How’s everyone doing? I’m back with another review. This time we will look at a Santoku knife from a Japanese manufacturer – Shun. Specifically, it will be the handcrafted Shun Hiro SG2 7-inch Santoku Knife. If you’d like to read more about Santoku knives, look at one of my earlier articles here.
I’ve already covered some Shun knives like for example the Shun Premier 7-inch Santoku and none of them failed to impress. They were all great knives so let’s see if this one is as good as well.
In case you’ve never heard of Shun Cutlery, know that it’s a Japanese kitchen knife brand that was founded in 2012. The brand is part of the KAI Group, which has been involved in the production of high-quality kitchen cutlery since the early 20th century.
Features at Glance
- SG2 steel core
- 7-inch blade clad with beautiful Damascus pattern
- Stunning hammered Tsuchime finish
- Ambidextrous handle made of PakkWood
The blade looks absolutely awesome. The Damascus pattern together with the hammered tsuchime finish will leave wondering how something as beautiful as this can be even made from a piece of metal.
Haven’t heard of a tsuchime finish yet? Know that it’s a hammered pattern that is mostly used to make the blade look a little more dramatic. In a nutshell there maybe hundreds of small indentations in on blade’s surface created by the impact of a specially shaped hammer. These indentations can also help a bit during the cutting process. Basically, small air pockets will form in the indentations and they will prevent the food and veggies from sticking to the blade. Do not expect miracles though. A raw potato will still stick to the blade like mad.
With the Santoku being pretty much the Japanese counterpart to a classic Western chef’s knife, the length of 7 inches is about ideal.
The core of the blade is made the SG2 powder steel which is known for its exceptional hardness of 64° HRC. This allows you to sharpen the edge to razor-sharpness. And as you would expect from such steel, the edge will keep for a long time. However, the hardness comes with a downside. Harder steels are more brittle than softer ones. Therefore, I’d advise against using this knife for chopping bones. Get a cleaver for these tasks.
The SG2 usually used for the core of knives. On the outside of the blade, there are 32 layers of nickel and stainless Damascus finish.
The handle is made of charcoal-black PakkaWood, which is a plastic/wood composite. Now you’re thinking a wooden handle would be a better choice, right? Not entirely true. PakkaWood and similar composites are an excellent choice for knife handles. The material withstands harsh wet conditions better than natural wood and has almost the same look and feel as you’d expect from wood.
Unlike the traditional Japanese handles that are pretty much always D-shaped, this one is designed to be ambidextrous. No matter whether you’re right or left-handed, the handle will be comfortable.
There’s also a small inlaid brass and steel Samurai mosaic on the handle. The bolster and end cap are made of nickel polished to mirror-like finish which creates a nice contrast with the black handle.
Although there aren’t a lot of customer reviews online, those that are, are pretty much all very positive.
The Shun Hiro gets praised especially for its sharpness, build quality and overall looks. Customers mentioned a couple of times that guests are always in awe when they see the knife in the host’s kitchen.
Most people who bought this knife consider it the best knife they’ve ever had.
All-in-all, this is an excellent knife that has pretty much only one downside. And that downside is the price. The prices of online retailers change frequently so I cannot give you the exact number. However, be prepared to spend about 300 bucks to get the Shun Hiro Santoku.
Given the price, I’d probably not buy the knife for myself, but I think it’d be an excellent Christmas present for someone who loves cooking and cares about what knife he or she uses.
An excellent Japanese Santoku knife