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knife sharpening

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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  1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. sur la table (there's one in the chestnut hill mall in newton) sharpens knives. i think they send them out for sharpening; it takes a week or so. we've been happy with the results.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alyssap99

          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.

          1. Stoddard sells Globals, and they are pretty knowledgeable. I thought the Stoddard in Copley was closed. I went to the one in Chestnut Hill. They do sharpening but not sure if they do it there or if they send it out.
            The problem I have with sending Japanese style blades out is do they take the time and sharpen at the correct angle or do they just sharpen it like some farm tool.

            1. There used to be a young guy that worked at the Chesapeake Knife Company in the South Market building at Quincy Market that sharpened by hand. He had a long waiting list, and he charged $25. Some of the knife services that sharpen by hand charge $3.00/inch. That's reasonable, given the time it takes. Anybody that's charging you $2.00 per blade is screwing it onto a holder and ramming it against a turning stone - up one way then the other, buff it up, and that's it. $2.00 is too much.

              I would never have a real Japanese style blade sharpened by machine or by anyone that didn't know the difference. But my cheapest blade cost $175 and another $400 - they can cost much more, well into the thousands. The question is, whether or not Global, which is made in Japan but is in fact more of a western style blade, deserves the most expensive treatment. Global is kind of unique, in that it is very thin, so that it's kind of a hybrid between a Japanese blade and a western blade. Most Japanese style blades are very hard, very thin, and often have a less hard cladding forged on for protection and to provide some heft.

              If you consider that your Global is worth taking care of well, I would find someone that hand-sharpens, including mail order, or learn to sharpen myself, which is what I've done. I consider sitting at the table sharpening my knives to be a very relaxing, zen-like experience.

              Here's a site that does mail-order sharpening:


              Here's a site that has a lot of good info on how to sharpen, and sells the supplies (Japanese stones, stone grinders). They also have a decent DVD on how to sharpen:


              1. Sur la Table and Stoddards in the Chestnut Hill Mall. I've had them done at Stoddards (they send them out) and was pleased.

                1. As someone who has spent considerable time at Stoddard's and understands them quite well - they do an excellent job. Any knife that comes in they do by hand - and they definately know their knives.

                  The downtown location hasn't existed in a couple years, but the one at Chestnut Hill is still going strong.

                  Considering their competition in the mall (sur la table) this really should be no contest - hand sharpening by knowledgable people, or machine sharpening by random people working retail...

                  1. Buy a global specfic sharpener for you home. Knifemerchant.com may have one or check with PCD cutlery online. They also sell guides that attach to the spine of the knife so you can sharpen them at home on a whetstone without worrying about getting the right angle. This is a great tool for people who wish to learn how to sharpen their own knives.

                    1. You might also consider the EZ LAP/Croc Stick ceramic sharpeners - they have a very easy self sharpening system that will show you the correct angle...then you can buy a nice diamond rod and keep 'em sharp yourself!

                      1. Thanks a ton everyone. I have great information on how to get my knives taken care of. I know this isn't specifically about "chow," but I do use my knives to make "chow" and given the amount of responses, I would guess the community thinks its close enough! Thanks again!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tallullah

                          I've seen a "Boston Knife & Saw" from 128 in Newton... anyone know anything about this place?

                        2. Folks, Please chime in with local recommendations for knife sharpening services and products. Questions about local chow and chow-making products are appropriate for our regional boards. If you'd like to discuss specific knife sharpening products, online sources, and the like, please do so on our cookware board: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/41

                          1. I was just at the Williams-Sonoma in Salem, NH. For those of us out here in the burbs, the manager recommended Bucci's in Stoneham. Googling gave me: DA Bucci & Sons Incorporated. 260 Main St. Stoneham, MA 02180-3502 I'll probably take my Messermeister chef's knife to them this week, and report back - although the link and phone number for Siraco's is very tempting. I loved that place!

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: pastrytroll

                              I took some knives to Bucci's a couple of years ago and they did an excellent job. Among them was a 50+ year old serrated bread knife which wasn't very serrated any more. They ground it to the scallop-style, while I waited, and it's still doing very well.

                              They also had used knives for sale. They were from restaurants and had been ground many times so the blades were much narrower than new, but they were still useful for home cooking and at a good price. I don't know if they still sell them.

                              1. re: pastrytroll

                                I've been taking my knives to these guys for years...not often enough as they are always rolling their eyes at me when I come in with my Henckels. I'm typing without my left pointer finger, which is wrapped up from a deep wound cutting onions...guess I need to sharpen my chef knife huh????

                                1. re: 4chowpups

                                  I had no idea this place was nearby - I live only a few miles away, and I'm trying to pinpoint where Bucci's is - from the map, it's either across from the Stop & Shop or next to the martial arts place, which is next to S&S?

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    The Martial Arts Place and Hesco Appliance parts are on the same side of the street as Stop and Shop. Bucci is across the street with a sign "Market and Restaurant supplies." Its nondescript, especially when the blinds are down, but once you enter the smell of honing oil will tell you that you are in the right place. They do have some parking out back (I usually park out front, which maybe a no parking zone).

                                    1. re: itaunas

                                      Got it. Thanks itaunas. I have seen that "Restaurant supplies" sign in passing, but thought it was an industry shop vs. open to everyone.

                              2. Japanese knives like Global are very different from European/American Henckels or Sabatier..and traditional sharpening of that type of knife will just destroy them.

                                The Japanese knives have an edge on 1 side only...flat on the opposite side..traditional knives are more V shaped.

                                Check with your local sushi bar..for where they do their sharpening..or learn how to do it yourself...otherwise; you're just trashing your knife..unless you find someone who understands the difference.

                                1. Bucci's in Stoneham is the place for your knives. They also have a small showroom with great little kitchen gadgets.

                                  1. Stoddards is the place to take your knives for sharpening they have two location one in Copley Place and the other at the Chestnut hill Mall. They are one of the oldest cutlery store in the area.

                                    1. Stoddard's in Copley has been closed for awhile now.

                                      1. Go to Bucci's in Stoneham for knife sharpening!!! They handle the accounts of many resturants and supermarket chains. My husband is a butcher and he brings our knifes their. He drops them off and picks them up in a couple of days. You don't want some hardware store sharpening these type of knifes you need someone that knows their trade.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: look2eat

                                          I don't like contributing in dragging up old threads, but I used to use Siraco (it was part of my commute and the drop offs are nearby) and a while back switched to Bucci's which is worth the extra effort. I have also bought meat grinder knives and other stuff, plus had them worked on too and the retail experience is much better than Siraco. If I actually owned a Global or ceramic knife, I would do a bit more research before using them, but for traditional steel knives and other parts they are highly recommended.

                                        2. We've been taking ours to The Fabric Corner in Arlington. The guy who people seem to love who sometimes works out of a van at the farmers markets (Siraco's?), he's the guy who does the sharpening for Fabric Corner. We've been extremely pleased with the results, and no knife was more than a few dollars to sharpen. Turnaround is a few days as I recall.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. OK, here's a question: Any place on the South Shore that sharpens? I can't see myself lugging my knife kit around downtown Boston...

                                            1. Just a note -- I hit up Stoddard's in the Chestnut Hill Mall for my Globals. They did a fantastic job. Just my 2 cents.

                                              1. Like a prior poster above, I also would like to know if anybody can recommend a place to get knives sharpened on the South Shore --- (Braintree/Quincy/Weymouth area).

                                                Is there anything in the South Shore Plaza??? I no longer live in this area, however am trying to track this down for a family member.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: rk4me

                                                  I'm looking for a good knife sharpener in the Braintree/ Milton/Quincy area as well.

                                                  Has anyone found anything?

                                                  Thanks in advance.

                                                  1. re: chowfamily

                                                    After driving by Denis Toolman in Abington for years my husband and I finally decided to take our knives there to be sharpend and have been more than pleased with the results. Small hole in the wall right on Rt 18.

                                                2. Hey all-
                                                  It's Owen from KitchenArts. I'm the owner, and the guy who does all the sharpening. I sharpen the knives in the basement next door to the store (about 4000/year, by hand on a belt), so that's where I hustle off to, not the hardware store! It sounds like I let down a customer, and I'd like to address the situation.

                                                  One of the complexities of sharpening knives involves dealing with the fact that in use, over time, they wear unevenly. Grinding will expose this uneven wear very quickly. I'm not sure of the exact condition of the Global knife in question, but I recognize the issue. I see it a lot with knives used commercially, less frequently with homeowner's knives. What happens is this: As knives are steeled they are often thinned out more in the center of the blade that at the heel or tip. When a knife like this is ground, the thin section sharpens faster and can develop a concave shape as described. I watch for this and avoid it...in this case I didn't watch closely enough. The only way to deal with a knife in this condition is to recurve the blade by grinding down the heel and/or tip, and starting from scratch. The heel might lose as much as 1/16" (not 1/4"). That's why knives used commercially (be they Global of Wusthof or any other) often last for just a year or two before they need to be replaced. Still, I understand this fellow's annoyance and frustration. I'd probably feel the same way if I were him. All I can say is sorry, and next time I'll be more careful!

                                                  Another note: Most japanese knives have thinner edges (and blades) than european knives (though something like a Global is no thinner than a Forschner stamped blade), but they aren't sharpened any differently other than that the angle you grind them at can be tighter. Most japanese blades are symmetrically ground and respond well to various types of home sharpener. The exception is asymmetrical (or deba) blades like you see on a sushi knife. Those should be done on a stone.

                                                  If anyone wants to talk sharpening, give me a call. 617-266-8701. Cheers!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: KitchenArtsOwen

                                                    I have always used Kitchen Arts for knife sharpening- well since I have had knives worth sharpening. You never realize how dull they are till they come back like new. I am not sure if I have ever met Owen, who writes above, but either way, i have been so pleased over the years and get them done quarterly. I am due for some pre holiday season sharpening! In general, I find the staff there to be so well informed and helpful.

                                                    1. re: KitchenArtsOwen

                                                      Hi Owen,

                                                      I have to disagree with you on this. I have owned my Global and Shun knives for over 15 years and I use them daily in my restaurant. I have yet to replace them. Global and Shun knives should never be ground on a belt or any other mechanical sharpener. This is how you ruin good Japanese knives.

                                                      I don't question your ability to sharpen western knives, but just because knives are of similar style, does not mean Global knives should or can be sharpened the same way. My sous chef uses Wusthof and use you to sharpen his knives and are very happy with you. Global knives are of a different metal composition, and hence should be sharpened on a stone by hand.

                                                      My Globals have been with me for 15 years and they still have plenty of life in them. I have always sent my Globals to Korin in NYC for sharpening by hand and the Shuns back to the manufacturer for free sharpening. They have never grounded the blades with a machine, even when there were chips. Using a stone to sharpen knives is truly an art form that can not be rushed.

                                                      Kitchen Art does great work on western knives, but you should not be sharpening Japanese knives if you believe Globals and Shuns should be sharpened the same was as Henkels and Wusthofs.

                                                    2. I have taken my Global knives to Siraco at the Arlington farmers market and they've been fantastic. In fact I still have a scar on my pinky finger to remind me just how good of a job they did! The guy who did the sharpening seemed very knowledgeable about Global knives in particular and how they differ from other knives in construction.

                                                      1. There's a little shop on either Fowle or Green - off Main St. in Woburn, near the Winchester line. I can't recall the name. If anyone has had knives sharpened there, were you pleased with the results?

                                                        1. After reading down I have some comments.:
                                                          I have had some of the same exact experiences with leaving my knife with someone else to be sharpened. Anyone who sharpens knives for 'commercial use' will tell you that your knives have a limited lifespan.....this is not entirely true. The average professional cook should get plenty of years of daily service out of the knife of his/her choice. What reduces the life expectancy is the GRINDING! A knife doesnt need to be 'ground' on a heavy-duty machine. My suggestion is to learn how to sharpen your own knives. YOU care more about them than any GRINDER ever will.
                                                          I've been cooking professionally for over 30 years and still use alot of the same knives that I started with. And they are sharp. I keep them that way with a few passes on a simple whetstone and de-burr with a steel.
                                                          just my .02

                                                          1. Stoddard’s Cutlery @ 360 Watertown Street in Newton (617-244-4187) is the only local knife sharpener that I would ever consider sending my knives and my knives are my career. For years I was shipping my knives over-night delivery to Delaware to have them sharpened by a company called Willie’s Edge until I found Stoddard’s. They cost $1 an inch so an 8-inch chef’s knife will cost $8.

                                                            My advice is to avoid any company that uses the electric knife sharpeners (Kitchen Arts is one of them). They always try to sound impressive by mentioning that their sharpeners have a diamond blade. They will not fully sharpen your knives and like some of the postings I’ve read they will tear so much of your knife away that you’ll end up with a sad little memory of your knife and if you look closely you’ll see the edge is scratched and etched and lousy looking. Stoddard’s and other reputable professionals use sharpening stones. They start with a courser grade stone and slowly work their way down to a fine stone (as many as 5 stones usually) and very slowly and methodically replace the sharpest edge to your knife. They’re as good as new if not better and the very least amounts of your blade are removed and straightened. This is because a diamond sharpener seems to eat the edge away to replace the point while stones simply bend the edge back into a point. I think that’s how it works…

                                                            If you care at all about your blades make sure to have them stone sharpened (called ground) and never sharpened by an electric diamond “sharpener”. You won’t regret it…

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: NMQPCatering

                                                              Thanks for the post - please check out the post above by KitchenArtsOwen - the method he claims to use seems to be different than the claim in this post.