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Shun knife Bess (Edge On Up) sharpness out of the box . . .

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  • #53378
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 45
    • Replies: 329

    My friend just received a Shun VG10 Damascus (model Premier) 3 knife starter set.  He has the Bess tester too.  I asked him to test the factory edge sharpness out of the box for the hell of it.

    His numbers were 8 inch Chef = 225,  6.5 Utility = 320, Small Parer = 385

    I’ve been using mine for probably 5 months since getting them back from their free lifetime Shun sharpening service. They charge $7 for first knife  and $2 each additional knife for postage and handling back to me.  My numbers after 5 months were Large 225, Medium 430 and small 840.

    I also own a Yu Kurosaki VG10 Damascus 8.5 inch Chef and tested that edge after two years of kitchen service and it just sharpness tested at 540.

    Even though it only cost me .07 cents a test . . . I only test each blade usually in the same area where it contacts the food and cutting board the most because I don’t get that deep into sharpness testing like 3 tests across the blade length.  I just test to see if the edge is ready for a WE session.

    The Japanese edges are super thin as compared to heavy thick German models which have decent bevels which were fun for me to learn the WE method on and give them mirrored bevels.  These Japanese knives have “very little” primary bevel which is why I sent my Shun Premiers back to Shun last year to let them sharpen them.  So far I was avoiding having to re-profile their factory edge in order to sharpen them in the Wicked Edge.  I wanted to enjoy their blade and OEM edge designs and get the feel of how each brand was designed to handle.  I own 3 Japanese brands Global, Premier and Yu Kurosaki.

    I also wanted to learn more about how these brands design their edges before I change them on the WE and how they are sharpened on our systems.  I found a Youtube video where Clay Allison (owner of the WE system) demonstrated how he sharpens a Shun Nakiri edge. Being Shuns are of such a unique design I’m glad I waited.  I’ve linked to the vid below.  He uses Chosera water stones and since I already have well over $1,500 invested in my system with the various stones and accessories, I’m not about to invest in Chosera stone sets (and they look messy to use anyway).  I’m hoping I can replicate his same results using what I already have.  His vid is from May 2011 (around 9 years old) so I hoping I can use my microfine ceramics and DLP’s to get similar results that Clay did with the Cholera stones.  The higher sharpness numbers (lower the number the sharper the edge) I’m seeing higher numbers on the Shuns out of the box as I’m guessing its because they put on an OEM working type edge so their knives can both use a cutting edge and also a slicing edge.

    Once I read up a little more and find more vids to watch on sharpening higher end Japanese VG10 steel I’ll first try my Yu Kurosaki Chefs knife in the WE because I’m not sending it back to Japan for sharpening.  The Shun’s are sharpened in Oregon and their turn around time is pretty quick.

    Friday I sent my small and medium Shuns back to the factory for sharpening.  The medium came in at 430 Bess and the small was the dullest at 840 (probably a rolled edge).  I purposely don’t use my ceramic hones on the Shuns or the Yu Kurosaki because I want to see how long the hold their edge. And the medium blade the tip was bent a tiny bit.  I have no idea how that happened (probably dropped and bounced off my ceramic tile kitchen floor).  Since VG10 is so hard a steel, I did not want to take a chance and snap it off trying to straighten it myself.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2tJxdp1ALc

    This starter set is a great buy for 3 knives if one is looking to up the quality of their kitchen knives and knives of VG10 steel was recommended to me by a few members here.  There are harder steels, but they also tend to microchip more so I settled on the VG10.

    https://www.amazon.com/Shun-TDMS0300-Premier-Starter-3-Piece/dp/B00457LN64/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=shun+premier+starter&qid=1580647834&sr=8-2

     

     

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    #53396
    Richard
    Participant
    • Topics: 11
    • Replies: 149

    That’s a nice set of knives.

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    #53397
    Jeff
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 31

    Quality Japanese kitchen knives are such a treat to use for food prep especially if you are used to the thicker, softer stainless that most of us probably “grew up” on.  The Henckels, and Whustofs, etc.  The sky is the limit (and price) when it comes to Japanese kitchen knives.  Shun seems to be a very common gateway brand with decent quality.  I have never personally had a Yu Kurosaki (although they look like a really nice piece from my brief google search).

    I have latched on to both Takamura and Murata brands as a good blend of quality vs. price point but the available choices to us here in North America with the Global economy has really grown over the past decade or so.  I used to travel a lot to Japan for work 25-30 years ago and a kitchen knife purchase or two during every trip was a must.  It was almost as if they were a still a hidden secret at the time here in North America or at least purchasing them was.

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    #53419
    wickededge
    Keymaster
    • Topics: 121
    • Replies: 2908

    I haven’t used water stones in years and get as good as, or better results with the various combinations (depends on the goal as to which combination I use) of diamond stones, ceramic stones, lapping films and strops.

    -Clay

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    #53420
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 45
    • Replies: 329

    I figured as much on the water stones Clay as I don’t see any listing that they are available on your site anyway.

    I’ll try using the accessories you suggest above.

    Thx

    #53421
    Jeff
    Participant
    • Topics: 3
    • Replies: 31

    I haven’t used water stones in years and get as good as, or better results with the various combinations (depends on the goal as to which combination I use) of diamond stones, ceramic stones, lapping films and strops.

    Thanks for the insight Clay.   I’m certainly no expert but my approach, which works for me with the stones and accessories I have, after I’ve sharpened once and set my own bevels.

    Diamond stones 400 through to 1500 ->  Lapping films 6, 3, 1.5  .  All edge leading after some brief initial scrubbing with the 400.  I typically stop there as they will whittle hair at that point if I’ve been patient and thorough with each progression.  Occasionally I will then strop with diamond emulsions on leather but typically I’m either pressed for time or too lazy and the edge is refined enough for my liking and usage.

    The Japanese Kitchen knives I own vary between VG10, R2, Aogami Blue #1, and Aogami Super steels.  I run primary bevels only.  Nakiri @ 14dps.  Gyuto, Santoku and larger Petty @ 13 dps.  Sujihiki, and smaller Petty @ 12dps.   All of mine have a 50/50 bevel which I ensure before I purchase because it makes it easier for me to sharpen without altering the bevel too much.  You really have to read before purchase because some can be made with other bevel ratios like 80/20 or 70/30.  I do have one Sujihiki with a single bevel which is probably really considered a Yanagiba from my understanding.

    The ones in VG10 are my wife’s and the rest are mine 🙂

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    #53438
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 21
    • Replies: 252

    My view..

    1. It’s all about the steel and especially the careful heat treatment …. check out what Jay Fisher does with 440C (great website, even though he comes across as an ass)

    2. Shun is my goto but they are commercial which needs to sell to Willy Sonoma at $100 for resale at $200+. You get what you pay for. Sort of Sam Adam’s not willing to make an excellent IPA to sell retail at $16 a six pack, not their biz model

    3. When it comes to sharpening, IMO NO ONE pays as much attention to the apex as WEPS does with many grits under jig control. I am can put a scalpel edge on a POS knife (Cutco and the like) but it will not hold up for 2 days cause the steel/treatment is crap. You get what you pay for.

    4. IMO, commercial and even small shops cannot spend 30+ minutes sharpening a knife thru 10+ grits like we do. They do a quick controlled grind. Good cooking takes time to bring the best out of anything.

    Never liked Global either, lousy cold handle, unimpressive steel, fancy marketing also turns me off.

     

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    #53440
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 35
    • Replies: 1893

    I posted a micro video of an Aritsugu chef’s knife I received as a gift from my sister, who bought several knives at their shop in Kobe.  The video is of the edge as new out-of-the-box.  The video shows me sliding along the edge and rocking from side to side to show the edge geometry.  I estimated the angle at the very edge as about 6 dps, 12 inclusive, with convex shoulders.  Incredibly sharp, but as you see in the video, not what we would call a pristine edge.  Under magnification it’s ragged and full of what we would call defects.  With such low bevel angles, the ragged edge brings new meaning to the term “toothy.”

    Another comment I have about this knife is that the edge was so thin it would flex when I would press my thumbnail against it in a sideways direction.  This is what you see at the edge of a straight razor when sharpened properly, using the thick spine as the angle fixture.  The one cheapy razor I have comes out to about 7 dps when sharpened that way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96vWJ4hDW4k&t=42s

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    #53441
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 45
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    Thanks for your comments Readheads.  Not all of us can afford $400+ each for a Japanese knife or full set of higher quality set of Japanese kitchen knives.  I’m sure there are great knives available with good steel for a reasonable cost, but I would think more often you get easily hosed with the unknown or off brands  if they are lower cost.

    I started years ago when we first got married with a set of Wusthofs knives which for many years they served me well along with my Chef’s Choice knife sharpener!  Then I forayed into my first set of Japanese Global kitchen knifes.  They were quite a step up from the heavy German made Wusthof’s.  I still own the Wusthof’s set but use them mostly as vegetable “choppers”.

    True, the Shun knives are a commercial but they really fill the average home Chef’s needs especially price wise and VG10 steel yet.  I paid $329 off Ebay (New) for their 3 knife starter set (-$50 cheaper than Amazon).  My Premiers are also Damascus steel and I appreciate their handles and the look of the Damascus steel as aesthetics are an important factor to me.

    The Shun brand was recommended to me by a few of the very experienced members here and it was a good call on their part.  For custom made in Japan knives, for the price, balance, look feel in the hand they do a great job, have super sharp factory edges, along with the great handling from their thin lightweight blades.  They just look    “first class” to me.  I use a knife block, but I’m thinking of getting one of this magnetic knife wall strips, just so I can show the Shuns and my other Japanese brands off . . . :o).

    For those interested in getting into decently priced custom made Japanese cutlery check out the selection of Shuns on Amazon.  I luv their marketing.  They have so many styles and models . . . Its like looking at “knife porn” for me.  Check out the look of their Damascus 8 inch Premier Chef knife (below) with their PakkaWood handles.  This 8 inch Chef comes as one of the 3 knives in their $379 starter set.  Japanese knives are quite a step up from the heavy German made steels. For those of you looking to make a step up at a reasonable cost . . .

    • Amazon: Premier 8-inch Chef’s knife will quickly become the most used knife in the kitchen; lightweight, agile and offering an extremely comfortable grip, users never want to set the knife down.

     

     

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    #53443
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 45
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    TC thanks for posting that vid you made years ago.  I found the same imperfections in the steel from collectors I own in even in the $750-1000 cost range.

    Was the tip of the knife in your vid designed like that or just a poor grind?

    My high end CRK’s come with a convex factory grind that only takes them a few seconds to put on as I’ve watched them do it on the Chris Reeves factory tour on Youtube.  But they still come with a super sharp edge.  I don’t convex them when I re-profile them on the WE but I’m thinking about doing that process after watching your vid on conveying the edge on the WE (I think that was you).  I know Clay has one up on Youtube.  I think CRK is looking to but on more of a working edge as a trade off for it’s man owners that use them a lot heavier than I do.  But everything’s a trade off as I can put on a WE super sharp edge which only microchip faster because of the hardness of their premium CPM S35VN steel.

    I sent in last week two Shuns for their free lifetime factory sharpening service.  It will be interesting for me to use my digital microscope on them out of the box to see the imperfections in their steel.  I also want to see the Bess numbers on their edge sharpness out of the box.  I did notice on a higher priced Benchmade I just freshened the edge on, it too had a good amount of imperfections and dimples in their steel when I viewed it under a 30x lighted loop.

    I’ll resharpen them myself next time around.  I just wanted a baseline on how Shun designs their edges, so I can try and replicate it.

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    #53445
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 21
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    Shun Premier is my favorite line. Bulbous handle, thin blade, beautiful peened finish, edge holds up really well. Not sure what you meant by your comment but I do not own any $400 knives. But if I were to splurge on what I would call a “knife to end up in my middle class will” for around $400, I would want to spend hours trying them out in person. I live in NJ and avoiding NYC $ there is not a place to go except Willy Sonoma.

    There is a place in Wash DC (where I go occasionally) called District Cutlery in Union Market. It is a small place specializing in kitchen knives with over 100 to play with, including Shun Premier. It is run by 2 brothers who left their careers to work at what they love…. they sell, sharpen and now make their own kitchen knives (VG10 and others). The best way to see their stuff is to look them up (District Cutlery) on Instagram as their website doesn’t show their handmade stuff. They have studied with Murray Carter and go to Japan often.

    If you go to DC be sure you get there !

    #53446
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 21
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    Oh I forgot, IMO there is no way any hand sharpener can replicate a less than 0.5 DPS variation over the full length of the edge across 10+ grits without using a jig like WEPS (or other similar jigs). They all make claims (even Josh I think) but unless you get into stuff like Verhoeven definitive proof is evasive. It still makes for a fun hobby.

    I would never expect a new knife edge to be anything like what a WEPS can do.

    #53447
    Readheads
    Participant
    • Topics: 21
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    TC,

    Very interesting, have you put the WEPS to work on this knife. 6 DPS is razor blade land. It would be cool to see some before/after mag shots of the edge.

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    #53448
    tcmeyer
    Participant
    • Topics: 35
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    I’m not suggesting that it’s the equal of the Shun knives, but of the dozen or so knives in my kitchen drawer, my favorite is a Zhen chef’s knife in Damascus with a VG10 core.  I bought it as a blank, which only needed scales to complete it.  I added rosewood for the handle, which I worried was probably too small for my XL hands.  No problem there, as it indexes well and provides a very secure grip, even when wet and slippery.  The edge is very thin, but not enough to make it fragile and it holds an edge as well or better than any other kitchen knife I own.  When I bought it from Woodcraft.com, it was about $57.  Now they sell for $75.   I also have the matching parer, which sells for $26.  Attaching and finishing scales is a really simple process.

    Woodcraft sells an array of Zhen knives as kits and as completed knives.  I see they’re selling a Zhen chef’s knife blank on clearance, made of 101 layers of Damascus, forged in Germany, then shaped and finished in Taiwan, marked down from $155 to $100.  I’d buy it, but I already have the 67-layer version.

    #53449
    Expidia
    Participant
    • Topics: 45
    • Replies: 329

    Thx TC I added that brand to my kitchen knife file for future reference.  Nice price for VG10 tip.

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