With recent appearances on Hannibal and True Detective, Shun knives have become a staple in many kitchens—real and fictional.
The premier, award-winning brand boasts handcrafted Japanese knives with sharp blades and smooth, durable handles. But no matter how sturdy the knife, it will inevitably require sharpening. So, do Shun knives offer free sharpening?
Honing Your Shun Knives
Whether you are already a proud owner of a Shun knife, aspiring to purchase one, or simply interested in high-quality Japanese knives, read on to learn everything you need to know about Shun knives and how to keep them razor-sharp.
Shun Knives are traditional handcrafted Japanese knives. Owned by the Kai Group, Shun Cutlery is high quality and offers a diverse array of products and repair services.
Shun knives are famous for their sharp, precision blades. The company uses an exclusive and unique method to forge the knives’ blades. This method is called Composite Blade Technology and consists of laser-cutting sheets of steel and locking the pieces in a process known as brazing.
The Kai Group owns the Shun brand. The Kai Group is a conglomerate that manufactures razors, knives, scissors, nail care, and medical products.
The Kai Group originates from Seki City, the center of the Japanese cutlery industry, where blacksmiths originally invented the Japanese knife in the 13th century.
The Kai Group has manufactured knives since its founding in 1908 but only introduced the Shun brand in 2002.
The word Shun is a Japanese term with no equivalent in English. It refers to the moment an ingredient is at its prime.
Connoisseurs associate Japanese knives with high quality and craftsmanship. Japanese knives typically feature rounded edges, sweeping lines, and additional aesthetic features. They are sharp and designed for precision.
The high-carbon steel blade of a Japanese knife is stronger and lighter than the stainless steel blades of Western knives, and Japanese blades tend to stay sharper over time.
These sharp knives are perfect for precise cuts and thin slices. They are most appropriate for fruit, vegetables, and soft meats.
For this reason, they need frequent sharpening and maintenance. They are easier to break than other knives. That is why Shun offers extensive repair and maintenance services.
The Shun brand products are hand-made in Seki by local artisans.
Their handles consist of quality hardwoods or textured PP/TPE—both contribute to precision balance and maintenance.
The Kai corporation uses a proprietary method called Composite Blade Technology, welding two different steel materials in a metallurgical process called “brazing.”
The Shun website categorizes knives by use, series (Shun Premier and Shun Classic are the most popular,) and blade. All Shun knives have razor-sharp blades, which require regular maintenance and sharpening.
Use paring knives for peeling, mincing, and other delicate tasks. Shun paring knives are light and sharp and require sharpening every 1-2 years.
The Chef knife is among the company’s most popular items. It is a classic, all-purpose blade appropriate for most tasks.
The utility knife is an all-purpose kitchen knife. It is a cross between a chef knife and a paring knife. It makes precise cuts and is smaller than a chef knife.
This award-winning variation on the traditional all-purpose knife cuts through vegetables, fruit, and proteins. This knife is a basic, multi-purpose tool. Beginners often purchase Santoku knives first, as they are adaptive to many uses.
This knife works best with vegetables and fruit but is adaptable to other uses.
The steak knife is razor-sharp and has a fine edge to slide through meats. It will likely need to be sharpened every 1-2 years for optimal use.
If you’ve been wondering, “do Shun knives offer free sharpening?” then you are in luck. Shun’s free sharpening service is one of the brand’s most popular features since sharpening a knife can be expensive and dangerous. We have included everything you need to know before you request your free sharpening.
All knives purchased from authorized retailers have a lifetime warranty for the buyer. The company has different warranties for other products, so check your warranty on their website.
The sharpening service is free with no hidden costs. You pay only for shipping and processing should you mail your knife in.
Knives dull with impact. Over time, the thin edge of a knife blade will curl, creating a “rolled edge,” which will prevent the sharpest part of your knife from reaching the item you are cutting.
Keeping your blade sharp is essential for precision and safety. All blades will wear over time, but Japanese blades require regular sharpening and honing.
Sharpening a Shun Knife on Whetstone
A honing steel will allow you to correct rolled edges at home. These are flat, oval, or round wands made of sharp material that can re-direct the rolled edge of your knife.
To hone, align the flat edge of your blade with the 16-degree angle guide found on the hand guard of the honing steel. Repeat as needed.
Once the honing steel no longer works, it is time for professional sharpening.
Most knives need sharpening every couple of years but you can request service anytime.
Shun offers a walk-in service at their Portland location and a mail-in service for everyone else.
Walk-ins are available from Monday-Friday, 8 AM to 4:30 PM.
The mail-in service requires you to fill out a warranty form and send your knife to Kai Ltd. More information on this option is available below.
Shun will only sharpen knives that belong to you. Furthermore, you must have purchased it from an authorized dealer.
Before requesting to have a knife sharpened, register your knife here.
You will need the six-digit combination of letters and numbers on the outer edge of the knife under the Kai logo.
Although walk-ins are available in Oregon, mail-in service is more convenient for most. Here are the steps to take once you have registered your knife.
The warranty department will not accept unclean knives, so be sure to clean your knife thoroughly before packing it.
This form is simple and requires personal and product information.
You will need the model number, quantity, date of purchase, and place of purchase for your knife.
Print the form and include it with your package.
You must pack your knives properly, as sharp blades can pierce cardboard and injure handlers. Use the following checklist to pack your box:
The Kai corporation will only sharpen knives purchased in the US, Canada, or Mexico.
If you are shipping from Mexico or Canada, you may need to fill out a US Customs and Border Protection form and tape it outside the box. Be sure to indicate it is a warranty service to avoid extra charges.
If you are outside the three countries mentioned above, you may return your knife to the local retailer from whom you purchased your knife.
Kai USA LTD
Shun Warranty Dpt.
18600 SW Teton Avenue
Tualatin, OR 97062
Shun knives have various services for damages and repairs. Here is a list of customers’ most common services for their damaged blades.
Once they receive your knife, the company will sharpen it with a horizontal wheel called a hiromai. The hiromai is a wet sharpening wheel that protects your knife from over-heating. So expect your blade to appear slightly different when you get it back.
Your Shun knife can incur other damages, which the company will attempt to fix (also for free.)
If the tip of your knife breaks off, the company will fix it—but it will look quite different. They need to remove material from various parts of the knife, so the blade will look shorter.
The Kai Group will also fix chipped edges up to 2mm.
They will cut the metal in line with the chip so the knife will appear narrower. It will have the same cutting angle and functionality.
Certain damages do not qualify for repairs. The company will not perform the following:
To avoid the hassle of seeking professional sharpening, take care of your knife. For more information, see Shun's complete guide to use and maintenance. Here are a few best practices: