This was posted 6 months 10 days ago, and might be an out-dated deal.

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Shun Sora Chef’s Knife 20cm $104.95 Delivered @ Kitchenware

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Inspired by the post yesterday https://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/569582, I went down the rabbit hole last night and found this Shun for 52% off. I prefer the chef knife shape over the santoku otherwise I have very little knowledge of knives. I have not almost amputated a toe, I did slice between my thumb and index finger one time with a dull bread knife while cutting a bread roll.
My research tells me this is a great knife, forged not stamped, 61 hardness, full tang and some sources say lifetime warrantee / sharpening (no mention of either on the website)
The handle is plastic and doesn't look as pretty as the Yaxell, both are VG10 steel which is apparently one of the best, the Shun is $25 more expensive but 20cm compared to 16.5cm.

EDIT: Thanks to u/KnifeEnthusiastBoi for providing more information. This Shun only uses VG10 steel on the cutting edge 1-2cm and is welded onto a softer steel. Not the ideal single piece of VG10 (honyaki).

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  • It's cheap for a reason, this is Shun's "entry level" knife and has one inner layer of VG10 steel sandwiched between a layer of stainless steel on either side (3 layers)- the pattern is laser etched.

    Compare this to the Classic Shun Chefs knife which is made of a VG-MAX cutting core and 32 layers of stainless Damascus cladding (33 layers)

    • No doubt this is an inferior knife compared to a classic Shun. The reviews I saw compared it to knives such as Victorinox Fibrox, Wusthof Gourmet and Tojiro DP3. All entry level $55-100ish range.

    • Actually its not even that.

      It is a VG10 "cutting edge" that has been welded on to a 420J stainless steel, not even the 3 layer approach adopted by Kasumi, Yaxell, Tojiro, and the other Shun knives.

      Its not a bad knife, still give you better cutting performance than Global due to the VG10 edge. Feel will be different because you're cutting with a piece of metal thats been welded onto the bottom another piece of metal.

      Those who prefer and can tell the difference between a layered steel (kasumi) vs a single piece (honyaki) would probably notice the difference. Then again if this was you, you wouldnt be buying this knife anyway.

      The way the Sora is made, is the top 420J and the VG10 has been forged separately and been welded on after.
      Tojiro DP3, Kasumi, Shun Classic, Miyabi, etc (Kasumi/honkasumi) has been made by sandwiching the cutting layer (VG10/sg2) with the softer steels on the outside, and forging them together
      Konosuke, Sakai Takayuki, Masamoto, etc Carbon Steel/monosteel knives (Honyaki) is made by single piece forging/folding etc.

      I personally am not attracted to this "welded" approach.

  • good price, but seems its the normal 'discounted' price elsewhere

    • Looks like Everten has it for the same price, website looks suspiciously similar to kitchen warehouse.
      House of Knives has a 6-8 week pre-order time at the same price.

  • Hey OP, not sure if you have seen this vid on YT but it's very helpful overview of knives, grades and has good info.

    It's a little on the long side but I found it a great watch.

    https://youtu.be/7nTBEbMQBGQ?t=145

  • OP thanks for the mention, but its hard to find a honyaki VG10, they typically arent made. VG10/SG2 etc are quite expensive. Most VG10/SG2 knives are made "cladded" (so they have a thin piece of VG10/SG2 cladded by softer steel or damascus.

    Honyaki's are like monosteel blades made from just one steel, usually carbon or semi-stainless steel.

    Monosteel stainless steel knives = ~$1-$70 (i.e victorinox, wusthof, global)
    Japanese core steel cladded (e.g. 3 Layered/Damascus cladded, VG10 Core, SG2 core) = ~$70 - $300~ (Miyabi, Shun, Yaxell, Tojiro, Sakai Takayuki)
    Monosteel/ honyaki carbon/semi stainless (Aogami Blue #2, Shirogami White #2, Konosuke's HD2, GS+, Aogami Super, etc.) = $200s - $30,000+ (Tojiro, Sakai Takayuki, Masamoto, Konosuke, etc.)

    Hopefully that helps.

    Most people here can buy upper end Monosteel stainless.
    A lot of people here would/could buy lower end range of cladded
    Very few people here would get the monosteel honyaki

    • You really know your knives. There is much more complexity to knives than I assumed.

      Is the Shun Sora unique, or rare, in its welding the cutting edge to another steel method?

      I definitely wouldn't be able to tell the difference between one manufacturing method and another. I've already purchased this knife, I trust your opinion, would you suggest I return this? If yes, which chef knife would you recommend under $150?

      • I think this knife is "ok". At the end of the day, the steel that contacts the food is still VG10 so it will cut through, which makes the cutting power superior than global.

        If you are willing to spend $150, i would go with "buy the best knife you can afford/willing to afford". Also make sure it fits well with you with your technique (profile) and comfort of the handle. The more i learn about knives, the more i enjoy using them, and the more i enjoy cooking with them.

        Like the Yaxell Mon in santoku is a great buy, but only for those who use santokus and are not looking to spend more than $100. (i dont use santokus, so its not a "bargain" for me)

        The "non sale" price of the Yaxell Mon Chef's knife is $139.95. Personally the Yaxell Mon's profile looks quite attractive to me (based on the picture), but it really depends how and what you chop. If I know what i know now and had to start from scratch, i would probably spend the money on this (if the profile is what it looks like), and save the rest. Perhaps I would go all the way to the Konosuke GS+ Togatta and not have multiple knives.

        I prefer a lighter knife with a more "sabatier" style profile, allowing me to do quick tap chops. I generally use the top 40% of the knife about 90% of the time. This means i like a pointier tip. I also like a "thinner" knife so i can do precision work. This is why i am looking at getting one of these Konosuke GS+ Togatta one day. Among the knives i have, my "go to" is the Kasumi 20cm Chef Knife. I find this is the best to use for 75% of the work I do, which is like scallions, spring onions using a fast tap chop with the top 20% of the knife.

        If you tend to chop using a push chop method, you might prefer a santoku or a knife with a flatter/taller heel section (bottom 40% of the knife). Such as the Yaxell Zen or the Tojiro DP3 which I also have. The Zen works better on carrots, potatoes, things that stick, pumpkins, etc.

        Being a knife nut that i am, i may end up with more chef knives than the average person (although i already have 3 now and wanting a 4th, probably true). I also have the Tojiro DP3, a great knife. But i use it rarely now (and only when i dont have the kasumi), because i prefer the kasumi profile.

        Have a look at this video, it has great information.
        Chef knives to go has a lot of videos on youtube on just about every knife that we can buy here in australia (even though they are in the US). They tell you the thickness, profile, measurements, its good idea to check their video before buying.

        Yaxell Mon Chefs Knife profile video

        • What do you use to sharpen these high end knives ? Wet stone?

          • @blackwalnut: Correct, whetstone.

            I use a Naniwa Chosera 800 for most things. Rika 5000 for polish.

            Knives with hardness under 58, pretty much any good whetstone at 800-1000 can sharpen at decent speed.
            Anything harder than 60, go with Chosera 800 or Suehiro Cerax.

            • @KnifeEnthusiastBoi:

              I use a Naniwa Chosera 800 for most things. Rika 5000 for polish.
              Knives with hardness under 58, pretty much any good whetstone at 800-1000 can sharpen at decent speed.
              Anything harder than 60, go with Chosera 800 or Suehiro Cerax.

              Too much Burrfection videos?

        • Thanks for taking the time to go into such detail. I will definitely come back to this comment once I am looking for a second knife. I particularly like the look of the Kasumi you posted.

      • I forgot to answer your question in terms of the Sora. Yes its an unorthodox method, but inspired a bit from ancient japanese swordsmithing techniques.

        When they used to make katanas, they would forge the hard steel around the softer iron core. The kasumi method is effectively a "reverse" of that, although the application of the soft iron as the spine, hard steel on the edge is more akin to how they make the Sora (only the swordsmiths never welded edge onto the spine).

        Sora is the only one i know of in a commercially sold knife using this welding method. It allows them to get away with using a lot less VG10 than cladded knives.

        In terms of material cost, Yaxell and tojiro with their laminate/layer methods probably give better value than this, but to 95% of people, the effective performance is the same. You'll only realise probably when the vg10 is worn away which would take many years with lots of abuse (like commercial kitchen use).

        • I'm really enjoying this knife talk. As someone who will use this for home cooking only, mostly cutting vegetables and chicken breast I doubt I will ever wear the cutting edge down. And if I do I can use it as an excuse to buy that Kasumi.

          My understanding was that katanas were made of a single piece of steel, folded many times with added carbon on each fold, then the spline and cutting edge were coated with different thicknesses of clay before being quenched. The different clay thicknesses delaying the cooling from spline to cutting edge during quenching and creating a difference in harness. This is probably some other method.

          Which restaurant do you work at? happy to come support once lockdown is over in Melbourne.

          • @Srdjan52: HAHA thank you for the kind words sir, i do not however work at a restaurant.

            I love cooking but I don't like the pressure environment of a commercial kitchen, and unless i had the ambition to become a chef like gordon ramsay, it didnt seem lucrative enough for me. But more than happy to nerd out on knife talks and cook to entertain friends.

            According to this and other videos i have seen, traditional swordsmiths produced 3 kinds of steel that came from the iron sand.

            "Hocho-tetsu (low carbon steel) is used for the core of the blade (shingane). The high carbon steel (tamahagane) and remelted pig iron (nabe-gane/cast iron) are combined to form the outer skin of the blade (kawagane).

            So you see the japanese swordsmiths after the end of the Edo period when they stopped making swords, they used their knowledge and traditions to make kitchen knives.

            The wiki is really interesting, and this picture shows what i am talking about. Many swordsmiths used many different methods, but by the end of the Edo period they were using some of the most advanced lamination techniques, very similar to how they make kitchen knives now. The only exception being, they're much more efficient with the use of the expensive material where it counts.