The Shun Classic line (our largest and most popular line of knives) and the Shun Classic Pro line feature what we call our “D-shaped” handles. If you look at the endcap of a Shun Classic, you’ll see that the handle isn’t perfectly round. Instead, it curves to the right and there is a gentle ridge on the right-hand side. End-on, the shape resembles a capital letter “D.”
This D-shaped handle is one of the traditional Japanese handle styles. There, the handle contour is referred to as a "chestnut" shape. Generally, traditional Japanese handles are either round, chestnut shaped, or hexagonal and come straight off the spine of the blade without the hand contour that is often found in Western-style knives.
The rounded ridge in a D-shaped or chestnut handle is intended to fit comfortably into the curve of the fingers as they curl around the handle when using a chef’s pinch grip. When combined with the correct grip, this slight contour helps ensure a stable grip and precise control of the knife.
For left-handers, Shun offers a selection of knives in our Classic line with a reverse grip; the D curve and ridge are on the left side of the handle and nestle into the curved fingers when used with the left hand.
That said, many left-handed knife users find that “right-handed” D-shaped handles work perfectly well for them—many even prefer the right-handed D-shaped handle. In this case, the ridge doesn't fit in the curve of the fingers, but instead provides a resting place for the fingertips when the fingers are wrapped around the handle. This position provides the same benefits of a stable grip and precision control.
So if you’re left-handed and didn’t think you’d find the correct fit for your hand, try Shun’s reverse grip handles—or even our standard grip. You just may find they give you the feel and control you’re looking for.