Use & Care
Caring for Your Cutlery
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.
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. The only exception is when using Shun cleaver blades, which can be chopped with.
Please do not use Shun knives on bones, joints, or frozen foods. Shun knives are designed for precision slicing rather than crushing down through hard materials.
When your kitchen tasks call for cutting through hard foods, such as winter squash or produce with thicker, tougher rinds, like pineapple or watermelon, we recommend using the Shun Classic Western Cook’s Knife. This knife has been sharpened to a slightly wider angle, 22° on each side, to take on these heavier, harder foods. When cutting hard foods like these, you may find that the knife sticks in the food on occasion. If this happens, don’t twist the knife to the side to free it; that could damage the blade. Instead, lift the knife straight up and continue cutting. A handy tip for cutting hard vegetables, such as squash, is to heat the vegetable in the microwave briefly to soften it slightly before cutting. For chopping through bones, we recommend the Classic Meat Cleaver (DM0767).
The cutting surface you use makes a big difference in keeping your knives sharp. A good cutting board will help retain a sharp edge substantially longer. Medium-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.
Washing & drying
It is important to protect your investment by hand washing your knives with gentle dish soap. Do not use soaps with citrus extracts or bleach; they can promote rust. Rinse and towel dry immediately. Take extra time to get ALL of the water/moisture off of the sharp cutting edge. Although the wood used in the handles has been stabilized, it is natural, and like all wood, may shrink in very arid environments or 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.
It is best to store your Shun cutlery in a wooden block, in-drawer knife tray, sheath, or knife case. Do not store your knives unsheathed in a drawer.
Single-bevel blade care
The Shun Classic Pro Line and Dual Core Yanagiba are single-beveled blades. In addition to the general care above, you can give your single-beveled blade some additional TLC to enhance its razor-like qualities.
Like those of most manufacturers, Shun single-beveled blades have a micro-bevel on the blade back. This enables you to use the blade right out of the box—and to be able to touch up the edge using a smooth hone or 6000-grit whetstone.
However, for chefs who want the most exquisite of single-bevel edges, both Shun Classic Pro and Dual Core Yanagiba can be further sharpened and shaped using a method known as uraoshi. The uraoshi process can be done by the knife owner using a series of progressively finer-grit whetstones or by a professional sharpening service.
Uraoshi flattens the back of the blade along the edge and the spine. The slight hollow in the blade back, which helps food release from the blade, remains in the blade's center; only the edges are completely flattened. Since there's no angle to maintain, this makes sharpening easier; you simply pull the blade flat across the whetstone. It reduces sharpening effort, too, since you're only concerned with the edges and not the entire back of the blade. Further, it strengthens the edge.
That said, uraoshi sharpening is a learned skill and Shun recommends having a professional sharpener do this for you unless you are a skilled sharpener yourself. It is not required in order to use your knife, but it is a professional enhancement.