The wavy pattern on our blades is called a Damascus look; what gives it that pattern are 16 layers of SUS410 High Carbon Stainless Steel pounded to 3/1000th of an inch and then "clad" on each side of the VG10 core. This combination of materials gives the blade strength, stain resistance, and incredible cutting performance.
The Cutting Edge
Shun's cutting edge is ground to an angle of 16 degrees making them extremely sharp; compare this to the best German knives which are only ground to only 22 degrees. The exotic Japanese steels used in the cutting core of these knives allow them to hold these razor sharp edges without the need for excessive re-sharpening.
VG10 "Super Steel"
VG10 is a new type of stainless steel that has a higher density. This allows the steel to be tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 61, and still have the flexibility and strength to take and keep a perfect edge. VG10's natural tendency is to remain straight and true, so when it is used, the edge of the blade naturally straightens out and stays sharper longer.
SG-2 Powdered Steel
Shun uses SG-2 as the cutting steel in some of our Elite knives. SG-2 is an exotic powdered steel with incredible edge retention capability and hardness, resulting in an exceedingly sharp and smooth edge. It has a much higher density and grain structure with no imperfections or weak points.