Shun vs Wusthof

I've been using Wusthof Classic knives for a long time. But recently, I found myself drawn to Shun. I would like to hear your experiences, especially if you had both. Is Shun edge sharper, does it hold well? How do they compare over long time? How difficult are they to sharpen (I sharpen the knives myself using wet stone). How do you like Shun Western-style blades (I prefer Western-style blades, and mostly frequently use 6-inch chef's knife and 4 1/2" utility knife). Thank you...



ChefJune November 27, 2015
I've just re-read my response and read the other comments. So fascinating. I should robably say that my Wusthof chefs knives are 30 years old. Now you have me curious as to how the newer ones might be different. I wonder whether I would like them so well.
QueenSashy November 27, 2015
ChefJune, I remember seeing a thread on chowhound that mentioned how a couple of years ago Wusthof changed the bevel geometry of its knives. In case you are interested, here is the post
Annie S. November 27, 2015
I am just an everyday home cook who saved and saved to buy my first Wusthoff ten inch chefs. I still like my old carbon steel knives I got for a wedding present but 40 years has not been kind to them. My husband surprised me with a set of Ken Olin Shun knives. They are sharp! However they are also kind of "fussy". I can't think of a better word. I guess I mean high maintenance and somewhat delicate. My husband who knows his way around the kitchen chipped one. To be honest they are not the knives I reach for first. Just my 2 cents.
QueenSashy November 27, 2015
Annie - I appreciate the input since I am just an everyday home cook too. And by the way, my husband managed to chip Wusthof! After that, I bought him two Kuhn Rikon knives, $9 each, that was one of the best investments in my life. The Wusthofs are now husband free.
Ian M. November 23, 2016
My carbon steel knives are by far the best. Though the blades have been used lovingly and are a bit deformed, they have great patina and the wooden handles leave them still perfect to use!
nancy E. November 27, 2015
When using a Japanese blade, the angle to sharpen it is totally different from a European blade. Not sure if this requires an expert to sharpen it but I know you can screw it up sharpening it yourself. I own both and find the German steel lasts and lasts and lasts. The japanese is sharp as a razor but only for so long.
cookbookchick November 28, 2015
Here's something to know if you own or are contemplating a Shun knife, copied from their website: "Your Shun or Kai knife comes with free lifetime sharpening. Just send the knife to our Tualatin, Oregon facility. We’ll sharpen it for free and return it to you."
Ian M. November 23, 2016
This is interesting. I've learned that modern Wüsthof blades are angled at 16 degrees as Shun blades are. It's the same sharpening process but Shun blades are made with a harder steel which requires a bit more work on the stone. It's definitely worth it though! Once I obtain a polished edge on one of my Shuns, they stay pretty sharp for a long time. My German knives can obtain the same degree of sharpness but I have to hit the steel to hone them more frequently. I've been using Henckels for decades and prefer them since they feel better to me. I do like my Wüsthof knives though. The quality is only matched by Henckels in my opinion. Shun knives involve some extra TLC since the blades have a higher carbon content than the Germans. It's easy to chip a Shun out of nowhere.
Rebecca V. November 27, 2015
Hi QueenSashy,
First, a few questions:
*What kind of knife do you need?
*Why are you drawn to Shun?
*Why do you prefer Western-style blades?

When I'm buying a new knife, I always have to hold the knife first to feel the weight and to make sure that all areas around the tang and rivets are seamless. I also will not buy a knife without cutting something with it first (ask for a carrot, they should come up with something). I prefer Japanese-style & non-stainless, but other than that I generally try to avoid going for certain brands first and instead try to figure out what kind of knife I need and look at the variety of prices depending what's on the market. Some knives are marked up simply because of the brand; some are marked up because of craftsmanship that does not necessarily improve knife utility (e.g., Damascus blades).

I think by far the most important consideration to make when purchasing a new knife is to handle it in person and experience how it cuts. Happy hunting!
Susan W. November 27, 2015
I took a carrot and a tomato with me. I felt obnoxious, but it turned out they had them both at the store, so I didn't even need to pull them out. :)
QueenSashy November 27, 2015
Hi Rebecca, thanks for asking... I am contemplating replacing my chef's knife. I like the curve/profile of the Western knifes, because I like to rock a knife as I cut. That's important to me... I used my friend's Shun this summer for a couple of days, and while I still prefer Wusthof handle, I was drawn to the sharpness of Shun. Also, I do a lot of work on a computer and it is often affecting my wrists -- when that happens, I can feel the heaviness of Wusthof, while Shun felt much lighter.
Susan W. November 27, 2015
I love my Shun. I have the 7" Santuko made in Japan. When I travel to San Diego to visit friends and family, it goes with me. It's by far the best (and most expensive) knife I have ever owned. I've never owned Wusthof, but my friend does. I prefer my Shun. It feels more substantial to me. Maybe I prefer it because I'm used to it. It holds a sharp edge really well. I don't sharpen it myself, so I can't speak to that. I have it sharpened every October.
Susan W. November 27, 2015
I should add, this is the one I have.
ChefJune November 27, 2015
I also have always used Wusthof knives. They're the only ones I own. Being in the trade, I often get sent samples which I've tried and passed on to others.
I'd say it's a difference in the type of knife you like. I love the heft of the Wusthof. My favorite knife is my 10-inch chef's knife. It feels like an extension of my arm. I just don't get that with Shun. But that doesn't make it "not a good knife..."
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