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Old 04-30-2008, 02:44 AM   #1
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Note to self: stop volunteering to sharpen stuff...

Man, I like a challenge as much as the next guy but I gotta stop volunteering to sharpen knives for people! It's no secret that I'm a knife-nerd; you'd have to be deaf not to know! So about a month ago a guy I work with asked me what I'd charge him to sharpen he & his wife's kitchen knife set. Well, I'm fairly skilled at sharpening but I don't consider myself good enough to charge for it. I told him, "just bring 'em in- I'll sharpen them just for kicks."

After a month of forgetting to bring them for me his wife got tired of waiting and took them to be "professionally sharpened". I figured that was that, but a few days later he told me the guy really screwed 'em up, and do I think I might be able to fix them? Hmmm...at this point I'm starting to wish I'd never offered. My mind conjured up images of this "pro" grinding away with either an 8" wheel or a belt grinder with 80 grit belts. Oh, well- I'll take a look at 'em. After all, how bad could they be?

D'oh!
Pretty bad! If it wasn't for the shape I swear you couldn't tell which side was supposed to be sharp and there were "nicks", to use the term charitably, more than a 1.5mm into the edge. It was so bad I didn't even want to waste my coarse waterstone, so I started with my DMT ultra-coarse diamond plate. After at least ten solid minutes of grinding/reprofiling the nicks were finally ground out to the point where I felt ready to use the stones. I used my coarse EP stone followed by the medium, finally getting a pretty good edge. Since I know neither of 'em knows how to sharpen, and given the cheap nature of the knives, I opted to go no higher (it's generally a waste to try to get a polished edge on soft stainless). I stroked it lightly on the ceramic rod and tested it on some paper. Not bad, pretty smooth, quiet cuts. It shaves hair, albeit not incredibly well, but it has an edge that's pretty sharp for practical uses- ie cutting stuff.

All in all I should learn to keep my trap shut but it was kind of interesting resuccitating such a badly mangled blade. And given the "pro" sharpeners in this town I really ought to start charging after all!

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Old 04-30-2008, 02:55 AM   #2
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you sure sound competent, Rob----I'd readily pay you to sharpen mine..........I had my knives (luckily nothing expensive---too darned cheap 15 years ago) sharpened by a wizened old Egyptian who carried his cement grinder on his back. I paid him to come to my house once a month and you could always tell when he came cause of the plentiful bandaids on my fingers!! Well, after 6 years those cheap knives were ground to about nothing but boy they were sharp for a month...they were cheap quality so it really didn't matter---I finally ditched them and got some really decent knives
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:07 AM   #3
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Well, at least they were sharp! Eventually any sharpening, no matter how skilled, will cut the blade away. The key is to remove metal carefully and not excessively. I recall a sculpture describing that he didn't really create, say, a marble elephant...he just cut away everything that didn't look like an elephant to release it.

It's really sad how many people claim to be experts and do a hatchet job on peoples knives. I wish I had a dime for every time a well meaning person advises someone to ask their butcher of meat cutter who does their knives. Now before anyone dresses me down, I'll admit this sometimes works! But most butchers, meat cutters and even chefs I know are generally not all that knowledgeable about sharpening. Consider this- Jeff Gordon may be one of the best drivers in the word, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's qualified to turn a wrench. He might know a bit but it's not his forte. Ditto for a butcher. He knows meat- he may not know knives.

When it comes to having your knives sharpened, caveat emptor is the rule. I suggest letting them sharpen a "beater knife" or two before you entrust an expensive one to them.
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Old 04-30-2008, 03:28 AM   #4
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yep, you are so right, Rob............my little guy with his sharpening wheel fulfilled my needs for the 6 years that I was there but would I let him near my Wusthoff and Henckels today---I don't think so........well, my hubby wouldn't allow it for sure...he was mad that I handed over my cheap knives to be sharpened...too bad....they were worth every bandaid that I sported..........hahaha......Ace's Hardware always offers to sharpen knives and scissors but I'm really reluctant to hand them over......I have an especially wonderful surgical pair of scissors from Germany that are nearly 30 years old and are really in need of sharpening but I don't know who to trust them to.....any ideas??? I've used them for everything.......they cut chicken like no tomorrow
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Old 04-30-2008, 04:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by expatgirl View Post
I have an especially wonderful surgical pair of scissors from Germany that are nearly 30 years old and are really in need of sharpening but I don't know who to trust them to.....any ideas??? I've used them for everything.......they cut chicken like no tomorrow

Yeah, I do know a couple guys who are really artisans when it comes to sharpening, and that also happen to do scissors. I'll PM you asap, but it might take a day or two (gotta find their contact info, but I have one week of school left with 3 finals and 2 papers...).
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:32 AM   #6
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I give you credit for tackling that job.

It's scary that 'pro' knife sharpening services are so bad. I had a bad experience with a cutlery store's sevice. That pushed me to start sharpening my own knives. I found I can do a much better job than what I paid for.
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:43 AM   #7
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well, I really would like someone reputable to sharpen my surgial scissors----they are awesome and I use them for so many cooking related items....it's only after 30 years that they are so dull that they are probably dangerous at this point......I'd be willing to pay for mailing as long as I know that they will come back safe and sharp.....so I thank you if you can come up with a name to send them to
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:44 AM   #8
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surgical scissors, that is, surgial must be a word
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Old 04-30-2008, 06:54 AM   #9
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Good luck on all your exams, Rob---my daughter is also in the same boat as you and she' graduating this year---just posta pm when you can reach your head above water....I'm going to be in the states next week and until June 2----so good luck in the meantime
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Old 04-30-2008, 09:05 AM   #10
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If you were able to look at the knives before they got butchered, you could see if they were mishandled. Then offer some advice on proper use/care. I've sharpened a few knives for different friends. Some were used on glass cutting boards, some had knicks and some just were not shaped correctly from the factory. The blade tells a story if you look close enough.
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