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Where Can I Go to Learn Knife Sharpening Skills?

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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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  1. 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

      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

        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

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

      2. 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

          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

            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

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

            1. re: Dib

              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. 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:

            http://spyderco.com/catalog/details.p...

            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:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSG_W5...

            5 Replies
            1. re: Carole

              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

                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

                  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

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

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Sorry, I gave it to my daughter.