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knife sharpeners

I've got a very nice and expensive set of knives that's taken a few years to put together. I thought the knives that I first got were still quite sharp until tried the the newest acquisition, which was like a razor, reminding me that my older knives were once that sharp. So I want to sharpen my knives. I've sent cheaper knives to be sharpened in the past and they lost their edge rather quickly. I've also sharpened the cheap ones myself, freehand, using a whetstone and actually got great longer lasting results after a couple mistakes. I feel a bit hesitant doing the same with the expensive ones. I'm good at doing stuff like this but I want a little more assurance. Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced manual sharpener? I've done a lot of research and am overwhelmed at this point. At this point I'm leaning towards the Spyderco Tri-angle model. Is this as good, easy to use and foolproof as I've read? Thanks for the input, Happy New Year!

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  1. do yourself a favor. in most large metro areas there are companies that service restaurants sharpening knives. i
    found one in baltimore.have them done once a year and then just reset the edges with a steel as needed.

    2 Replies
    1. re: salad man

      I'm in Balto and am looking for a place I can trust with my knives. Who are you using?

      1. re: dag44

        i use frank monaldi.410 426 6720,4121 white ave,balto.shop is in back of his house. nice man.

    2. I agree. If at all possible, let the professionals deal with it.

      1. Professionals charge several bucks per inch of blade length, and you are without the knife for at least a few days, to say nothing of getting there and back.

        What have people's experiences been with the ChefsChoice 320 (I think) -- the Cook's Illustrated top choice electric three-step machine that goes for about $139?

        4 Replies
        1. re: nosh

          Nosh, It's the Chef's Choice model 130. This unit puts a servicable edge on your blades without severely grinding the knife. It won't, however, give you a razor edge. If you have "average" knives it's nice and convenient. (Most German knives sold today are stamped steel and not forged--especially the sets sold at Costco, etc. The sharpner won't do these units any harm.) The best knives today come from Japan and are hollow ground and honed on one side only. The Chef's Choice would destroy this Japanese craftsmanship in a single pass.

          1. re: Leper

            What you are describing is a single-bevel, traditional Japanese knife. Not new (or the 'best'), it's actually a very, very old and totally different style of knife edge than a 'western' (double-bevel) edge.

          2. re: nosh

            Nosh, I am lucky enough to live in a area where the knife sharpener comes to my home or the restaurant, and he sharpens the knives while I wait. He does my complete set in less than 1 hour, and usually charges about $20.00 for the bi-yearly service.

            I have a fine stone and a diamond and fine cut steel to keep them in shape between visits.

            1. re: nosh

              you got ripped.try another guy.

            2. Not necessarily. Here in Chicago, Northwestern Cutlery sharpens knives while you wait for $3.50 flat. It's a great place.

              1 Reply
              1. re: annimal

                Same price here in Toronto. Personally I've never been quoted several bucks per inch, that does sound expensive and I can understand nosh's reluctance to go that way. And, if you don't live in a metropolitan area you will probably be without your knife for a week or two.

              2. I have the chef's choice model one below the one recommeded in Cook's Illustrated. I love it. I personally have a lot of trouble with honing steels and never feel I get it right. The machine makes it easy. It's also convenient and I can keep my knives VERY sharp. I think I paid about $60 for it at BBB with one of thier 20% coupons.

                1. If you need any warnings on what to avoid, the "Ekco Model 1046084" is a joke. It is a supposidly rolling knife sharpener but in reality it does more harm than good.

                  (Just copy the text between the quotes for your own search)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RShea78

                    My mom has used a rolling sharpener for years. Her knives are wicked sharp, but you can really screw up the edge if you don't lay the knife right in the slot.

                  2. I've had the Chef's Choice 110, which I believe is the precursor to the 130, for a couple of decades. I thought it was doing a pretty good job sharpening my knives. Then I decided to take them to a professional. Night and day. I couldn't believe my knives were so sharp. I may never use it again. Anyone want to buy a 110? Cheap?

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JoanN

                      Living upstate in a farming /hunting community I discovered some of the locals used an Accu-sharp from any hardware store.I bought one and it works great in the kitchen I have moderately price cutlery and slice firm cuts of beef such as eye round paper thin as well as semi ripe tomato's.Anyway it works for me

                      1. re: JoanN

                        Thanks! That's just what I wanted/needed to hear!
                        Shall we put 2 of them on the market?!

                      2. If you live in NYC, try Ace Grinding on Mulberry Street. They do a great job. Take your knives there and drop them off. Then go pick up delicious goodies at DiPalo's or have lunch
                        in Chinatown. You'll be happy you got the knives sharpened. Just steel them occasionally.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: onetoughcookie

                          Thanks for that tip. I had two knives sharpened by two guys that drive around NYC in a truck with sharpening equipment. When I got the knives back it looked like they had shaved half of the blades off. I am assuming that should not happen, right?

                          1. re: erica

                            No it shouldn't. Never, as you've discovered unfortunately, use the guys operating from the back of a truck. They're ok for tools and getting the blades of your lawnmower sharpened but not anything else.

                            1. re: erica

                              Three days a week at the Chelsea Market there's a woman who sets up a little knife sharpening stand. I assume it's while you wait. She seemed very particular to me. It's on the 10th AVe side in front of the kitchen wares store.

                              1. re: dimples

                                Thanks. I am really sick about those knives. Those guys drive around the city in a green truck with a jingly old-time bell announcing their trade...maybe Mike's Knife Grinding is the name. So run the other way if you see them. They also charged me too much and I did not like the overall feeling from them at all. Not to mention what they did to my knives. I have used the woman at the Market; her name is Marjorie Cohen, I believe. I will try Ace next time, although I have also been very happy with Henry Westphal on West 30th Street.

                          2. Yes, I've heard good things about the woman at Chelsea Market, too. And, she's been there for years. I only have experience
                            with the guys at Ace Grinding, and again, they are really good. From what I understand, that's where alot of restaurant chefs take their knives to be sharpened.

                            1. I guess I've been talked out of sharpening my knives at home. Is there anyone who has used the sharpening services at A Cook's Companion on Atlantic Ave in Bklyn? This is where I brought my cheapo knives and didn't get great long lasting edges. I'm wondering if it was the quality of the knife that rendered the poor results, not the person sharpening them.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: maloralo

                                If your knives are stamped, they will not keep an edge very long, henced the forged cutlery keeps a longer lasting edge, so fewer sharpenings are needed, hence the knife lasts longer.

                                If you can at all do it yourself, you will save your edges, as most professionals who do it for you use a belt sander which wears down the size of the blade.

                                1. re: maloralo

                                  ["cheapo knives and didn't get great long lasting edges"]

                                  You don't mention which cheapos, so I'm guessing they're probably very soft poor-quality stainless, which will deform and erode (dull) very quickly with use. 'Cheapo' doesn't necessarily mean that you can't get a really keen edge, especially WRT carbon steel blades.

                                  1. re: maloralo

                                    Just one other thought regarding your "cheapo" knives' cutting performance.

                                    The ease with which your kife cuts through food is not only a function of the edge angle (more acute angle, greater sharpness and ease of cutting), but the thickness of the blade (we can call this 'wedge effect'). This is in part why, say, a Global G-Series can cut a carrot more easily than the Global Forged Series (which is a thicker/heavier blade design), assuming you are comparing the factory edge.

                                  2. The 12/8/04 L.A. Times article (by Pete Thibodeau) testing home knife sharpeners is still the most useful I’ve come across. They made an attempt to test a wide variety of methodologies (hand-sharpening with waterstones, pull-throughs, rods, electric grinders, etc.), and different knife types.

                                    The only sharpening system that got the highest rating of ‘exceptional’ was hand-sharpening with a Norton 1000/4000 combo waterstone. You might want to practice a little more on your cheaper knives to see how far you can go with this option before abandoning it

                                    The Syderco that you ask about came in second with a rating of ‘Excellent.’ The testers commented that it “It provided an excellent edge for all of the knives we sharpened with it and was gentle on the blades. The design made it easy to control and use. “

                                    FYI, the others in the test:

                                    1-2-3 Sharp by Morty – Excellent (though rated below the Spyderco)
                                    Furi Tech Edge Pro Knife Sharpening System - : Very good
                                    Mino Sharp Plus - Very good
                                    Chef's Choice Edge Select 120 - Acceptable
                                    The Williams-Sonoma AP 120 Electric - Fair
                                    Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Sharp – Poor
                                    Taylor's Eyewitness Chantry Classic Knife - Run! (i.e., they didn’t like it)

                                    If you have any interest in the results, you probably want to check out the article and the more detailed comments.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: a priori

                                      I have the Furi Tech Edge, it works well.

                                    2. I use this Spyderco sharpener, shop around as I bought mine for about half the MSRP. Works well for me, very easy to use.


                                      1. Try Chef's choice . I have 120 model and I love it. Also buy a diamond edge steel Dexter makes one and EZ lap I think.. That will keep a razor shap edge on your knives

                                        1. I've been using a Crock-Stick for years - two pyroceramic rods stuck into a wooden base at a V angle to each other, the width determined by which holes you put'em in. Start with the narrow angle to set the edge, then at the wider angle to sharpen, stroking the blade straight down on one side then the other. It doesn't work particularly well on stainless (of which I have very little), and it's a bit awkward to use on my really long old butcher knife, but it gives my favorite little carbon-steel Sabatier an edge that lasts several days of constant use. After ten years the amount of wear on the knife is noticeable, but it'll be good for at least another twenty.