There’s several Shun knife sharpener review, including electric sharpeners and stones
Shun knives are fantastic knives, if you can afford one, and of course if you’ve got a Shun knife you need to sharpen it. And Shun offer a number of Shun knife sharpener review.There is of course the Shun electric knife sharpener. Electric knife sharpeners are extremely popular, and one of the biggest selling types of knife sharpeners on the market. However Shun also offer a combination of whetstones as well.
We have already written about wet stone knife sharpeners. In our view a wet stone knife sharpener is a great knife sharpening tool if you’re prepared to put in a little work to learn how to use it. If you’re willing to learn how to use a manual knife sharpening tool like this, and put in the practice, you will get a superior edge to that produced by most of the commercial tools on the market, including the electric knife sharpeners.
What result will the Shun knife sharpener produce?
There is also no doubt that a good electric knife sharpener will produce an edge which is adequate for the average user.
It all comes down to your needs. Do you need to have a knife that is supersharp, or is sharp enough good enough? And generally speaking from our experience sharp enough is good enough for most people.
And if that’s you, then the Shun electric knife sharpener will probably do the job. However it’s not our chosen method of sharpening Shun knives.
The Shun APO119 electric knife sharpener is the main electric knife sharpener offered by Shun. And whilst it offers some of the advantages that are offered by many electric knife sharpeners the Shun knife sharpener is probably not good enough to be your first choice. Your first choice, if you’re looking for the best knife sharpening, should be the Shun whetstones.
How does the Shun electric sharpener work?
The Shun knife sharpener is an electrically operated machine with a small motor which spins a whetstone, which is the abrasive which sharpens the knife. This is a positive, as a Whetstone produces a smoother edge than some other sharpening abrasives.
A major advantage of the Shun knife sharpener is that it allows the user with limited experience to maintain the correct angle on the knife. One of the hardest aspects of sharpening a knife is to hold the knife at the correct angle, get it wrong and your sharpening will be for nothing.
The Shun electric knife sharpener aligns your knife at a 16 degree angle. This is slightly finer than is the case with many other electric knife sharpeners which tend to align the knife at around 20 degrees, however Japanese knives have a slightly finer edge.
The user holds the knife against the guides, with fingers splayed, and slowly pulls it through the sharpener at a slow and consistent speed.
Like other quality electric knife sharpeners the Shun APO119 offers 2 levels of abrasion. The first is a coarse grind, and then there is a second finer grindstone for finishing off.
However when you have finished sharpening on the electric sharpener it is then recommended to hone the knife edge to remove any burrs. Whereas some electric knife sharpeners offer a honing stage the Shun electric sharpener does not. Rather it is recommended to hone the knife manually, and Shun offer a honing steel for this purpose. Therefore to properly sharpen your knife it is necessary to buy not only the Shun knife sharpener but also a honing steel, which obviously adds to the cost
How do users feel about the Shun knife sharpener review?
Now lets examine some of the user reviews. The best place to do this is always Amazon, as they sell more of these products that anybody else and offer an easy way for people to review their purchase, and some, if not all should be genuine unbiased user reviews.
The user reviews are not so kind to the Shun knife sharpener. 20 reviews record a score of 3.9 out of 5 stars, and whilst there are obviously a number of users happy with this electric knife sharpener a number are not. In our experience the highest quality knife sharpeners will usually achieve a score over 4.
The only significant online review that we have found where the product has been aggressively tested is also not very kind to this sharpener, though it is not entirely clear that this review is of the APO119, merely saying that it tested a Shun electric knife sharpener without specifying the model, rather than saying it is the “professional”. Regardless we suspect the conclusion would be the same.
Well worth mentioning is that Shun will sharpen your Shun knives for free. Whilst this service was discontinued some time ago at the time of writing, July 2013, the free knife sharpening service has returned. The customer, however, needs to pay for postage.
If you take care of your knives then real sharpening only needs to be done every 12 months or so. Given that the Shun electric knife sharpener will cost you upwards to $$$ and you’ll pay another $$ or more for a honing steel you could pay for a lot of postage to Shun, and get your knives professionally sharpened at the same time. This would seem a superior alternative.
Of course enthusiasts will be more likely to consider the Shun whetstones, as these will produce a noticeably better result. However as mentioned they will take some practice and some expertise before you can produce this result.
Shun offer 2 combination whetstones, one is a combination of 300/1000 grit and the other is a 1000/6000 grit. These have rated much better on Amazon, getting a 4.7 and 4.8 respectively. For wet stones however they are not cheap, probably because they have the name Shun on them, and you may well find a high quality wet stone at a better price.
And for anyone interested in finding out more about Shun knives generally here is a fun little video giving you some great information on the background behind a Shun knife. Great knives
Conclusion: a reasonable knife sharpener but expensive, particularly when combined with a honing steel. It’s unlikely to produce as good a result as a stone, but will produce a result that is adequate for people who are not interested in learning to stone a knife and who are happy with an edge that is effective but not as good as it is possible to get, which is probably most people.
Advantages include a preset angle for anyone not confident in hand sharpening at a correct angle, and 2 stages of sharpening, a course and a fine stage.