Look Sharp

Explore these FAQs first, then if you still have a question, we'd be happy to help.

General Questions

  • Do I need to register my knives? Save the receipt? What if it was a gift?

    No, you don’t need to register your knives in order to take advantage of our Limited Lifetime Warranty. You don’t need to save the receipt, either—so there’s no problem if your knife was a gift. Should you wish to send your knife in for warranty service, we do ask that you download and complete the Warranty Service Form and include a copy of it in the box in which you send us your knife.

  • Looking for a local Shun retailer?

    You can search for a retailer near you here

  • When did Shun start selling direct?

    Our customers have always been able to purchase Shun products directly, at MSRP (Manufacturer’s Recommended Selling Price), by placing an order with us over the phone. While Shun products are mainly available through our network of excellent dealers, as of late 2012, Shun products also became available through this ecommerce website. This website provides a place where you can learn more about Shun products, stay up-to-date on Shun and other culinary news, and conveniently purchase Kai USA Ltd. products, including Shun, Kai, Kershaw, and Zero Tolerance brand products. Orders placed through this website are fulfilled by dealers in our network. We do this to support the many retailers who carry our quality products. However, if our network cannot fulfill your order, it will come to us and we will fulfill it with available product.

    If you wish to try our fine Shun cutlery before purchasing, we urge you to visit one of our dealers. Not only will you be able to hold the knives in your hand, you’re also likely to get a better price from one of our dealers. No matter where you purchase, either through this website or through one of our authorized dealers, be assured that every Shun product is backed by our Limited Lifetime Warranty.

  • Are the Shun Classic’s D-shaped handles only for right-handed users?

    No. The D-shape of the Shun Classic handles was designed to tuck into the palm of a right-handed user and provide more control by leaving less space between handle and hand. That being said, many left-handers find that the handle works just as well for them. The best way to know whether a knife is right for you is to actually hold the knife in your hands before making your purchase. If you find that the “right-handed” D-shaped handle isn’t comfortable for you, select Shun Classic styles are available in reverse grip.

  • Who makes Shun products?

    Shun cutlery is handcrafted in Japan by the Kai Corporation. For more than 100 years, Kai's highly skilled artisans have been producing blades of unparalleled quality in the spirit of the legendary swordsmiths of Japan. For three generations, Kai has been dedicated to listening to the voices of its customers, providing products that contribute to a more tasteful life. Incredibly sharp edges, partnered with a stunning aesthetic, set Shun knives apart from every other kitchen knife on the market today. In the tradition of Seki’s swordsmiths, every knife is handmade by highly skilled specialists and requires at least 100 handcrafted steps to complete. Every day, the legacy of ancient swordsmiths serves as inspiration to the artisans in the Kai factories. This tradition of excellence, combined with the newest technology and advanced materials, makes every Shun knife a functional work of art.

  • What’s the correct way to pronounce Shun?

    Say, “Shoon” (rhymes with moon). Shun is the Japanese concept of eating fresh, local, and in-season—when food is at the peak of perfection. At Kai, we work hard to live up to that tradition everyday, making fine kitchen cutlery that is always at the peak of its perfection, too.

Product Questions

  • What is the difference between your honing steel and ceramic rod?

    The Shun Honing Steel is strictly for honing, that is, realigning the blade's edge; it won't take material off your blade. The Shun Ceramic Rod is a sharpening rod and will take material off your blade; it will not only hone, but sharpen. Use it more sparingly than you would a honing steel.

  • Do I have to use your honing steel and/or electric sharpener?

    As long as the honing steel or electric sharpener is equivalent to the Shun products, no. The advantage of a Shun Honing Steel is that the handle includes a built-in angle guide so that you can be sure you’re honing to the correct 16° angle; and, of course, it matches your set. (We do not recommend using a honing steel that has diamond grit on it. A diamond-grit rod will take material off your knife, not just hone it.) If you choose an electric sharpener other than Shun, please make sure it will sharpen your knives to the correct 16° angle.

  • What is the Shun Honing Steel used for?

    Honing steel is used to realign the micro edge of the knife. Gently pulling the blade across the steel’s micro-ridged stainless-steel rod at the proper angle realigns the knife’s edge. Given the advanced steels that Shun uses, the edge will tend to stay sharp longer than other knives—depending on how often you use your Shuns, of course. Depending on use, you may wish to hone your knives only once a week or so. Shun Honing Steels also feature a premium moisture-resistant PakkaWood® handle with a built-in 16° honing guide to help you hone to the correct angle easily.

  • Why are there so many reviews complaining of chipped blades?

    Without proper knife technique, micro chipping can be the downside of very hard stainless steel. A cook who is unfamiliar with the hardness of Japanese knives and is used to strongly chopping down with a knife against a cutting board, may indeed chip the knife. The damage will be even more pronounced when cutting against ceramic, glass or marble (please don’t!). Micro chips in the blade edge can also occur if a spot of rust develops on the extremely thin edge, too.

    The good news is that with a gliding cut, the proper cutting surface, and making sure the knife is thoroughly dry before storing, the chances of chipping are reduced enormously. What’s more, micro chips can easily be sharpened out. Our Warranty Service Department will be happy to help you with that.

    Of course, if there is a problem with the materials or manufacturing itself, we’ll take care of that, too. Just send in your knife to our Warranty Service Department for evaluation.

  • Why did my knives not come with sheaths?

    Shun knives come with temporary cardboard sheaths to protect the blade during shipping and to protect you when removing the knife from its box. These are not intended to be permanent storage sheaths. We have found that most people store their fine cutlery in a knife block, an in-drawer knife storage system, or on magnetic knife holders. Since that is the case, including permanent sheaths would only be adding to the waste in the world, so Shun opted to include only the recyclable cardboard sheath with most of our knife lines. There is an exception, however. Our Shun Blue knives come with a wooden saya or sheath in which to store the knives.

  • What is the Rockwell hardness of the different steels and what does it mean?

    The Rockwell scale provides a convenient way to compare the hardness of two materials, such as types of steel. It measures hardness based on the depth of penetration of a diamond cone pressed into the material at a constant pressure. Put simply, the higher the number, the harder the material.

    In general, Shun hardens VG10 and VG-Max steel to 60-61 Rockwell and SG2 to 61-62. An increase of 1 degree Rockwell equates to an increase in hardness of about 10% as well as an increase in edge-holding ability. These degrees of hardness enable Shun knives to be thin, hard, and precise without being overly brittle.

  • What is the difference between VG10, VG-MAX and SG2 steel?

    VG10, VG-MAX, and SG2 are three different types of advanced “super steels” that Shun uses to make our blades. In blades with Damascus cladding, the cutting core—the inner layer of steel that actually does the cutting—may be made of one of these advanced steels. Blades with no cladding may be composed entirely of one of these steels. These three steels go far beyond the typical “good, better, and best” categorization. Instead, think of them as “excellent, superb, and ultra-premium.”

    VG10 is a highly refined stainless steel with excellent edge retention and stain resistance.

    VG-MAX has more chromium and vanadium than VG10, which provides even better edge retention and corrosion resistance, and enables Shun to harden the steel so it will take an amazingly sharp edge. VG-MAX is only available in Shun knives.

    SG2 is powdered steel; this means it is even more refined than VG10 or VG-MAX and it remains more ductile (less brittle) even though it is very hard. It offers superior edge retention and corrosion resistance, with less chipping.

  • What is the difference between Japanese steel and German steel knives? Which is better?

    German (and other Western-style) knives tend to be heavier and made of “tougher” but “softer” steel. They are also generally made from thicker blade stock, which means it takes a bit more pressure to slice through foods. What’s more, these knives are typically sharpened to a wider cutting angle (20-25° on each side of the blade), again requiring more muscle to cut through foods. Because of the “softer” steel, German steel knives will also get dull faster and require more maintenance. Many cooks find that they need to hone their knives before each use.

    Japanese steel knives are generally lighter in weight and are made of thinner, harder steel. Due to their harder steel, the blade stock can be thinner and the edge more acute—that is, sharper—than a comparable German knife. Shun knives, for example, are sharpened to a 16° angle on each side of the blade. The lighter, thinner blade makes Japanese steel knives like Shun extremely agile, precise, and can even be less tiring to use.

    This is not to say that German steel knives are “bad.” (In fact, the softer steel enables them to take a bit more edge abuse.) It’s just that Japanese steel knives are different creatures. You may find that you need to refine your knife technique in order to take full advantage of the light precision that Japanese steel knives have to offer. For instance, if you’re used to simply pressing downward to make a cut with a German type knife, with a Japanese knife you want to make sure you slice by moving the knife forward or backward. This avoids crushing the food, enables the thin, light blade to glide through whatever you’re cutting, and helps you make a very precise cut.

  • What are the different shapes and what are their purposes?

    Each culinary blade shape has been developed over the years to address specific needs and uses. Some, like the chef’s knife and the paring knife, are general-purpose knives that every kitchen and every cook needs. Others, like the boning knife and the meat cleaver, are for cooks who have specialized needs; in this case, working extensively with meats. The product description for each knife on this website provides information on the key uses for each particular knife. 

Use & Care Questions

  • Why did my knife chip when I was just chopping vegetables?

    Chips can happen due to improper cutting technique. Shun Cutlery is designed to be used in a smooth, slicing motion—and never in a forceful, up-and-down “chopping” manner.

    The proper cutting motion is a "locomotive" motion, pushing the knife forward and down as you cut through the food, then pulling the knife up and back towards you (in order to position it for the next cut). This motion is also similar to cutting wood with a handsaw—forward and down, then back. The razor-sharp blade of your Shun makes this practically effortless.

    When you first begin using a Shun, go slowly and enjoy the precision cutting ability of your new kitchen cutlery. As you gain experience, you will be able to work more quickly. No matter what your experience level, be careful and always pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the knife.

    Use your Shuns on meats and vegetables only, not on bones or very thick-skinned vegetables. For this heavier kitchen work, try our Classic 8” Western Chef’s Knife (DM0766), Classic Meat Cleaver (DM0767), and the Classic Produce Knife (DM0770). They're designed to handle more aggressive work in the kitchen, such as breaking down chickens (DM0766 & DM0767) and preparing thick-skinned vegetables like butternut squash or melons (DM0768).

  • I take great care and hand wash my knives. Why are there little chips missing from my knife?

    Micro-corrosion, which can result in tiny chips or missing pieces in your knife’s cutting edge, can occur because moisture is left on the cutting edge. Moisture weakens the stainless steel and promotes micro-corrosion. If moisture is left on the cutting edge repeatedly, even normal use in the kitchen can result in small chips in the weakened sections of the edge. To guard against this, wash your knife immediately after use and dry it very thoroughly with an absorbent cloth or towel. Please take extra care to safely dry the sharp cutting edge of your Shun, keeping your fingers away from the edge.

  • Can I wash my knives in the dishwasher?

    We recommend that you do not wash your knives in the dishwasher. Here’s why: The dishwasher can be hard on all your dishes, but it can be especially hard on knives because they tend to get knocked around during the cycle. Conversely, sharp knives can put “dings” in your dishwasher, too. In addition, when you wash different grades of metal together, brown spotting may occur on the higher quality metals (such as Shun blades). These spots can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Finally, many dishwashing detergents contain corrosive agents, such as citrus extracts. Not only can this cause unnecessary wear on your dishes, it can also cause pitting or corrosion on your Shun knives.

    For all these reasons, we recommend that you protect your investment by handwashing your knives with a gentle dish soap.

  • What are appropriate cutting surfaces?

    One key to keeping a Shun (or any other knife) sharp and avoiding chips is to use an appropriate cutting surface. These include wood and polypropylene, which are softer materials and will “give” under the blade. If the knife can leave a cut line in the board, your cutting board is sufficiently soft. Please do not cut on tile, ceramic plates, marble, granite, or acrylic. All of these surfaces will dull and chip your blade very quickly.

  • What is the proper way to hone a Shun blade?

    To maintain the life of your blade and for optimal performance, it’s important to keep your knife honed. But remember that there’s a big difference between honing and sharpening. Honing maintains your blade. It simply realigns the micro edge of your blade to give you the best performance possible—until your knife is ready for sharpening. Sharpening actually removes metal from the blade, putting a fresh edge on the knife. If you hone regularly, you’ll cut down on the need for sharpening and extend the life of your knife.

    You can easily hone your knives with the Shun Honing Steel. Our Honing Steel has a built-in honing guide set to the correct Shun 16° angle. Line your knife up with the guide, then make a few light strokes on each side of the blade. That’s all it takes to maintain the edge. (Please do not use a diamond steel for regular honing. Diamond steels are for sharpening and will remove metal from your knife before it is necessary.)

  • What’s the best way to sharpen my knives?

    You have several options:

    Return them to us for FREE sharpening

    Shun owners may return their Shun knives to our Tualatin, Oregon facility for free sharpening. To take advantage of this service, please see our Warranty service information here. Ship your knives to us using the carrier of your choice, however we strongly recommend a carrier that provides a tracking number. Without a tracking number, you will have no way of knowing that your package has arrived at our facility—and neither will we. We cannot be responsible for shipments without a tracking number.

    Sharpen them yourself on a whetstone

    A second sharpening option is to purchase a whetstone. Shun offers several whetstones as well as a three-piece Sharpening System that includes a honing steel, whetstone, and a bamboo stand angled to 16° that makes sharpening easy.

    Sharpen them yourself with a pull-through sharpener

    For an electric sharpening option we recommend the Shun electric sharpener. For a manual pull-through, try out Diamond and Ceramic Retractable Sharpener, both of which match the 16° angle of our cutlery.

    But please remember that sharpening is not something that should be done on a weekly basis. Sharpening actually removes some of the metal from the blade, so sharpening too frequently may reduce the life of your knife. 

  • How should I store my knives?

    Store your knives in a block, a knife case, an in-drawer knife holder, a sheath, a magnetic bar, or in the original box. If your knives are just thrown in a drawer, they can get dulled or chipped, as well as being a potential hazard when you reach into the drawer.

  • Is there anything Shun knives shouldn’t be used on?

    Please do not use Shun knives on bones, joints, or frozen foods. Most Shun knives are designed for precision slicing rather than crushing down through hard materials.  However, Shun does make specialized knives designed to take on these types of tasks. For example, the Western Cook’s Knife has been sharpened to a slightly wider angle; 22° on each side. This means that— with the proper slicing technique—you will be able to cut through things like chicken bones or smaller butternut squash with ease. For larger squash, including pumpkins, as well as produce with thicker, tougher rinds, such as pineapple or watermelon, we offer our new Produce Knife (DM0770). Sharpened to the same 16° cutting angle as other Shuns, the Produce Knife is made of AUS8A stainless steel, which is somewhat “softer” and tougher than Shun’s other advanced steels so it performs well on these tougher and larger foods. For chopping through bones, we recommend the Shun Meat Cleaver (DM0767).

  • How can I help maintain the life of my knife?

    If you use your Shun knife correctly, it can provide you with a lifetime of service. Yet using your knife correctly isn’t only about how to maintain the edge or how to sharpen the blade; it’s also about how you use the knife on a daily basis.

    Please do not push straight down on your blades. Not only will this result in arm fatigue for you, it can also be hard on your blades—and could result in chipping. When you cut, it’s important to use a “locomotive” motion. Move the blade in either a forward or backward direction. By pushing the blade forward when you chop, rather than pushing straight down, the blade does the work instead of having to use your muscle to cut. The same applies to pulling back on the knife. This slicing motion will cut down on unnecessary muscle strain and keep your blade in excellent condition.

Warranty Questions

  • Why does my knife not hold an edge like it did when it was new? Is this covered under warranty?

    Maintaining the edge of your knife to ensure it does not become dull is considered normal care and is the responsibility of the owner. It is not a defect covered by warranty. The sharpening process removes material from the knife. This means that the more you sharpen your Shun, the wider the edge geometry becomes and the more frequently your knife will require sharpening.

    Two things you can do that will help keep your knives sharp are to cut on a "soft" wood or polypropylene cutting board using a smooth, slicing motion, and to hone frequently with a Shun Honing Steel.

    A softer cutting surface "gives" under the knife and helps resist chipping. Never use a hard surface such as marble or glass; it's a surefire way to damage your knife. Proper cutting technique also helps maintain your knife's edge. Shun Cutlery is designed to be used in a smooth, slicing motion—and never in a forceful, up-and-down “chopping” manner. The proper cutting motion is a "locomotive" motion, pushing the knife forward and down as you cut through the food, then pulling the knife up and back towards you to position it for the next cut. This motion is also similar to cutting wood with a handsaw—forward and down, then back. The razor-sharp blade of your Shun makes this practically effortless. Remember to use caution at all times and pay attention to where your fingers are in relation to the knife and the knife's cutting edge.

  • Shun knives are stainless steel, so why is there rust on my blade? Is rust covered under warranty?

    Stainless steel knives can still develop rust. Rust is caused by moisture left on the blade. Rust is not a manufacturing defect and is not covered under warranty. To remove rust from steel, we recommend a product named Flitz. Flitz is a blue gel which helps remove rust, stains, and corrosion from steel. If you decide to use the product, use it only on the areas directly affected by rust. We recommend not letting the Flitz sit on the blade steel for any length of time. After applying the Flitz and removing the rust, please wash your knife thoroughly with warm, soapy water, completely dry it with an absorbent material cloth or towel, and finish with a light coating of cooking-grade oil on the blade and handle cap of the knife. Specific instructions on how to use the Flitz product are available on the Flitz container. Our instructions are not intended to either supplement or surplant the directions of the Flitz manufacturer.

  • The Shun logo, Damascus layers, and/or handle of my knife have faded. Is this covered under warranty

    Fading and signs of wear are not defects; they are caused by normal use. The warranty does not guarantee the esthetics of a product after it has been used.

  • Someone used my knife & did not know how to use it properly; they caused damage. Is it covered?

    Damage caused by misuse or accident by anyone, regardless of ownership, is not a defect. However, we can attempt to improve the condition of the knife. We can attempt to repair and/or to reshape the edge of your knife. Nevertheless, if our attempt is unsatisfactory or unsuccessful , Shun is not responsible for replacing the knife.

  • I dropped my knife and damaged or broke it; is this covered under warranty?

    The warranty policy does not extend to damages incurred by accidental handling. We are happy to attempt to repair and/or to reshape the edge of your knife. However, if our attempt is unsatisfactory or unsuccessful, Shun is not responsible for replacing the knife.

  • The tip of my knife is bent. Can you repair or replace it?

    A bent tip is the result of inappropriate use or accidental handling. Inappropriate use includes—but is not limited to—using the tip of the knife to start a cut, bending the tip while the knife is still stuck into the food you're cutting, or using it as a prying tool. Accidental handling includes—but is not limited to—dropping the knife in the sink, on the counter, on the floor, or bending the tip when pulling it out of a knife block. A bent blade is not a defect in such circumstances. However, Shun can attempt to repair and/or to reshape the edge of your knife for you. If our attempt is unsatisfactory or unsuccessful, Shun is not responsible for replacing the knife.

  • How will I know if my knife is covered under warranty?

    Please provide your phone number and/or email address on your Warranty/Service Form. If there is any problem with your coverage, we will call you to discuss your knife. Otherwise, we will repair your knife within our usual turnaround time.

  • I shipped my knife to you for repair. Have you received it yet?

    We encourage you to ship via a carrier that provides a tracking number. The tracking number allows you to easily verify your knife's arrival at our facility. Please note that Shun will not notify you of the arrival of your knife at our facility; having a tracking number from your carrier will enable you to check with your carrier to ensure your package’s arrival.

  • Can I have my old knife back if you choose to replace it?

    We're sorry, but we cannot replace a knife and return the old one.

  • Where do I ship my knife for warranty service?

    Please send your knives to Kai USA Ltd. You will need to complete our online Warranty/Service Form, print out a copy, and include it with your package. The information you need can be found here

Shopping Online

  • How is sales tax calculated?

    Some local areas require tax to be assessed on shipping and handling charges. If applicable, these taxes are calculated AFTER you place your order and we know your shipping location. Your checkout screen and order confirmation email will not include these local taxes, if they apply to your purchase.

  • How is shipping calculated?

    We currently ship only to the United States and Canada. Shipping is a flat rate of $7.50 in the US and $10 in Canada. There is a flat fee of $15 for blocks, block sets, and cutting boards. Some states and provinces require taxes to be applied to shipping and handling fees, so the final charges will be shown on the email that provides your tracking information.

  • What is Kibo?

    Kai USA is pleased to partner with Kibo, formerly known as Shopatron, a shopping service designed to make it easy for you to shop online and get the products you want promptly. The Kibo network allows you to order products online directly from a manufacturer's website, making online shopping more convenient. When you shop at an online store with Kibo, you are guaranteed to receive authentic merchandise from an authorized retailer. Kibo also allows you to access the entire product line of the brand on one convenient site.

  • When will I receive my order?

    This online store was created to provide a convenient, efficient, and reliable way for our customers to purchase our quality knives online. When your order is taken online, it is matched with the nearest authorized retailer with the items in stock and shipped within two business days. This system supports local retailers while providing you with excellent customer service and prompt shipping; most orders arrive within 3-5 business days.

  • Which payment methods do you accept?

    You can pay with Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, PayPal or PayPal Credit (US only). For more information on PayPal Credit, please click here.

  • How do I access my order history?

    Create an account as part of the checkout process and you can login to your account anytime to check order history and status. You may also login as a guest and check status using the order number you receive in our confirmation email.

  • How do I cancel my order?

    You may cancel your order at any time. Just login to your online account or phone the Kibo customer service team.

  • How do I return my order?

    Use our hassle-free 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee. Just login to your account and the Kibo customer service team will email instructions.

  • How long do I have to return my order?

    You have up to 30 days to return your item if you are not delighted with your order.