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Shun Classic DM0700 89mm(3½") Paring
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Shun Paring Knife 89mm(3½")

The smallest knife in the Shun classic lineup. This one also came from the friend that gave two other Shuns for sharpening, for the details you can check out Shun Classic Chef's knife review and Shun Classic Utility knife review. He got the set of three back in 2006 and that's the last one from the set. Just like the other I've had a chance to inspect this little knife brand new. So, this was a good chance to revisit and examine the use pattern. And I must say it was quite used and abused as well, as you will see on the photos attached to the damages section. The use was much more prominent of the paring knife than on the shun utility knife. Once again proving the point that utility knives aren't that much useful in the kitchen after all.

General

- Like any other knife of Shun brand from Kershaw, paring knife comes packed in a nice box. It is a typical size paring knife. Fit and finish are really good. Grind lines are even. Wood handle is well made and fitted. There are no gaps between the handle, the pommel and bolster. Even after those three years of the rather abusive uses the whole thing is still holding together well. So, at least you know it is a quite durable piece :) On the other hand, considering what sort of abuse average knife users put their kitchen knives through, please don't think Shuns can take as much abuse as the western knives. They can't. I've mentioned couple Shun classics that lost their tips due to the dropping. Shun elites are even harder knives. I.e. more susceptible to breaking. Anyway, this isn't something Shun specific, steel is like that. Harder alloys mean more brittle blades as a side effect of increased edge holding and thinner edges, as Japanese kitchen knives, even with Western blade geometries are made like that. Shuns are no exception to that tradition. Typical Japanese knives, thin and hard. Obviously hard is a relative term. 61HRC is much harder than typical western kitchen knife at 54-56RHC, but softer compared to 64-67HRC knives that are plenty in Japanese kitchen.

Blade

- 89mm(3½") long, ~2mm thick blade is clad with 32 layers of SUS410 stainless steel. It's a damascus style knife, made using traditional Japanese san-mai technology. VG-10 steel core is enclosed with softer stainless steel, which protects the hard and more rust prone core form the elements, and also increases blade toughness and resistance to breakage. Other than that it is pretty much your average paring knife. Small blade, pointy, can get into the tight places and peel your fruits too. Oh, and as usual initial sharpness out of the box was very good, mirror polished V edge. Shun officially sharpens their knives to 16° per side, which is 32° included angle edge. That's a pretty thin edge compared to an average western paring knife, which would still be 40°-45°. Although, judging by Japanese kitchen standards that's not really very thin, not for a paring knife at least. I have my paring knives around ~20° included, and that's not the low limit either. It's all a matter of preference and use pattern.

Shun Paring Knife 89mm(3½") Shun Paring Knife 89mm(3½")

As for the damages sustained by the knife during last 2 years, well there are quite a few nicks and dents. Few interesting ones are on the micrographs attached to the paragraph above and here. Most severely damaged was the tip of the blade. Obviously from being used like a screwdriver or a pry bar. Alternatively both, and likely more than once. Anyway, damage was interesting in couple places, so I've attached photos to illustrate the damage that can be inflicted on the blade by abusing in such way. First photo shows general view, ~30x magnification. First chip isn't that interesting, besides being pretty bad, but the second spot is more interesting. It's a first time I see that type of damage on the edge. There is a crack and the metal is shifted to the left. Here is the 300x shot of that crack, and another 300x macro photo of the same damage from the other side. Second photo attached here is another crack on the blade which was few centimeters further down on the blade. As you can see this crack is more crack like, hairline thick but longer. If I were the owner probably I'd be more worried about the second crack, than the first one, even though the first looks worse. Chances of the blade breaking at the second crack I think look higher. Although, unless it gets dropped or used as a pry bar again that shouldn't be a big concern. The rest of the chips and other minor damages are posted in Damaged Edges Macro Photo Gallery.

Handle

- Same style handle as on the other Shun classic knives. D shaped Pakkawood handle with the pommel and a bolster connecting it to the blade. It's proportional with the size of the blade. Obviously, the handle is longer than 89mm that the blade is, but it isn't huge and it isn't too thick either. Overall, for a few things I have cut with it, the handle felt comfortable and well designed for this knife. I can't say it was the best there is, but felt comfortable and secure in various grips. As usual, because of the ridge on the handle and D shape in general, the handle is not an ambidextrous type. So, sorry lefties, you have to pay the leftie penalty to get it in left handed version. It's rather annoying detail. So far I haven't really seen the D handle that was so good and comfortable that it was worth sacrificing ambidextrousness. However, I suspect it's more of a marketing than something more sensible.

Usage

- After sharpening I gave it about an hour workout testing different cutting techniques and materials. Considering that it is a paring knife, i.e. small blade and rather specialized knife I didn't anything hard core with it. Few fruits, peeled things, hardest of them being 3 avocados and that was it. Overall, the knife was pretty comfortable and quite nimble. The handle was ok in standard and peeling grips, i.e. when holding the knife half by the blade spine and half by the handle. If it was thicker, it'd probably be rather inconvenient, but as it is, worked fine for me. Although I have rather large palms and I am not so sure ladies with smaller palms will agree with me about its comfortability, on the other hands nobody complained about that handle being too thick either ;) Anyway, in short, it's a good paring knife. The steel is pretty good for the jobs paring knife should be doing, take care of it and it'll take care of your peeling and paring.

Specifications:

  • Blade - 89.00mm(3.5")
  • Thickness - 2.00mm
  • Width - 25.00mm
  • OAL - 219.00mm(8.62")
  • Steel - VG-10 60-61HRC
  • Handle - Pakkawood
  • Acquired - 06/2006 Price - 60.00$

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Last updated - 09/01/11