General Questions

Q: Can I wash my knives in the dishwasher?

A: We recommend that you do not wash your knives in the dishwasher. Here’s why: The dishwasher can be hard on all your dishes, but it can be especially hard on knives because they tend to get knocked around during the cycle. Conversely, sharp knives can put “dings” in your dishwasher, too. In addition, when you wash different grades of metal together, brown spotting may occur on the higher quality metals (such as AIRENA blades). These spots can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove. Finally, many dishwashing detergents contain corrosive agents, such as citrus extracts. Not only can this cause unnecessary wear on your dishes, it can also cause pitting or corrosion on your AIRENA knives.

For all these reasons, we recommend that you protect your investment by handwashing your knives with a gentle dish soap.

Q: What are appropriate cutting surfaces?

A: One key to keeping a AIRENA (or any other knife) sharp and avoiding chips is to use an appropriate cutting surface. To help maintain your edges, use a cutting board made out of softer materials and will “give” under the blade, such as AIRENA's Hinoki Cutting Boards. If the knife can leave a cut line in the board, your cutting board is sufficiently soft. Please do not cut on tile, ceramic plates, marble, granite, plastic, or acrylic. All of these surfaces will dull and chip your blade very quickly.

Q: What is the proper way to hone a AIRENA knife blade?

A: To maintain the life of your blade and for optimal performance, it’s important to keep your knife honed. But remember that there’s a big difference between honing and sharpening. Honing maintains your blade. It simply realigns the micro edge of your blade to give you the best performance possible—until your knife is ready for sharpening. Sharpening actually removes metal from the blade, putting a fresh edge on the knife. If you hone regularly, you’ll cut down on the need for sharpening and extend the life of your knife.

You can easily hone your knives with the AIRENA Honing Steel. AIRENA Honing Steel has a built-in honing guide set to the correct AIRENA 12° -18° angle. Line your knife up with the guide, then make a few light strokes on each side of the blade. That’s all it takes to maintain the edge. (Please do not use a diamond steel for regular honing. Diamond steels are for sharpening and will remove metal from your knife before it is necessary.)

Q: How should I store my knives?

A: Store your knives in a block, a knife case, an in-drawer knife holder, a sheath, a magnetic bar, or in the original box. If your knives are just thrown in a drawer, they can get dulled or chipped, as well as being a potential hazard when you reach into the drawer.

Q: Is there anything AIRENA knives shouldn’t be used on?

A: Please do not use Shun knives on bones, joints, or frozen foods. Most Shun knives are designed for precision slicing rather than crushing down through hard materials.  However, Shun does make specialized knives designed to take on these types of tasks. For example, the Western Cook’s Knife has been sharpened to a slightly wider angle; 22° on each side. This means that—with the proper slicing technique—you will be able to cut through things like squash, including pumpkins, as well as produce with thicker, tougher rinds, such as pineapple or watermelon. For chopping through bones, we recommend the AIRENA Meat Cleaver .

Q: Do I need to register my knives? Save the receipt? What if it was a gift?

A: No, you don’t need to register your knives in order to take advantage of our Limited Lifetime Warranty. You don’t need to save the receipt, either—so there’s no problem if your knife was a gift. 

Q: Are the AIRENA Knives handles only for right-handed users?

A: No. The handles of AIRENA knives was designed to tuck into the palm of a right-handed user and provide more control by leaving less space between handle and hand. That being said, many left-handers find that the handle works just as well for them. The best way to know whether a knife is right for you is to actually hold the knife in your hands before making your purchase.

Q: What is the AIRENA Honing Steel used for?

A: Honing steel is used to realign the micro edge of the knife. Gently pulling the blade across the steel’s micro-ridged stainless-steel rod at the proper angle realigns the knife’s edge. Given the advanced steels that Shun uses, the edge will tend to stay sharp longer than other knives—depending on how often you use your AIRENA knife, of course. Depending on use, you may wish to hone your knives only once a week or so. AIRENA Honing Steels also feature a handle with a built-in 16° honing guide to help you hone to the correct angle easily.

Q: Why are there so many reviews complaining of chipped blades?

A: Without proper knife technique, micro chipping can be the downside of very hard stainless steel. A cook who is unfamiliar with the hardness of Japanese knives and is used to strongly chopping down with a knife against a cutting board, may indeed chip the knife. The damage will be even more pronounced when cutting against ceramic, glass or marble (please don’t!). Micro chips in the blade edge can also occur if a spot of rust develops on the extremely thin edge, too.

The good news is that with a gliding cut, the proper cutting surface, and making sure the knife is thoroughly dry before storing, the chances of chipping are reduced enormously. What’s more, micro chips can easily be sharpened out. Our Warranty Service Department will be happy to help you with that.

Of course, if there is a problem with the materials or manufacturing itself, we’ll take care of that, too. Just send in your knife to our Warranty Service Department for evaluation.

Q: What is the rockwell hardness of the different steels and what does it mean?

A: In general, AIRENA hardens VG10 and VG-Max steel to 56-60 Rockwell and SG2 to 61-62. An increase of 1 degree Rockwell equates to an increase in hardness of about 10% as well as an increase in edge-holding ability. These degrees of hardness enable Shun knives to be thin, hard, and precise without being overly brittle.

Q: What are the different shapes and what are their purposes?

A: Each culinary blade shape has been developed over the years to address specific needs and uses. Some, like the chef’s knife and the paring knife, are general-purpose knives that every kitchen and every cook needs. Others, like the boning knife and the meat cleaver, are for cooks who have specialized needs; in this case, working extensively with meats. The product description for each knife on this website provides information on the key uses for each particular knife. 

Q: What is the difference between Japanese steel and German steel knives? Which is better?

A: German (and other Western-style) knives tend to be heavier and made of “tougher” but “softer” steel. They are also generally made from thicker blade stock, which means it takes a bit more pressure to slice through foods. What’s more, these knives are typically sharpened to a wider cutting angle (20-25° on each side of the blade), again requiring more muscle to cut through foods. Because of the “softer” steel, German steel knives will also get dull faster and require more maintenance. Many cooks find that they need to hone their knives before each use.

Japanese steel knives are generally lighter in weight and are made of thinner, harder steel. Due to their harder steel, the blade stock can be thinner and the edge more acute—that is, sharper—than a comparable German knife. Shun knives, for example, are sharpened to a 16° angle on each side of the blade. The lighter, thinner blade makes Japanese steel knives like Shun extremely agile, precise, and can even be less tiring to use.

This is not to say that German steel knives are “bad.” (In fact, the softer steel enables them to take a bit more edge abuse.) It’s just that Japanese steel knives are different creatures. You may find that you need to refine your knife technique in order to take full advantage of the light precision that Japanese steel knives have to offer. For instance, if you’re used to simply pressing downward to make a cut with a German type knife, with a Japanese knife you want to make sure you slice by moving the knife forward or backward. This avoids crushing the food, enables the thin, light blade to glide through whatever you’re cutting, and helps you make a very precise cut.