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
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:
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.
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.
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