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Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

oooh. Thanks! Lots of good options. I'll be doing lots of thinking this weekend.

Dec 23, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Thanks for the input, chuckl. I'm a somewhat tempted to buy a couple to play around with and get a feel for the differences and then give my sister or mom the one I don't like as much. =)

Dec 23, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

cool video. wouldn't mind if I could get done with cutting veggies that quickly.

I gave the high carbon some good consideration, and it's tempting, but think I will go with the stainless just for convenience.

Dec 23, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Thanks for the suggestions, Chem. I'll take a more detailed look at them late tonight.

another quick question - how much does having the dimples on the side of the blade matter for food sticking to the knife? Is this something that can be compensated for by technique?

To Eiron's point, I think I would like to have something more different than the chef's knife, which was part of my reason for choosing a Santoku in the first place. Which is a shame cause that Shun sure is pretty and is a good deal.

Dec 22, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Yeah, I admit I do need a really good sharpening on my Henkel's and I am sure that will suit my current needs. But I am curious about the Japanese knives and how they handle , and would like to experiment with something new to see what I like.

I appreciate the alternative suggestion which is the simplest and would save the most money.
After all the discussion last night and really thinking about what I need vs want, it did cross my mind this morning to just sharpen my current knife and not get a new one. But I've had a Japanese knife, particularly a Santoku, on my wish list for a year, and I have budgeted in and would like to check out. It looks like though I can find a nice one in the $70-$100 range and save some money there. And then pine away for new knife over the next few years. =)

Dec 22, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

The question about the reviews were more for the knives on the JCK site in terms of how they handle or how heavy they are. There are plenty of reviews and comments on the Shun and the Mac knives.

To answer your questions:
1) Price point is a little bit of a sliding scale. Generally, I'm looking to pay around/up to $100-120. That said, there could be some argument to pay up to $150, if there is something extra appealing. Of course, a great deal is always nice too. =)

2) I don't have an overwhelming preference, but the ease of care of the stainless steel knives are probably better suited for my purposes (see #4) than the carbon steel.

2b) For blade appearance, simple is fine, some amount of decoration would be nice, even it is just the manufacturer's name imprinted on the side of the blade. Damascus and Hammered are also nice, but I do not like when the pattern becomes too busy (can't find an example at the moment). Kurochi is okay too. I am a bit of a traditionalist, in some ways. But I would like having a distinctive-looking knife, if possible, but what defines distinctive is a bit open.

3) Handle is a complete unknown. I've never used a Japanese Wa handle, but I tend to agree with you that I would adapt to whatever I choose. I would prefer a wood (or other natural material)-based handle over a completely synthetic one.

4) In all honesty, a Japanese knife is probably overkill for my current purposes. Any of the knives mentioned are probably a significant enough upgrade from my current Henckel chef's knife. Right now, I get to really cook about once every couple of months, so just need a basic all around knife (I am looking to add a paring and bread knife in the near term as well). But I like to have nice things, and feel that if I am going to buy something, I want to invest in something of quality, that will last, and that I will enjoy now and down the road. I do expect that sometime down the road (in a few years) I'll be doing more cooking and don't want to necessarily re-buy something that I already have.

I appreciate all the recommendations that you have all made so far. It has opened my eyes to a whole additional set of options that I was too intimidated to want to tackle several months ago.

Dec 22, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

I never really considered the steel type when I picked out the Mac initially and then the Shun. As this is my first foray into purchasing a good quality Japanese knife, the steel type was one characteristic too many for me to wrap by brain around. From a bit of browsing, it seems that the high-carbon core can be sharpened to a sharper edge that also holds for longer as well. Considering that I currently do not do much cooking, I do not think I would appreciate the additional benefits of the high carbon blade, but would be worried about the susceptibility to rusting. That said, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out right off the bat either.

I found the Tojiro site and they have some nice knives too. I especially like their Soba cutting knives. Tried to find the company site for Dojo but couldn't find one (didn't look too hard either), but the knives from the on-line sites are appealing as well.

So many options, how does one ever decide? I guess I know why y'all have more than one... =)

Dec 22, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Wow, what a great site. Thanks for that link. Maybe I'm just a sucker for marketing, but I love that they feature and talk about the craftsmen that are making the knives. It brings back the knife as a piece of art instead of it being just a functional tool used for cutting food, which I guess it is. Part of the appeal of the Shun premier was that it had some artistry in the way it looked, although I did appreciate the simpleness of the Mac. There are some really beautiful knives there on JCK. I'm tempted to up my price range a little, or expand what types of knives to get. I could also use a good paring knife and maybe instead of just one all-around knife, I should get a few different specialty knives instead...yeah, I wish! I was in Japan a month ago for business, but just didn't have the time to look for knives while I was there. This probably site probably beats what I would have found.

It looks like my knife purchase is taking a new direction...some questions though - are there any reviews on the particular knives around? How does one tell whether the knife will feel right? Or can I assume that these master craftsmen are so good and the art of Japanese knife making so well established that they can create a knife that works for everyone (or most everyone)?

Dec 21, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Jeff - thanks for the suggestion. I remember Tojiro being well liked when I did my initial research. I ended up deciding on the Santoku as I have an inexpensive chef's knife and wanted something a little different in style to experiment with and get a feel for, yet still have something that was a decent all around knife.

I do remember being a bit over-whelmed by all the Japanese knives that were out there and wishing that I did enough cooking to have a reason to get some of them. I have to admit that decision-making is not one of my strengths, especially when the number of options is large. =)

Dec 21, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Wow, 4 Santoku's! Do you have a particular use for each one? And is the high carbon preference is to get a sharper edge?

Regarding sharpening, that's next on my list to look into. Well, after I get a better cutting board to go with my new knife. I've read some of the discussions here on sharpening the knives and have a basic idea of what is involved, but need to go back for the details. I seem to remember seeing at one of the online retailer's site that Shun had an electric knife sharpener, but hadn't looked into it yet.

Dec 21, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Thanks for the tips for things to look for, CK. I don't have much experience with knives other than the Henckels Chef's knife my dad gave to me when moved out of the house. As I'm still a bit of a beginner at cooking, I'm not sure how much I will notice the differences - or on the otherhand, because I am a beginner, maybe the differences will stand out more.

Edit - one other thing - do you know if any place carries the Mac knives in house that I could try?

Dec 21, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Thanks for the link, Pedro. I failed to mention that I was looking at the Mac version with the "dimples" that prevent food from sticking. I seem to run into that problem a lot, either due to knife I currently have or technique.

I am on the fence about the look of the Shun also. Initially, I seem to Iike it, but it seems a little too flashy for me...which is also part of the initial appeal.

Dec 21, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware

Santoku knives - Shun or Mac

Over the past year I have been doing lots of reading on these message boards to outfit my kitchen with some basic, quality items. I'm the type that likes to buy nice, quality things, but buy them once and have them forever. Much thanks to all of you that have provided all the useful information. I'm starting to acquire some nice stuff. =)

I'm in the process of purchasing a new knife. With my research I had settled on the MAC Professional Santoku (6.5") as the knife I would get once I found a good deal on it. It seemed like a solid knife, not crazy expensive, with good reviews to back it up. I think the Shun's were out of my price range, so did not give them too much consideration. As I've been browsing the on-line sites recently, trying to take advantage of the holiday season deals, I have happened upon the Shun Premier Santoku (7") on sale for $99.95 (free shipping), which seems like a really good deal to me. The MAC Pro is currently selling for $109.95.

Since I had already made up my mind long ago on the MAC, I'm not quite prepared to re-evaluate the benefits of the Shun over the Mac. Is the Shun premier santoku a better knife? It's awfully pretty and flashy (which I both like and dislike), and it seems like a better deal. Does it live up to the WS and SLT mass-market hype? For the price, is it the obvious choice?

So my question is there a difference in quality between the Shun Premier and the Mac Professional santokus? At $99.95, the Shun is very tempting, but are there other things to consider that says the Mac is the one to get? (durability, ease of sharpening, etc). I know handle is a key factor, I tried the Shun Classic at WS and liked it. Didn't try the Premier line since it was out of my price range at the time. I'm actually a little worried that the Shun is a bit of overkill for me, but maybe it just looks like it is overkill for me.

I'm at the point where I feel like I am over-analyzing my knife purchase so could use some external thoughts to sway me one way or the other. Thanks!

Dec 21, 2011
jj5154 in Cookware