in this series have dual core blades made of VG-10 and VG-2 steels, which are high carbon, high chromium stainless steels. They have been roll-forged into 71 alternating micro-layers to form a finer grain in the blades to give them strength and create the beautiful herringbone pattern that allows the 71 layers to alternate all along the cutting edge. The blades have a hardness level of HRC60-61 and are double edged, hand-sharpened to 16-degree angle on each side. They are stronger in terms of edge retention compared to the Classic series. The handles are traditionally Japanese octagon-shaped handles made of ebony pakkawood and have bolsters/collar. The knife types include: Santoku, Nakiri, Honesuki, Kiritsuke, and Yanagiba.

Shun Kanso

The blades of Kanso knives are made using the AUS10A steel. They have a hardness of HRC60 and are double edged, hand-sharpened to 16-degree angle on each side. The blades feature a heritage finishing that hides scratches and gives them a rustic look which improves with age. The handles are made of tagayasan wood, double riveted onto a full tang. They are slightly contoured to allow for an easy and comfortable grip. They are also fitted with metal hanging loops at the end. The knife types include: Chef’s, Paring, Utility, Honesuki, Bread, Hollow Edge Santoku, Gokujo Boning/Fillet, Asian Utility, Hollow Edge Nakiri, and Hollow Edge Brisket with Saya.

Shun Premier

This collection features hand-hammered blades that are made of Shun’s proprietary VG-MAX steel core, clad by 34 micro-layers of SUS410/SUS431 stainless steel on each side. The blades have a hardness level of HRC60-61 and a beautiful hammered Tshuchime finish that helps release food easily during cutting. They are double edged and very sharp, honed to 16-degree angle each side. The handles are made of walnut pakkawood and are contoured for comfort and control, plus feature a bolster and an embossed end cap that adds balance and beauty. The knife types include: Chef’s, Santoku, Paring, Nakiri, Utility, Kiritsuke, Slicing, Bread, Serrated Utility, Steak, Gokujo Boning/Fillet, Straight Paring, and Asian Chef’s knife.

Shun Premier Grey

This is the same as the Shun Premier. It features the same blade material and design. The only difference is the handle material. The Premier Grey handles are made of grey pakkawood and they have the same design as the Sun Premier Series. The knife types include: Chef’s, Nakiri, Santoku, Paring, Utility, and Bread.

Shun Shima

This is Shun’s steak-knives-only series that’s actually modeled after the popular Tokyo Shima Steakhouse. The blades of the knives are handmade using high-carbon AUS8A stainless steel that offers long-lasting edge retention and great corrosion resistance. The blades are recurved and hand-sharpened to a 16-degree angle. The series comes in two versions; one with tapering brown Tagayasan wood handles (double-riveted) and the other with black pakkawood handles.

Shun Sora

This is one of the newer lines of Shun’s knives. The blades are made of a VG-10 core, sandwiched between layers of 420J steel to create a sharp san-mai edge and beautiful wavy pattern on the surface of the blades. The handles are non-traditional thermoplastic blend (textured PP/TP), not wood or some kind of wood-synthetic. They have bolsters and are slightly flared at the end. The knife types in the series include: Chef, Utility, Parity, Serrated Utility, Ultimate Utility, and Hollow Ground Santoku.

Shun Nagare

The Nagare collection features blades that are made of two different types of steel; the flexible and robust VG2 steel, and the especially hard VG10 steel. These dual-core blades have a hardness level of HRC61 and provide excellent sharpness and particularly long- lasting edge retention. The steel have been bonded in 72 layers resulting in a stunning radial Damascus pattern that adorns the highly polished blades. The handles are made of mottled grey-black pakkawood that’s robust and waterproof. They are double-riveted to a full tang and have a bolster and an end cap. They are also curved with soft, rounded lines to ergonomically fit the hand. The knife types include: Chef’s, Utility, and Bread.

Shun Engetsu

Also known as the “Full Moon” range, the Engetsu knives have dual core blades made of VG2 and VG10 stainless steel just like the Shun Premier Nagare series. However, they have been bonded to 71 alternating layers instead of 72 like the Nagare series blades. They do have the same razor-sharp, long-lasting edge though, which is honed to a 16-degree angle each side. The blades feature dense, circular, full-moon Damascus pattern in the center that allows for ultra-smooth cutting. The tip and the heel feature the normal Damascus layer patterns and are tough and durable to withstand contact with the board when cutting. The knives have blue/black pakkawood handles that make them look warm and lavish. The handles are ergonomically shaped to fit comfortably in the hands and have a sub-hilt, large bolster, and end cap that’s engraved with the Shun logo (Japanese name character) at the end. The knife types in the series include: Chef’s, Santoku, and Chinese Cleaver.

Price Range

The prices of Shun knives range from $50 to $1000, depending on the steel used to make the blade, the blade length, and the blade design. For instance, the Shun Classic 7-inch Santoku knife (made of VG-MAX steel) goes for around $155 while the 5.5-inch version costs about $145. The 7-inch Hollow Ground Santoku knife from the same series goes for almost $160 while the Double Hollow Ground Edge version goes for around $180, although it’s slightly large at 7.5 inches.

The Premier series is another mid-priced option in Shun’s knife collections as the 7-inch Santoku knife from the series costs about $190 while the 5.5 version is priced at $175.

The Dual Core knives cost slightly higher, with their prices ranging from $200 to $300 – the 7-inch Santoku knife from the series costs up to $300. The Engetsu series, on the other hand, is the premium line in Shun’s collections of knives. The knives in the series cost over $500 – the 7-inch Santoku knife, for instance, costs $603.

The most affordable options are the Kanso and Sora series, which only offer Hollow Edged Santoku knives. The Kanso 7-inch Hollow Ground Santoku knife, for instance, costs $120 while that from the Sora series costs just $90. The 5.5 versions of the same knives from both series cost $110 and $80 respectively.

It’s the same case with Shun’s Nakiri knives. Their prices range from $100 to 400$ with the Dual Core series offering the most expensive option (6.5 inch version) at around $290. The Kanso series remains the most affordable option with its 6.5-inch Hollow Ground Nakiri knife costing $120. The Classic and Premier Nakiri knives are relatively expensive, though, costing around $155 (6.5-inch version) and $175 (5.5-inch version) respectively.

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