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Knife sharpening? Someone I can trust.

About a year ago, I bought a nice Japanese knife (misono) in Tokyo. It needs to be sharpened, but i want someone I can trust with my baby. The guy from whom I bought it explained to me in very detailed japanese some of the finer points on how to sharpen the blade. Unfortunately, I don't understand japanese, so the lesson was lost on me.

Does anyone know a good, reliable place where I can take my knife to be sharpened?

I live in the danforth/riverdale area. A location nearby would be most appreciated.

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    1. i second Nella Cutlery ... i believe most of the restaurants send their knives there...

      1 Reply
      1. re: lilaki

        And butchers as well. Nella has a knife rental programme for the pros.

      2. Nella is nearby, and they will send it to their patriarch in Mississauga, but you have to insist on whetstone sharpening (he probably would do this anyway, but you need to be sure.)
        When you get it back, you can buy a whetstone from Lee Valley (King Street West) and they will advise you on minimal upkeep, much safer than a steel for your very hard edge.
        Afterthought: if yours is stainless, and flat on one side, it can be maintained with a steel, using 4 strokes on the flat side and 7 on the angled edge: http://www.paulsfinest.com/Misono-Kni...

        4 Replies
        1. re: jayt90

          Thanks, just bought some global-pro knives in japan and I will need a whetstone to sharpen it...

          1. re: jayt90

            THanks for the tip, jayt90 et al. I'll go there.

            Mine is stainless with the one flat side. I'll get the whetstone, I think.

            As a side note, the Misono brand I'd never heard of until I was in Japan and the guy at the store strongly recommended it. I had been thinking Global or Mac since i was more familiar with the brands. My wife got the Global santoku knife and I got the Misono. I prefer mine by a country mile, although both are great.

            1. re: grandgourmand

              How does Paul's (Montreal) price for Misono compare with Tokyo? I just found the link (in my earlier post) on Google, and it seems to be a good find.

              1. re: jayt90

                Mine is the 440 series Santoku. $111 (paul's) seems pricey compared to an equivalent Global which is less than a hundred, I think, but it's a better knife in my opinion. OVerall that site looks awesome if you want to order to lesser known brands. I just looked at the Opinel pocket knifes (lost mine a long time ago). $15. I saw the same one at williams sonoma for $25. That place is brutal.

                I think I paid $65-$70 for it in Tokyo. There's a neighbourhood that specializes in cooking supplies. Totally amazing knife shop and prices you wouldn't believe. I got my brother a ceramic knife (kyocera) for $40. A little gimmicky, but at that price, what the heck.

          2. Nikolai at Queen/Bathurst also does knife sharpening - I've been happy with the results.

            3 Replies
            1. re: thebutcher

              Where exactly is Nikolai? They don't seem to be listed.

              1. re: FrenchSoda

                Two doors west of the burned out area of Queen

            2. I'm a little late w/ the reply here, but just to remind you...

              the misono's have a 70/30 edge to them, traditional sharpening will leave a 50/50 edge. If you bring it to Nella w/o mentioning that, they'll turn your knife back into a western edged blade like a Wusthof or Henckel.

              Ask if they are able to sharpen it at a 70/30 edge. Better yet, pick up some Japanese wetstones and sharpen them yourselves. There is a learning curve, it took me a good while to get decent at it. I try to sharpen them once every week or two, but I know people that'll do it after service every night.

              3 Replies
              1. re: aser

                I'm not sure I understand the numbers, but I interpret this as 12 to 15 degrees from the centre for Japanese, and 25 for traditional. That is too high for European knives, which may range from 18 to 22 degrees. 25 would be fine for a machete, or a scythe.

                1. re: aser

                  Thanks for the info...I actually have procrastinated. Something else happened, and maybe there's some advice for a new problem. My wife, god bless her, dropped the thing on the point, and a bit of the tip broke off. It's nothing major, but do you think Nella, or whoever, could grind it down to restore the tip? Maybe not to perfection, but it's a jagged tip now.

                  1. re: grandgourmand


                    I dunno why...but my posts never stay on here. I think maybe cos you're not allowed to promote yourself. I was just suggesting that I could help you save your knife (I'm a chef who sharpens her own knives on a daily - I truly don't have a business, and I don't plan to. I just hate seeing nice Japanese knives sent to places that don't specialize in them).

                    Well, since I can't, I would recommend sending your knife to Korin in NY. They have the right equipment to fix your knife and it's done by Chiharu Sugai, the Knife Master.

                    Check it out: http://www.korin.com

                2. Ya know, take it in to your fave rest and have the chef do it for you. He'd love to see your baby and will sharpen it on his wet stone. It'll take about three minutes and he can teach you how to do it yourself.

                  1. Anyone have their knives sharpened from Degrees Kitchen Store at Younge and Eglington? The dude at the counter seemed to know that Japanese knife edges are different than Western blades? (that's at least a step up from Nella which would be totally destroy the edge...)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Cityplace

                      Degrees sends them out - you should ask where before leaving them.

                      They sell Mac and perhaps other Japanese knives as well and are very knowledgeable about their products generally.

                    2. Please, please, please do not take your Japanese knives to Nella. While I have had many good experiences with German knives, I sent a friend there with her Shun knives they destroyed them. She spoke to the manager, called the head office, wrote a letter and nothing from them. I have since stopped going there for anything. That kind of customer service should not be rewarded.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: JennaBean

                        i'm not even happy with how they treated my german knives. very uneven edge along the length of the blade and the sharpening has barely held up a few months.

                        1. re: JennaBean

                          I had a terrible experience with my Wusthof Classics. For some reason they ground down the bolsters so they were raggedy. I went several times to complain and the customer service there was terrible. The manager finally spoke to me and they smoothed over the damage, though were not terribly apologetic. Granted, I didn't specify a specific type of sharpening, though being the sharpening 'experts' I would have though they would have known better. I'll never go back, the experience was that frustrating!

                          1. re: tinybites

                            Does anyone have recommendations for knife sharpening in the Kitchener-Waterloo area?

                          2. re: JennaBean

                            I second/third this - I brought my Misono UX-10 santoku and utility knife to Nella based on the generally positive feedback on this board at the time. They literally destroyed my utility knife (took about a 1 cm chunk out of the base of the blade) and turned my pride and joy santoku into a pale 50/50 impersonation of its former self. Mistakes are mistakes, but this was just plain incompetence. Both blades were scuffed up badly, neither was honed, and they were handed back to me wrapped in newspaper.

                            When I opened the blades to inspect them and gasped at the state of them, the fellow behind the counter seemed interested at first. When I showed him the chunk busted off the utility knife blade, he said "That wouldn't have happened from the sharpening," and would not listen further to my complaints. Completely outrageous.

                            I'm heading to NYC this Christmas, hoping that the people at Norin can at least repair my santoku.

                            K, just realized I've ranted. Didn't mean to do that, jut meant to confirm JennaBean's plea - Do not take your Japanese knives to Nella.

                            1. re: Darrin

                              That's really too bad about your knife.

                              Just a recommend for Korin, it sounds like your knife could be in a pretty bad state and they may need ample time to correct it. Depending on how long you're staying down there you may want to send it to them ahead of time and pick it up while you're down there.

                              Just a thought.

                              1. re: Darrin

                                Korin is offering a discounted sharpening service until the end of the year so I suggest you take advantage of it.

                                While you're there, pick up some stones and their sharpening dvd.

                            2. I second the Lee Valley whetstone approach. For most of us, the stones can be used once a week, (I do mine in front of the TV), and a steel daily. There is too much risk in sending a good blade out somewhere, where the sharpener has a large number to handle each day.

                              1. The digression about he perils and pitfalls of knife sharpening has been split off this thread and moved here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568385

                                1. Does anyone know where I can buy a smooth steel or fine grit ceramic steel?

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Negaduck

                                    I have heard that good steels lose their grooves and become too smooth after a few years of use, or less. That said, I use a Sabatier steel from Lee Valley, and also from them, two diamond steels by DMT.

                                    Lee Valley Tools Ltd
                                    1275 Morningside Ave, Toronto, ON M1B, CA

                                    1. re: jayt90

                                      A smooth steel is actually desirable for someone wanting to only hone their knife. Honing means straightening the edge of the blade, which tends to curl after repeated use. Again, this isn't sharpening, it's just aligning the edge back into place.

                                      One of the best hones on the market is ultra smooth, it's actually a glass hone made by Hand America. It's the only hone that's really suited for Japanese knives. Most other hones are either too soft (steel) or too rough (ceramic, diamond).


                                      Most new steels are rougher, especially diamond steels. They will create microscopic serrations on your blade. Think of teeth like your bread knife except much much much tinier. These edges will feel sharp, but wear out quickly. Thus causing you to use your steel quite often, shaving down your blade quicker.

                                      Again, the best method of sharpening is with waterstones. Use a smooth steel to hone, or a rough steel as a quick touch up if you don't have time to use a waterstone (ie. line cook during service).

                                      The steel should be at least as long as your knife. If you have a 10" chef's knife don't get a hone shorter than 10". Recommended ceramic steels are....



                                      I know NIkolau has both, at higher prices obviously.

                                      1. re: aser

                                        Thanks for the suggestions. I had never heard of glass hones before. Would they be appropriate for non-Japanese knives? And wouldn't a really fine ceramic hone be suitable for a Japanese knife?

                                        1. re: Negaduck

                                          For ceramic hones on Japanese knives, some people will say yes, some people (ie. knifeforums nerds) will say no. It's a difference in opinion, I fall in the latter, sigh, haha.

                                          The glass hone is overkill for most people, don't think about it unless you're also willing to invest in at least 3 waterstones for sharpening.

                                          It won't kill your Japanese knife to use a fine ceramic hone. It will just create those mini-serrations that I mentioned previously. They just don't last very long, so once they wear off you will have to hone again. Just know that it will wear down your blade faster. Just don't get a diamond or rough steel please, they're far too abrasive.

                                          At the end of the day, it won't matter too much if you're a home cook using your knives for 10 mins a day.

                                          1. re: aser

                                            Grand, I completely agree with Aser's last point.

                                            I have used Nella's weekly commercial knife exchange sharpening service for cook's who didn't provide their own knives. They were pretty junky knives and were sometime very crudely sharpened. However, they worked all right for a day or so.

                                            We can get more than a little obsessive about our knives.
                                            When I was using my knives all day long I performed the weekly whet stone ritual. Now just cooking at home I find a few licks with a very fine diamond hone is all the regular maintenance my 30+ year old hand-forged German carbons require and they stay wickedly sharp for days, micro abrasions and all. And they are nowhere near the end of their useful life. Most good knives sold Japan are only sharpened on one side. If you want to keep the Japanese-style edge for extremely fine slicing only sharpen the beveled side.

                                            To fix your wife's knife's tip you will need a coarse stone and a bit of elbow grease to return it to something that looks natural. Gently grind the roughness down while holding the blade perpendicular to the stone. That way you will not damage the blade's appearance. Yes, you will wear down the stone unevenly doing this but the knife cost a lot more than the stone.
                                            Don't ever let anyone use a dry power grinder on your Japanese blades. They will ruin the blades hardness by the heat generated.

                                            The very tip of the santoku knife isn't functional so it won't change your cutting results. Be very careful you don't change the blade's contour. Watch how high she lifts the blade when chopping and mark the furthest forward spot that the blade touches the cutting board. Don't grind quite to that point.

                                            Good luck.