Whether you are looking to either start building a collection of high quality knives or are simply looking to expand your selection further, you should certainly consider the award winning (2005's Kitchen Knife of the Year by Blade Magazine) Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku to be added as an essential addition to your set -- but why? This aims to be the purpose of the following article, giving an honest account of the properties and aspects of the Classic 7-inch Santoku knife and ultimately what it can offer you.
You will find that knives from a Japanese origin are becoming increasingly popular in use from a professional chef to your standard cooking enthusiast, and for obvious reasoning. The knives tend to be manufactured soley for the purpose of efficiency and usability, and Shun is considered a leader of such qualities -- offering knives that offer one of the best possible cutting experiences you can have, and the Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku (DM0718) is certainly no exception.
Credit: Amazon.com -- Shun
The Santoku Design
Santoku translates to "three virtues" which transcends to both cutting ('slicing', 'dicing' and 'chopping') as well as food ('vegetables', 'poultry' and 'fish') which is why you won't be too surprised to find that the Classic Hollow-Ground is considered a 'Do-it-all' knife and hence it can be used for pretty much any cutting related job in the kitchen. Therefore, if you are just starting out with a collection of 'super knives' and want a knife that you can provide you the most initial value then the classic hollow-ground is a great knife to start off with as you will be consistently referring to it. Moreover, not only is it incredibly sharp as you should suspect but from the indentations placed upon the surface of the blade (as you may have seen form the image below), they help to reduce friction as you slice through food, this results in a smoother and more controlled cut.
Features and Craftmanship
Shun claims that their knives forged through 'samurai-sword-making traditions' and to be fair this is not too far from reality. Where samurai swords were formed through the folding of highly carbonated steel which forged sharp edges, Shun knives are created in the same manner, folding steel over 16 times -- resulting in an astonishingly razor sharp edge. The cutting angle is beveled to a standard 16 degree angle (both sides) allowing for a comprehensive cutting angle of approximately 32 degrees (far superior in both cutting angle and sharpness to common European based made knives). The blade consists of Damascus stainless steel allowing for a total of 33 layers of metal, resulting in a rather striking finish. Moreover, the handle is formed from natural unique ebony PakkaWood within a D-shape for main-stream use on right hand, however through special order left handed editions can be ordered. The overall look to the knife (like most other Shun knives) is beautiful, but within the pretty presentation, they don't offer you a guard case or wooden slot (so that is an obivous point of investment to keep it nicely maintained -- if you buy a quality knife, it deserves quality maintenance).
The Usability and Feel of the Knife
You will find that the knife balances rather nicely (the weight of the handle and blade being evenly distributed) -- depending on your preferred method of grip and cutting motion, you will obviously get a different experience. For me, as the 7 inch Hollow-Ground Santoku is slightly more curved than other versions, it suits me well for a rocking motion for those who drop it this will perhaps be a slight issue. Although this is a very subjective matter, for me personally (and many other reviews) I can get a firm and controlled grip (even when wet) and generally just handles like a dream.
Amazon Price: $85.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 2, 2016)
- Light & Maneuverable multi-purpose handcrafted kitchen 7" knife
- Hard-Sharpened 16Â° double-bevel blade (32Â° comprehensive)
- Steel: VG10, 32 layers with Stainless Damascus Cladding
Customer Reviews and Opinions
No comprehensive review can be fully complete without a general consensus of other reviews on the Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku 7 inch, who have also used the product for their personal use. Overall it scores a very favourable rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars from Amazon.com from a total of 66 reviews, ranking it at as one of the best knives available online. The aspects and features that were most praised was the 'fit' and 'grip' of the knife e.g. "the shape fits my hand perfectly", the sharpness e.g. "this knife comes with one of the sharpest factory edges you could ever ask for", the beautiful design e.g. "the knife looks great" and general overall high satisfaction with the knife e.g. "I would recommend this knife to anyone who really wants to have a great knife in their kitchen". The only drawback I have found personally and amongst other reviews is that with using the Shun DM0718 Knife -- the Japanese characters on the handle can start to wear after a few months of hard use -- granted that this does not affect the knife... but still.
Recommendations & Maintenance
You will have noticed that Shun knives certainly aren't as cheap as other common brands, but as with most things in this world you get what you pay for and this is certainly true in this case -- you are paying for quality. So if you are looking to start building a custom set of high quality kitchen knives or adding to it then then the Shun Classic Hollow-Ground Santoku 7 inch should be essential your set. Few other brands and knives will compete with it when it comes to your everyday cooking.
In terms of maintenance it is incredibly easy to maintain due to being made from stainless steel, the only real requirement is you keep it sharp through a decent honing steel or sharpener to keep your Santoku nice and sharp and that you hand-wash and dry to ensure prevention of rust. Moreover, although the DM0718 is designed specifically to cut most items in the kitchen; I would refrain from using this knife on hard items such as bones. The Shun DM0718 will cut bone and other hard substances with ease, but you may get some chipping on the blade.
If you have never used a true Japanese Santoku knife then you will be surprised at how well this knife works, especially when compared to cheaper knives that you may be used to using. The Shun DM0718 will rapidly become your go to knife in the kitchen. If you take good care of the blade then you can reasonably expect this knife to last at least 10+ years. There are of course a lot of great knives on the market but rarely do you find Japanese Santoku knife that is as high of quality as this one. The quality of materials are the finest and is truly a great a knife overall to work with.