Shun Bird’s Beak Knife

Last updated date: May 16, 2020

DWYM Score

Shun Bird’s Beak Knife

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We looked at the top Birds Beak Paring Knives and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Birds Beak Paring Knife you should buy.

Overall Take

For those ready to make a serious cutlery investment, there's the Shun Bird’s Beak Knife, which is priced for professional chefs. The handle has a Japanese-style build, which means you'll have ridges in which to comfortably rest your fingers while you work. The handle is also designed to keep bacteria at bay. We loved this knife's impressive slicing ability. In our analysis of 2 expert reviews, the Shun Shun Bird’s Beak Knife placed 3rd when we looked at the top 6 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note January 23, 2020:
Checkout The Best Bird’s Beak Paring Knife for a detailed review of all the top birds beak paring knives.

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From The Manufacturer

For culinary endeavors when extreme attention to detail is needed, reach for Shun Cutlery’s Classic Bird’s Beak Knife to create a flawless presentation. The Classic Bird’s Beak Knife combines Shun’s proprietary VG-MAX stainless steel, beautiful Damascus cladding, and comfortable PakkaWood handle in one truly exceptional specialty knife. Make decorative cuts to create garnishes like radish rosettes or fluted mushrooms and amaze dinner guests with professional techniques that are easily achieved with this premium knife. The Shun Classic Bird’s Beak Knife can also be used to cut out blemishes on fruits and vegetables, peel plums, and core tomatoes or strawberries quickly and easily. Curved blade shape allows extremely close cuts to flesh of fruit or vegetable and maximizes amount of food left after paring. Enjoy using the Classic Bird’s Beak Knife to turn fruits and vegetables into eatable art. A member of the stylish Shun Classic line, this durable bird’s beak knife deftly handles intricate paring and peeling tasks. The knife’s compact size makes it easy to handle while a uniquely arched blade curves to meet the shape of many fruits and vegetables. Measuring 2-1/2 inches in length with a piercingly sharp tip, this tool is a favorite when precision is a priority. Leveraging a 90-year history of superior workmanship, Shun knives are precision-forged in Japan by renowned blade manufacturer KAI. Using technologically advanced processes, a VG-10 "super steel" core is clad with 16 layers of high-carbon stainless steel to produce a rust-free Damascus-look blade. The Damascus detailing not only enhances the knife’s aesthetic appeal, it also prevents morsels from sticking and avoids crushing or damaging foods. Forming a comfortable D-shaped hold, a fused blend of hardwood veneers and resin comprise the unique ebony Pakkawood handle. A traditionally offset stainless-steel bolster protects knuckles while a steel end-cap finishes the piece. Although dishwasher-safe, hand washing is recommended. This product includes a lifetime warranty. -- Amy Arnold

Overall Product Rankings

DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler
1. DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 1
SKY LIGHT Bird’s Beak Knife
2. SKY LIGHT Bird’s Beak Knife
Overall Score: 9.4
Expert Reviews: 0
Shun Bird’s Beak Knife
3. Shun Bird’s Beak Knife
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 0
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Bird’s Beak Peeling Knife
4. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Bird’s Beak Peeling Knife
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 0
TUO Bird’s Beak Knife
5. TUO Bird’s Beak Knife
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 0
Victorinox Fixed Blade
6. Victorinox Fixed Blade
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 1

An Overview On Birds Beak Paring Knives

Cooking calls for an arsenal of tools, including a variety of knives. If you don’t have a bird’s beak paring knife in your kitchen, you’re missing a tool that can make dinner prep much easier. A bird’s beak knife is named for the short, curved blade, which resembles a bird’s beak.

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“The name comes from the shape of the blade, which is small and curved like the beak of a bird,” says our resident culinary expert Julie Chernoff. “It is smaller than the standard paring knife, with a 2- to 3-inch blade. It could in some ways replace a veggie peeler, because the curve makes it ideal for peeling rounded fruits and veggies, like potatoes, apples and melons, with less waste than a the straight blade of a paring knife. It’s also excellent for coring tomatoes and strawberries, cutting blemishes out of potatoes and separating citrus peels from pith.”

Why do you need one of these knives? Bird’s beak knives are designed specifically for paring and peeling — two activities that require intricate, precise work. You can use it for fluting mushrooms or peeling potatoes and various fruits. You can also use it to create decorative garnishes out of vegetables to add that extra pizzazz to your meals.

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A bird’s beak knife has a blade much shorter than other types of kitchen knives. Although these knives are extremely sharp, the shape and size make them easier to control while you’re doing intricate work like peeling vegetables. Once you’ve added a paring knife to your knife stand, you’ll likely find that you don’t return to your peeler.

When you’re buying any type of knife, the blade is a top feature. Although extra-sharp blades may sound scary, it’s actually safer to have a sharp blade, rather than having to struggle to make cuts using one that has dulled. Although you’ll still occasionally need to sharpen your blade to freshen things up, the right blade design will offer years of precise cuts.

The handle itself also comes into play. You’ll not only want a knife with a comfortable handle, but you’ll also want to make sure you’ll be able to maintain your grip throughout your prep work. That stability will also help keep you safe in the kitchen.

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As with many knives, you’ll get the best results from hand washing your bird’s beak knife. Although some of these knives can be washed on the top rack of the dishwasher, hand washing is still a better idea. If you do opt for the dishwasher method of cleaning, make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions first. Some bird’s beak knives have handles that aren’t built to handle the heat that’s emitted from a dishwasher.

DWYM Fun Fact

If chopping onions makes you cry, you aren’t alone. The culprit behind those tears is propanethial S-oxide, a chemical that is released from the onion as you cut into it. A sharp knife will cut down on the damage you do to the onion’s cell walls, which can reduce the amount of the chemical floating around in the air. You can also keep the area of the onion that hasn’t yet been cut toward you, moving cut areas away after you’ve sliced into them. If you’re up for the challenge, you could always study the way professional chefs cut onions, as their methods tend to be far less tearful than what amateur chefs experience.

The Birds Beak Paring Knife Buying Guide

  • When it comes to blades, you’ll have two major design choices: stainless steel or carbon. Stainless steel handles moisture better, but carbon tends to reach a much better level of sharpness. Overall, you’ll find stainless steel holds up better over the years and weathers more abuse. The ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Bird’s Beak Peeling Knife and the SKY LIGHT Bird’s Beak Knife are carbon knives, while the Shun Bird’s Beak Knife is stainless. The DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler is made from 67 layers of Damascus steel for extra durability.
  • The blade of the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Bird’s Beak Peeling Knife is precision stamped to keep it both lightweight and strong.
  • Bird’s beak paring knives are already extremely sharp, but the DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler is tapered specifically to provide maximum hardness and flexibility, as well as reduced slicing resistance.
  • To sharpen your paring knife, you’ll need a whetstone. Using the corners of the stone will help you manage the unique curves of the bird’s beak knife.
  • The handle also becomes important when it comes to the performance of your paring knife. The handle on the DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler has a tapered bolster that helps with balance, ensuring you stay in control while you’re chopping. The bolster on the handle also helps guard your fingers while you cut.
  • The DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler’s handle is laminated to help keep germs at a minimum. The Shun Bird’s Beak Knife’s handle is also designed so that it doesn’t harbor bacteria.
  • The handle on the Shun Bird’s Beak Knife is built in traditional Japanese style, which has a ridge on one side for the fingers to rest comfortably.
  • “Tang” is a term you’ll see mentioned on knife listings. The tang is the area of the knife where the blade and handle connect. The DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler and ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Bird’s Beak Peeling Knife are full tang, which means the metal of the blade runs the full length of the knife, including through the handle. Most professional chefs insist on knives that are full tang.
  • The SKY LIGHT Bird’s Beak Knife can be washed in the dishwasher, but in general, bird’s beak knives should be washed by hand. The DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler must be washed by hand since the pakkawood handle is not built to handle extreme temperatures.
  • For extra safety measures when storing your knife, the DALSTRONG Paring Knife Peeler includes a protective sheath. Best of all, the sheath is BPA-free.
  • If you aren’t sure whether you’ll like the bird’s beak knife design, consider a budget-friendly option like the SKY LIGHT Bird’s Beak Knife. The Shun Bird’s Beak Knife is on the other end of the price spectrum and likely will be your choice if you’re a serious chef interested in investing in a professional-grade kitchen.