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Sharpening and honing your Shun knife

Maintenance

Shun quality knives need a certain amount of care so that you can enjoy your sharp knife for years to come. 

Before using Shun knives for the first time clean them with hot water. After each use clean them under running water and dry them with a soft cloth; do not use aggressive detergents. For your own safety you should always wipe the knife with a towel or cloth from the blade’s back towards the edge. Rinse off aggressive agents like lemon juice directly after use. 

Never put knives in a dishwasher. This may impair not only the material, but also the sharpness of the edge. Never cut on glass or granite cutting boards. These may be easy to clean but will ruin the edge of even the hardest steel. Use only wooden boards, wood composite or synthetic cutting boards of medium firmness. 

When using, always ensure the blade does not strike hard materials. The blade can be damaged when cutting around bones, frozen foods, thick skinned vegetables like butternut squash or other hard objects. 

Knives with handles of natural wood should not remain in water too long. Occasionally oil the handle with neutral vegetable oil. 

When storing a knife make sure that the edge never comes in contact with other metallic objects. That way you avoid damage to the edge. Store knives either in a knife block, a wooden drawer insert or on a wall mounted magnet board; Japanese blades are best kept in a wooden sheath.

 

Honing versus sharpening

In order to maximize the life of the blade, regular honing with a Shun steel will be necessary. Sharpening is the act of taking metal off the blade in order to improve the sharpness, this should only need to be done occasionally depending on how often you use and how you care for your knives. However, weekly honing is wise and will extend the time between sharpening significantly. Honing is the process of realigning the blade's edge to ensure it remains sharp.

Simply hold your honing steel vertically, placing the tip of your steel on your chopping board. Starting at the heel and at the top of the steel, draw the knife down the steel, running from the knife heel to the tip. Repeat this at the top of the steel with your knifeand run your knife in downward motions at about a 16° angle. making sure to do alternate sides for a double-beveled blade and to hone the full length of the blade. Simply wash with warm water and dry thoroughly after honing.

Kai Shun Honing

When the time comes to sharpen these premium blades, we recommend using a whetstone, the Kai electric sharpener (specifically designed to sharpen Shun’s 16° blade angle), or sending the knives to a professional sharpener.

 

Sharpening instructions (whetstone)

What grit whetstone is best?

Typically a coarse whetstone, 300 grit or so, will remove material quickly. This is useful for repairing chips or other imperfections.

A medium grit whetstone, typically 1000 to 1500, is suitable for sharpening most knives that have a blade in reasonable but dull condition.

A fine to very fine whetstone, around 4,000 to 6,000 grit is used for finishing and polishing your blade to a mirror like finsh.

Soak your whetstone

The whetstone should first be soaked in water for about 10 minutes before using it. Therafter place on a slipfree surface and ensure the stone is kept slightly wet during the grinding process by dribbling some water on the surface.  A towel placed under the whetstone is a good tip to prevent slipping and provide a suitable material to absorb excess water.

How to sharpen with your wetstone

Double bevel blades (e.g. Shun Classic, Premier)

Grind the knife with a 15° angle to the whetstone, moving the blade with light pressure toward and away from your body. Repeat this process until you can feel a fine burr.

 

 

 

 

 

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This should be repeated proportionally on all parts of the blade. It is important to grind both sides of the blade equally to regain a symmetrically sharpened knife.

To remove the burr formed along the blade as a result of sharpening, place a piece of newspaper on a flat surface and holding the knife at a similiar angle used on the whetstone, swipe the blade sideways left and right across newspaper.  Once the burr is removed, you will feel a smooth edge along the blade.

After sharpening carefully wash, dry, and safely store your knife.

 

 

Turn over the knife and repeat above for the other side                                           

 

Kai Shun Sharpening

 

  

Single bevel blades (e.g. Kai Wasabi)

Place the ground side first on the whetstone. Make sure that you use the angle recommended by the manufacturer. Grind the knife with a 45° angle to the whetstone, moving the blade with light pressure away from and toward your body. Repeat this process until you feel a fine burr.

Once the ground side is done, turnover the knife and repeat the process as described above on the hollow-ground side but less often – 1/10 will do.

To remove the burr formed along the blade as a result of sharpening, place a piece of newspaper on a flat surface and holding the knife at a similiar angle used on the whetstone, swipe the blade sideways left and right across newspaper.  Once the burr is removed, you will only feel a smooth edge along the blade.

After sharpening carefully wash, dry, and safely store your knife.

 

Kai Sun Sharpening

 

 

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