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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Explore these FAQs first, then if you still have a question, we’d be happy to help.
Do I need to register my knives? Save the receipt? What if it was a gift?
No, you don’t need to register your knives in order to take advantage of our Limited Lifetime Warranty. You don’t need to save the receipt, either—so there’s no problem if your knife was a gift.
However, we do encourage you to register your Shun. You can do that here.
Looking for a local Shun retailer?
You can search for a retailer near you here.
Are the Shun Classic’s D-shaped handles only for right-handed users?
No. The D-shape of the Shun Classic handles was designed to tuck into the palm of a right-handed user and provide more control by leaving less space between handle and hand. That being said, many left-handers find that the handle works just as well for them. The best way to know whether a knife is right for you is to actually hold the knife in your hands before making your purchase.
Who makes Shun products?
Shun cutlery is handcrafted in Japan by the Kai Corporation. For more than 111years, Kai's highly skilled artisans have been producing blades of unparalleled quality in the spirit of the legendary swordsmiths of Japan. For three generations, Kai has been dedicated to listening to the voices of its customers, providing products that contribute to a more tasteful life. Incredibly sharp edges, partnered with a stunning aesthetic, set Shun knives apart from every other kitchen knife on the market today. In the tradition of Seki’s swordsmiths, every knife is handmade by highly skilled specialists and requires at least 100 handcrafted steps to complete. Every day, the legacy of ancient swordsmiths serves as inspiration to the artisans in the Kai factories. This tradition of excellence, combined with the newest technology and advanced materials, makes every Shun knife a functional work of art.
What’s the correct way to pronounce Shun?
Say, “Shoon” (rhymes with moon). Shun is the Japanese concept of eating fresh, local, and in-season—when food is at the peak of perfection. At Kai, we work hard to live up to that tradition every day, making fine kitchen cutlery that is always at the peak of its perfection, too.
What is the difference between your honing steel and ceramic rod?
The Shun Honing Steel is strictly for honing, that is, realigning the blade's edge; it won't take material off your blade. The Shun Fuji Ceramic Rod is a sharpening rod and will take material off your blade; it will not only hone, but sharpen. Use it more sparingly than you would a honing steel.
Do I have to use your honing steel and/or electric sharpener?
As long as the honing steel or electric sharpener is equivalent to the Shun products, no. The advantage of a Shun Honing Steel is that the handle includes a built-in angle guide so that you can be sure you’re honing to the correct 16° angle; and, of course, it matches your set. If you choose an electric sharpener other than Shun, please make sure it will sharpen your knives to the correct 16° angle.
What is the Shun Honing Steel used for?
Honing steel is used to realign the micro edge of the knife. Gently pulling the blade across the steel’s micro-ridged stainless-steel rod at the proper angle realigns the knife’s edge. Given the advanced steels that Shun uses, the edge will tend to stay sharp longer than other knives—depending on how often you use your Shuns, of course. Depending on use, you may wish to hone your knives only once a week or so. Shun Honing Steels also feature a handle with a built-in 16° honing guide to help you hone to the correct angle easily.
Why are there so many reviews complaining of chipped blades?
Without proper knife technique, micro chipping can be the downside of very hard stainless steel. A cook who is unfamiliar with the hardness of Japanese knives and is used to strongly chopping down with a knife against a cutting board, may indeed chip the knife. The damage will be even more pronounced when cutting against ceramic, glass or marble (please don’t!). Micro chips in the blade edge can also occur if a spot of rust develops on the extremely thin edge, too.
The good news is that with a gliding cut, the proper cutting surface, and making sure the knife is thoroughly dry before storing, the chances of chipping are reduced enormously. What’s more, micro chips can easily be sharpened out. Our Warranty Service Department will be happy to help you with that.
Of course, if there is a problem with the materials or manufacturing itself, we’ll take care of that, too. Just send in your knife to our Warranty Service Department for evaluation.
Why did my knives not come with sheaths?
Shun knives come with temporary cardboard sheaths to protect the blade during shipping and to protect you when removing the knife from its box. These are not intended to be permanent storage sheaths. We have found that most people store their fine cutlery in a knife block, an in-drawer knife storage system, or on magnetic knife holders. Since that is the case, including permanent sheaths would only be adding to the waste in the world, so Shun opted to include only the recyclable cardboard sheath with most of our knife lines. There is an exception, however. Our Shun Dual Core knives and our Classic and Kanso Brisket Knives come with a wooden saya or sheath in which to store the knives.
What is the rockwell hardness of the different steels and what does it mean?
The Rockwell scale provides a convenient way to compare the hardness of two materials, such as types of steel. It measures hardness based on the depth of penetration of a diamond cone pressed into the material at a constant pressure. Put simply, the higher the number, the harder the material.
In general, Shun hardens VG10 and VG-Max steel to 60-61 Rockwell and SG2 to 61-62. An increase of 1 degree Rockwell equates to an increase in hardness of about 10% as well as an increase in edge-holding ability. These degrees of hardness enable Shun knives to be thin, hard, and precise without being overly brittle.
What is the difference between VG10, VG-MAX and SG2 steel?
VG10, VG-MAX, and SG2 are three different types of advanced “super steels” that Shun uses to make our blades. In blades with Damascus cladding, the cutting core—the inner layer of steel that actually does the cutting—may be made of one of these advanced steels. Blades with no cladding may be composed entirely of one of these steels. These three steels go far beyond the typical “good, better, and best” categorization. Instead, think of them as “excellent, superb, and ultra-premium.”
VG10 is a highly refined stainless steel with excellent edge retention and stain resistance.
VG-MAX has more chromium and vanadium than VG10, which provides even better edge retention and corrosion resistance, and enables Shun to harden the steel so it will take an amazingly sharp edge. VG-MAX is only available in Shun knives.
SG2 is powdered steel; this means it is even more refined than VG10 or VG-MAX and it remains more ductile (less brittle) even though it is very hard. It offers superior edge retention and corrosion resistance, with less chipping.
What is the difference between Japanese steel and German steel knives? Which is better?
German (and other Western-style) knives tend to be heavier and made of “tougher” but “softer” steel. They are also generally made from thicker blade stock, which means it takes a bit more pressure to slice through foods. What’s more, these knives are typically sharpened to a wider cutting angle (20-25° on each side of the blade), again requiring more muscle to cut through foods. Because of the “softer” steel, German steel knives will also get dull faster and require more maintenance. Many cooks find that they need to hone their knives before each use.
Japanese steel knives are generally lighter in weight and are made of thinner, harder steel. Due to their harder steel, the blade stock can be thinner and the edge more acute—that is, sharper—than a comparable German knife. Shun knives, for example, are sharpened to a 16° angle on each side of the blade. The lighter, thinner blade makes Japanese steel knives like Shun extremely agile, precise, and can even be less tiring to use.
This is not to say that German steel knives are “bad.” (In fact, the softer steel enables them to take a bit more edge abuse.) It’s just that Japanese steel knives are different creatures. You may find that you need to refine your knife technique in order to take full advantage of the light precision that Japanese steel knives have to offer. For instance, if you’re used to simply pressing downward to make a cut with a German type knife, with a Japanese knife you want to make sure you slice by moving the knife forward or backward. This avoids crushing the food, enables the thin, light blade to glide through whatever you’re cutting, and helps you make a very precise cut.
What are the different shapes and what are their purposes?
Each culinary blade shape has been developed over the years to address specific needs and uses. Some, like the chef’s knife and the paring knife, are general-purpose knives that every kitchen and every cook needs. Others, like the boning knife and the meat cleaver, are for cooks who have specialized needs; in this case, working extensively with meats. The product description for each knife on this website provides information on the key uses for each particular knife.
Use & Care Questions
I take great care of my knife. Why did it chip when I was just chopping vegetables?
Fine Japanese knives are harder, thinner, and sharper than comparable European-style knives. They are built for keenness and edge retention rather than toughness. That’s why they should not be used on bones, very hard produce, or frozen foods.
Cutting surface and cutting technique are also factors. We recommend using softer wood, like Hinoki Cutting Boards, and cutting in a smooth slicing motion, not a forceful, up-and-down “chopping” manner. In addition to these, here are other reasons why chipping can occur:
- A pre-existing condition—corrosion, if not addressed, can eventually lead to a chip.
- Micro corrosion—may look like micro chipping, but is the result of corrosion right at the edge. It can occur because moisture is left on the cutting edge. Moisture weakens the stainless steel and promotes micro-corrosion. To guard against this, wash your knife immediately after use and dry it very thoroughly with an absorbent cloth or towel.
- A work-hardened cutting edge—an unaddressed rolled edge can become over hardened during use, making it more vulnerable to chipping. Regular honing can help prevent this.
What is proper cutting technique?
Shun Cutlery is designed to be used in a smooth, slicing motion—and never in a forceful, up-and-down “chopping” manner.
The proper cutting motion is a "locomotive" motion, pushing the knife forward and down as you cut through the food, then pulling the knife up and back towards you (in order to position it for the next cut). This motion is also similar to cutting wood with a handsaw—forward and down, then back. The razor-sharp blade of your Shun makes this practically effortless.
When you first begin using a Shun, go slowly and enjoy the precision cutting ability of your new kitchen cutlery. As you gain experience, you will be able to work more quickly. No matter what your experience level, be careful and always pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the knife.
Use your Shuns on meats and vegetables only, not on bones or very thick-skinned vegetables. For this heavier kitchen work, try our Classic 8” Western Cook’s Knife (DM0766) and Classic Meat Cleaver (DM0767). They're designed to handle more aggressive work in the kitchen, such as breaking down chickens and preparing thick-skinned vegetables like butternut squash or melons.
Why did my knife’s tip break off?
There are a number of reasons why a knife tip might break—apart from accidentally dropping it tip down on a hard surface.
- A pre-existing condition—corrosion or a tiny chip or nick near the tip could weaken it, making it break during a normal cutting task.
- A bent tip—if the tip had previously been bent, it has been weakened and could break.
- Lateral (sideways) movement of the knife—can twist the tip and weaken it.
- Prying—never pry with the tip of your knife.
- Knife block damage—sometimes a tip can be damaged going in or out of the block.
Can I wash my knives in the dishwasher?
We recommend that you do not wash your knives in the dishwasher. Here’s why: The dishwasher can be hard on all your dishes, but it can be especially hard on knives because they tend to get knocked around during the cycle. Conversely, sharp knives can put “dings” in your dishwasher, too. In addition, when you wash different grades of metal together, brown spotting may occur on the higher quality metals (such as Shun blades). These spots can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Finally, many dishwashing detergents contain corrosive agents, such as citrus extracts. Not only can this cause unnecessary wear on your dishes, it can also cause pitting or corrosion on your Shun knives.
For all these reasons, we recommend that you protect your investment by handwashing your knives with a gentle dish soap.
What are appropriate cutting surfaces?
One key to keeping a Shun (or any other knife) sharp and avoiding chips is to use an appropriate cutting surface. To help maintain your edges, use a cutting board made out of softer materials and will “give” under the blade, such as Shun's Hinoki Cutting Boards. If the knife can leave a cut line in the board, your cutting board is sufficiently soft. Please do not cut on tile, ceramic plates, marble, granite, plastic, or acrylic. All of these surfaces will dull and chip your blade very quickly.
How do I inspect my knives? And how often?
We suggest you inspect your knives every time you use them. Since the cutting edge is thin, sharp, and unpolished, it’s the most vulnerable. Check it first. Make sure the edge looks smooth with no discoloration. Then check the whole blade for any tarnish or rust. Don’t see anything? Perfect. Let’s cook. If you do spot something, address it right away. Learn more.
What is the difference between honing and sharpening?
As you use your knife your edge rolls over to one side or the other making it feel dull. This is normal. Honing straightens out a rolled edge without removing blade material.
A honing steel enables you to re-align the edge so that the razor-sharp edge is once again gliding through the food as you cut. Learn more.
When your knife is dull and honing no longer provides improvement, it’s time for sharpening. You can send it to us for sharpening, or we offer a variety of tools to sharpen on your own. Shop sharpening and honing tools.
What is the proper way to hone a Shun blade?
To maintain the life of your blade and for optimal performance, it’s important to keep your knife honed. But remember that there’s a big difference between honing and sharpening. Honing maintains your blade. It simply realigns the micro edge of your blade to give you the best performance possible—until your knife is ready for sharpening. Sharpening actually removes metal from the blade, putting a fresh edge on the knife. If you hone regularly, you’ll cut down on the need for sharpening and extend the life of your knife.
You can easily hone your knives with the Shun Honing Steel. Our Honing Steel has a built-in honing guide set to the correct Shun 16° angle. Line your knife up with the guide, then make a few light strokes on each side of the blade. Learn more. That’s all it takes to maintain the edge. (Please do not use a diamond steel for regular honing. Diamond steels are for sharpening and will remove metal from your knife before it is necessary.)
What are the signs that I should send my knives in for sharpening?
If you notice any of the issues below, your knives will need sharpening. Especially in the case of micro corrosion, the sooner you spot it, the easier it will be to solve. Inspect your knives often.
- Reduced performance—even after honing, the edge won’t easily glide through the resilient skin of a tomato.
- Reduced performance on part of the blade—the part of the blade you use most (usually the center) no longer cuts as well, but the tip and heel may still be sharp.
- Micro corrosion on edge or blade—such as rust.
What’s the best way to sharpen my knives?
You have several options:
Return them to us for FREE sharpening
Shun owners may return their Shun knives to our Tualatin, Oregon facility for free sharpening. To take advantage of this service, please see our Sharpening service information here. Ship your knives to us using the carrier of your choice, however we strongly recommend a carrier that provides a tracking number. Without a tracking number, you will have no way of knowing that your package has arrived at our facility—and neither will we. We cannot be responsible for shipments without a tracking number.
Sharpen them yourself on a whetstone
A second sharpening option is to purchase a whetstone. Shun offers several whetstones as well as a three-piece Sharpening System that includes a honing steel, whetstone, and a bamboo stand angled to 16° that makes sharpening easy. Shop sharpening and honing tools.
Sharpen them yourself with a pull-through sharpener
For an electric sharpening option we recommend the Shun electric sharpener. For a manual pull-through, try out Diamond and Ceramic Retractable Sharpener, both of which match the 16° angle of our cutlery.
But please remember that sharpening is not something that should be done on a weekly basis. Sharpening actually removes some of the metal from the blade, so sharpening too frequently may reduce the life of your knife.
How should I store my knives?
Store your knives in a block, a knife case, an in-drawer knife holder, a sheath, a magnetic bar, or in the original box. If your knives are just thrown in a drawer, they can get dulled or chipped, as well as being a potential hazard when you reach into the drawer.
Is there anything Shun knives shouldn’t be used on?
Please do not use Shun knives on bones, joints, or frozen foods. Most Shun knives are designed for precision slicing rather than crushing down through hard materials. However, Shun does make specialized knives designed to take on these types of tasks. For example, the Western Cook’s Knife has been sharpened to a slightly wider angle; 22° on each side. This means that—with the proper slicing technique—you will be able to cut through things like squash, including pumpkins, as well as produce with thicker, tougher rinds, such as pineapple or watermelon. For chopping through bones, we recommend the Shun Meat Cleaver (DM0767).
How can I help maintain the life of my knife?
If you use your Shun knife correctly, it can provide you with a lifetime of service. Yet using your knife correctly isn’t only about how to maintain the edge or how to sharpen the blade; it’s also about how you use the knife on a daily basis.
Please do not push straight down on your blades. Not only will this result in arm fatigue for you, it can also be hard on your blades—and could result in chipping. When you cut, it’s important to use a “locomotive” motion. Move the blade in either a forward or backward direction. By pushing the blade forward when you chop, rather than pushing straight down, the blade does the work instead of having to use your muscle to cut. The same applies to pulling back on the knife. This slicing motion will cut down on unnecessary muscle strain and keep your blade in excellent condition.
Can you repair chips?
Yes, we can sharpen out small chips (2mm or under). To do so, we need to remove all the metal in line with the chip. This will mean that your blade will be narrower than it originally was. This should not affect its performance, though after many sharpenings, the cutting edge will be thicker so it may not feel as sharp as brand new, though it will be precisely the same cutting angle. Severe chips or cracks that extend into the cladding may not be repairable. Learn More.
Can you repair a broken tip?
Yes. To re-form a broken tip, we must remove material from both the spine and cutting edge. This means your repaired blade will have a slightly different shape and be shorter than it was originally Learn More.
Why does my knife not hold an edge like it did when it was new? Is this covered under warranty?
Maintaining the edge of your knife to ensure it does not become dull is considered normal care and is the responsibility of the owner. It is not a defect covered by warranty. The sharpening process removes material from the knife. This means that the more you sharpen your Shun, the wider the edge geometry becomes and the more frequently your knife will require sharpening.
Two things you can do that will help keep your knives sharp are to cut on a "soft" wood cutting board using a smooth, slicing motion, and to hone frequently with a Shun Honing Steel.
A softer cutting surface "gives" under the knife and helps resist chipping. Never use a hard surface such as marble or glass; it's a surefire way to damage your knife. Our Hinoki Cutting Boards are the perfect surface for fine cutlery.
Proper cutting technique also helps maintain your knife's edge. Shun Cutlery is designed to be used in a smooth, slicing motion—and never in a forceful, up-and-down “chopping” manner. The proper cutting motion is a "locomotive" motion, pushing the knife forward and down as you cut through the food, then pulling the knife up and back towards you to position it for the next cut. This motion is also similar to cutting wood with a handsaw—forward and down, then back. The razor-sharp blade of your Shun makes this practically effortless. Remember to use caution at all times and pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the knife and the knife's cutting edge.
Shun knives are stainless steel, so why is there rust on my blade? Is rust covered under warranty?
Stainless steel knives can still develop rust. Rust is caused by moisture left on the blade. Rust is not a manufacturing defect and is not covered under warranty. To remove rust from steel, we recommend a product named Flitz. Flitz is a blue gel which helps remove rust, stains, and corrosion from steel. If you decide to use the product, use it only on the areas directly affected by rust. We recommend not letting the Flitz sit on the blade steel for any length of time. After applying the Flitz and removing the rust, please wash your knife thoroughly with warm, soapy water, completely dry it with an absorbent material cloth or towel, and finish with a light coating of cooking-grade oil on the blade and handle cap of the knife. Specific instructions on how to use the Flitz product are available on the Flitz container. Our instructions are not intended to either supplement or surplant the directions of the Flitz manufacturer.
If you request it, we will remove light rust from your knife. Just let us know on the Sharpening Request Form.
How can I prevent rust?
There are lots of ways. Here are some great tips:
- Clean knives right away after use, make sure no food is left on the knife
- Clean knives in warm or cool water; hot water can “cook” leftover food particles onto the blade
- If you use detergent, make sure it’s mild and non-citrus (citrus can break down the protective film)
- Dry thoroughly after cleaning, especially the edge
- Don’t return a cleaned knife to a wet cutting board; knives are made to rest cutting edge down (for safety), but this means the vulnerable edge can rest in water (or juice, etc.) if you place it on a wet board
- If you have hard water, consider a water softener
The Shun logo, damascus layers, and/or handle of my knife have faded. Is this covered under warranty?
Fading and signs of wear are not defects; they are caused by normal use. The warranty does not guarantee the esthetics of a product after it has been used.
Someone used my knife and did not know how to use it properly; they caused damage. Is it covered?
Damage caused by misuse or accident by anyone, regardless of ownership, is not a defect. However, we can attempt to improve the condition of the knife. We can attempt to repair and/or to reshape the edge of your knife. Nevertheless, if our attempt is unsatisfactory or unsuccessful , Shun is not responsible for replacing the knife.
I dropped my knife and damaged or broke it; is this covered under warranty?
The warranty policy does not extend to damages incurred by accidental handling. We are happy to attempt to repair and/or to reshape the edge of your knife. However, if our attempt is unsatisfactory or unsuccessful, Shun is not responsible for replacing the knife.
The tip of my knife is bent. Can you repair or replace it?
A bent tip is the result of inappropriate use or accidental handling. Inappropriate use includes—but is not limited to—using the tip of the knife to start a cut, bending the tip while the knife is still stuck into the food you're cutting, or using it as a prying tool. Accidental handling includes—but is not limited to—dropping the knife in the sink, on the counter, on the floor, or bending the tip when pulling it out of a knife block. A bent blade is not a defect in such circumstances. However, Shun can attempt to repair and/or to reshape the edge of your knife for you. If our attempt is unsatisfactory or unsuccessful, Shun is not responsible for replacing the knife.
What should I expect when I send my knives in for sharpening?
Our sharpening services can help you address issues from a standard dull edge to a broken tip. We want to make sure you know what to expect when you send your knife in for service.
When your knife is dull and honing no longer provides improvement, it’s time for sharpening. Sharpening removes metal from the edge of the knife to reform the sharp edge. This means that, over time and many sharpenings, your blade will look different than it did originally. This is normal and to be expected.
Perhaps your knife develops a small chip along the edge. Or the tip breaks off. Depending on the nature of the break, we may be able to help. Small chips (2mm or under) can usually be sharpened out. Repairing a broken tip is more complicated but can be done. Learn more.
I live outside the USA, Canada, or Mexico. Can I ship my Shun to you for warranty service and sharpening?
We’re sorry, but we only provide warranty and sharpening service to customers who purchased their products in the USA, Canada, or Mexico through Kai USA or any of our authorized dealers. If you purchased your products elsewhere, please contact the authorized dealer from whom you originally purchased.
For international purchases and service, please contact:
Kai Europe: Contact Us
Kai Japan/Asia: Contact Us
For Michel Bras cutlery: Member Service
If you purchased our cutlery in the USA, Canada, or Mexico and currently reside in another country OR you purchased outside of the USA, Canada, or Mexico and currently live in one of these countries, please contact Kai USA before sending your product to us so we can advise as to whether we can service your product.
How will I know if my knife is covered under warranty?
Please provide your phone number and/or email address on your Warranty/Service Form. If there is any problem with your coverage, we will call you to discuss your knife. Otherwise, we will repair your knife within our usual turnaround time.
I shipped my knife to you for repair. Have you received it yet?
We encourage you to ship via a carrier that provides a tracking number. The tracking number allows you to easily verify your knife's arrival at our facility. Please note that Shun will not notify you of the arrival of your knife at our facility; having a tracking number from your carrier will enable you to check with your carrier to ensure your package’s arrival.
Can I have my old knife back if you choose to replace it?
We're sorry, but we cannot replace a knife and return the old one.
Where do I ship my knife for warranty service?
Please send your knives to Kai USA Ltd. You will need to complete our online Warranty/Service Form, print out a copy, and include it with your package. The information you need can be found here.
How is shipping calculated?
When you order, you will be able to choose from one of three shipping methods: Ground Shipping, UPS 2-Day, or UPS 1-Day. These are flat rates anywhere within the continental US.
When will I receive my order? Order processing and shipping timelines.
Generally, we will process and ship your order within 1-2 days of receiving your order, excluding weekends and holidays. Delivery time depends on the shipping method you select. See approximate delivery times here.
Which payment methods do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards: Amex, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.
How do I cancel my order?
You may cancel your order at any time prior to Kai USA processing your order by calling 1-800-325-2891, Monday-Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm, Pacific Time, or emailing customerserviceWEB@kai-usa.com. Unfortunately, we are not able to cancel orders once they have been shipped. You may, however, return the order once it arrives.
How do I access my order history?
If you have an account, just login to your account on this website and view My Orders. If you don't have one, you can register quickly and easily or enter your order information in the form here.
How do I return my order?
It's easy to return a product purchased from our website. You may return anytime within 30 days of when the order was placed. Please contact Customer Service to request a Return Authorization for products purchased from our website: 1-800-325-2891 (M-F, 8 am-4:30 pm, Pacific Time) or email us at customerserviceWEB@kai-usa.com.
Be sure to have the information from your packing slip available. You will receive email instructions for returning your product. Ship your unused product, in its original packaging, to the address identified in our email. Kai USA is not responsible for returned items until they are received by us. We recommend that you insure/track your returned items. Find more information here.
How long do I have to return my order?
If you aren't delighted with your purchase from our website, you can return an unused product, in the original packaging, and with a copy of our website email receipt, within 30 days and we will happily refund the purchase price. Original delivery fees are refunded only if returns are for defective products, products that were not described accurately, or incorrect orders.