Why You Need a Shun Knife Set in Your Kitchen

A good quality knife is a joy to use. Shun knives are made using a combination of the best modern and traditional techniques to produce knives of unmatched workmanship and quality. If you're serious about cooking, owning a Shun knife set should be high on your bucket list.

These classic sets come in different styles but the characteristics that make them great for the kitchen, are almost the same.

Here are some of these characteristics that make them unique, and must-have items.

The Type of Blade

Different technologies go into making different Shun knife blades. Check out some of them.

San Mai Blade Technology

An ancient samurai sword-making technique that involves sandwiching a hard steel core in between two laser-cut softer stainless steel blade sections. This results in a high performing, stain-resistant blade.

Damascus clad blades

Some Shun knife sets like the Shun Kai Classic 2 Piece Knife Set features blades made by layering different metal alloys together and forging them into one piece, revealing a beautiful layered Damascus pattern.

The Type of Steel

The type of steel a knife is made of determines how hard and corrosion-resistant the knife will be. Here are the two most common types of steel featured in Shun knife sets.

VG10 Steel

VG10 actually stands for V- Gold-10. The 'gold' indicates the quality standard of the steel- the highest. It's a type of stainless steel with a high percentage of carbon, makes it harder than most types of stainless steel.

It also sharpens easier and has an excellent long-lasting cutting edge. It is prone to corrosion though, so you should take care not to place them in the dishwasher.

VG10 steel is often sandwiched between two softer layers of stainless steel to further protect the blade from rusting, producing a layered damask pattern.

Japanese AUS10 Steel

This is a super-refined high carbon steel containing vanadium. It is not as well known as VG10 steel, but it's just as good. Its high carbon content makes it super hard and gives it a long-lasting and sharp edge when sharpened.

Still, too much of everything isn't necessarily good, and if a knife is too hard it will break easily. To avoid this, some amount of manganese, nickel and silicon is added to the alloy to make it more elastic.

The Type of Handles

Knives in different shun knife sets feature different types of handles. Here are two of the main ones:

Tagayasan Wood

Tagayasan is a broad-leafed tree of high quality wood which is native to Japan. When it comes to maturing, this tree is never in a hurry. For the wood to be ready for use, you have to wait for 100 years. Talk about sleeping beauty! This long wait makes the core of the tree extremely hard, which is why the tree is also known as the 'iron sword tree'.

As can be expected, handles made from this wood are durable, hard, and corrosion-resistant. Knives in the Shun Kai Kanso Chefs Knife 3 Piece Set Boxed have this type of handle.

Shun Kai Kanso Chefs Knife 3 Piece Set Boxed


This is a composite of natural wood and resin, where pieces of wood are dried up and subsequently glued under high pressure together with phenolic resins to make a wood-plastic blend.

Sometimes the material is dyed to make it look like different types of wood, such as chestnut or even an exotic wood.

Pakkawood is more durable than natural wood as it doesn't absorb water easily and attract moisture-loving microorganisms. It's easy to clean and dry. Pakkawood handles are a common feature of Shun knife sets, such as the Shun Kai Classic 3 Piece Santoku Knife Set.

Shun Kai Classic 3 Piece Santoku Knife Set

The Type of Knives

Shun knife sets come in different styles. Some have different sizes of one type of knife, while others have different knives in one set. Here are the most common knives you'll find in a typical Shun Knife set.

The Paring Knife

To pare is to trim or to cut away something at its outer edges. A paring knife does just that. You can use it to peel, trim, and even core vegetables and fruits. It is small, which makes it ideal for highly detailed work like decorating trimmings.

It is petit enough for you to use in your hand without the need to place food on the cutting board, which is kind of liberating. Still, it's not above chopping small foods like ginger and garlic on the cutting board.

 Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Shoso Paring Knife 12cm

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Shoso Paring Knife 12cm

Utility Knife

This is sort of like a cross between the chef's knife and the paring knife, with a straighter and narrower blade. It is large enough to handle larger vegetables like broccoli, yet small enough to fit comfortably in the hand and cut away without the need for a cutting board. Like a large paring knife.

 Shun Kai Sora Utility Knife 15cm

Shun Kai Sora Utility Knife 15cm

The Santoku Knife

This is the quintessential Japanese knife. The all-rounder. It lives up to its name, which more or less means 'three virtues'. That either stands for chopping, dicing, and slicing; or vegetables, fruit, and protein.

In short, it can do almost anything you want it to do, short of probably splitting bones.

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Benifuji Scalloped Santoku Knife 16.5cm

Shun Kai Seki Magoroku Benifuji Scalloped Santoku Knife 16.5cm

The Shun Knife Block

Shun knives are too good to simply be kept in a drawer with other kitchen stuff. Keeping Shun knives in a common drawer is the kitchen equivalent of keeping valuable jewelry jumbled up in your dresser drawer. That's a no-no. And this is where the knife block comes in.

It's a block of wood with slots for specific knives. Keeping knives in a knife block protects the blade from chipping or dulling due to being constantly rubbed against in a common drawer.

Some knife blocks such as the Shun Kai Kanso Knife Block Set 7 Pc already come with their own set of knives, while others come empty. Knife blocks look great on the counter and keep knives within easy reach.

Shun Kai Kanso Knife Block Set 7 Pc

Final Words

Shun knives have never been known to disappoint. A Shun knife set is great as it gives you a chance to own more than one Shun knife at one go.

Also Read: A Quick Guide to the Furi Knife Sharpener