I have three global knives and I use a rather cheap henkels steel on them regularly to right them. Over time they have become a little dull and the steel can only do so much. Does anyone know of a place where they actually sharpen blades? Like a good hardware store or something? I've seen Alton Brown say professionals should do that, who are the professionals? Has anyone used a good sharpener at home?
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A steel can only straighten out the edge of your blade - if the knife is dulled it has to be sharpened.
We got all of our knives sharpened last year - we inherited a large collection of vintage carbon steel knives, mostly Sabatier, that were in very poor shape. The hardware store on Salem Street in the North End has a guy who does knife sharpening, but unfortunately he had just gone on vacation when we arrived with about 20 knives wrapped up in newspaper.
We ended up taking them to Kitchen Arts on Newbury Street for sharpening, and were very happy both with the job they did and with the pleasant service. We left them overnight - I don't recall if there was any option for same-day service if you need that.
The prices are quite reasonable, too: $2 for short knives (under 5.5"), $3 for long knives (over 5.5"), $4 for serrated knives (all sizes), $2-$6 for repairs (bent/broken tips, gouges and dings, etc), and $5 for scissors. Cheap enough that even in a year when I spent 8 months out of work and we were pinching every penny, we felt silly that we had taken so long to get around to it.
I've been meaning to write about this topic. I had pretty much the same question a few months ago and was advised to go to either the kitchen supply place on Newbury Street (Kitchen Arts) or Stoddard's. The Park Street Stoddard's location had closed so I went to Kitchen Arts (I'd forgotten about the Copley Place Stoddard's).
So I gave my nice 8" Global knife to them. When I brought it home I found that my knife had been so badly sharpened that the blade was concave - two intersecting curves where it had been sharpened, front and back, rather than one smooth curve, it wasn't just a flat spot - it was actually indented, part of the edge didn't even touch the cutting board!
So I took my crippled Global knife back to Kitchen Arts and pointed this out. The nice woman said that the owner does all the sharpening and he'd sharpen it again. Wandering around Newbury while I was waiting I saw a youngish (40-50) man go out the door with my knife - I'm guessing he was off to a local hardware store to do the "sharpening."
When I return to get the newly "sharpened" knife it did again have a single curve to the blade but had, in total, lost about 1/4" from the heel of the blade. My nice aggressive looking 8" Global now looks more than a bit tired and dull.
It's taken me a while to work up anger and outrage about this, but I would definitely not recommend Kitchen Arts for knife sharpening. I've subsequently talked with Stoddard's on the phone and they seem competent, but I haven't been there yet.
I took 3-4 knives to Sur La Table last year when they were offering some free sharpening promotion. Turns out they used some commerical knife sharpener that they sell in the store. I wasn't really impressed with the quality of the work. I'd call and ask if that is standard or just a one time promotion before dropping off your knives.