14 November 2007

Getting stuff done!

I FINALLY got my knives sharpened at ABC Knife Grinding in Brooklyn. They wanted a couple of hours, but when I got back, they charged me REALLY cheap prices. In Manhattan, there's a store called Westpfalz, that does top quality knife sharpening for $25 per knife. The other knife sharpening people I couldn't even find. Instead, I figured I'd give Brooklyn a chance, because this is ridiculous that I live near so many different ones, and I wasn't taking advantage of it. So I got back to pick up my knives, and the guy tells me that it's going to cost $15. "Each?" "No. All of them!" Happily, I paid my money, and went off on my way.

Just as a friendly reminder, make sure to get your knives sharpened at least once a year. A sharp knife is less dangerous than a dull one. With a sharp knife, when you make a cut into something, the cut will go through the thing, and get it over with. With a dull knife, however, when you make a cut, you have to saw back and forth, and often times, the blade will slip. While it doesn't cut the vegetables very well, it'll cut your skin juuuust fine. Real fair, right?

Never fear, though. Every city that has any concentration of restaurants will have a knife sharpening person somewhere in there. If you make friends with the chefs at your favourite restaurants, the chef can tell you where they send their knives. The professionals send theirs out twice a year.

There's a difference between honing a knife, and sharpening a knife. Those sharpening steels that come with your knife are meant for honing. During regular cutting, from the impact of the edge of the knife on the cutting surface, the edge goes out of alignment, and gets curved or bent. What honing does is to align the edge of the knife to a straight point. In the long term, however, the sharp edge starts to corrode, and the knife goes outright dull. This is caused by regular wear and tear. This is where sharpening comes in.

It should only be done by a professional, because it involves fairly expensive equipment. That being said, the same professional who sharpens your knives will often be able to sharpen your garden shears and other scissors as well. I encourage you to find your local knife sharpener, and get this done right!


  1. Hey Dino -
    My name is Wheeler & I am the owner Wheeler's Black Label Vegan Ice Cream - we really like your blog and put up a link to it on our own blog (www.wheelersveganicecream.blogspot.com). Would you mind doing the same for us? We're a small company in Boston and we'd love to make a few more connections with people interested in Vegan diets. If you want, we'd be happy to send you some free, vegan ice cream in return! Thanks!

  2. Do you know if it dulls the blade or sharpens it to use the sharpener that comes with the knives. Also, as far as I know professional sharpening practices involve a fair bit of leather to get the blade just right ( I'm not sure exactly what they do.) Is that still common practice?

  3. Wheeler's: Done. :)

    Charly: The sharpener that comes with the knife set is called the sharpening steel, and that simply hones the edge. It maintains the edge, so that the knife stays sharp for the full year before you need it professionally done. My sharpener was using a stone grinder. Didn't see any leather about ...