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Apr 2, 2013 08:14 PM

mail order sharpening

Looking for opinions, experiences with mail order knife sharpening services. I have 2 knives that need the bolster ground down. I have tried the local (southern vt, nh) service and I don't think they really understood what I needed done. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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  1. This recent forum member reviews of these professional sharpening services on his website:

    If they offer bolster removal / reduction as a service I assume they know how to do it correctly.

    1. Steve Bottorff has a list of people who do it about halfway down

      Are you looking to just reduce it, or a reshape or even removal. Elron posted some pics of a Mercer he removed the bolster from but that is going a bit extreme.

      Lets see some pics of how far off the bolster is.


      1 Reply
      1. re: knifesavers

        Out of curiosity, I took a glance at the Steve Bottorff list. While it is a nice long list, there is something to be said for 1) screening for quality and 2) being up-to-date:
        - I've used a service on his list that I would not send my knives to again
        - Bob Kramer does not sharpen knives anymore and hasn't for quite a few years

      2. It's a pretty standard problem with knives that have been sharpened a lot. So don't be dismayed. I think I had it done with a Henckels I sent out. Any high-quality sharpening service should be able to handle it, so you should be able to find a solution :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: kitchenknifeguru

          <Any high-quality sharpening service should be able to handle it, so you should be able to find a solution :)>

          Just a guess, but probably any medium quality sharpening service should able to handle this (bolster). :)

        2. I agree with others that it shouldn't be such a big deal to partially remove the bolster. I don't know how much you want to grind down. If you just want a little bit removed, then I think most knife sharpeners can handle that.

          If you want to remove quite a lot and finish with a smooth transition, then it will cost a bit more and fewer people can/willing to do it.

          Our fellow poster, Eiron, actually does a great job. I don't know if he is official doing it, or he is just doing it for fun, but you can write a post to him.

          Here are a few photo samples of his job:

          3 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I would think that any higher-priced sharpening service would include edge straightening & full-bolster 'reduction' (that is, evening it out with the new edge) at no additional charge. The same goes for minor chips & tip repairs. At least, that's the way I'd run it myself.

            Removing the bolster (in either a forged (Henckels, Wusthof, Mercer, etc) or stamped/hollow-ground knife (like the Marblehead)) is quite a bit more work & would fall under "modification" work. You're spending lots of time (& abrasives) removing lots of unwanted metal.

            Large chips & missing ends (I'll attach an example) would also fall under the "modification" heading. You're basically rebuilding the knife. That often means time-consuming thinning of significant portions of the remaining blade. This is necessary to restore the proper feel & function to a broken/abused knife.

            Obviously, I would expect additional cost to be involved for any modification work.

            EDIT: I forgot to say, if you're using someone who isn't charging you very much to sharpen your knives, then you shouldn't expect them to do everything else free-of-charge. If someone is trying to save YOU money by offering a basic sharpening at a very reasonable cost, then THEY can't afford to spend the time (& materials) it takes to "give away"/include these other repair services.

            1. re: Eiron

              I'm guessing that jefpen2 is probably talking about a bolster reduction, NOT removal. But good to clarify :)

              1. re: kitchenknifeguru

                Yes, I agree. (Both points.)

                And I realized that my last comment may not be clear. The last line should read, "other minor repair services" (like bolster reduction).