The Shun Elite 9-piece block set is a top-quality selection of professional knives which really are beautifully designed. Stylish black pakkawood handles embellished with a samurai crest add to the set's style, but you'll want more than just good looks if you're buying at the top of the line. What you get with Shun Elite are good features you won't see at first glance.
Shun Elite knives, certified by the NSF for professional use, jump several levels above the standard fare from the U.S. and Germany. Forged with strong, low-profile bolsters, the blades are tempered to Rockwell 64 and ground to 16 degrees on each side. The European standard is 20 degrees, or even more, with an average hardness of only Rockwell 56 to 58. The cutting action of these blades is good enough to be scary. If you've always owned knives which required pushing, you'll be in for a surprise.
If the knives are used and cared for properly, refurbishing the blades won't be necessary for a long time. The cutting edge holds up to daily use for about a year. Making knives this refined isn't a simple process. The manufacturer uses a method based on techniques that produced some of Japan's finest samurai swords, revised a bit for modern purposes. A sheet of hard SG2 forms the core and cutting edge, braced by two tougher layers of SUS410 high carbon stainless steel. The blade that results will literally last a lifetime.
These high-end knives won't replace all your ordinary cutlery, since the edges aren't made for heavy chopping or cutting through hard objects like bones or frozen food. For anything which requires slicing or carving, your hands will automatically reach for the Shun Elite. They're just better. The assortment includes one 3.5-inch paring knife and two chef's knives 4.5 and 8 inches long, plus a 7-inch santoku, 9-inch bread knife, and 9-inch slicing knife. A Shun sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and bamboo knife block complete the set.