The Japanese brand Shun takes its name from the Japanese word for the precise moment of the season when a food reaches its optimum peak of perfection in terms of ripeness, freshness, and sweetness. Made in the traditional blade-forging center of Seki City, Japan, each Shun blade is more than a precision cutting tool, it is also a work of art. Every Shun blade is handmade in Seki City by professional blade smiths dedicated to bringing that shun moment of perfection to your kitchen. Shun produces several lines of high quality cutlery, each with its own particular strengths.
The original line of Shun knives was the Shun Classic series. Shun Classic knives are contrasted to traditional western knives by their light weight, razor-sharp edges forged from advanced steel material. With a full tang offering strength and balance, the D-shaped ebony PakkaWood handles provide a secure grip that conforms naturally the shape of the hand for optimum control over the blade. The blades of the Shun Classic knives have 34 layers of stainless steel on each side of the steel cutting core and are feature stainless Damascus cladding, providing stain and corrosion resistance. The 16 degree cutting angle on each side of the VG-Max high-end steel allows the Shun Classic series knife to be both razor-sharp while always being extremely hard and holding an edge for a longer period than a softer steel.
The Shun Classic Pro improves on the Classic line with a number of innovations. Like the Classic series the full-tang, D-shaped ebony PakkaWood handle. The blade, however, is forged from solid VG10 stainless steel, strong and sharpened to a razor-sharp 16 degrees single-bevel edge. A beautiful etching design on the blade distinguishes each blade style and traditionally serves as a maker’s mark for custom hand-made Japanese knives.
The Shun Sora series uses the original composite blade technology that combines two different types of steel to give the knives a razor-sharp cutting edge at an affordable price. The composite blade technology of the Shun Sora cutlery line is based off of a traditional Japanese San Mai method for forging high-end knives, but Shun takes it to the next level by using some of the most advanced cutlery steels available. The VG10 steel cutting edge is hand-sharpened to a 16 degree cutting angle, allowing you to effortlessly slice through food ingredients while preserving flavor and freshness. The VG10 edge is perfectly welded to 420J stainless steel renowned for its stain resistance. The weld of the San Mai construction gives each hand-crafted knife a unique and beautiful design along the length of the blade. The blade has a rabbet tang that extends well into the handle, making the Shun Sora knives maneuverable and balanced. Shun points that this method was commonly used in the construction of samurai swords.
The knives of the Shun Premier line feature a hammered tsuchime finish, resembling a flowing, water-like surface. The uneven surface of the tsuchime finish helps prevent food from sticking to the blade while cutting meat, vegetables and fish. The double-bevel, flat-ground blade also helps to move food away from the blade while cutting. The blade made from Shun’s VG-Max “super steel” and is hand-sharpened to a 16 degree cutting edge. The Shun Premier line also features a gorgeous full tang, walnut PakkaWood handle.
Forged from Japanese Blue 2 carbon steel, the Shun Blue series are durable, razor-sharp, and feature excellent edge retention. Easily sharpened and maintained, the carbon steel Shun Blue knives feature a hand-sharpened 16 degree double-bevel blade. The blue carbon steel cutting core of the blade is sandwiched between two layers of mirror-polished stainless steel for optimum blade protection. Each knife in the Shun Blue series also ships with a saya, a traditional Japanese wooden sheathe that will protect the blade and your hand. The handle of the Shun Blue series knives feature a rabbet tank, traditionally used in the construction of samurai swords, which offers weight control and maneuverability. The handle itself is octagonal and made from durable, water-resistant PakkaWood.
Named the 2014 Kitchen Knife of the Year, the Shun Dual Core series combines 71 alternating layers of high carbon, high chromium VG10 and VG2 stainless steels. The fine grain of the steel allows the Shun Dual Core series to hold a very sharp, 16 degree double-bevel edge. The Dual Core features a rabbet tang, octagon-shaped ebony PakkaWood handle that provides superb balance and control. This line comes with a wooden saya sheathe for improved safety and protection during storage.
The Shun Reserve line combines the best elements of traditional Western-style kitchen knives with the precision of Shun’s traditional Japanese hand-forging methods. Shun’s premium line, knives in the Reserve series are made from an SG2 ultra-fine-grain microcarbide steel cutting core with an elegant stainless Damascus cladding. The blade is hand sharpened to sixteen degrees on each side of the cutting edge, and the SG2 steel possesses superior hardness and density. This allows Shun to forge each blade of the Reserve series thinner and allow them to hold their edge longer. The Full tang handle improves strength and balance, and the charcoal and crimson PakkaWood handle is water and bacteria resistant.
Shun also sells a wide range of accessories to complement their knives. There are several sizes of hinoki wood cutting boards, with antimicrobial properties and water resistance. The natural “give” of the wood will help preserve the ultra-fine cutting edge of your Shun knives. Shun also participates in Japan’s Forest Stewardship Council sustainable forest management practices, ensuring that they are not harming the environment when they harvest trees for their cutting boards. Shun also provides multipurpose kitchen shears to help you quickly cut and trim meat and herbs. If you have invested the money in a quality knife, you should be sure that you take care to maintain the blade with a Shun electric sharpener or whetstone. Stun sells knife blocks to both display your knife collection and provide easy access to your knives when it is time to cook. If you are a chef on the go, be sure to check out the Shun knife rolls and chef’s carrying case for the safe transport of your cooking tools.