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Kai Shun Santoku Classic series knife Review – VG Max

The Kai Shun Santoku Classic is made from a stainless steel core called VG-Max it comes with softer stainless steel cladding that comes with a 32 layered Damascus pattern. The handle is made from Pakkawood. The Knife is made in Japan.

Knife Rockwell Hardness and Core Material

The knife Rockwell hardness is specified with a Rockwell of 61. If used at home, you can get away with 7 to 8 months before needing a whetstone touch-up if you regularly hone your knife with a honing rod. The core material is made from stainless steel called VG-Max, and this steel-type has excellent stain and rust-resistant properties. The blade is very stiff, and there is no noticeable flex during use. VG-Max steel is quite brittle, and you should be careful with it. Even with the outer cladding that reinforces the core material. While the Santoku Classic from Kai Shun is quite brittle, it merely means that you need to be gentle with it and should never force your way through. Therefore it is advisable not to use it on frozen food, bones, cheese, hard bread, or push your way through other though food like chocolate or crush nuts.

Kai Shun Santoku Classic - Choil
Choil

Blade profile of Kai Shun Santoku

The knife profile of a Santoku is flatter than a German knife, but the blade is shorter. Most hybrid Santokus have a more curved front to keep the rocking ability, and this Kai Shun Classic Santoku is catered to the western cooks. Since it is a fusion, they also gave the Santoku a more significant curve at the front to support the rock chopping motion. The rocking motion is only comfortable for food with less stack height, something like herbs.

Santoku Hybrid VS German Profile
Santoku Hybrid VS German Profile

Balance Point of Kai Shun Santoku

The knife balance point is in front of the cap at the handle. The recommended griping style is the pinch grip at the cap’s front for the optimal balance distribution. Since it is a Santoku, I prefer the balance point at the middle or slightly front-heavy dependent on my gripping style. Because the balance point is in front of the cap, a pinch grip further than that will result in a heavy back knife. The reason why I like middle balance and even slightly front-heavy balance point on a Santoku is because of the primary cutting style. It is an up and forward motion vs. the rocking of a chef’s knife.

Balance at the fron of the cap
Balance at the fron of the cap

Knife handle of Kai Shun Santoku

The handle is made from Pakkawood, and it is shaped in a right-handed D-shape. They also sell a left-handed D shape, so make sure you pick the correct one. The handle is decent, and I like the D-shape over an Oval shaped handle. The D-shape gives extra comfort around your fingers, but that is the only advantage of the D shape over an Oval shaped handle.

D- Shaped Pakkawood Handle (2 versions right/left handed)
D- Shaped Pakkawood Handle (2 versions right/left handed)

Weight, finish and quility control

At around 208 grams, the knife weight is heavy for a traditional Japanese knife, so this knife is a Japanese fusion. Since it is a fusion, they also gave the Santokua a more significant curve at the front for the rock chopping motion. The knife also has a gentle distal taper, promoting the primary cutting style since the food wedges better. The overall finish of this knife and out of the box sharpness was good zero complaints there.

Kai Shun Santoku Classic (ChefPanko Logo was a custom order)
(ChefPanko Logo was a custom order)

Suitable for home cooks?

This knife is great for home cooks since the VG10, or in Shuns case, VG-Max has high stainless properties that are on par with stainless steel like the Wusthof.

Blade lenght is great for home use
Blade lenght is great for home use

Suitable for professional cooks?

I’m not particularly eager to use the Santoku in a professional kitchen since the knife is too short.

Kai Shun Santoku Classic - Hybrid Blade Profile
Hybrid Blade Profile

🛒S H O P:

Kai Shun Santoku Classic:
NA: Kai Shun Santoku Classic
EU: Kai Shun Santoku Classic

Kai Shun Official Amazon Store:

NA: Kai Shun Santoku Classic
EU: Kai Shun Santoku Classic

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Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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