By the year of 2011, quite a few Shun knives have passed through my hands, index of the Shun Kitchen Knives reviews is constantly growing. Although, none of them were mine, all of them were loaners from different people. So was the DM0716 paring knife. Almost a year ago I've had its little brother - Shun DM0700 paring knife. This time, friend of mine picked up DM0716, and eventually I got a chance to borrow the knife, to sharpen and play with it. Unlike most of other Shun knives, this one ended up in my hands in a very good shape, just medium dull, but no severe edge damage case like others specimens, there was nothing interesting on the edge to photograph under the microscope and put up in the Damaged Edges macro photography gallery. Obviously, that was a good news, less sharpening work and all that.
General- Shun classic DM0716 paring knife is the second smallest paring knife in Shun's classic series. As you might already know, classic series knives are sort of westernized Japanese kitchen knives, like most of the Shuns. Classic series are damascus clad Warikomi Awase knives. Cladding is stainless damascus steel, and the core is VG-10 steel. Add pakkawood, D shape handle to the package and you get the Shun classic series knife. The DM0716 paring knife is a medium side blade, relatively light for its size. Fit and finish are what you'd expect from Shun. In other words, build quality is very good. Parts are precisely ground and machined, fit together perfectly, no gaps anywhere. Blade finish is very good and the edge out of the box is one of the best on production knives I have ever seen. I'm just stating the facts as they are, even though I am no big fan of Shun's designs. I didn't like their designs, most of them to be precise, and that's my personal take, which you may or may not share. Still, my taste has nothing to do with the knife quality, or blade steel properties, so you have ot decide that part for yourself. I mean whether you like the design or not. For the record, as far as the blade design goes, I did like DM0716 paring knife.
Blade- The blade geometry of the Shun DM0716 paring knife is quite typical utilitarian shape, drop point blade, can't call it neither Japanese nor western. Rather universal, quite widespread shape. The blade measures 103.00mm(4.06") in length, at its widest it's 22.40mm and thickness at the blade heel was 1.83mm measured using digital calipers. As I said in many other reviews, Shun knives tend to be on the thinner side, and this paring knife is no exception. The blade is mare using traditional Japanese cladding construction, as described above. Jigane or soft cladding is SUS 401 stainless steel, 32 layers, and hard inner core, hagane is made out of Takefu VG-10 steel at 60-61HRC. The steel itself is nothing new, very solid performer, and very widely used in Japanese and western high end knives. This is not another wonder/super steel, but does the job. I wouldn't place it on top of the list, but for most of the people, who are not into exotic, latest super duper alloy experiments like me, VG-10 is a good one. The edge on all Shuns is ground to 16° per side. And on all the Shun knives I have seen the edge was nicely polished. Well, at least whatever was left of the original edge, on some of the borrowed knives. As for the blade usability, compared to other paring knives, I find it to be more useful as a paring knife than its smaller version DM0700 paring knife. I haven't compared them directly, as I had them at different times, but based on the use of each one, plus the fact that when I had the DM0700 parer, I also had 4" long Tojiro flash paring knife, which is sort of similar with Shun DM0716. Based on all that experience, I couldn't really find any paring/peeling job when the small one felt much better than the 4" knife. In other situations, 3" blade was definitely lacking. Other than that, there isn't much t say about the blade. Whatever fits better your cutting job and style :)
Handle- The handle on the Shun DM0716 paring knife is the standard pakkawood D-shape handle found on all classic and some other series knives. The bolster, nicely made connects the blade to the handle and at the end, there's a stainless steel buttcap, which on occasion comes handy in crushing garlic, or even small nuts. Although, I myself crush garlic with using the blade of the gyuto or chukabocho, whichever I am using at the moment. Anyway, back to the paring knife, the handles on some of the Shun knives are the biggest reason I dislike them. On Shun classic santoku and Shun Elite Santoku it is way too thick and disproportional, I felt the same way about Shun elite honesuki and Shun DM0702 classic utility knife. Well, perhaps I could go on, but anyway, you get my drift. However, I am happy to report that the handle on DM0716 parer is mucho better and proportionally designed compared to the other knives listed above. I'm no big fan of the D type handles, but given the fact that there is no other choice for Shun classic line, it'll have to do. May be you'll like them more than I do, or you are not as picky about the handles as I am. Well, I do use that type of handles on the knives, it's not like it'll give you cramps :) It's just a matter of convenience for me, and as usual I replace D handles with octagonals. As for the positives, pakkawood is a really good choice for the kitchen knife handle. While it's still wood and isn't impervious to elements, still it's a dense wood, has a nice feel to it, and as far as wood goes, it is quite resilient.
Usage- As with most of the paring knives, I don't get much of the use out of them. I try to test them as much as I can, but by design those are quite limited use, and I don't see the benefits of peeling potatoes or apples for 2-3 hours in a row. So, like with other parers, I just tried a few different fruits, a potato, and I have to say, I really hate peeling potatoes with a paring knife, peelers are much faster. Yes, I do realize that doesn't give me much credit as a "knife operator", but I still do it for testing purposes, as a truly dedicated knife tester ;) Anyhow, apples and a single potato were peeled very successfully, I didn't cut myself either. Strangely enough, in last 6 years most of the time I cut myself with kitchen knives, it is on small ones. I guess wielding supersharp 10"-12" inspires a lot more respect ;) As for the DM0716 parer, I managed fine, no cuts.
One other task that I usually perform, and I don't like doing it as well - peeling avocados. However, for the testing purposes, it is a good validation of the grip security. Once you peel a few avocados, no matter how you try, the knife, gets covered in the really slippery paste, and eventually the handle and my hands are real slippery too. May be you can do it real clean, but I can't, still the purpose is to test the handle security with wet and slipper hands. under those extreme conditions the handle was still manageable, with proper care. There aren't any handle materials that will be 100% secure in those conditions, you'd have to glue the handle to your palm, but for what it was, pakkawood did pretty good, even in D shape. Other testing included using the parer as a small utility knife. Well, go and define the difference between "utility" and paring jobs. As far as I am concerned, if you do it off the board, it's paring anyway. just miscellaneous small things, cutting the ends of the green onions, Italian parsley bunches and so on. 4" is a little small for those jobs, still manageable. One other test was cutting the ends of the Brussels sprouts, but even though, theoretically it's a paring job, except, those things are rather harsh, and for me it's easier to do that on the board, using a larger knife than doing the same in the air with a small paring knife. Again, that's just me. Few other, minor cutting chores, like cutting red radish leaves and cleaning broccoli stems. Radish was ok, broccoli stems were not. Well, both are easily explained by the blade size, no real surprises there. That's pretty much it for the usage and testing the DM0716 parer. No other ideas what to do with the paring knives :) Obviously, cardboard and cables were out of question.
Conclusions- Well, simply put, I don't really like Shun knives because of their designs. No complaints about their build quality, or their performance. So, you should draw your conclusions based on that. For what it's worth, I did like DM0716 paring knives better then its smaller cousin, both by design and for its performance. Personally, I wouldn't buy it, only because VG-10 steel is of no interest to me, I got one VG-10 steel paring knife already, Tojiro flash, which is a little harder than the Shun parer, plus a few other small knives, like Watanabe Ko-Deba knife and Watanabe kamagata paring knife from Shirogami I steel, which performs considerably better compared to VG-10, but it is not stainless and requires more care than VG-10. So, the bottom-line is that if you are interested in exotic, latest super duper steels like me, then you might wanna skip this knife. On the other hand, if you just want a good, working kitchen knife and you are ok with the design and the price, then Shun parer might be the one. Easy to maintain, good performer, very well made knife. Just keep mind, this is a Japanese knife, not a western one, so be a little more careful with it.
- Blade - 103.00mm(4.06")
- Thickness - 1.83mm
- Width - 22.40mm
- OAL - 217.00mm(8.54")
- Steel - VG-10 60-61HRC
- Handle - Pakkawood
- Weight - 66.80g(2.26oz)
- Acquired - 04/2011 Price - 42.00$
- Shun Classic DM0716 103mm(4") Paring Knife Review
- Watanabe Small Paring Knife Review
- Tojiro Flash Paring Knife Review
- Global GSF-15 Paring Knife Review
- Watanabe Small Nakiri Knife Review
Last updated - 09/01/11