It is currently Wed May 06, 2015 5:33 pm

All times are UTC



Welcome
Welcome to chefknivestogo

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. In addition, registered members also see less advertisements. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free, so please, join our community today!





 Page 1 of 4 [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2015 2:56 am
Posts: 25
So, a few questions a neophyte must ask. There is such a thing as a dumb question. The majority of these questions will be dumb, and for that I apologize, but sometimes you have to ask dumb questions to learn.

1. Shun, the hated an reviled. Why is it disliked? Is it because of the more German profile, with the pronounced belly? More because it is too mainstream, and seen as selling out? Are there concerns about being too chippy, from bad heat treating?

Just as an aside, I work at a store that sells them. A few years back, Bob Kramer made some Shun knives, and after they were discontinued, someone returned a set. Couldn't sell them(used), couldn't return them to Shun(discontinued), had to throw them away. I followed the letter of the law, and put them in the trash....those knives have been excellent for me. :D
I get the feeling that Shun is like Starbucks. You don't get that big without doing a good job and having great fit and finish. The primer(intro-to-japanese-style-knives-primer-t8328.html ) mentions the idea of "wabi sabi," or the beauty of imperfections. Sure, Shuns don't have that handmade feel, but are they inferior? I'm just concerned about the knives I'm currently using.

2. I currently use a Wusthof as a beater knife, for anything that might damage the Shuns. Is the deba, with the much thicker profile, equivalent to a Wusthof, or is it too hard(and in most cases single beveled) to be used in this fashion? I don't mean hacking through a ham bone, but, you know, a bit rougher than garlic.

3. I've seen references to it being expected you need to touch up a new japanese knife with sandpaper. What parts are these? Handle, choil, something like that?

4. Sharpening. I've never been confident with my sharpening abilities, and used a Chef's Choice(I know, I know) 2100. What are your thoughts on sharpening? I'm going through Murray Carters video series. He's a maestro of sharpening, freehands with a 1k and 6k stone alone. But he's so good, he can get away with it. For the beginner, how many stones do y'all think are right? Strop too? mechanical aid or freehand?

5. Forcing a patina should, in theory, protect a knife. On a kurouchi knife, do you apply mustard to the blackened area, too?

6. For reactive knives, do you apply oil to the blades afterwards(mineral, camellia, etc) to protect them? And similar to that, are wooden handles sealed, or should mineral oil and wax be periodically applied(I would assume you can't use hand oil like on a hammer, as you are washing it with water a lot more)?

7. I'd always thought about 14-17 degrees was the standard for a japanese style knife. Is it better to put on(as I think I have seen references to) 14 degrees on the secondary bevel, and 10 degrees on the main cutting edge?

8. I'm coming from well fit and finished knives(shun, wusthof), and reading of very uneven grinding being the standard on many japanese knives. How does one, in general, diagnose and deal with over and under grinds?


Sorry if these questions are too common on here. Problem is, a lot of the questions are too general to get many results. For example, searching sandpaper and knives gets the wrong kind of results. :p


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:37 pm 

Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 6:20 am
Posts: 2780
1. The belly is more western in style. It is divisive but it has its fans too. The geometry plus the heat treat make them chippy but part of the problem is many users can't use/maintain them correctly. The biggest reason they probably have a bad wrap in the community is they have a huge marketing budget and that trickles down into the price and most don't feel the price and the quality line up. If you can get one on sale though....

2. A deba is a precision tool and should not be used as a "beater". That said, I have heard of people putting a micro bevel on them and use them in some tough applications but because of the high hardness and relatively acute bevel angle, they do require respect.

3. Fit and finish is often not a huge priority for JKs, especially kurouchi knives. It is not a universally true statement to say that they all need touch ups. The choil, heel, and spine are common places to hit plus a bit of finish sanding on the handle is often warranted.

4. Chef's Choice will beat up a JK edge. I haven't seen Murray's videos so I can't comment. Truth is, getting the geometry of the edge right is much more important than refining that edge. For a beginner, if you're patient, a 1k stone and a diamond plate for flattening would be an excellent place to start learning. Many beginners believe you rough out an edge then make is sharp with finer stones. You actually nail your edge, then refine it.

5. The KU finish acts as a barrier in most cases. Sometimes there is exposed steel in the finish that will take a patina, but forcing a patina wouldn't work on the finish itslef. Also, many KU blades have a coating to protect them till they get the the end user. It will come off with time but may hinder any forced patinas.

6. Oil is optional. Most knives will be fine if cleaned and dried thuroughly after use. Oiling handles in theory can help with longevity, I do it sometimes but not others. Many used more exotic finishes but I personally don't want to use anything not food safe.

7. Bevel angles are negotiated between you, the product you use, your cutting surface, and the steel and heat treat. Try as acute as you want. If it is chippy widen the angle of add a microbevel. Trying these things out is part of the fun. 15°/side is often cited, but there is a lot of variety.

8. Depends on the severity, location, how it affects performance, and the tools at your disposal. I have only had two of three knives that had grind issues bad enough to bother me (I have owned or played with dozens of knives). I would find a few blades that appeal to you, ask about their reputation, and decide which one to try out based on your comfort with the product.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:46 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:12 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Maui, Hawaii
Like you I am amazed and confused by the hate some people have about Shun products.

They are nice knives and if purchased at the right price are a reasonable value.
The fit and finish are simply exemplary. And they do look very nice. Especially the Bob Kramers.

My original Shun purchase represented the gateway to my other J-knife buys and I would not have discovered this wonderful site, community or enjoyment of knives without that first step.
I am a home chef and I have never had an issue with chipping or any other problems with my 2 Shuns.

Are there better knives out there for less money? Yes. Are there knives with more soul...hell yes.
But should you be concerned about the ones you own as not being a good knife? Not in my opinion.

Mark told me that people regard Shun as they do Toyota. A great vehicle to get from A to B but that's all.
Kind of harsh but a reasonable statement. Remember...Toyota makes Lexus and there is little wanting in the quality or reliability of those vehicles.

Keep those Shuns.
But now branch out when you next purchase a knife to see and feel the difference between a mass produced knife and one made my a master craftsman.
They are very different experiences for sure.

Enjoy the ride :D


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:25 am 

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:15 am
Posts: 1937
Location: Raleigh, NC
That's 2-8 solidly answered.

I am one of those who actively dislike Shun, specifically the Classic, Premier, Reserve, and a few of their other eccentric lines. I have found their VG-10 to chip in all the professionally used knives I've seen. I don't like their handles in general and I don't like their geometry. Those are forgivable; everyone regards different knives differently. But to the greatest extent I don't like how Shun portrays itself as a company. Shun has built a mystique that they have crafted a new, fantastic sort of knife. I find their products to be pandering derivatives that don't address what actually matters in a knife. Global at the least innovated, even if they don't hold an edge. In fact I considered Japanese knives a wash for years because I found the mighty Shun, their champion, pretty mediocre. They have made their way selling waves of pretty knives with no soul and middling performance to people who are convinced they are lucky.

I am often reminded by these people that Shun is the be all and end all.

That said I have used the Kramer Shun knives and the Shun Fuji with good reflections, God rest my soul.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:33 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 1:52 am
Posts: 495
Location: Philly
Good answers.

I would add your location matters. Sea level and humidity etc on whether you really need to oil knife every time you use it,

A lot of Shun hate is also around the price point. I mean most are expensive and you can get a much better knife for same price or cheaper. But if you own a Shun then its still better then the vast majority of supermarket knives a large percent of the population has.

Plus I think the Shun names gets a lot of people started in high end kitchen knife world. Then once they get experience they look back with a distaste towards there previous Shun.

I think Shun is the Lexus brand. Its all name brand and high cash. Kinda like what Apple does too.



_________________
There's an old Italian saying, don't burn your tongue on another man's soup.
Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:30 am 

Joined: Tue May 27, 2014 2:24 am
Posts: 544
Location: Texas
Shun - The gateway drug

In the end, a knife that can cut food does what it's supposed to do. They really aren't terrible. It's the looks that I find deceiving.

Take the Toyota reference for example. Shuns probably compare in performance to toyotas in the knife/car spectrum, but a Shun is like a Toyota with a hoodscoop, a fin, gold spinners and a tacky custom paint job and license plate. You pay for glamour, the oohs and ahhs, the "Wow, that is a nice knife dude!" from all your buddies, but you know the truth when you cut with one - you remove all that art, and you're left with nothing extraordinary.

You pay for pretty, that's what you get. I won't go over the typical complaints about shuns. I'll just say my Mercer santoku sees more board time.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 11:32 am 

Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:57 pm
Posts: 181
I have a few older VG-10 Shuns. As other people noted, they're chippy, and that's a major issue with steel as stubborn as VG-10. Maybe they've fixed that issue since I got mine, or their premium lines are better, or they do a better job with other steels. Not really interested, since I know better knives now. The boning and paring I still use routinely, they don't chip much.

I don't think the looks are good, either. Put them next to any of my other damascus clad knives and the Shuns look like Kuhn Rikon.

They're better than 90 plus percent of home users' knives, sure. 90 plus percent of home users have stamped, molded plastic handle, 5 bux a pop jobs, though.

To use the inevitable car analogy, Shuns are a Mini Cooper. Drives nice for a hatchback, priced like a sports car, looks exciting right up till it pulls up to something that actually is exciting.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 6:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2014 3:13 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Sweden
pinkbunny wrote:4. Sharpening. I've never been confident with my sharpening abilities, and used a Chef's Choice(I know, I know) 2100. What are your thoughts on sharpening? I'm going through Murray Carters video series. He's a maestro of sharpening, freehands with a 1k and 6k stone alone. But he's so good, he can get away with it. For the beginner, how many stones do y'all think are right? Strop too? mechanical aid or freehand?
cedarhouse wrote:4. Chef's Choice will beat up a JK edge. I haven't seen Murray's videos so I can't comment. Truth is, getting the geometry of the edge right is much more important than refining that edge. For a beginner, if you're patient, a 1k stone and a diamond plate for flattening would be an excellent place to start learning. Many beginners believe you rough out an edge then make is sharp with finer stones. You actually nail your edge, then refine it.

I agree with cedarhouse. As a beginner, the more stones you use in your progression, the more chances to screw it up. ;) I'm a beginner, started sharpening on stones about 7 months ago and I sharpen knives/practice to sharpen maybe a couple of times per month. I use an 800 grit and the go straight to 6000. I probably would have to do less on the 6000 if I had a stone inbetween, but it's ok for me. I do at least 90 % of the sharpening time on the 800 grit, and this specific stone of mine leaves a very toothy edge. I then refine it on the 6000 until I get the right amount of bite I'm looking for. It works for me and leaves a durable edge.

pinkbunny wrote:7. I'd always thought about 14-17 degrees was the standard for a japanese style knife. Is it better to put on(as I think I have seen references to) 14 degrees on the secondary bevel, and 10 degrees on the main cutting edge?
cedarhouse wrote:7. Bevel angles are negotiated between you, the product you use, your cutting surface, and the steel and heat treat. Try as acute as you want. If it is chippy widen the angle of add a microbevel. Trying these things out is part of the fun. 15°/side is often cited, but there is a lot of variety.

Again I agree with cedarhouse, but I get confused when you (pinkbunny) mention a secondary bevel and then a cutting edge with a narrower angle. The cutting edge usually has a wider angle than the bevel above it. There is also some confusion when using terms like primary edge/primary bevel. See this thread: how-to-set-a-primary-and-secondary-bevel-using-ep-t6709.html


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:32 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:45 am
Posts: 273
What's wrong with a Mini Cooper lol?


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: May I ask some dumb newbie questions?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2015 6:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 607
Location: NY, NY; New Haven, CT
To the OP: great questions, with plenty of great answers!

I just wanted to add one or two things from my perspective 'cause today is a rare snow day for an adult, believe it or not.

1) The Shun thing is, as you can already tell, as much a matter of image and perception of the hate on the forum as it is the actual product. In many threads, you can (almost) find as many people supporting or acknowledging the performance of Shun as you can "hating" on them. But the hating is usually stronger, so it is what is remembered most. I think Lepus puts it really well: he starts by talking about his personal feelings as regards ALL Shun knives, naming a few specifics. But he ends by being totally self-aware about his preferences, his reasons, and his actual respect for (the performance of, if not the brand of) a few specific Shuns. Put another way, he speaks clearly about his reasons, but also recognizes that some Shuns perform very well on the board, despite other considerations related to the brand. My sense is that, over the last couple years, this has become much more common than people just saying all Shuns are objectively terrible performers. Some lines have their problems – steel, grind, price, insane gimmicks, etc – but at the right price with the right line and profile, they can be great. Put another way, if the Fuji line sold for $100 under a different name, they'd probably be hailed as one of the best new Japanese knives out there. It isn't that they all fail to perform...it's a combination of factors that varies dramatically from line to line and price point to price point.

2) I will continue to blindly argue (until I get calipers) that the thinner Wusthofs are actually thinner than many handmade JKs. I'm specifically referring here to the Ikon and Cordon Bleu lines. Their durability comes from the fact that the steel bends and "smashes" rather than chipping, and from being just a bit thicker at and behind the edge due to less acute angles at the edge. You can get similar durability out of a 58-59 hardness JK with less acute angles, which exist (masamoto VG, for example). They will not hold up to the SAME punishment, but they will hold up to reasonable punishment assuming good technique, and they will "clean-up" just as good as a Wusthof (I've seen some good German steel with far more and far worse chips than some Shuns—it depends on use, abuse, neglect, and sharpening technique, and not just steel or thickness.)

3) The sandpaper thing usually refers to where your hand touches the knife. Think of it less as F&F, and more as smoothing the corners as you might with the corners on wood. People have different preferences, and often a JK needs just the lightest bit of rubbing with the sand paper on the parts you touch ( choil, machi, heel, spine) just like a sharp edge on wood might need just a few strokes back and forth with some fine grit after a fresh cut. This treatment is often TOTALLY SEPARATE from the quality of the grind and other attributes of the knife. Second: some people use sand paper rather than stones to correct the finish on the sides of knives. In this case, they do it as a substitute for stone work, because the paper is more flexible and therefore comes in more consistent contact with the knife. If you don't plan on doing cosmetic work like this, you needn't worry about its implications.

4) Learn to sharpen, and STOP using the chef's choice. Others' comments here are thorough enough.

5) No comment

6) I don't oil my knives unless I am storing them. But I do have to touch them up with baking soda or BKF periodically, because the patinas due naturally start to turn a bit orange on my knives after a while—this is totally separate from how I maintain them from day to day. They never appear to rust from basic use...they just get more of a patina over time due to environmental issues.

7) Angles are better judged with use, as others imply above. Experiment and stick with what feels best with each given knife, profile, and steel type.

8) Grinds are a tough thing. I've seen a lot of what I'd call misinformation about grinds on the forum. I'm not a knife maker, I'm no expert, and I don't have a lot of experience, but I swear I can see and feel that most of the grinds I've come in contact with are not 50/50 despite being advertised that way, nor are they simply "convex" (or "concave") in a one-word-tells-all way, nor are they as straight or as consistent than one might expect. There can be lots of variation and "imperfection" as regards symmetry and evenness, etc., but sometimes this can improve performance rather than subtract from it. In general, be wary of knives that are cheaper for their steel/performance bracket and have more variation from blade to blade in all respects. Most of these are fine, but it seems very consistent to me (with one consistent exception: Tanaka) that knives in the $180-320 that are hand-made may have the most variation. This is not a bad thing, but it does mean that you should NOT expect the kind of machined quality control and consistency that you find in a Wusthof or Shun in this bracket in particular if the knife is handmade.



_________________
~Joe
Ownership experience: Konosuke, Masamoto, Tojiro, Wusthof, Henckels, etc.
Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 Page 1 of 4 [ 36 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: jmcnelly85, sharksfan7 and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  


suspicion-preferred