The whetstone should be soaked in water for about 10 minutes before using it. Make sure that the stone is always slightly wet during the grinding process.
Asymmetric blades: 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 (to get the largest possible surface), pressing towards the edge and releasing the pressure when moving the knife back. This should be repeated proportionally on all parts of the blade. Once the ground side is done, reverse the knife and repeat the process as described above on the hollow-ground side but less often – 1/10 will do.
Symmetric blades: repeat the process as above, but reduce the angle to approx. 15°. It is important to grind both sides of the blade equally to regain a symmetrically sharpened knife.
Our top-quality knives need a certain amount of care so that you can enjoy your sharp knife for a long time.
Before using our 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 (head wood is best) or synthetic cutting boards of medium firmness.
When chopping, always ensure that the blade does not strike on hard materials. The blade can be damaged when cutting bones, frozen foods or similar 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 gets 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.
Shun & Kai Cutlery Care
One aspect of caring for your knives is maintaining the edge and, when needed, sharpening the blade. But it’s also important to be aware of how you’re using your knives on a daily basis.
Cutting Surface & Cutting Technique
The cutting surface you use makes a big difference in keeping your knives sharp. A good cutting board will help retain a sharp edge for substantially longer. Soft woods, such as hinoki, are preferred. Tile, ceramic, synthetic, marble, granite, or any kind of glass cutting boards are not recommended and can be very hard on your knives.
Shun cutlery is designed to be used in a smooth, slicing motion—never in an up-and down “chopping” manner. Imagine cutting wood with a handsaw, then slice through your food with a similar motion, intentionally pushing the knife forward and down as you slice, then pulling it back toward your body.
Always pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the knife. Your skill and experience level should determine the speed at which you cut. When first slicing with a Shun, it’s best to slow down and enjoy the effortless precision and cutting ability of your new knife.
Knives are intended to be used for cutting purposes only – not for stabbing or piercing. Use your Shun knives on meats and vegetables only, not on bones or very thick-skinned vegetables. For this heavier kitchen work, try the Shun Classic Meat Cleaver (DM0767), or Shun Classic 8” Western Chef’s Knife (DM0766), which are designed to handle more aggressive work in the kitchen, such as breaking down chicken and preparing thick-skinned vegetables like butternut squash or melons.
Cleaning and Storage
As with any lifetime investment, it’s important to take the best care possible in order to prolong the life of your knife. Shun recommends that you protect your investment by handwashing your blades with gentle dish soap. Don’t use soaps with citrus extracts or bleach; they can promote corrosion. Do not use scouring pads, steel, or gritty cleanser when cleaning the blades. Rinse and towel dry immediately. Let the knives air dry for a few minutes before returning them to storage. Never leave your knife sitting in a sink full of soapy water. It does metals no good to be submerged in water for prolonged periods of time, and it’s a danger to you when you reach in.
Micro-corrosion, which can result in tiny chips or missing pieces in your knife’s cutting edge, can occur because moisture is left on the cutting edge. Moisture weakens the stainless steel and promotes micro-corrosion. If moisture is left on the cutting edge repeatedly, even normal use in the kitchen can result in small chips in the weakened sections of the edge. To guard against this, wash your knife immediately after use and dry it very thoroughly with an absorbent cloth or towel. Please take extra care to safely dry the sharp cutting edge of your Shun, keeping your fingers away from the edge.
After you have washed and dried your knives, store them in a block, knife case, in-drawer tray, or sheath. We do not recommend storing the knives unsheathed in a drawer, as this can be a potential hazard to the blades as well as your fingers.
Note: Handwashing is also the best way to care for the wood handles of your Shun knives. Although the wood has been stabilized, it is natural wood and, like all wood, will tend to shrink in very arid environments and swell in very humid environments. The handle color may change slightly over time due to oils in the hand as well as the natural color change of wood from oxidation and/or exposure to light. This is not a defect, but a natural part of the process.
Honing and Sharpening
In order to maximize the life of the blade, regular honing with a Shun steel will be necessary. Weekly honing will extend the time between sharpening significantly. 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).