If you have Shun knives, you’ll like their cutting ability and the history of this great company.

Shun is a well-known Japanese brand that’s respected worldwide. They’ve been making knives for over 100 years in Seki City, a place with a long history of making samurai swords in Japan.

No one likes a dull knife. So, if you have a Shun knife, you also want to know how to sharpen Shun knives, don’t you?

We’re not just going to show you how to sharpen your Shun knives; we’re going to unveil the soul of the process. Imagine the harmony of metal meeting stone, the symphony of angles aligning to perfection, and the satisfaction of holding a blade that could rival a samurai’s katana.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook with a burgeoning love for the culinary arts, this guide will empower you to transform ordinary meal preparation into a culinary ritual.

We’re going to embark on a quest to master the art of sharpening Shun knives. From sushi masters to budding home chefs, all hold Shun knives in high regard for their incredible sharpness, excellent edge retention, and gorgeous design. But, like any high-quality tool, they require some love and care, whether it’s a paring knife or a set of serrated knives.

Now, keeping a sharp knife isn’t rocket science, but it does require a certain level of expertise and know-how.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Preparing Your Shun Knife For Sharpening

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of shun sharpening, the first thing we need to take care of is preparation. Proper preparation is the cornerstone to getting your knives sharp and maintaining their longevity in your shun cutlery collection.

Cleaning The Knife Properly

It’s essential to clean your Shun knife before sharpening it. Why, you ask? Because lingering food particles can affect the sharpening process and can potentially damage your knife. So, wash the blade with warm water, mild dish soap, and a non-abrasive sponge. Once it’s clean, make sure to dry it thoroughly to prevent rusting.

Setting Up Your Workspace For Sharpening

Setting up your workspace effectively is equally critical. Find a flat, stable surface to work on — a kitchen counter or table works great. Place a damp cloth under your whetstone to prevent slipping. Have your knife sharpener, honing steel, and a towel at arm’s reach to make the process smooth and efficient. Remember, safety first!

Inspecting The Blade For Damage And Assessing Sharpening Needs

Before you start sharpening, inspect your knife for any chips, nicks, or visible damage. Shun knives are made from high-quality Japanese steel, making them more susceptible to chipping if not used properly. If you see any major damage, it’s recommended to send your knife to a professional sharpener or use Shun’s free sharpening service.

Step-By-Step Guide To Sharpen Shun Knives Using A Whetstone

A Shun Knife

Sharpen Shun knives is not as complex as it might seem. With the right approach and a bit of practice, you’ll have your knives slicing through produce like a hot knife through butter. And this is even applicable to your double beveled blade!

Wetting The Whetstone Properly

The first step is to prepare your whetstone.

Why Use Water on a Whetstone?

Water is used on a whetstone to create a slurry which aids in the sharpening process. This slurry helps to remove metal from the blade more efficiently, making the process faster and more effective.

The Proper Technique for Wetting a Whetstone

To wet your whetstone, immerse it in water until bubbles stop rising. This indicates the stone is fully saturated and ready to use. Make sure to wet both sides if you’re using a dual-sided whetstone.

Holding The Knife And Maintaining The Correct Angle

Once your whetstone is ready, the next step is to hold your knife correctly.

The Importance of the Sharpening Angle for Shun Knives

You should sharpen Shun knives at a 16-degree angle. This angle provides the perfect balance between sharpness and durability. But how do you maintain this angle? Well, it’s not as tricky as you might think.

Techniques for Holding and Guiding the Knife

Hold the knife with your dominant hand and place your index finger on the spine for stability. Hold the knife at an angle where the blade and the stone form an approximately 16-degree angle. To get an idea of this angle, imagine a matchbook’s thickness between the knife’s edge and the stone. That’s your 16-degree angle.

The Sharpening Process

Shun knives sharpening process

Sharpen Shun knives from the coarse grit side of the stone. Make sweeping strokes from the heel to the tip of the knife, maintaining consistent pressure. Make sure you sharpen the entire length of the blade, not just the middle section.

Moving On To The Finer Grit

Once you feel a burr (a rough edge) forming on the knife’s opposite side, it’s time to flip the stone to the finer grit side. Repeat the same process on this side until the burr is no longer noticeable.

Testing The Knife After Sharpening

After sharpening shun knives, test your knife by slicing a piece of paper or a ripe tomato. The knife should cut smoothly without any resistance.

Honing Your Shun Knife: A Crucial Step After Sharpening

Once you sharpen Shun knives, it’s important to hone the edge. To do this correctly, hold your honing steel vertically. Honing realigns the microscopic teeth on the edge of the blade that can be bent out of shape during the sharpening process.

The Purpose Of Honing

Honing doesn’t sharpen the knife; instead, it realigns the edge and removes any lingering burr, resulting in a smoother and more effective cutting edge.

Correct Technique For Honing A Shun Knife

Like sharpening, honing also requires a specific angle — approximately 16 degrees for Shun knives. When honing, use light pressure — the weight of the knife is sufficient. Swipe the knife down the honing rod from heel to tip on both sides.

How Often Should You Hone Your Shun Knife?

You should hone your Shun knife after every few uses or whenever you feel the cutting performance drop. It takes just a minute or two but can significantly prolong the time between sharpening sessions.

Tools And Materials Needed To Sharpen Shun Knives

Shun knives tools

To keep your Shun knives in peak condition, you’ll need a few essential tools.

The Shun Honing Steel: When And How To Use

Shun’s Honing Steel is specially designed for maintaining their knives. It’s made from high-quality steel and has a built-in angle guide, making the shun knives honing process a breeze.

The Shun Whetstone: Grades And Usage

Shun’s Whetstone is a dual-sided stone with a coarse 1000-grit side for sharpening and a finer 6000-grit side for polishing. Using this specific whetstone will ensure you get the best results.

Optional Tools: Shun Electric Sharpener, Sharpening Guide Rails

Shun also offers an Electric Sharpener and Sharpening Guide Rails for those who prefer a more foolproof and less manual method.

Troubleshooting Common Sharpening Issues

Here’s how to troubleshoot the most common sharpening issues:

  • Knife not getting sharp: Make sure you’re maintaining the correct angle and applying consistent pressure. Remember, it’s important to sharpen your shun regularly.
  • Knife edge chipping: Avoid using the knife on hard surfaces like glass cutting boards. Sharpen more frequently to prevent the blade from becoming overly dull, which can lead to chipping.
  • Knife becoming dull quickly after sharpening: Make sure to hone your knife regularly to maintain the edge.


There you have it — a comprehensive guide to keeping your Shun knives in top-notch shape. Remember, proper maintenance not only improves the performance of your knife but also extends its lifespan. With these tips and techniques, you can enjoy your Shun knives for years to come. Happy cooking, everyone!


Eliza is a culinary maven with an undeniable passion for the art of cooking and a deep understanding of all things kitchen-related. She is a renowned kitchen expert and a source of inspiration for aspiring chefs around the world. With years of hands-on experience and a knack for creating delectable masterpieces, she has established herself as a leading authority in the culinary industry.

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