Shun knives are made from VG-10 stainless steel, specially constructed to be harder, less brittle, but also more flexible than traditional steel formulations. The VG-10 core is then clad with 16 full layers of high-carbon stainless steel on each side, for a grand total of 33 layers. These layers not only protect the VG-10, they create an exquisitely-detailed surface reminiscent of Damascus or pattern-forged steel, the kind once used for Samurai swords. As a result, these knives are simply stunning to look at--much like antique Damascus knives but without their tendency to rust. As an additional benefit, the slight patterning helps slice rather than crush delicate foods and keeps cut food from sticking to the blade. Like many Asian-style knives, these feature handles that are especially suited to smaller users. In contrast to the traditional round profile, however, Shun’s are D-shaped to prevent the knife from twisting in the hand, providing extra stability and a firm grip. The handles are made from ebony-colored Pakkawood, a fused blend of hardwood veneers imbued with waterproof resin that combines the warmth and traditional look and feel of wood with the strength and durability of plastic. The offset stainless steel bolster is designed for ergonomic comfort and maximum safety, while a stainless steel end cap provides the finishing touch. As sturdy as they are lovely, these knives are officially safe to put in the dishwasher--although they’re so good-looking you might find yourself hard-pressed to do so. Shun knives are covered by a limited lifetime warranty. --Mary Park
What’s in the Box
8-inch chef’s knife, utility knife, paring knife, sharpening steel, herb shears, and bamboo knife block.