HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


Knife Sharpening in East Bay?

I followed the discussion about knife sharpening a little while back, but did not find any references to good services in the East Bay. Does anyone have a recommendation in Berkeley or Oakland?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Sur La Table on 4th Street in Berkeley does a fine job. Get tacos at Tacubaya while you wait.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jess Leber

      DO NOT use Sur La Table. They merely use one of those electric grinders that they also sell in the store. No good, and they can do some real damage.
      I'd recommend Hida Tool on San Pablo and Gilman. They're fantastic.

    2. I'm always looking for an excuse to run errands on 4th St. at lunchtime and get a couple of fish tacos at Tacubaya while I'm there. Thanks, Jess.

      1. The guy who goes to the Berkeley Farmers' Market seems to get very good mentions.

        3 Replies
        1. re: grishnackh

          I used to use him until he ruined my 10" chef's knife. I use Columbus Cutlery in SF.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Any updates, Robert? Are you still going to Columbus Cutlery now?

        2. http://www.cacutlery.com/ check out this place in Albany. I recently brought in all of my knives to be sharpened there. Was very very satisfied. It's a fairly new place and the guy shares the store with a man selling beautiful items from Turkey.
          Definitely worth checking out.

          California Cutlery is the name of the store. I found them on craigslist originally.

          1. Hida tool & Hardware in Berkeley on San Pablo Avenue. They do a great job. I think I paid $5 or $6.00.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cerise 37

              I second Hida Tool. They do good work and are very reasonable at $5 per knife.

            2. My experience with knife sharpening at Sur la Table in Berkeley is that they do mediocre work. Ask to speak to their sharpener first, so you'll know who will be grinding away at your valuable tools.

              1. I too was disappointed with Sur La Table

                1. I left my knives to be sharpened at Ver Brugge a couple years ago. Wasn't impressed with the job they did.

                  I was satisfied with the guy at the Oakland Saturday farmer's market.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Bryan Gros

                    The guy at the Oakland Saturday market absolutely butchered one of my housemate's knives. Heated it up to the point where it discolored the blade, trashed the edge... if I were the guy, I'd have offered to replace the knife, as I'd have been utterly humiliated to offer that as a representation of my professional work. I'd never take a knife to that guy in a million zillion years.

                    1. re: helava

                      I also wasn't satisfied with this guy's work...although he didn't ruin the knife I brought to him, he also didn't get the edge very sharp. I wouldn't go back there again.

                  2. I rarely post here as I find I have more to learn than I do to add. However, I have very high quality Japanese knives that I sharpen myself with a range of waterstones and have tried both Hida Tool, which is excellent and Japan Woodworker in Alameda, which is also excellent and is my favorite. The knife sharpener there is great. Please do not take decent knives to Sur la Table. Unless they have changed, they use a one size fits all machine that will change the bevel angle on your knives and take off way too much steel, shortening the life of the knife and, if you have a full bevel, will leave the edge inset from the bevel. Do this enough times and the knife is a wreck. I prefer hand sharpening at Hida or JWW but there's nothing wrong with a really skilled sharpener using machines if they're careful, respect the knife and don't take off too much steel. The key word here is skilled. A lot of machine sharpeners just put the knife on a rough grinder at the same angle for all knives and grind it down. Unless you know you have a skilled sharpener, it is much safer to go with the hand sharpeners mentioned above, especially if you have Japanese knives but even if your knives are German, French or American. Good luck.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Steveberkeley

                      Thanks for the recommendation at Japan Woodworker. The knives came back really sharp and you can tell the knive sharpener knows his craft. It was pretty cheap too, 5 knives (8", 6", 4", and 2 2") for $25.

                      They have a nice glass display of some large sushi knives. Not as big as the ones in Iron Chef, but then again those are swords not knives.

                    2. I sharpened my knive's recently at Saucy Joe's, which is the mobile knife sharpening truck that comes to the Temescal Farmer's Market. I was a bit disappointed that the knives weren't razor sharp, but they were notably better than before and he didn't take much metal off. I think a better place is the cutlery shop on Telegraph just south of 51st, near Pizzaiolo, but you'll have to wait a few days to pick up your knives there.

                      1. When I lived in the East Bay before, I used to take my knives to a place called something like East Bay Saw & Knife Works, near or on High Street in Oakland. Does anyone know if they are still operating and doing a good job?

                        1. Steveberkeley: thanks for the hida tool recommendation.

                          1. Razor and knife shop on Telegraph and 51st - next to Pizziola -- old school. Very cheap and excellent. Check it out.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bkaufman

                              The older guy at the Shaver Shop @ Telegraph and 51st ruined one of my two year old Whustof Classic chefs knives. He sharpened it while I waited one afternoon. I think he made a mistake and had to start over thus taking a huge amount of the edge off. The bolster had a big scratch on it and projected out beyond the edge of the knife. Two inches of edge would no longer come in contact with the cutting surface. I had to have the bolster ground down someplace else and later the knife died way before its time.

                            2. I was disappointed with the knife sharpener who comes to the Farmers Market at Lake Merritt's Splashpad Park (Grand and Lakeshore) on Saturdays. I had a Chicago Cutlery utility knife with the tip broken off (one of my fiance's friends evidently used it for something other than cutting), and I asked him to regrind the tip. He reground the whole blade, taking off at least 3/8" of metal all along the whole length. It's not the end of the world (and I have a spare of the same model knife), but it sure wasn't what I was expecting.

                              Meanwhile, I have a serrated bread knife (also Chicago Cutlery) that needs to be sharpened. I was told that serrated knives can't be sharpened, but must be reserrated. Anyone know if Hida or any of the other recommended places will regrind serrated knives (and if they do it well)?



                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Rebeccah

                                I called Hida, 510.524.3700; the woman answering the phone said yes they do sharpen serrated bread knives (forgot to ask about cost).

                                Call to arrange if same-day service is needed (depends on their work load) because they need an hour.