How to Sharpen Shun Knives – Best Tips and Practices

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In this article, we’re going to talk about how to sharpen Shun knives. Starting from the basics, all the way to what tools you should use, we’ll cover all ground. Let’s get to it!

Shun knives are among the best knives available today, adored by both professional and amateur chefs. Famed for their design, performance, and properties, Shun knives are certainly a worthy addition to your kitchen.

The brand has a wide array of products to choose from, and in our Shun knives review, we shared our impressions about the best Shun knives. We came to realize that, if properly cared for, the knives will last for years to come. As a matter of fact, we read a few Shun reviews by customers that said the knives have become a part of the family inheritance, passed down from generation to generation.

That said, we went ahead and discovered the best ways to care for our knives. It turns out that regular honing and sharpening play a major role in their longevity. Although they can hold the edge for prolonged time, it’s good to know how to sharpen them when the time comes.

General Care

Shun Cutlery Premier 7" Santoku Knife; Easily Handles All Basic Kitchen Cutting Tasks, Light, Agile and Very Easy to Maneuver, Fits in Hand Like a Glove, Hand-Sharpened, Handcrafted in Japan

Due to the quality of the steel that Shun knives are made of, they are highly rust and corrosion resistant. However, as with any lifetime investment, it’s crucial to care for them properly. That said, it’s recommended to wash your knives after every use. Avoid detergents with bleach as they promote corrosion. Although some of the knives are dishwasher-friendly, we would recommend washing them strictly by hand. This way you’ll also protect the knives’ handles.

Since they don’t react well to moisture, leaving your knives in water for prolonged time may cause micro-corrosion. Micro-corrosion is the occurrence of tiny chips along the cutting edge. To prevent this, dry the Shun knives immediately after washing them.

To keep them sharp for longer time you should be aware of the best cutting boards for your Shun knives. Ceramic, synthetic, marble, tile, granite, or generally glass cutting boards are not your knife’s friends. Instead, opt for wooden cutting boards as they are not that hard on your knives.

To find out more about Shun knives have a look at our related articles Shun Knives or Shun vs Miyabi comparison.

How to Hone Your Shun Knives

Honing is extremely simple, takes almost no time, but can significantly extend the time between sharpening. Honing, as opposed to sharpening, does not take metal off the blade, but merely a process of realigning the blade’s edge.

Shun recommends using their Shun Honing Steel to achieve the best honing results. Due to the fact that Shun’s honing steel has a built-in guide set to the exact 16-degree angle, you can rest assured your knives will always be honed at the right angle. Merely line your knife with the guide, and make a few strokes on both sides of the blade. That’s about it!

In case you don’t feel like investing in Shun honing steel, you can use any honing steel you have at home. Hold your honing steel vertically, with the tip of your steel placed on a chopping board. Draw the knife down the steel, running from the blade’s heel to the tip. Repeat this starting from the top of the steel and run the knife downwards at about 16-degree angle. Make sure you hone the blade from both sides if you have a double-beveled blade. Of course, you should hone the full length of the blade. Although we tried honing our knives with other honing steels, we ended up spending more time and we couldn’t get them to the exact 16-degree angle.

If you are interested in our Shun knives comparisons have a look at Wusthof vs Shun knives or Dalstrong vs Shun knives comparisons.

How to Sharpen Shun Knives?

Every now and then, your Shun knife will need some extra love to preserve its sharpness. When the blade feels completely dull, you can tell that it’s that time of the year – you need to sharpen it. You can use a whetstone or the Kai electric sharpener to sharpen them at home. Also, you can always send them to a professional sharpener. Shun actually offers free sharpening, but we’ll get to that later

Sharpening Shun Knives at Home

Before you indulge into sharpening your Shun knives on your own, you need to know your whetstones. Shun recommends using a coarse whetstone, 300 grit, as it will remove material from the blade quickly and with ease. You should rely on a 300 grit in order to repair chips and other imperfections.A medium whetstone, 1000 to 1500 grit, is best used for sharpening blades in reasonably dull condition. A fine to very fine whetstone, around 4000 to 6000 grit is suitable for polishing your blade to a mirror finish.

If you have a double-beveled knife, grind the knife with a 15-degree angle to the whetstone. Move the blade toward and away from your body, but don’t put too much pressure. Don’t forget to do this on both sides of the blade.

Single-beveled knives on the other hand, are simpler to sharpen. First, place the ground side on the whetstone. Grind the knife to a 45-degree angle to the whetstone, moving it away and toward your body. Once you’re done with the ground side, turn the knife over and repeat the process. However, you don’t have to do it that often.

Shun offers several whetstones, and a three-piece sharpening system that comes with honing steel, whetstone, and a bamboo stand angled to 16 degrees.

For electric sharpening, you should rely on the Shun Electric Sharpener, while for manual pull-through there’s the Diamond and Ceramic Retractable Sharpener. Both of these math the 16-degree angle of Shun knives.

Let Shun Sharpen Your Knives

When you purchase a Shun knife, you’re granted free sharpening for life! Simply pack your knife and return it to Shun’s Tualatin, Oregon facility for free sharpening. All you have to do is pick the right carrier and pay for shipping.


If you own a Shun knife, you know by now that they don’t need to be sharpened more than once a year if properly cared for. We’d advice you to hone your knives once per week to prolong the time between sharpening, thus preserving your knife’s longevity.

To find out more about kitchen knives check out our other articles best Gyuto knife, or Nakiri knife.

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