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Feb 7, 2007 01:21 PM

Free knife sharpening - don't do it!

In case anyone in the SF Bay Area is tempted to try Nob Hill's free sharpening service in the south bay, here's my sad tale on the California board.

"Knife sharpening @ Nob Hill . . . DON'T!!!"

Earthly remains of what had been a fine knife -

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  1. Thanks for the warning! There's a Nob Hill opening a few blocks from my house in a couple of weeks, and I might have been tempted.

    Anything else pro or can to say about Nob Hill markets? I don't think I've ever shopped in one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Here in Salinas, Nob Hill and Albertson's are within a couple blocks of the local, Star Market. They represent the middle, bottom, and top tier respectively. My parents' grocery dollars are probably split equally between Nob Hill and Star, and then we go to Albertson's when they have branded stuff marked down as loss leaders. Nob Hill is bright and clean, has fast and courteous checkers, helpful staff in the aisles, and the produce is good quality and well-marked. The baggers wheel your cart out to the lot and unload into your car. Yet, I liked the store more when it was independently owned before the buy-out by Raley's. Star is a smaller store, but has much variety in the things I want to buy in less square footage.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        Thanks, Melanie! I avoid chain supermarkets, but this new Nob Hill is likely to become my default (for things I can't buy at specialty grocers, farmers markets, etc., or after hours emergencies), since it's only four blocks from my house.

    2. I had my knives sharpened *once* years ago, and had the same experience. I actually had a couple of them come back with a *concave* cutting edge! Just try chopping something with a knife that doesn't meet the board. And this was at a cutlery store! We then invested in an electric knife sharpener, "Chef's Choice", I believe it's called. It does a fine job without grinding my knives down into a rapier.

      Thanks for the warning.

      1 Reply
      1. re: teela brown

        i've heard good things about the chef's choice electric sharpener. if i had space for a gadget that would be it.

        that pic really does look awful. they need to stop offering the "free" service if it's going to wreck their goodwill with their customers. then again, i wonder if most customers even understand how bad that hack job is.

      2. You might keep in mind that the quality of the knife steel is paramount. In this age of global outsourcing, a name brand of world-class reputation may sell inferior knives that do not hold an edge. Henckles, Sabatier,Wusthof all have economy brands made in Asia, and often of inferior quality. Usually, you get what you pay for. I cannot stress the importance to a serious cook to get the best cutlery you can should be a lifetime investment.

        3 Replies
        1. re: OldTimer

          This knife is from Henckels top line and handcarried back from Solingen. I'm just glad I didn't sacrifice some of my dad's carbon steel blades.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            If you are interested in carbon steel knives, check Japan Woodworker in Alameda. They have a web site.

            1. re: OldTimer

              Nob Hill's replacing my knife. I ordered the same model number from the Four Star series from Amazon, and when the package arrived yesterday, I couldn't believe that it was from the same company. The spine is barely polished and has rough spots, the molded handle is not as full in the hand, it feels less weighty, the cutting edge of the blade has a couple dings in it, and the blade looks crooked in the handle to me. I'm sending it back. I'm going to have to go to a cutlery shop, hold the products in my own hand, and find something else that would be of equal quality to my old Henckels.

        2. For cutlery maintenance there is nothing like Columbus Cutlery on Columbus in North Beach. Hang out there for a while and you will meet every great chef in San Francisco. I prefer softer steel knives like older Sabatier knives. I find the softer steel gets a better edge from my steel. I use my steel often and have my knives refinished at Columbus every 6-12 months.

          2 Replies
          1. re: drcuisine

            I also get my knives sharpened at least 1x per year at Columbus Cutlery and I use a honing steel religiously after each use. Columbus Cutlery is great.

            1. re: drcuisine

              I agree about Columbus Cutlery, but have been wondering about the knife shop on Polk Street across from the Culinary Academy...anyone have any experience with their knife sharpening service?'s close to my office, so a lot more convenient...

            2. There was free knife sharpening at Chef's Warehouse (in SSF) a few months ago. I took a few knives there, nothing expensive but then again, most of my knives are verry old Chicago Cutlery. Anyway, the gal was from Henckles, IIRC, and seemed very knowledgable (about all brands of knives, not just her own) and careful. There was a long line of people w/their knives. Many of the people had expensive knives. No complaints about the end result, and I'd go there again, assuming it was the same person.