You could say that the Kramer Pro Block Set is better than Shun cutlery, if Kai USA, the manufacturer of Shun knives, hadn’t built this, too. If you like handmade knives in the design developed by chef and master cutler Bob Kramer, you could still prefer this take on modern high-end chef’s cutlery.
Kramer’s custom knives sell for many times the cost of this set, but in this assortment of five knives, a fine storage block, and a sharpening steel, you’ll find many of the same features Kramer puts into his custom creations. Japanese chefs prefer sharpening stones to sharpening steels because the harder edge of a fine Japanese knife chips. Americans want knives that cut well but sharpen easily with a honing steel. Kramer developed knives which feature the best combination of steel, hardness, and bevel angle, finding an efficient place in between the standard European and Japanese designs. The result is a set of knives that cuts extremely well, sharpens easily with a sharpening steel, and holds a sharp edge for a long time.
All the materials that create these knives are also beautiful. Synthetic Pakka-wood handle slabs display the red and black figure you’d expect in a knife fitted with Brazilian rose wood. Forged blades show the regular rippled pattern of machine-forged Damascus-like steel. Layers of resilient high carbon stainless steel support a tough central layer of SG-2 steel, not the harder VG-10 found in the regular Shun product line. Americans like to use knives roughly, and the SG-2, hardened to 64-66 HRC, allows normal use and sharpening without an entirely new set of sharpening stones.
Paring knife, bread knife, utility knife, santoku, and chef’s knife, as well as the matching honing steel, fit neatly in the mahogany-stained bamboo storage block.
See the Shun Chef’s Classic 8-piece Block Set for another selection of Damascus-style steel knives from Kai USA.
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