sharpening and caring for your kitchen knives

Reviews of Professional Knife Sharpening Services

I’m a very very very very very picky person. Especially when I want to be. So, when it came around to reviewing professional knife sharpening services, rest assured, I did not take the mission lightly. I hunkered down.

professional knife sharpening wheel at Seattle Knife

Three Top Services

First off, know this: All three of the finalists — Seattle Knife Sharpening, D&R Sharpening Solutions, JustKnives101 — have history. They’ve all been doing what they do for over a decade and one of them has the lineage of a family business going back to 1922. None of them are newbies or fly-by-nights.

Secondly—although they are all well-established bricks-and-mortar businesses, they have substantial experience in mail-order as well. They’ve all shipped and received a whole lot of sharpened metal. They have clear instructions and procedures as to how to send them your kitchen knives. And they’re all dependable and highly competent.

Thirdly—I have personally tried them all. Yes, pinky promise (as my 8- year-old says). I am not simply parroting what I’ve heard or read about or garnered from multiple websites, but sharing my own personal experience as a fellow consumer.

Very Important Note: I do not receive a cent from any of these professional knife sharpening services for referring customers. It’s a freebie. If for some reason this changes, I’ll be the first to let you know!


Global Chef Knife (G2), 8-Inch

Global makes some of the most strikingly modern kitchen knives on the planet. And they also happen to be killer sharp. Most of them, including this chef’s, are what I call Japanese hybrids—designed and manufactured in Japan, but with German-type blades and a Western sensibility in mind. They’re light and sleek and won’t tire out your hand. I own their 7-inch santoku which always makes carving up pineapples fun instead of a chore! (For more suggestions on chef knives, make sure to visit Best Chef Knives — Six Recommendations.) Global Chef Knife (G2), 8-Inch


Seattle Knife Sharpening

I first found out about Seattle Knife Sharpening by accident from a YouTube video. Early on in my knife-sharpening education, I stumbled onto a clip of a very satisfied Seattle Knife customer showing off his newly sharpened set of Global knives. He sliced off slivers from a sheet of paper with ease and raved about the sharpitude. I was entranced.

I went to the Seattle Knife website and liked what I saw (literally as well as figuratively—it’s a nicely designed site). The business seemed to be a small operation by one guy, Bob Tate, which I found attractive. Personalized service. He had learned his craft from Bob Kramer, one of the most well-known and high-quality bladesmiths alive. And—judging from what he wrote on his site—Bob (Tate, that is) seemed open, friendly, personable. I wrote him an email or two with questions about his craft, how he ground his edges, and he answered back quickly.

I zipped through a tomato—the first time in years without a serrated in my hand.

His method is unorthodox, but wickedly sharp. He explained that for each knife he started from as sharp an angle as he dared as his primary angle, and then ground the rest of the blade down so that it smoothly segued from the edge up to the spine. It sounds thorough, and it is. As he mentions on his site, it’s a 6- to 7-step process using belt sanders and polishing wheels along with sharpening compounds. On a German-style knife this often means thinning down the blade and creating an edge angle much sharper than usual. Fine with me!

I boxed up a bunch of my knives as per Bob’s instructions and sent them off to Washington state. Almost two weeks later I got them back (unfortunately, I live on the other side of the country). I was a little disappointed at the turnaround time—but the knives, the knives! They looked sharp. I took my chef’s and immediately tried what I’d seen the guy in the YouTube video do. Oh, yeah. Right through paper, not only without resistance, but not leaving any roughness either. The cut edges of the paper were perfectly smooth—like I’d used a pair of scissors. I zipped through a tomato—the first time in years without a serrated in my hand. This was true for the Henckels I’d sent him as well as my Japanese-made Global.

As if this were not enough, Bob was also big on follow-through. He recommended the best type of hone to use to keep my knives sharp as long as possible (see My Favorite Honing Steels), and even gave me honing instructions over the phone. What a guy! I was off to a great start with my first professional knife sharpening service.

If you’re hungry for more, be sure to read my two-part interview with Bob Tate.


D&R Sharpening Solutions

I first heard of Dave Martell—the owner, chef cook, and bottle washer of D&R Sharpening— from my favorite kitchen knife book, An Edge in the Kitchen by Chad Ward. Dave has been building a reputation in professional knife sharpening for over a decade and has a special passion for Japanese blades. Actually, he’s divided his business into two separate sharpening services—one for Western-style knives, the other for Japanese.

Having no Japanese knives that needed sharpening, I chose the more standard Western-style service. I queried him about his sharpening process and he confirmed that it was the usual combination of belt sander followed by polishing wheel. But, unlike Bob in Seattle, Dave prefers to sharpen Western knives at the traditional angle of 20–25 degrees. Although he feels it’s not as “pretty”, he’s found it to be the most durable angle for this style knife. Different strokes for different folks.

The poor bread knife had been seriously abused over the years, sawing through frozen bread among other things. . .

I packed another box, not quite so many this time, and the knives were returned in one week. Yes, half the time of Seattle Knife, but then Fleetwood, PA, where D&R is located, is only a 5-hour drive away. The bevels (the part of the blade that Vs in to the cutting edge) were impeccable—as even and straight as if they’d come from the factory and the sharpness matched factory standards as well. They cut through tomatoes, sliced cucumbers nice and thin. They slivered paper—just like the YouTube video. That said, if I were to be persnickety (and that is my job as KitchenKnifeGuru), they weren’t quite as searingly sharp as Seattle Knife. But more than sharp enough for my kitchen or any other that’s not filigreeing radishes a mile a minute.

One of the knives I sent D&R was a workhorse Henckels—a wedding present—that not only had many years of faithful service to its name (decades, really), but many sharpenings of mixed-quality that had left it with an ugly, uneven edge. If you chopped parsely on a flat board, you’d miss sections with every chop. Sure enough, when I got it back from D&R, the edge was straight and even. No more gaps on the cutting board. Hurrah!

I also sent them one of my serrated bread knives which they sharpen for an extra charge. Not every knife sharpening service can handle serrated, but both Seattle Knife and JustKnives101 (the next service I review) do as well. The poor bread knife had been seriously abused over the years (another wedding present), sawing through frozen bread among other things, and really needed an overhaul. It came back refreshed, but not fully restored—which may be the best one can hope for a serrated blade, I know they’re challenging to fully resuscitate. (Though I might send my other bread knife to one of the other two services sometime and compare.)

D&R’s website is not quite as stylish as Seattle knives (not that it really matters), but they do have a mailing form you can print out for totaling up your charges (Seattle does not, you must create your own). They also have a very convenient payment system where they email you a Paypal invoice when the knives are ready to ship back. Very fast and easy for the customer to process—a big plus in my book. All-in-all, a top-notch operation. Next. . .

Miyabi Birchwood Chef Knife, 8-Inch

Miyabi is a high-end division of Henckels that’s manufactured exclusively in Japan. The attention to detail that’s gone into this particular model—101 layers of steel, hand honing—is impressive, lending it an affinity with traditional hand-crafted Japanese blades. As you would expect, the steel is hard (63 Rockwell) and extremely sharp. And maybe it’s the birchwood handle or the finessing of the Damascus pattern, but (please excuse my gushing) it’s one of the most beautiful-looking knives I’ve seen in a while.

Miyabi Birchwood Chef Knife, 8-Inch

JUSTKNIVES101—CLOSED Sadly enough, it looks like JustKnives101 has closed their doors for business. Sooo, it’s time for KKG to review a few more professional knife sharpening services and see if I can add them to this article. In the meanwhile, in order to avoid confusion and having to revise this article twice, I am not revising or deleting any references to, or material on, JustKnives101. (Who knows? Maybe they’ll undergo a resurrection!)

JustKnives101 [no longer in business]

JustKnives101 rose to the upper reaches of my list of professional knife sharpening services from a simple Google search for “knife sharpening service.” What attracted me right off was:

  • their professional-looking and informative website
  • the fact that they were a family business that had been around a long while
  • the fact that they sounded like they knew what they were doing and were into quality.
My impression of the blades was similar to D&R’s—they had smooth, even bevels and were plenty sharp.

The only thing I was a little wary of at first was that they might have a large crew doing high volume and thus be more of a grinding service than a professional cutler (see my article Finding a Sharpening Service). But after talking on the phone with Paul, the owner, my concerns evaporated. He assured me he, personally, did 90 percent of the sharpening, all on a very expensive belt sander imported from Germany. Among things that made it unique was the fact the belt ran over a hard rubber wheel as well as through water which helped protect the knife edges from overheating. It was the only machine of its kind he knew of in this country. Paul usually sharpened to about 20 degrees, but was flexible to the demands of each knife. He also mentioned that a lot of his customers were chefs from near and far—just what a quality-conscious kitchen-knife owner like me wanted to hear! I packaged up three more and mailed them off.

A week later they were back in my kitchen (JustKnives, like D&R, is located just a half-day drive away). My impression of the blades was similar to D&R’s—they had smooth, even bevels and were plenty sharp. They sliced beautifully, but still not quiiiiite as effortlessly as the knives from Seattle. (I told you I was picky.) They came sheathed in cardboard knife guards which was a nifty touch. And like D&R, JustKnives had a mail-in form you could easily print out to figure your invoice.

Three up, three down!

Money, Money, Money

Right about now you might be asking, what about price? Did they all charge the same? And the short answer is a definite, No.

D&R and JustKnives structure their prices in a cost per size-range—for example, $4 for blades 1- to 4-inches long. Seattle does it differently and charges a flat $1.25 by the inch (except for single-bevel which are $2). On top of that, Seattle charges a standard processing fee of $10. (Thus, it pays to send a bunch at a time.)

So, say you sent off three knives to each service—an 8-inch chefs, a 6-inch chef’s, and a 4-inch paring knife. What kind of bill would you ring up? (Not including shipping.)

Sharpening Service Three Knives Six Knives
Seattle Knife Sharpening $32.50 $55.00
D&R Sharpening $24.00 $48.00
JustKnives101 $15.00 $30.00


That’s quite a spread, isn’t it? With Seattle Knife over twice the cost of JustKnives. If you double the amount of knives, Seattle’s cost comes down proportionally because the $10 service charge averages out more. And the distance between Seattle and D&R also gets much closer—but there’s still quite a gap between Seattle and JustKnives. Which begs the question, why would Seattle be worth it?

I don’t view my job as KitchenKnifeGuru as someone to talk you into using one sharpening service over the other, but simply to shed as much light as possible so you can make your own educated decisions. But there are two obvious reasons why Seattle might be worth paying more for:

1) Their knives are sharper and more refined. The edge has been ground, buffed, and polished to a higher degree than the other two.

2) Their knives will probably stay sharp longer. This is mainly due to the simple physical fact that Bob’s process of creating a long gradual bevel from spine to edge tends to make the blades thinner. As the edge wears down, it’s still pretty darn thin and will continue to cut better. We are talking Western blades here. For Japanese, where the blade is already thin, this might be a different story.

There is one negative to Seattle’s sharpening method though, and that is, because the knife edges are thinner, they are more delicate. They won’t take as much abuse. So if you plan on slamming into frozen cookie dough (don’t laugh, one of Bob’s customers did), or if you just can’t afford the mental energy to think about protecting your kitchen knives, then Seattle might not be the best choice for you.

Bottom line moneywise—Seattle Knife Sharpening is pricier, D&R Sharpening in the middle, and JustKnives101 quite a bargain.

Revised Reviews of Knife Sharpening Services. . .Coming Soon

In order to give my readers more options, I’ve reviewed three new professional knife sharpening services. Buuut. . .because I’m a stay-at-home Dad with a never-ending list of Daddy duties, house projects, etc, it’s going to take me a while to write up my reviews in depth. In the meantime, I’ve decided to simply post these new sharpening services here with their contact info so that my readers can take advantage of them immediately!

Please note: I have personally sampled all three professional knife sharpening services and they are excellent and, although I might have a quibble or two, I would not hesitate to send my knives to any of them. Without further adieu. . .

Berry, KY / Phil


Greenville, SC / Josh

Art Of Sharp

Chicago, IL / Frank

P.S. If you use USPS (the cheapest option) for shipping, the closer a knife sharpening service lives to you, the more money you’ll save.

Other Possibilities

To fill out the list, here are a few more sharpening services I have not had a chance to take out on test rides yet, but seem promising:

The Epicurean Edge []: Recommended from ChowHound website; looks very impressive; expensive though.

Accurate Sharpening []: Uses the Edge Pro sharpening system, one of the finest sharpening systems out there; unusual because they sharpen by hand, not using any machines, and yet are quite reasonably priced. Recommended by kitchen knife master Norman Weinstein. Appeared in a Wall Street Journal review, but knives did have a problem finding their way home.

Precision Knife Sharpening []: Very pro website, explains a lot and sounds very competent; recommended in a Wall Street Journal review.

New Edge Sharpening []: I met the owner, Peter Nolan, online a few years back and have been quite taken with his dedication to the craft of sharpening. He sharpens by hand, only using Japanese waterstones—so he should be on my “Japanese Knife Sharpening Services” list below as well. If I ever get a free minute, he is at the top of my list of new sharpening services to try out.

Perfect Edge []: Impressive website. It talks the talk—can it do the walk?

Wrap Up

As far as I’m concerned, you could not go wrong with having your knives sharpened by any one of the three professional knife sharpening services I have personally used and reviewed. They are all masters of their craft, consistent, and well-organized. They all produce sharp knives. If you love and appreciate handling a sharp kitchen knife, there’s no reason to put it off any longer. I have done the homework for you. If you don’t have a clear preference—relax, close your eyes, and pick whichever one your finger falls on! You really can’t go wrong.

KNIFE REPAIR  If you’ve got a knife you know needs some minor repair work, here’s a quick snapshot of the three sharpening service’s repair policies:

Seattle Knife will straighten a bent tip for free; but fixing a broken one is $6.00. Don’t know their policy on chips.

D&R has a large disclaimer up front from that they do NOT fix any thing extra (“no edge nicks or broken tips”) for free. They don’t say anything about a bent tip though. And they did even out my well-worn blade at no extra charge.

JustKnives specifically says “small chips or small broken points included.” It looks like they may give the customer a bit more leeway than the other two.

Important note: If you have any repair issues—please do yourself a favor and ask ahead of time. That way you’ll avoid any misunderstandings.

Postlude—Japanese Knife Sharpening Services

Every knife sharpened (with one exception) in my knife-sharpening odyssey was a Western/German-made knife. But there’s a whole world of Japanese-made knives out there that need sharpening as well. Most traditional Japanese knives (which Global is not) should only be sharpened by a specialized service in the Japanese tradition using a water stone (usually a combo of motorized and manual). I do not currently own any of these thoroughbred Japanese knives, so this particular market is outside my personal experience. This much I know though:

Seattle Knife sharpened my Global knife beautifully and I’m sure would do an excellent job on other Western-styled Japanese blades as well, such as Shun and MAC. Just ask.

JustKnives101 on their website says they are “factory-authorized” to sharpen Global, Shun, and Masahiro knives. Although I could not confirm their “factory-authorized” status with the knife importers for those brands, judging from JustKnives’ reputation and their work on my knives, I’m pretty confident they would do a fine job.

If you own a traditional or high-end Japanese blade, here is a list of Japanese knife sharpening services with impeccable credentials. The first three have huge reputations and the fourth is up-and-coming.They are not cheap—but you are probably getting a half hour or more of a master sharpener’s loving tender care (and expertise). If you value your Japanese knife and wish to use it for years and years, do not skimp!

Japanese Knife Sharpening []: As mentioned earlier, this is Dave Martell of D&R Sharpening Solutions’ other sharpening service (his true love, really) that specializes in Japanese blades. He is passionate about his craft and a longtime master. Check out this quote from his website: “Dave still continues to hone his skills everyday. He strongly believes that the most intriguing part of sharpening is that you never achieve pure perfection no matter how long you work at it.”

Korin []: Written and talked about everywhere, Japanese master Chiharu Sugai is the name brand in Japanese sharpening. Recommended by the The Wall Street Journal and, apparently, everybody in the world.

Carter Cutlery []: Created by another legendary bladesmith, Murray Carter, the twist being he’s an anglo who studied in Japan 18 years. He mastered age-old Japanese knife making and sharpening techniques and became a 17th generation Yoshimoto Bladesmith. Fascinating story. Still sharpens everything himself.

Tosho Knife Arts []: Not as well-known as the first three, but both partners have solid credentials and much promise. Located in Toronto, Canada.

Post Postlude—Knives List (what knives I sent to each sharpening service)

Seattle Knife Sharpening

Henckels professional S chef 8-inch
Henckels chef 6-inch
Global G-48 7-inch
Sabatier slicer 8-inch
Calphalon santoku 8-inch
Henckels paring 4-inch
Henckels paring 3-inch

 D&R Sharpening Solutions

Henckels 4 star chef 8-inch (worn down)
Henckels professional S chef 6-inch
Henckels professional S bread knife 8-inch

 Just Knives101

Henckels chef 8-inch
Henckels slicer 8-inch
Calphalon paring 4.5 inch

(Photo credit: sharpening wheel courtesy of Bob Tate of Seattle Knife Sharpening.)

  1. I used Bob Kramer for sharpening my knives when he was in Seattle and Bellingham, WA, and I could visit and talk to him. When Bob stopped sharpening, I followed his advice and have been using Bob Tate ever since. I agree with all you said about him. My one additional comment is that for a Seattleite, or even an occasional Seattle visitor as I am now, the turnaround is one to two days and no $10 fee if you can drop off and pick up at one of several UPS stores.

    • Thanks for chiming in, Randy! You’re lucky you live within driving distance of one of my favorite knife sharpening services (Seattle Knife Sharpening). I’m envious :)

  2. I’m loving your site, very interesting and full of useful information.

    You mention Tosho Knife Arts in Toronto. While I have not used them for sharpening since I do my own, I have heard nothing but great things about them and Dave Martell speaks highly of them. Another place in Canada is Knifewear, Kevin the owner is highly respected in the sharpening world, I’ve seen their work and would trust Knifewear completely.

    I personally do not charge for chips, nicks and tip repairs, it’s all just part of the service in my opinion. If people are good enough to trust me with their knives, it just makes sense for me to return the favour by sharpening them to the best of my ability. If that includes some chip repair so be it, so $1.25 an inch it is. Regardless of whether or not the knife looks like it was dragged behind a car for an hour.

    Regarding Korin….Master Sugai is my idol :)

  3. Thanks, Peter, for your feedback! One of these days when I find time to write a review of Japanese-style sharpening services, you’ll be on the short list for consideration :)

  4. Thank you Nate for sharing!
    Fantastic article and so easy to read.
    Iam waiting for more!


  5. I’ve been a knife maker for the past 37 years and have sharpened thousands of knives over those years professionally as well.

    Born and raised in Montana, I moved here to Country Village, Bothell, WA in 1995 and set up a knife shop where I still work today.

    I’ve known Bob Kramer for as long as I’ve been here and now share a shop with mastersmith Michael Rader who makes beautiful kitchen cutlery as well.

    I make a few kitchen knives from 52100 and other steels, but work mainly on my Xross Bar Lock folders these days.

    • Nice to meet you, Lyle! After taking a quick tour of your website, it looks like you’re the real thing. . . :)

    • Country Village sold part of the village, that my knife making shop was located on to a developer, and I have been displaced. My new digs are at 19510 Bothell Everett hwy, Bothell, WA.

      It has been a good move in many ways as I’m more visible with a street sign and I have been blessed with very good ratings.

      2017 looks like it will be a banner year and I will be pressed to keep up with the knife making part as the sharpening side has increased greatly.

  6. This is one of the more in-depth articles I’ve read on knife sharpening services and sharpening rates which a lot of people forget to compare. Above you mentioned how Seattle’s prices were more than Just Knives and I know you hit the nail on the head when you said it was due to how the knives were sharpened.

    I have a knife sharpening service and offer 3 different edges that I can put on knives and charge accordingly. I’d say 90% of services use some sort machine to sharpen their knives and charge a bracketed rate or a 1$ per inch. Machine sharpened edges are a” quick and dirty” way to sharpen a blade, but are quick for the sharpener to do. There are a few disadvantages to sharpening a knife this way such as removing more blade steel than necessary. A hand sharpened edge is more time consuming. It does result in a much more refined edge, as you mentioned, because of the slower more detailed process. Is it worth it?

    What I advise people when they ask is to tell me about their knives. Generally, if the knife is old, poor quality or beat up, I suggest a machine sharpened edge as the knife probably won’t hold an edge for very long regardless-it’s what most people consider to be sharp anyway. For “good” knives to very high end cutlery I firmly suggest having the knife sharpened by hand. I try to inform the customer as much as possible about what I can and can’t do to their knives.

    I also have a mail-in knife sharpening service at and do charge for return shipping but don’t understand why some other services charge a handling fee on top. All of the packages go out at the same time so there is no real added cost. Anyway good article and please advise your readers to compare services, methods, and prices to get the most for their money.

    • Dan—thanks for your comments and observations!

      Let me just clarify, in case somebody gets the wrong impression, that Seattle Sharpening does NOT hand sharpen. Bob uses a series of variable belt sanders and polishers that have been customized. And when I asked Bob about hand sharpening versus machine, he felt the most important element in the whole process was the skill and perfectionism of the human doing the sharpening. (If anyone’s interested in hearing more from Bob, read my in-depth interview with Seattle Sharpening.)

      Best, KKG

      P.S. KKG visitors: For the record, I have not used EliteEdges or reviewed them. But they sound like a high-quality outfit—thus, I have supplied their hyperlink above for my readers to click on and check out for themselves.

      • I would like to comment on the machine versus hand-sharpening methods. Yes, some machines will remove a lot of metal and leave a poor edge at best.

        However, after 40 years of making and sharpening knives, I believe that I can obtain as good of an edge with my 2- by 72-inch belt grinder as the ancient masters could with their waterstones. Today’s belt technology is really fantastic.

        Sure I could sharpen knives by hand, but would have to charge a much higher price for it and still not have the ability of removing that blob of metal on some chef knives, called a bolster, that is directly in the way of sharpening and also leaves the blade off of the cutting board. I usually hollow grind most of it away and it looks clean and professional.

        Sometimes knife sharpening is more like knife restoration as I take out the blade sway, restore the rocker edge, lower the bolster, regrind or straighten the tip, thin the edge back a ways and of course put on a screaming sharp edge.

        I have serviced many happy repeat customers for the past 20 years at Bronk’s Knifeworks, Country Village until they decided to sell my shop to a condo developer.

        My new sharpening shop is presently located at 19510 Bothell/Everett Hwy.

        • I have long been under the impression that machine sharpening generates too much heat and can damage the metal’s temper. For the guru and the pro sharpeners, what are your opinions about that issue?

          • Hi Brad,

            I touch on exactly what you’re talking about in my article Finding a Professional Sharpening Service. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to find a credible pro sharpening service and was a driving force behind creating this website.

            It all depends on: 1) what kind of machine and belts the pro sharpener is using, 2) how fast the machine is running, and 3) the skill/know-how of the operator.

            All pro sharpeners that I use, or recommend, run their sharpening belts (or wheels) at much slower speeds than if they were doing serious grinding. Some have specially customized machines. This helps control the friction/heat as well as ensure the machine doesn’t take off any more metal than is absolutely necessary. A pro might also use a machine that water-cools the wheel/belt and, if not that, regularly dip their blades in a water bucket to cool them off. For traditional Japanese blades, there is a waterstone wheel that can be used that operates at very low speeds, sort of like a record player. (After using the wheel, a Japanese sharpener may then continue with manual sharpening at higher grits.)

            It’s all about controlling the heat. But there’s no reason why a skilled operator, using the right machine, can’t sharpen a kitchen knife to a razor edge without ruining the temper.

            Dan, of Elite Edges, feels he can produce finer, more perfectly polished edges, using hand sharpening. He is welcome to his opinion. . .and it may be be the best route for traditional Japanese blades. But, regardless of this, I don’t believe he is saying that a machine-sharpened approach MUST destroy the temper.

            If you’re hungry for more, you might want to check out my two-part interview with Bob Tate of Seattle Knife Sharpening!


  7. Dear Guru,

    I’m trying to help out my sister. We’re both getting up there in age (I’m the young one at 63!), but I try to build or fix whatever she needs on the farm. Her son gave her a set of Henckels Eversharp steak and kitchen knives. I’m sorry, but to me they seem the most worthless group of knives I’ve ever used! If they cut at all they just tear through stuff—but most of them don’t cut worth a darn! This Thanksgiving they just tore the turkey apart—more like pulled turkey than cut pieces! Geez, that was an abuse of good meat!

    Recently, I bought a Work Sharp Ken Onion edition knife sharpener for my military, work, and hunting knives. Seems to get a really nice edge to my knives and keep them that way for a long time. Can I use that belt sharpening system to sharpen those crappy Henckels steak knives? (I’m half convinced I should grind off the serrations and start over on them—but before I go nuts, could you give me some suggestions how I could sharpen her knives up?) Would it ruin crappy knives to try to slowly grind on a better edge?

    Geez, that would be great. I appreciate your time.

    Best regards, Ken Johnson

    • Ken,

      I’m sorry but I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert on the nitty-gritty details of knife sharpening. That said, from what I understand about sharpening, trying to sharpen a serrated edge is extremely challenging and, no matter how much of an expert you are, will not yield the amount of improvement gained when sharpening a normal edge. To add to this, the knives you’re talking about have a micro-serrated edge which would be impossible to sharpen and keep the serrations. You would have to simply grind off the serrations which would be pointless and would make the knives worthless.

      Henckels makes a vast array of kitchen knives that vary greatly in quality. And Eversharp is a stamped, inexpensive, low-quality line. So, please don’t get the wrong idea that Eversharp is the best Henckels can do. That would be totally inaccurate. For more about what Henckels lines I recommend, please see my article on best chef knives.

      Best, KKG

      • Sharpening serrated knives is actually quite easy as you can sharpen the flat side and leave the serrations intact. However after multiple sharpening with this method, the serrations will disappear.

  8. Hi Nate:
    My husband and I have a mobile sharpening business located in Hudson, New York. We use the Edgemasters system mounted in a Dodge Sprinter and service restaurants within an hour of us, as well those home kitchen chefs who appreciate the value of a good edge. Hudson is a hot bed of the farm to table movement and full of foodies. Our business is only a year old but we have quite a few chefs who are very loyal and will only trust their knives to us.

    I have found your website to be very informative and interesting. I just put a link on our FB page to your article on choosing a knife because we are asked quite often which are the best knives. I want to thank you for your thoughtful opinions. I think I will be tapping your site pretty often.

    We are 2 hours north of Manhattan. Perhaps you will give us a try for future sharpening needs.

    Eileen Sheets
    ProSharp Mobile Sharpening

    • Thanks, Eileen, for checking out KKG! Yes, Hudson and Duchess County (NY) are one of the places to be if you’re serious about food. I just ordered Modern Farmer magazine that’s centered in Hudson as well. Maybe some day I’ll take a looooong drive up your way and check out the whole scene :)

      Best, KKG

  9. I think it’s a bit unfair to compare these services based on how subjectively sharp they returned your knives. That one was sharper than the others was likely due to a judgement call and not to skills or techniques. All these guys are capable of sharpening blades to the point where you are not going to be qualified to bicker about them, unless you’re a professional sushi chef (in which case, you’re doing your own knives every night).

    Mr. Tate most likely thinned your edges to a more acute bevel angle than the other two. He chose performance over durability. The others would have done this had you requested it.

    I would imagine the real differences between the three are matters of service and value. They can all sharpen the hell out of a fancy knife.

    • Thanks for your opinion, Paul, but I heartily disagree!

      There is a distinct, qualitative, difference between what Bob Tate at Seattle Sharpening does and what the other two services do. Have you read my interview with Mr. Tate — Interview with a Sharpening Service. . .? Do you realize he was trained by Bob Kramer one of the master knifesmiths of the world? I have a chef knife that Tate sharpened over three years ago that still cuts paper. (Of course, I treat it right and hone regularly.)

      That’s not to say there’s anything shabby about the other two services. As a matter of fact, Dave Martell of D&R Sharpening is a highly-respected master of Japanese sharpening techniques on waterstone. But he has two discretely different services he offers: 1) what he calls “Regular Sharpening” (for Western knives made of German steel) and 2) “Hand Sharpening” (for Japanese Western style knives, made of Japanese steel). When I sent my knives to him a few years back, all my knives were German. And when I asked Dave about how he would sharpen my Henckel’s knives, he said he preferred to do them the standard way (how they usually come from the factory), with a narrow bevel sharpened at 22 or so degrees.

      Contrastingly, Tate’s technique is to create one extremely long and gradual bevel starting from 1/2 to 3/4 of-the-way up the side of the blade (depending on the knife). He does this on both Western and Japanese-Western style knives. On your average chef knife, the bevel may begin an inch away from the actual cutting edge. This ends up giving you an edge of 15 degrees or sharper, and yes, the edge will not be as indestructible as a typical factory edge. But, if you know better than to use your chef knife to power through chicken joints, the edge will hold up just fine. Especially if the knife is made of German steel (which is tougher than Japanese).

      If you have a passion for quality (and I think you do, judging from your website), you owe it to yourself give Seattle Sharpening a try!


      P.S. I’d be a little careful about specifying bevels with sharpening services. Trying to create the kind of bevel that Tate creates, without having had plenty of experience, could result in permanently damaging a knife.

  10. Hi, Nate:
    Just wanted to add that I recently had a very good experience with Razor Edge Knives ( located in Greenville, SC. So, they may be a good option for your readers located in the Southeast U.S. I sent them six of my good kitchen knives—Wusthof and Henckels—including two serrated edges. For a very reasonable price, they put a very sharp edge on them and polished the blades. Turnaround time, including shipping, was one week.

    I am a home cook trying to learn and improve my skills, not a trained chef, and really appreciate your articles and videos. Based on your info, I recently purchased the ceramic steel you recommend which I had always lacked the confidence to try.

    Keep up the good work!

    P.S. I am not affiliated with REK in any way. Just found them via Google and decided to try based on other reviews and because they are located closer to me so shipping time would be less.

    • Thanks, Walter, for the feedback and the tip! I took a quick look at Razor Edge and they look pretty solid. If I ever get any free time again, I might try to review them :)

      The only thing I might mention is that, on their German knives at least, it looked they were ending in a very short primary bevel which is not my favorite style of sharpening. (It’s the way kitchen knives come from most manufacturers though.) My favorite style is what Bob Tate of Seattle Knife Sharpening does and that is to blend the primary bevel entirely into the side of the blade so that it’s just one long, continual bevel. The reason I like this unorthodox style (and why Bob employs it) is that it makes for a very thin edge that lasts and lasts. (With proper honing, of course.)

  11. All my knives are Cutco products. Are you familiar with the brand? Do you have any suggestions on sharpening these knives? Thank you.

    • Hi Sondra,

      Yes, I’m familiar with Cutco knives. But I must admit they’re not my favorite brand. There are other brands I much prefer that are better value for the price and will hold their sharpitude longer. See my article Best Chef Knives. . . for more details.

      Nonetheless, there is one neat thing about Cutco — any knife you buy from them they will sharpen for free forever! Here’s the link:

      Otherwise, if you send your Cutco knives to any of the sharpening services I’ve reviewed in the above article, they will do an excellent job!

      Best, KKG

  12. Hi Knife Guru,

    Thanks for this great article on reviewing online sharpeners. I have been sharpening for years, but recently had a friend help me build up a website. I sharpen pretty straightforwardly using the Edge Pro method mainly. I listed your article on my smart sharp blog. I think a lot of my friends/family/clients would be intrigued to see what’s out there.

    I like all the comments that pile up on your article. You’ve got quite a complete list of the online sharpeners around that are quality. Thanks for this. Be well!


    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for checking in!

      I must admit I had to chuckle when I read on your website how you strive to match the exact angle of the knife you’ve been given. I don’t want a sharpening service to match my factory edge, I want them to improve on it! (See my article Best Chef Knife — Don’t Overrate the Factory Edge where I spout off more about this.) But I hear you loud and clear about only taking off the minimal amount of metal necessary. That’s a must.

      Best of luck with your business and new website! The Edge Pro system is probably the way I would go if I ever managed to carve out the time to sharpen my own kitchen knives :)

      Best, KKG

  13. Hey there,

    As it’s been a few years since you wrote the original article, I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on the durability of the edges you got from each company. You gave some predictions in your article, just curious if reality has met your expectations and which blades have dulled the most after the first year, etc, etc.

    I’m especially interested in whether D&R and Just Knives wore in the same way—they seemed to be roughly equal in initial sharpness. If they’ve proved to be equal in durability, I’d see no reason not to go with the cheaper option. I’d also like to know if Seattle stayed sharper longer as predicted, and whether you’ve had any instances of damaging your knives due to his thinner technique. I think that could be the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to selecting which company I want to use. Thanks!

    • Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Good question! Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer about the durability of D&R and Just Knives sharpened edges. I have not tracked them that closely, but, my general impression is that they are very similar to each other.

      What I can tell you, without a doubt, is that there has continued to be no comparison between their edges and those of Seattle Knife Sharpening. Seattle’s edges were not only the sharpest, but have lasted and lasted—way beyond what knives from the other two outfits would ever be capable of.

      The reasons are 1) geometry and 2) finish.
      1) Geometry: Seattle does not use the typical primary bevel that most Western knives come from the factory with. Bob Tate creates one, continuous bevel from the spine to the edge. This gives his knives a thinner edge that stays sharp much longer. And, no, I have not run into any problems with his edges being too thin or too delicate. But I do NOT abuse my knives—I treat them with care.
      2) Finish: Seattle goes through more steps in his sharpening process and brings his knife edges to a much finer, much more polished, final edge. Way beyond your average factory edge and way beyond most other professional sharpeners—other than traditional Japanese hand sharpening on waterstone.

      So, if you are like me, and really appreciate quality and want your kitchen knives to stay sharp as long as possible, I would highly recommend using Seattle. They are unique!

      Please make sure to check out The Power of Honing a Knife where I show what one of my chef knives can still do three years after being sharpened by Seattle Sharpening. It’s pretty impressive. (Of course, I’ve honed regularly with a ceramic steel.)

      Best, KKG

  14. I have several Japanese laminated blades with VG10 and SG2 cores. I have not had good results with a steel and VG10 and have quit using one on my VG10 and SG2 knives.

    I have two Smith’s 11 1/2-inch diamond stones, a coarse and a fine. I haven’t needed the coarse on my knives, but previously could have used it if I had it. I follow up the fine stone with leather strops imbedded with 1 micron and 0.1 micron diamond dust. The length of these stones is useful for removing a belly or straightening a wave in an edge (by going mostly lengthwise across the stone with the blade), and then using a more traditional angle to finish the edge. Usually my touch-ups are done with the leather strops.

    I sharpen to a thin angle, have an end-grain board, and am very careful not to abuse my edges. I sometimes sharpen my “normal steel” (440C, AUS8, 1095, etc.) knives on a belt sander (wetting the blade each pair of strokes) and finish with green chrome on a buffing wheel. Either technique, scary sharp.

    • Hi Chef Jeff,

      Thanks for sharing the techniques you use to keep your knives “scary sharp!”

      RE honing/steeling VG10 blades: Were you using a steel hone or a ceramic on your VG10s and SG2s? Because for over two years I’ve honed my Japanese Shun Classic (with a VG10 core) with a DMT ceramic hone and had wonderful results. It’s kept the blade reasonably sharp and not inflicted any damage. If you were using a ceramic hone, I’m guessing our different responses may be due to that fact that you demand a higher degree of sharpitude in your kitchen than I do :) Otherwise, you may want to give a ceramic hone a try sometime!

      RE sharpening: As I freely confess on these pages, I’m a whimp when it comes to doing my own sharpening. As a stay-at-home Dad who cooks, runs a biz, and tries to keep his house properly maintained, using a honing steel is all I have time for. And, judging from reader’s comments, I think most visitors to this site are in the same boat. They would be doing well if they simply honed/steeled their kitchen knives on a regular basis :)

      Best, KKG

  15. I tried a 14″ Freidrick Dick steel hone on a Kanetsune 240 mm VG10 laminated gyuoto, noticed a few chips, I didn’t hone very hard, quit using steel on VG10.

    I find it easier to sharpen my own than the process of sending them out. I used to buy blades, put handles on them, and make sheaths. My glass business took off and I quit “making” knives. I still have a few friends that occasionally ask me to sharpen their knives, none of which are really hard steel, so I use the belt sander and buffing wheel on them. I try to evaluate the condition of the edges to determine what kind of angle to sharpen their knives. One friend uses his pocket knife to cut anything, sometimes I think including bricks. He gets a fairly obtuse angle.

    • You made me smile while imagining someone cutting bricks with a knife:) He’s lucky to have you as a friend! —KKG

  16. I have been sharpening knives for about 15 years and I use a Tormek machine because the wheel travels thru water and that keeps the blades cool and I can control the angle that I want. I do sharpen serrated knives, but I know that there must be a better method then I use. So. . .does anyone have a method that they use that works really well, other then using a file and doing each serration individually?

    • Hi Gene,

      This web page is mainly for consumers looking for a quality professional sharpening service so that they can compare notes and share tips. But other sharpening services have already gotten into the act, so I suppose you’re welcome to give it a shot :)


  17. Hi, not a professional chef, just love to cook. I have a set of Wusthof Classic knives. I am frustrated that I can not seem to get them really sharp. Are they worth spending money on or should I replace them?

    • Hi Kit,

      You’ve come to the right place! And your experience reflects my own frustrations. Learning how to sharpen a knife properly to a fine edge is a task that takes much patience and training. I’d rather leave it to a pro.

      And now your question. . .

      1) Wusthof Classic knives are definitely worth spending money on to get super-sharp. The quality of the steel in the blade will enable them to take a sharp edge and hold it—especially if you hone them regularly with a ceramic hone. This is not Japanese-knife sharp, but definitely sharp enough for most kitchens.

      2) The only reason your knives would not be worth getting professionally sharpened would be if they had been worn down a lot (mainly from sharpening, or worse yet, improper sharpening), OR, had deep dents in their edges that would require taking a lot of metal off in order to sharpen properly. (I show an example of this in my article Finding a Professional Sharpening Service.) In this case, you might consider starting from scratch. But you could decide on this on a knife-by-knife basis.

      3) All of the sharpening services on this page should send your knives back to you as sharp as or (more likely) sharper than they came from the factory. So got for it!

      4) Read my article Kitchen Knife Sharpening Action Plan and Do What It Says to Do!

      5) Since you love to cook, for the fun of it, you might want to try out a Japanese hybrid chef knife. Check out some of the terrific deals available in Quality Kitchen Knives on Sale.

      Best of luck,

  18. Thanks, I have never had them sharpened at all, so I don’t think they are worn down, although they are 10 years old. I have the hone that came with the set. I have used it but never seemed to make a difference, I even watched a video on a TV cooking show once. UNTIL I watched yours, you showed a different technique. I tried your way, and even though they are 10 years old and never been sharpened, WOW is all I can say. It really made a difference. Thanks for that honing video! I am considering sending them out to the place you sent yours, but there is a place in Grand Rapids called Williams and Sonoma that does sharpening, but I wonder if they know what they are doing. Any comments on places like this?

    • Kit, I can’t speak for every Williams-Sonoma store. But my impression is that the kitchen goods stores do not use high-quality sharpening services. They seem to be more interested in selling customers knives than getting their knives properly sharpened.

      If they were my knives, I would send them to one of the pro sharpening services I recommend. Seattle Knife Sharpening is the very best, but a bit pricey, especially when you figure postage. One of the new sharpening services I’ve added, Art of Sharp in Chicago, is nearer you, would do a fine job, and save you a little money.

      Best, KKG

  19. I just received my knives back from D & R Sharpening and could not be happier with them. The knives are sharper than they have ever been. The turnaround time was very quick – just over a week until I received them back in the mail. I haven’t used the other knife sharpening services mentioned here, but I would definitely give D & R a thumbs up.

  20. Thank you for the great reviews!

    I was wondering if you’ve received any feedback on, or have an opinion about, Zwilling J.A. Henckels in-house knife sharpening service. I have a large collection of Four Star II knives—most of which are in new or like-new condition (they all still have the red/black stickers on the handles), but they aren’t particularly sharp. Their service is fairly affordable, compared to the services you’ve reviewed, which I’m not sure I can afford. That said, I’d hate to send in a bunch of “new” knives and have them botch the job since, like you, I am very, very, very picky.

    I’m also curious how different can I expect the knives to appear after professional sharpening. Will my “new” knives still look factory new or should I expect them to look like they’ve been altered? Many thanks for you help. :-)

    • Hi John!

      Sorry, but I have no feedback on Zwilling Henckels’ knife sharpening service. As a matter of fact, after doing a thorough Google search, I couldn’t even find it. But no matter. . .

      My experience in life dictates that, in general, you get what you pay for—and knife sharpening is no exception. Depending on the knife, Henckels’ service may be able to match their factory edges. And since you are talking about Four Star II knives, not any of Henckels’ Japanese-made blades, you may fare decently. But factory edges are often hit and miss and rarely the cat’s meow. Not a good match for a “very picky” home chef.

      Of the knife sharpening services recommended in the article above, D&R is the closest to a factory edge and, thus, my least preferred. All the others—Seattle Knife, KySharp, RazoEdgeKnives, Art of Sharp—would clearly beat a factory edge.

      My take? I would always opt for using fewer knives, but with sharper edges. Quality over quantity every time. So, if it were me, I would get three or four knives excellently sharpened and use them (and hone them) regularly, rather than have half a dozen or more blades with so-so edges. And, BTW, if you send your knives to Seattle Knife Sharpening I guarantee you will thank me for the rest of your life. I am not exaggerating.

      As far as how different your knives will look, they will look different—especially with Seattle, since he goes further up the side of the knife in order to blend in his primary bevel. That’s the nature of getting a knife sharpened—whether you do it yourself or someone else does it. (Actually, D&R will probably look the least different since he tries to match the factory edge.) But once you start slicing and dicing and feeling such little resistance, you will totally forget about the way they look :)

      Best, KKG

  21. Thank you for the great reply. FYI, here’s a link to Henckels’knife sharpening service:

    Just curious: do you have an opinion one way or the other about the Four Star II line?

    Again, many thanks.

    • Zwilling Henckels Four Star II is a rock-solid, journeyman’s German-style knife from one of the oldest and most famous German knife manufacturers around. It’s forged from quality steel and hardened to HRC 57. I believe the quality of the blade is very very comparable to Henckels’ flagship line the Pro S. The main difference is in the handle and feel.

      The toughness of the steel allow this knife to hold up under stress and handle substantial abuse (not that I ever recommend it). The trade off is that it will not keep it’s edge as long as a knife made of a harder steel such as most Japanese knives. But if you start with a sharp edge and hone it regularly the Four Star will function quite well in a home kitchen. Honing is the key!

      I own both the original Four Star (no II) and the Pro S and much prefer the handle, balance, and look of the Pro S. Sorry, but I don’t like the aesthetics or feel of molded handles. Funny enough, even though the Pro S handle appears to be made of wood, both the Four Star (II) and Pro S are made of the same polypropylene (plastic).

      My Four Star knives were given to me as wedding presents eons ago and have long been retired to the deep recesses of my archive knife drawer. My Pro S was a hand-me-down from my Mom and is still in respectable condition (although with newer additions, it has been retired). BTW. . .the only difference (that I know of) between the original Four Star and the Four Star II is that the steel runs entirely through the handle of the II (full tang) and forms a bolster at the end. This gives it a touch more weight and a different balance—but the quality of the blades is identical.

      Of course, all this said, there is another knife world out there—Japanese-made knives—which tend to raise the bar on sharpitude and performance. For more details on brands/models of knives I’m sweet on, please mosey on over to Best Chef Knives—Six Recommendations. You also might want to check out How to Buy a Great Chef Knife and Knife Edges 101.

      Best, KKG

  22. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    I, too, have a few Four Stars (not II) from the 80’s that my mom gave me when I moved into my very first apartment after college. I kept them in great condition until I got married at which time they were poorly treated by my in-laws and the like. I still have them (post marriage), having kept them for sentimental reasons. When I decided to invest in some new knives, I originally wanted to go with the Four Star over the Pro S—again, purely for sentimental reasons—but the quality, weight, and feel of the newer ones did not measure up to the older ones. Instead, as a compromise, I opted for the Four Star II’s, which are heavier and feel more substantial than the latest Four Stars, and still allow me to pay homage to the knives I grew up with and the ones my mom gave me. :-)

  23. Any recommendations for sharpening services in the Boston area? We recently moved here and I’m in desperate need of a great service. I look forward to your response.

    • Hi Mark,

      Sorry, I don’t know of any pro sharpeners in Bo-Town—but who cares? You should do as I do, and as I recommend. . .ship them out!!

      KySharp, RazorEdgeKnives, and D&R Knives are easterly and have fast turnarounds. I think the best bang for the buck is KySharp and his turnaround is lightening.

      Sorry, I’ve been madly trying finish up my revised review for almost a year—but have no worries, these new guys are top-notch.

      Best, KKG

      P.S. What are your reservations about shipping your knives to someone?

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