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Knife Sharpening In Brooklyn

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  • Todd Dec 17, 2002 10:08 AM
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I saw this thread on the manhattan board and immediately realized I need to get my knives sharpened. Anyone know a good place for knife sharpening in the Park Slope/Carroll Gardens/Boerum Hill area?

  1. This won't be much of a help, but it could be interesting for the future. There's a guy who drives around Park Slope, and I'm sure other areas, in his truck in the summer - August is when I've seen him - ringing a bell and sharpening knives instead of selling ice cream. It's really pretty comical to hear the bell and see everyone drop what they're doing (ah, gossiping on the front stoop?) run into the house and return with a big bunch of kitchen knives.

    Other than that, no can help....

    7 Replies
    1. re: bigskulls

      http://media1.acs.albany.edu:8080/ram...

      Link: http://www.albany.edu/talkinghistory/...

      Image: http://www.radiodiaries.org/images/LP...

      1. re: bigskulls

        beware the mobile knife destroyer! go to cooks companion or purchase the Chef's Choice sharpener and do it yerself.

        1. re: josh

          that's the guy in the post below. Is he really bad? I'm certainly no expert, but the knives that I had him do seem to have stayed reasonably sharp....

          1. re: bigskulls

            I have used the mobile guy quite a number of times over the years, but not any longer. there is no question, he does grind the knives down more than necessary - and I havent liked his work on scissors or my lawmower. I like my chef's choice just fine and I dont go out when his bell rings anymore, though the idea of his service appeals.

            1. re: jen kalb

              he sharpened one of our knives until it was concave (or is that convex?). In any case, it rendered said knife unable to perform the standard swivel slicing motion, which sucked considering it was one of those expensive German blades. It was sharp though.

          2. re: josh
            b
            Brooklyn Heights Resident

            I Agree - I wish I had seen your comment before I dashed out to Bob's Grinding Service - truck with clanging bell came down my street in Brooklyn Heights. After the sharpening, I saw that my hundred-dollar Zwilling Henckels knife has a discolored tip which means that the knife tip was too long on the grinding wheel, got too hot, and now that metal is changed in composition, weaker, easy to break. Also, the sharpening went too far down toward the handle and is a bit chipped near the handle. You would think these guys would know what they are doing after all of these years. I guess they are better for gardening shears and scissors.

            1. re: josh

              I agree. The concept is whimsical. The result is far from it. He didn't seem to ruin my knives, but didn't really sharpen them, either. FWIW, I'm not too impressed with A Cook's Companion, either. I usually shlep to the place in manhattan in the 30s that everyone goes to. I recently took them to Sur La Table in SOHO, they were having a free knife sharpening event, you had to leave them behind. They did a good job, so if they do it regularly, I'd recommend it.

          3. A Cook's Companion, the lovely cookware store on Atlantic Avenue near Clinton (152 Atlantic; 718 852-6901) offers knife-sharpening. They are extremely reputable and will treat your knives with love and respect.

            Or, order Morty the Knife Man's 1-2-3 knife sharpener from Chowmarket. Or, if you have a car, pay Morty a visit on Manor Haven Blvd. in Port Washington.

            1. I can recommend *against* the place on Atlantic Ave between 3rd and 4th which also sells shoes (yeah, that should be a sufficient giveaway). In the end they put sharp edges on my knives, but massacred them cosmetically in the process.

              Chuck

              1. I just had mine sharpened by the guy in the truck - "Bob's Grinding Service". As far as I can tell, he did a really good job - they're sharper than they've been in a long time. Three Wusthof came out looking and slicing very nice(ly). $25 for three chef's knives and a paring knife. I'm not sure if that's a good deal or not, but it certainly was convenient.

                1. The guy in the truck just about ruined my set of Wusthof knives. Ground them down way too far and it's only the first time I've had them sharpened. Never again.

                  1. Sorry to be a snob, folks.

                    Get a whetstone, practice on a crappy knife and learn how to do it yourself. Immensely cheaper, better and easier.

                    I've spend HUNDREDS on services and 3rd party sharpeners. Doing it at home beats 'em all.

                    And the knife truck guy is a CROOK. His price range change depending on his customer.

                    Kinda like Dominick's in the Bronx?
                    ; )

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Larry Brooks

                      Ok. Let's get down to specifics here. Being a former Exec. Chef, I used to, and still do sharpening maintenance on all of my Global and Messermeister knives. However, once a year, sometimes twice depending on how much I am cooking, I always have my knives professionally sharpened. This *cannot* be replicated by any wet stone or oil based stone sharpening at home. Since moving back to the city from France, however, there is this blight on facilities that offer such services. Unfortunately, the only place I have been satisfied with is the Broadway Panhandler. I realize this is not in the scope of this disucssion, given the parameteres of the outer bouroughs, but it is worth mentioning. Moreover, is there anyone out there who can just do this while you wait??? This seemingly is asking a lot. In a city like NYC, for whatever reason, certain items and services are very hard to come by...high quality coffee, (until the very recent arrival of Cafe Grumpy) and knive sharpening are two things that this city is in dire need of.

                      1. re: noodles

                        Noodles, if you can get yourself out to Garden City, Long Island, there is a superb knife-sharper, Charlie Robertson, working at the Viking store there:

                        Loaves & Fishes Cookshop and Viking Cooking School
                        835 Franklin Ave.
                        Garden City, N.Y. 11530
                        516-877-1010

                        I don't know if he will sharpen your knives while you wait, but you could certainly ask the store to mail them back to you.

                        Charlie fully understands that to preserve its shape, a knife's bolster must be periodically ground down--otherwise you'll wind up with a collection of very sharp boning knives.

                        Another good place on Long Island is Morty the Knife Man in Farmingdale where Jeff is the knife guy.

                        1. re: emarcus

                          Thanks for the tip. I work in Garden City right around the corner. I've never had my knives sharpened (I have some nice Wusthof and a crappy but reliable Cuisinart). How much should I expect to be charged for 2 chef's knives and one pairing knife?

                          1. re: emarcus

                            Thanks to Google and your post, I now know where to locate Mr. Robertson. He was at Fortunoff before the holidays but when I went back last week, I learned that he had gone and all I could get out of them was "Garden City". He really does a wonderful job.

                        2. re: Larry Brooks

                          Any self respecting chef should be able to keep their own knives sharp (this also goes for hunters and anglers). Grinding services are lousy because the wheel they use is too coarse and powerful for a precision hone; they are better suited to lawn mower blades. Any artisinal sharpening service will simply use a wet or oil stone and do what you can, with a little practice, learn to do at home. The fact that so many people are unable to keep this essential tool in working order speaks to a greater blight on our culture: Namely, specialization and an overal cluelessness when it comes to taking care of ourselves.

                          1. re: paulinalake

                            I'm sure there are many many things we could all do for ourselves if given limitless time and inclination. I'm sure I could make my own pasta, but my kitchen doesnt have space for yet another device and I buy excellent fresh pasta nearby. I would love to always make my own stock, but some times I have to buy it fresh made locally. I could squeeze my own orange juice etc etc.

                            Anyway, the point of the thread was finding places where one can do it for you, its a modern convenience to do such things. I dont think that makes anyone in this thread less of a self respecting chef.

                            The people at the Cook's Companion are lovely and did a wonderful job on 4 of our knives last weekend, following the advice of this thread. Thanks for the great tip.

                            1. re: Nehna

                              yes. i took my knives into them for a long overdue sharpening. they did a beautiful job on them and it wasn't expensive.

                              1. re: Nehna

                                If you are a chef and you can't sharpen your own knives, you're damn right it's a self-respect issue. And about the point of the thread, it seems there's a dearth of places that can do it for you, unlike pasta joints, so why not learn to do it yourself instead of searching high and low for something that with a little practice takes minutes.

                                1. re: paulinalake

                                  Actually I think that a very small percentage of the people who hang out and post on CH are "chefs". Let's give that title the respect it deserves. I, like I expect many if not most of the people on this forum and in particular, this thread, "like to cook". Doesn't make me a chef by any stretch..it makes me an enthusiast perhaps, a cook perhaps...but no, I'm not a chef.

                                  And while I do sharpen up by knives at home as needed, I lose no self respect in having a professional who does this day in and out, take the proper care of my good knives.

                                  If I were a chef-----a professional----I'm sure it would be a different situation.

                          2. In Park Slope there are two mobile grinders - red truck and green truck. Unfortunately, I forgot which is the better one. One massacres knives, the other seems fine. I think I'll get a whetstone though - beats running (!) outside with a fistful of knives when you hear the clanging bell.

                            1. Stay away from the red grinding truck in Brooklyn Heights.

                              While such a service seems so quaint and lovely -- one of the benefits of living in the city -- they completely butchered my knives. They were ground WAY too far down -- almost to the point of being unsalvageable.

                              With so many complaints, I wonder where he gets enough business to stay IN business?

                              1. I would cry if someone ruined my knives.
                                We recently took them to Cook's Companion for a sharpening - $3.50 per, and they did a great job.

                                1. Try Third Ave grinding ,on, I think 55th st. and Third Ave

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: cobblelurker

                                    do you think they would sharpen my grooming blades and shears?

                                  2. If you believe Cook's Magazine (and why not?) you want the Chef's Choice model 130. I have a 120, and it's fine, but evidently the 130 is significantly better. Mine is on order. Whetstones are a lovely idea--I've had a couple over time--but the problem is maintaining the proper angle. This is hard enough to do with wood chisels (It's worth buying a jig that keeps the angle constant), but the curved blade of a kitchen knife is almost impossible to get right. All of which the 130 supposedly solves. Now, as for handsaws, there's still one guy under the El in queens who does it the right way (anyone else remember Kotchendorfers pre Mary Boone?).

                                    1. Wow, that's my original post from 2002! Crazy thing is I need a knife sharpened and over the weekend I was thinking "I should google that thread on Chowhound from 5 years ago where I asked about knife sharpening"! Crazy.

                                      1. Ok, now I'm a bit confused. There are apparently 2 different grinding trucks that make the rounds in Brownstone Brooklyn.

                                        The one I used almost ruined my knives but I don't recall whether it was the red or the green one.

                                        I *can* tell you that it's the one that's always in Brooklyn Heights. I *think* it's the red one -- can anyone confirm which color truck is always on the streets of the Heights? (I don't recall seeing 2 different trucks).

                                        Peter

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Peter

                                          Well it's the red one that's always on the streets of Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill (the same one that ruined a few of our knives) so it's probably the red one that travels the streets of BH.

                                          1. re: dimples

                                            When I first moved to Carroll Gardens and saw/heard that red truck I was so excited and ran out to get a knife sharpened. It was an old knife that was my grandfathers. The guy was SURE that it had been sharpened by his truck before--which is nuts because that would have been twenty years ago. But I humored him. And then he charged me eight bucks! Fun for the experience--I think he gets a lot of business because of the quiant novelty of it all.

                                        2. emarcus, man what a reply. Thank you for that. The rub is that as much as I want to get them knives sharpened, I cant bring myself to go out on the Island for such an event.

                                          I will try the 3rd. Ave. grinding, or, at least I am going to go and sniff it out. Will report back.

                                          cheers!

                                          1. The other thing you need to do with wooden handled knives is dip the handles in varnish about once every five years. My set is forty years old and still fine. (I use a whetsone for sharpening.)

                                            1. Just put the Chef's Choice 130 through its paces last night, and oh baby! The kitchen knife now has a wicked, slice-right-through-the-tomato-skin edge in (wait for it...) THREE PASSES! Ditto for the little paring knife I could never really hone properly on the old Chef's Choice 110. And the 130 also has a second way of sharpening knives which apparently (using heat???) creates a tempered steel edge. Any way you, uh... (not gonna go there), this puppy is really incredible and a cinch to use.

                                              1. As someone long interested in knives and knife sharpening, I strongly second the advice to head to Cook's Companion on Atlantic Ave right off Court St. They know their knives and will expertly sharpen them for $3 a piece while you wait. I would also urge you to avoid the knife trucks, which generally destroy the blades. I have had very bad luck with Chef's Choice--and many people advise against anything but professional sharpening.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: BGRose

                                                  oh nice, I never knew Cook's Companion offered that service....my wusthofs are badly in need

                                                  1. re: BGRose

                                                    I second Cook's. Or, at this point, 3rd or 4th it? They have always done a great job on all the knives I've ever given them.
                                                    If you live in Park Slope NEVER let the guys at Tarzanian Hardware (sp?) sharpen your knives! They just have no idea what they're doing.

                                                  2. Unfortunately Henry Westpfal -- the store on 30th Street near 6th in Manhattan -- has lost their lease. They will be closing sometime in May and will be sorely missed. The lady in the store said to call their number 212-563-5990 for a recorded update to hear where or if they will reopen. I too am looking for a replacement. The posts below are mixed about Bway Panhandler and Cooks Companion.

                                                    1. Has anyone had their knives sharpened at The Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg? I know they offer the service, not sure what they charge.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: lizyjane

                                                        We do offer knife sharpening. $3.50 per knife up to 8". slightly more if the blade is longer, damaged or serrated. 2 day turnaround (often faster)
                                                        We sharpen on a Tormek sharpening machine which allows us to sharpen blades at any angle from 10º-40º
                                                        718-389-2982

                                                      2. http://flickr.com/photos/smoothdude/5...

                                                        check out that for some comments on sharpening dudes in Bklyn