Shun knives are among the most highly regarded Japanese blades in the world. They are works of art that are meant to last a long time. Even these knives, however, can become dull over time. What is the best way to sharpen shun knives? Shun knives can be sharpened at home using a whetstone. Simply angle the blade and strike it against the whetstone a few times on each side until the blade is sufficiently sharp. You can also hire a professional knife care service to do the job for you. Read on to learn more about Shun knives, how to sharpen them, and how to keep them sharp!
What Are Shun Knives?
Shun knives are based on a philosophy that has been practiced for many centuries. Shun produces top-notch blades that are made to last a lifetime by strictly adhering to traditional Japanese knife-making techniques. These knives have an actual advantage over other types of blades because they are made from high-quality materials and are meticulously crafted to perfection.
Fortunately, most knives can be sharpened in the same way despite the fact that each one is distinctive and special in its own right. Shun knives are undoubtedly the best when it comes to keeping their edge, but they are still prone to wear and tear from frequent use. Unfortunately, regardless of the blade’s quality, this is a very natural characteristic of all knives and will occur.
The good news is that you only need to periodically sharpen the blade for a few minutes to restore its original edge because Shun knives are designed and made with extreme precision.
Note: In addition to regular use, knives typically lose their sharpness when they are mishandled during storage or when they are used on particularly tough foods. To find out how to keep the blade’s edge for longer, we suggest reading our advice at the end of this guide.
How To Sharpen Shun Knives
Here is how you should sharpen your knife at home:
You will require:
- A high-quality whetstone
- A dry towel
- A couple of newspapers
Investing in a high-quality whetstone is essential for sharpening high-end knives. A sharpening surface that is too rough will eventually damage the blade or cause it to sharpen unevenly. When using Shun knives, make sure the stone is at least as wide as the knife. This will allow you to glide through the whetstone while maintaining full contact and avoiding an awkward angle. Check that the whetstone is made of high-quality materials that will not produce excessive burr. For the best experience, we recommend using this sharpening stone.
Follow these steps to get a sharp knife:
For hydration, give the whetstone a brief soak in water. When the edge glides across the surface of the stone, this will increase contact between the blade and the stone and reduce pointless friction.
Make sure the whetstone is stable by placing it on a level surface. The bottom of a good sharpening stone will be non-slip and keep it in place.
To provide support and prevent slipping, you can also place the whetstone close to the sink’s corner; just make sure the surface is level.
You must separate the knife into its heel, middle, and tip in order to sharpen the entire thing. Additionally, you will be honing the blade one side at a time.
Set up the blade so that a 16- or 20-degree angle results.
You can quickly establish this angle by inserting your pinky finger behind the knife and bringing the blade down at an angle until it touches your finger. Once the proper angle has been established, take your finger off.
Put your index finger on the spine of the knife’s spine and grasp it near the heel for better support. To gently press down on the knife, place your thumb just over the edge.
Once you are in the proper position and angle, start sawing the heel section across the whetstone as though you were sawing a block of wood. You must move back and forth while applying light pressure.
You will notice a burr forming on the edge after a few strokes. This demonstrates that the blade is sharpening in accordance with plan.
Repeat Steps 4–7 as you move to the middle of the blade.
Repeat Steps 4 through 7 for the tip of the blade as well after you’ve finished honing the heel and middle section of the blade.
It can be a little challenging to get a good angle on the tip section, but you can raise or tilt the handle.
It’s time to move on to the other side of the blade now that you have successfully sharpened one. To get rid of the extra burr, you must first wipe the blade with a towel.
After wiping, flip the knife and continue using the angling technique described above. The blade will be facing away from you this time. To sharpen the opposite side, repeat the process described above.
Rinse and dry the blade with a dry towel after it has been sharpened. To prevent getting the burr back on the blade, we advise using the towel’s clean side.
Finally, spread out a few newspapers on a level, dry surface. Remove any remaining burr by running the blade across the newspapers at a slight angle.
Do this on both sides, and then very gently run your finger along the blade of the knife to check the edge.
Repeat this step if there are still burrs visible. Simply wash and store the knife if it has served its purpose. I’m done now!
How To Care For The Blade
After sharpening the blade, we recommend that you follow a few tips to help the blade retain its sharpness over time. Shun blades, as previously stated, are designed to keep their edge much longer than cheaper blades — but even these high-quality knives can dull, especially if not properly stored and maintained.
Keep It Sheathed, Keep It Safe
When not in use, keep sharpened blades in their case or sheath; alternatively, use a wooden knife holder like this one to protect the blade from nicks. Maintaining a sharpened blade in a drawer at room temperature is probably the worst thing you can do with it! Not only is this risky, but if the blade frequently contacts cutlery, it might also deteriorate more quickly.
Don’t sharpen the knife too often, or you risk chipping the edge. There is no regular maintenance schedule for shin knives; they must be sharpened only when they become noticeably dull. You can use them without sharpening them between uses.
Don’t assume the blade is dull until you’ve tried it. If you want to know how sharp a knife is, you could, for instance, try slicing some vegetables or meat in the usual way and then evaluate the results.
Honing the knife would be a better option if you do want to sharpen it after every use. A separate procedure called honing aids in maintaining a knife that is already sharp. The goal is to push the burr back to the proper angle by gliding the blade across the sharpening surface. Honing is not suggested for novices; only experienced users should attempt it because using the incorrect angle or exerting too much pressure could harm the blade.
Keep The Blade Dry
Keep the blade dry, especially if it is a high-quality blade. Although water has little effect on the blade, you should always dry it with a dry towel after cleaning it before storing it in a sheath or wooden knife holder.
Let The Professionals Handle It
It would be much better if you chose a professional service to sharpen the knife for you if you are not confident about doing it yourself. Those with numerous knives at home are especially advised to do this.
Sharpening Shun knives is simple if you take the proper precautions and steps. Here are some related questions we thought you might have now that you know how to sharpen them.
Can all Shun knives be sharpened the same way?
Yes, every traditional knife is designed to be sharpened in the same way — most of them use whetstones — but depending on the type, some knives may require a little more attention.
For the best experience, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Can you sharpen a knife using other tools?
A whetstone is the best (and most commonly used) tool for sharpening any high-quality knife. Other tools can be used to sharpen a knife, but we recommend saving them for cheaper blades.
For maximum life and sharpness, premium Japanese blades are usually sharpened only with a stone. You can also look through the manufacturer’s manual to learn more about your options.