Guide to Shun Knives

Shun, pronounced “shoon”, is a Japanese concept relating to fresh, local, and in-season food at the peak of perfection for eating. Shun knives, also known as Kershaw knives, are produced to stay at the peak of perfection for your use in preparing fresh foods for your family. All Shun lines but one have a distinctive pattern similar to a Damascus pattern.

Styles of Shun Knives

The Shun Classic line utilizes classic European shapes, and has a double bevel edge. The steel for this knife is pounded to a thinness that creates an almost perfect molecular structure. Sixteen layers of this steel are put on each side of a layer of VG-10 steel, and with heat and pressure the 33 layers are clad together making the stock.

The handle is made of Pakkawood which begins with thin layers of white birch wood that is dyed black. The sheets of wood are layered between sheets of resin and fused together with heat and pressure. The handle, that looks and feels like wood, is dishwasher safe. The handle is “D” shaped with a distinct ridge down the side which perfectly fits the hand and stabilizes the blade. See our detailed review of the Shun Classic Knife Set.

The Alton Angle knives have the same features as the Classic line except they have a 10 degree angle at the bolster. This angle allows for better leverage, and easier cutting with small knives.

The Shun Steel line is almost exactly like the Classic line except instead of using Pakkawood for the handle, stainless steel is used which is finished by hand like the rest of the knife. This knife line is priced equal to the Classic line.

The Ken Onion line is designed by one of the most successful knife designers in the world. Ken Onion designed a knife which allowed the bolster and handle to work with the hand to release tension in the forearm without giving up control. The bolster is angled and extended over the spine and created with an inner curve on each side of the bolster, relieving the need to pinch the knife. Finally he curved the handle downward to more closely match the shape of the hand. See our review of the Shun Ken Onion Chef’s Knife.

The Shun Pro and Pro II knife lines are designed with blades like that of a professional Japanese chef. To achieve the cooking texture necessary in Japanese cooking you need a sharp knife every day. These knives have a half inch single bevel design allowing for consistent honing every day. The Pro is designed with a blade with a concave back which removes friction when cutting, eliminating sticking and improving the texture of the cut food. Not built for speed, these knives provide the cleanest cut.  These are made of one piece of VG-10 steel providing strength and durability, so the Pro lines do not have the distinctive patterns on the blade. The Pro II has a more decorative handle and at 5mm thick, the blade is twice as thick as the Pro.  The Pro II also has the sharpest edge of all Shun knives which hand finished.

The Shun Elite has a very decorative design and uses SG-2 steel which is a powdered steel melted to form an ingot of perfect density. SG-2 is a proprietary “micro carbide” steel with a much higher density and grain structure than VG-10 and stainless. It is also an ambidextrous knife.

The Kaji Series is manufactured of SG-2 powdered steel in the core and clad with a nickel alloy and high-carbon steel. These knives are ambidextrous and have handles made of Pakkawood dyed black. These knives are very durable.

All Shun knives come with a limited lifetime warranty for the life of the original owner.