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Best way to sharpen my kitchen knives

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What is the best way to sharpen my kitchen knives? A service? Some kind of sharpening system?

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  1. Hank it depends on how often you like or feel the need to sharpen. If it's something you need to do a couple a times a year then a service may be your ticket. If you want to be able to keep your knives sharp at all times then doing it yourself is the way to go. As far as method for home sharpening there are an abundance of threads here at CH to point you in one direction or another but the consensus is hand sharpening with waterstones or a jig system and the EdgePro is the leader of the pack for this type of sharpening device.

    11 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      I haven't heard real good things about sharpening services. If I can find a good one...great, but every Tom, Dick and Harry has $2000 for a sharpening machine. It doesn't mean he knows how to use it.

      Somebody had a Lansky sharpening system for sale on Craig'slist in my area. I am hoping to either be comforted by the idea of using a service or get the brand of a good sharpening jig.

      I need to be able to sharpen my knives every 6 months or so especially my paring and my chef's knife.

      1. re: Hank Hanover

        For 2-3 knives being sharpened every 6 months a pro sharpener is your best and most economical option.What kind of knives do you own? There's gotta be someone in your neck of the woods that knows what their doing.
        I agree with scubadoo that for home sharpening the Edge Pro is rated #1 for jig systems.

        1. re: petek

          So we know there are the inexpensive Lansky sharpening system, the high performance Edge Pro system and Wicked Edge system.

          http://www.edgeproinc.com/

          http://www.wickededgeusa.com/

          What about the really massive looking Gizmo (which looks like a home project)? Any opinion?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRMOW9...

          http://www.chefknivestogo.com/giknsh....

          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            No doubt Ken designed the Gizmo after the EdgePro. Over all it looks like a very good design with some improvements over the EP but at a price that is quite a bit more than the EP Apex but in line with the EP Pro.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              At $450, I don't quite see the advantage of the gizmo over the edgepro, especially with some of the custom packages offered for the edgepro. Maybe if you had already accumulated some really nice stones that you can't bear the thought of retiring. And even then, a lot of nicer stones rely on building up some mud to sharpen on, which you couldn't do effectively with the gizmo. Not that I'm saying it won't work - just that the edgepro creates such nice results on its own that I don't see any big functional advantage of getting the gizmo instead. I'm under the impression that with some minor modifications, the edgepro can be made to sharpen at angles below 10 degrees, so there wouldn't be any advantage there. And of course many full size waterstones may last longer than the edgepro abrasives, but they're not included in the gizmo. Less portable, abrasives not included, more expensive - am I missing something?

              ****Disclaimer****

              I have no interest in taking sides in the blowup that went down over at knifeforums, and no personal loyalties to either party - I'm just discussing the product from my own standpoint, admittedly as someone who doesn't own the gizmo.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                For theoretical purpose, I will take on the opposite side for the sake of argument. Gizmo is a much larger tool with a much longer "arm", so it can sharpen a long knife in one stroke.

                "I have no interest in taking sides in the blowup that went down over at knifeforums"

                I don't venture down to the knifeforums much. I didn't know the blowup was between edgepro vs gizmo. I thought it was between hand sharpening vs gizmo.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  "Gizmo is a much larger tool with a much longer "arm", so it can sharpen a long knife in one stroke."
                  _____
                  That's true, and a good point. Though in practice, it's not at all hard to adjust the knife on the fly for sectional sharpening while using the edgepro. Of course that opens up the door to more user error. Also, I suspect the gizmo will still need you to adjust the knife to deal with any sections that have much curve to them, the the tip ends of most chef knives.

                  "I didn't know the blowup was between edgepro vs gizmo. I thought it was between hand sharpening vs gizmo."
                  ____
                  It was hand sharpening vs. gizmo, or also some outright statements hating on the gizmo in general. I just didn't want my criticism of the gizmo to be construed as me having an axe to grind. Actually, if I had an axe to grind, the gizmo might be a pretty good tool to do it with.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    "Actually, if I had an axe to grind, the gizmo might be a pretty good tool to do it with."

                    How long did it take you to come up with this answer?

                    :P

        2. re: Hank Hanover

          "every Tom, Dick and Harry has $2000 for a sharpening machine. It doesn't mean he knows how to use it."

          Every Tom, Dick and Harry have an expensive sharpening machine which focuses on speed: to work through as many knives in a short duration. We are usually talking about a grinding wheel or a belt sander. I believe most professional sharpeners (not all) do not finish the knives at a higher grit than the 1000 grit which is relatively rough for performance knives.

          A home sharpening system (let's it be flat waterstones or a sharpening jig system) focuses more on the finish.

          1. re: Hank Hanover

            There in lies the problem with services. Finding one you can trust to do a good job without causing damage to your knives.

            The Lansky system will work but you will quickly learn to hate the clamp used to hold the knife in place. For kitchen knives there are better options.

          2. re: scubadoo97

            After reading test results in Cook's Illustrated,
            I bought a little $9.50 Accusharp. Does a great job. I recently got a
            Santoku knife that inexplicably hadn't been sharpened at the
            factory. The Accusharp took care of the problem in no time.

          3. What types of knives do you use? (Not just curious - it makes a difference as to what is the best way to maintain it)

            14 Replies
            1. re: cowboyardee

              If you are talking to me, Cowboyardee, I have a set of "pro S" Henckles. I might need to sharpen them every 6 months. Probably more like once a year.

              I am not interested in buying a sharpening system for even $200 (or more) to sharpen my $350 knives twice a year. I don't see how someone could justify spending the kind of money people are talking about for a sharpening system for personal use. maybe if you were going to start a sharpening service.

              I will find a service. What kind of equipment should a service have?

              I think I am going to look at the knives they have sharpened. If the polished side surfaces are all scratched up, I will probably look elsewhere.

              In search of a service, I am going to go down to a couple of restaurants and the Le Cordon Bleu Academy in Austin and talk to the chefs to find out where they send their knives. Then I am going to talk to a few butchers in the area.

              1. re: Hank Hanover

                "I don't see how someone could justify spending the kind of money people are talking about for a sharpening system for personal use"

                Actually there are reasons for this apparent madness, but the answers are fairly in-depth and lengthy, so this is not the place for them.

                "I will find a service. What kind of equipment should a service have? "

                For German knives like Henckels, almost all professional knife sharpeners have the correct equipments for them.

                Use a nice smooth honing steel or a ceramic honing rod to maintain your knife edge in between sharpening sessions.

                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  Yep, I was talking to you. Some of us knife junkies got off on a tangent earlier, but I don't think anyone would seriously recommend a $450 dollar sharpener to you. I personally hand sharpen on stones, but that's probably not up your alley either. I will say that I see nothing wrong with spending more on a sharpener than on one's knives in many cases, but I'll leave it at that unless you particularly want to hear a rant.

                  The Henckels Pro S is a pretty traditional style chefs knife and your sharpening options might be pretty open, depending on how demanding you are in terms of sharpness and such. Stuff like the Accusharp can keep a usable edge on at a minimal expense of time or money (downsides: wears out quickly, removes a lot of metal, not a fantastic edge). For ~$100, the chef's choice electric sharpeners are more durable and will leave you with a slightly better edge (downsides: can scratch a blade, can damage your knives or grind too much metal if you're not careful, doesn't sharpen well near the bolster). Neither will get you the results of a decent pro.

                  Honestly, it seems you are a bit picky about your knives and as such I would recommend the same thing the other guys have said - find a pro. Any pro sharpener should be familiar with knives like yours. Some do better work than others, and you may just have to try different guys out. Different services will often have different equipment, and that's ok - there's more than one way to sharpen a Henckels. Some guys will use water-cooled ceramic grinding wheels. Some guys will use belt sanders. I've seen people use buffing wheels. A few oddballs like me might even sharpen by hand on stationary stones, though not many and they'll cost more. Just pick someone who does a lot of kitchen knives and has a decent reputation.

                  Also, Chem's suggestion that you get a honing rod for maintenance in between sharpenings was a good one. There are various decent tutorials for using them on youtube.

                  1. re: Hank Hanover

                    Hank: you may already know about this place.Looks kinda funky and they have tomahawk throwing classes to boot!!!! :D But seriously..they do offer knife sharpening service and they're located in Austin Tx.

                    www.knifesharpest.com

                    1. re: petek

                      "have tomahawk throwing classes to boot"

                      Holy cow

                      "they're located in Austin Tx"

                      Hey, it is nice of you to look up a local sharpener for Hank.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        I didn't actually look it up,I somehow remembered it being mentioned on a post from KKF.Funny how the brain works....Just tryin' to help a fellow CH'er out.

                        1. re: petek

                          Here I remember a story too, not local, but may be useful.

                          My friend told me about the KnifeSpa a couple years back. This guy, Emilio Ambrosi, used to sharpen knives based on local reputation, but the profit margin was getting weaker and local business was leaving in recent years, so his wife urged him to go Internet and launched the KnifeSpa website. It helped enormously for their knife sharpening business and their knife line sale. You can read about the full story if you like:

                          http://www.nj.com/business/index.ssf/...

                          Personally, I am not impressed with the knives, as the website states: “KnifePro knives are stamped with blades made from a special formula of 420J Japanese steel. With a hardness rating of 52-54 Rockwell, they're strong enough to hold an edge and cut with ease.” 420J at 53 HRC is not something I will go for.

                          However, the sharpening service fee seems right at $5-8 per knife and the speed and reputation are good.

                          http://www.knifespa.com/

                          "Admit it. You deserve sharp knives."

                          http://www.knifespa.com/howitworks/

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            $5-$8 a knife is a pretty good deal,but I personally would never ship my knives out to get sharpened.Takes too long.Go local if you can.

                            I forgot to say Happy Memorial Day to all my American brothers and sisters!!
                            Enjoy the day.. :-D

                            1. re: petek

                              "$5-$8 a knife is a pretty good deal,but I personally would never ship my knives out to get sharpened.Takes too long.Go local if you can."

                              Think of it as a "Spa" You fly over to a special resort to get a Spa. Just kidding.

                              Thanks for your Memorial Day wish. I will eat some hamburgers...

                      2. re: petek

                        Anybody that provides tomahawk throwing lessons is worth a look. I'll go down there as soon as possible and if they are at all affordable will sign up for the lessons, too. I'll report back on that.

                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                          Nice!! I would totally do it if I had a place like that in my city.I can't vouch for their knife sharpening service so before you hand over yours,ask a lot of questions and ask to see some of their work.

                          Enjoy!

                          1. re: petek

                            Or just handing over the less useful knives first as opposed to handing all of the knives.

                            1. re: petek

                              Petec--
                              Just run through a local rez, someone will show you how to throw one!!!

                            2. re: Hank Hanover

                              Yeah.. Maybe I'll take a video camera down and have my grown son take the lessons. At the very least... post it on youtube. Maybe, I'll get a special price for providing the free advertising.

                              Maybe I'll let them try my paring and 8 inch utility knife before giving them my treasured santoku.