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Where Can I Go to Learn Knife Sharpening Skills?

CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 06:46 AM

Reading through a thread on the Cookware board http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/590727 confirms what I've known for a long time -- I know zilch about knife maintenance. I nearly ruined a couple of knives trying to sharpen them with a Chef's Choice electric sharpener. Lately I've been using a MinoSharp ceramic water sharpener, but, since I really don't know what I'm doing, I'm sure I'm not using it correctly, and don't even know if it's a decent tool. I think I need to go somewhere to take a lesson in knife sharpening skills. Is there anywhere in Philly's western 'burbs where such a class might be given?

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    foodISlove RE: CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 07:20 AM

    It's hard. I would just find a knife-sharpening biz near you. I found one in NJ. $3 per knife/once a year. In between use I use the ceramic-thingy to take off the rough edges...no angst and no worries about ruining expensive knives.

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodISlove
      mschow RE: foodISlove Feb 7, 2009 07:23 AM

      Can you name the place in NJ that you have used from knife sharpening? Friends near Trenton found a place that does restaurant knives and they use them, but that's a little out of the way for me. Thanks

      1. re: mschow
        foodISlove RE: mschow Feb 7, 2009 08:03 AM

        It's Jersey Cutlery in Hillsborough, NJ. About 45 min. north of Trenton. But they do mobile service to schools/restaurants...been around forever. You should call them, bet they can recommend someone near you: 908-782-8282.

        1. re: mschow
          JNUNZMAN RE: mschow Feb 7, 2009 10:25 AM

          I live in Yardley, across the river from Trenton.........can you get the name of where your friends get theirs sharpened? Thanks

      2. CindyJ RE: CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 07:36 AM

        I know that Kitchen Kapers will send knives out for sharpening at a fairly reasonable cost. But I was thinking more about that "every day" sharpening -- honing -- that some say ought to be done each time you reach for a knife.

        4 Replies
        1. re: CindyJ
          the dog ate my homework RE: CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 07:41 AM

          Maybe the Viking Cooking School in Bryn Mawr has seminars on honing/sharpening? I have the same problem you do. I try to use the steel the way I see the pros do but never get great results.

          1. re: the dog ate my homework
            CindyJ RE: the dog ate my homework Feb 7, 2009 08:51 AM

            That's a good thought. I see that Albertson's cooking school offers a class in knife skills, but it seems to be about cutting/chopping skills and not sharpening.

          2. re: CindyJ
            Dib RE: CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 11:07 AM

            One of the guys at Kitchen Kapers showed me how to use a sharpening steel. They're pretty nice about demonstrations.

            1. re: Dib
              CindyJ RE: Dib Feb 7, 2009 12:44 PM

              Is a steel what I want to use? Or is there a sharpening tool that's better? I think many of the pros use a steel, but using one correctly is a highly developed skill. Or so I believe.

          3. Carole RE: CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 09:43 AM

            After becoming very dissatisfied with the Chef's Choice electric sharpener, I ended up with the Spyderco Triangle Sharpener. It's all manual, relatively inexpensive, and not at all difficult to use. You can find it here:


            It comes with a DVD that explains how to use it. Takes a few tries to get the hang of it but you don't ruin your knives while you're learning, so not a problem. I also found a few videos on YouTube showing how to use the Spyderco Triangle Sharpener:


            5 Replies
            1. re: Carole
              CindyJ RE: Carole Feb 7, 2009 12:43 PM

              I watched the video. My impression is that this is a tool for people who already know how to sharpen knives. I wouldn't know how to position the blade of the knife on the sharpening device at the correct angle. Isn't that critical?

              1. re: CindyJ
                Carole RE: CindyJ Feb 7, 2009 01:54 PM

                The DVD that comes with the sharpener shows you exactly how to properly hold the knife. It is very easy! The DVD teaches you what to do. It's actually quite easy as you hold it perpendicular to the table -- straight up and down. Very easy to do.

                The angle of the ceramic bars gives the correct angle do you don't need to do anything but keep the knife straight up and down. The point can move down so you don't need to keep track of that.

                Keep in mind that sharpening steels do not sharpen! All they do is straighten out the waviness that happens in an already sharp blade. Because the edge of a sharp blade is thin, it gets wavy when you use it. That's what the steel will help with. When the knife actually dulls (gets nicks, etc.) then you must truly sharpen it because the sharpening steel won't help with bluntness or nicks.

                1. re: Carole
                  watercress RE: Carole Feb 8, 2009 01:50 PM

                  Have you looked at YouTube? There are several knife-sharpening videos there. It's not that hard. Don't be intimidated- 45 degree angle with the sharpening steel. You can do it! Watch a couple videos, is my suggestion.

                2. re: CindyJ
                  Delucacheesemonger RE: CindyJ Oct 2, 2009 05:49 AM

                  If you still have the chef's choice and want to sell it; l love the product

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger
                    CindyJ RE: Delucacheesemonger Oct 2, 2009 06:19 AM

                    Sorry, I gave it to my daughter.

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