Introduction and knives

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Joined Dec 31, 2016
I just found this forum while searching knives, of course. I have gleaned through several threads that all seam to be  somewhat aged looking at the date of the OP. Some going back to 2011. So rather than kicking up old dust that may or may not even be relevant, I decided to start a new thread.

I have been 20 years removed from culinary work and am in the process of reintroducing myself into what some call the madness that I left back then. In doing so, I also became interested in getting a set of knives for my own personal use. Now I understand before I really get into the thick of things that there are far better knives to be had other than the line I selected and far higher prices ones as well. I did some basic research and decided on the SHUN premiere line.

Why did I select this knife line. I wanted a lite balanced Damascus bladed knife that felt good in my hand with a variety of grip methods that I may use at any given time. I also wanted a very hard core and a very acute cutting angle as I prefer to spend more time vs. more times at the stone. I have 3 knives in my collection as of now and absolutely love the feel and cut they provide.

I did make sure before the purchase that the knives were the newer VG-MAX steel and not the older VG-10 which from what I have been able to tell is not necessarily a bad thing. I have thus far found anything I do not like about the knives. As far as sharpening goes, I will be acquiring a set of whet stones and will be doing my own sharpening.

I should also mention that all my SHUNs were on sale at the time I purchased them. I feel I got some very good deals on my knives which are, the 9" slicer and fork combo, 8 " chef knife and my last acquisition the 8" Kiritsuke. I also do quite a bit of sushi/sashimi work and since the premiere line does not have a yanagiba available, I got one from the pro classic line. The yanagiba incidentally is a solid VG-10 blade.

I look forward to all feedback both positive and negative as I fully expect both.
 
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I don't know exactly what it is you are looking for from us, but as to your desire for knives that hold an acute angle, VG-10 is not a great candidate.

Sure it gets pretty sharp for stainless, but it's edge stability is such that its keeness degrades quickly to a "serviceable" edge, which it will hold for a good bit.  It's a steel that really needs a 40deg inclusive microbevel.  I am assuming VGMAX is the same here.  It has added chrome and vanadium, neither of which would be expected to improve edge stability, in fact the opposite is more likely.  It likely does possibly take a keener edge than its predecessor, and definitely improved edge retention.  "Knife Nuts" don't typically do Shun, though some who work in pro kitchens do eventually come in contact with them, but I've seen no news yet from anyone whose opinion would really mean something.

The Yani is the only knife of the bunch that is going to especially suffer from this, that would be the knife to change out if you were of a mind to do that.
 
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Welcome to the forum, Yoda. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 
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Joined Dec 31, 2016
I didn't intend my post to infer that I was looking for something as it was more or less a duel purpose introduction/topic of interest. The email pointing me to the thread to post an initial introduction hit my inbox much later and I was a little anxious to get a feel for this forum.

No, The VG-10 knife does not have a minute degree of angle and I was in err to not make that distinction. The other blades mentioned before that one having a 16° angle on each side is what I was attempting to make reference to.

I would be interested in your opinion regarding an alternative kiritsuke in the 8"- 9" flavor. I would prefer a Japanese made Damascus blade that holds its edge very well. Difficulty in getting the edge is secondary.

My hands are the smaller side of average. The handles on my SHUN premieres are the most comfortable I have used (for reference purposes)
 
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It's a great site, I followed the Monthly Challenge and What's did You Have for Dinner forums religiously,but haven't had the time lately.

Since you like your Shuns you can get the 10" Blue 2 kiritsuki for $250, it's the best knife Shun makes.  The 8" dual core kiritsuke actually goes for a few dollars more, and the D-cladding is less than spectacular.  Blue 2 steel is reactive, being carbon, you still have to rinse and dry it promptly, but these alloyed steels aren't as reactive as the pure carbons.

I wouldn't make D-cladding a big deciding factor here, but if you google Damascus Kiritsuke you will find a few of them anyways.

The Kotetsu is a kiritsuke laser in SG-2, great knife if you can consider a laser.
 
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Actually I will consider anything. I have found I use my kiritsuke more than anything else and if there is a phenomenal knife out there at a reasonable price I am game.
 
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Joined Dec 23, 2004
Interesting. I hadn't heard of "VG-MAX" since I don't follow Shun and their proprietary steels.  The Shun website discusses the steel but I'm a bit dubious of their explanations.  It's probably good entry level steel.  After all, VG-10 itself was once considered "super steel" although it's long been eclipsed by later greater alloys.  Overall I don't think Shun knives are great values and they embody the qualities that the opposite of what I like about J-knives.  Still they're serviceable knives.
 
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Hey Phaedrus, you haven't been around here for a while.  I haven't actually handled a Shun Blue 2, can you rate its grind all around?
 
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Sooo I am getting caught up here. You have a shun stainless 8" chef and 8" kiritsuke tipped double bevel gyuto and you want to add a third shun stainless 8-9" kiritsuke? Is it just me or all of those three things basically the same?

Also a vg10 yanagiba sounds like a nightmare to sharpen
 
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True kiritsukes are single bevel, these "cliped point" gyutos are blingy, but I didn't like the tip as much as a regular gyuto.  Shun's "damascus" cladding is pretty lame like a lot of others who source the same san mai steel from the same plant.  Their Reserve line looks great as it's left over from the Bob Kramer run they did a while back.  Good steel too I have a paring knife I use daily, but I don't like Bob's geometry so anything bigger is out for me.  
 
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Joined Dec 31, 2016
No, I'm not looking for another 8"-9" shun kiritsuke. I would however be interested possibly in a new knife that would meet the criteria as being an exceptional blade. After years of using Victorinox, Dexter knives etc. The shuns are pretty awesome, and if there is another step up around the same $$$, I am interested in seeing it.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
Is the Shun Classic Yanagiba actually a single bevel with a hollowed backside? Looks kind of like a k-tip sujihiki or a narrow double beveled kiritsuke
 
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Joined Dec 31, 2016
You are correct, it is single beveled and hollow on the back side. The knife I had been using was an entry level 30.00 one just to get my feet wet with sashimi/sushi.
 
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Joined Aug 6, 2015
Agree with Millions monosteel VG10 yanagiba sounds like a bear to sharpen. How are you sharpening it right now without whetstones?

On kiritsuke - there's like 3 different things being called kiritsuke

- True kiritsuke is single beveled with a concave back, pretty flat profile. Usage supposed to be that you could do slicing like a yanagiba and also push cutting and katsuramuki and other techniques like what is done with an usuba. Definitely stones needed to sharpen this kind of knife.  I don't think Shun's kiritsuke is a single beveled knife.

- There's 'double bevel kiritsuke' which are fairly flat profiles.

- There's double bevel 'kiritsuke' which look much like gyuto with a k-tip.
 
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Joined Jan 3, 2017
Greetings, Yoda.

My first post here as well, though I have lurked on and off for a while and participate in several other knife-oriented forums with the same user name.

As a casual home cook I don't put enough demands on my knives to really need the ultimate in performance.  And I admit, I am attracted by the look of some knife brands.  With Shun, you are paying for the actual knife, the extra "bling", and at least two corporate profit chains - KAI and whatever retailer you are buying from.

When you can get them on deeply discounted sales, I feel they are a pretty good value for the dollar.  At the regular standard "discounted" prices they are bit steep for what you get.  Right before Christmas and in mid to late Jan are the best deals, I have found.

I have several of the Shun Premier knives.  The 8" Chef, the 8" Kiritsuke, and the 7" Santoku, acquired at different points in time.  Of those 3, I prefer the kiritsuke.  Mainly because it is really just a regular gyuto with a pointy tip that looks vaguely like a kiritsuke, but it has none of the other qualities of a true kiritsuke.  The chef's knife is basically a German profile knife, but I am more of a push-cutter and chopper than a rocker, so the tall rounded tip profile is not exactly my preference.

My Shuns have had decently sharp edges out of the box, but they all needed refinement.  I use Shapton Pro water stones with them and they respond well.  Even the 1000 finish off the Shapton stones is finer than the factory edge. I usually take them up to 2000 and stop there.

My favorite Shun to work with is from the Classic line, called the Asian Cook's Knife.  A true Gyuto profile, light and nimble, and great balance.  A shame it is only offered in a 7".  They should expand that line.

So anyway - good to meet you, fellow Shun user.  There are probably better knives out there, but it's all a matter of what you are used to.  Mine are all in the VG-MAX era (except for a couple of SG-2 Kaji line) and I have not had any problems with them.  No chipping, and they seem to take a good edge for me.  Other than initial sharpening to improve the somewhat coarse factory edges, I have not needed to re-sharpen any of them.  Again, take with a grain of salt based on my limited usage as a casual home cook.
 
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Yoda Welcome

Found some old threads I see.

Had some of the best "which knife" threads did 2010/

OK enough typing backwards, but was fun for a really short moment lol.

I do mean that about the how to choose, or which knife threads from 2010, and I know that to be true because I got here near the end of that year (with similar past to your own with being away from a pro kitchen for many years etc.) and pretty much drove everyone a little nuts trying to figure out how to determine which J knives would be best for me at that time.

I also would not beat yourself up too bad over the Shuns, and though they are not a favorite here due to the value or cost vs product or performance etc. I still believe they are a nice enough knife, and except for some of the really odd profiles should be just fine. Plus on the positive side they are mostly good looking knives that are well known and easy to sell used if you should decide to move up or on to something different.

The moving up thing is not all that unusual either, and much as I did not really "get it" at first I only have 2 of the original knives I purchased, one of them being a Tojiro petty in VG10 core, and the other a Fujiwara 240mm FKM Gyuto that is used as a back up. All met the expectations of their purpose, get sharp or really sharp etc. and were mostly entry level in the first year or so. The thing is once you get bit by the "bug" it is easy to want to try different types of steel, different brands, maybe even different handle or blade grinds (I am still amazed by the lazer Konosuke I have most every time I use it) and find that you quickly have more knives than you will ever need and end up selling off the ones you use or like least.

I will beat the crowd on this one as the only other thing I would have considered doing differently is going longer (size does matter lol) and especially with a gyuto and slicer as most find that once they use the 240mm or 270mm they like them much better, and some even go up to 300mm on the slicer (wish I did, but I got it used so did not have a choice beyond the 240mm).

I think one thing everyone will agree on or at least most is that blade length unlike most other attributes is more of a personal preference and can also be greatly influenced by the cutting area available and even what you are cutting most of the time. Again don't beat yourself up on this.
 
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Joined Jan 25, 2013
 
No, I'm not looking for another 8"-9" shun kiritsuke. I would however be interested possibly in a new knife that would meet the criteria as being an exceptional blade. After years of using Victorinox, Dexter knives etc. The shuns are pretty awesome, and if there is another step up around the same $$$, I am interested in seeing it.
welcome to the forum.  here are some different options

http://www.caltoncutlery.com/available-kitchen-knives22.html and http://www.caltoncutlery.com/440c-stainless-knives.html  very thin high performance grinds in 1095 and 440C

http://www.carothersknives.com/knives/potato-annihilator/  very thin single bevel in AEB-L
 

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