Outsourcing knife sharpening

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by Stephen Diaz, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Stephen Diaz

    Stephen Diaz

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    Executive Chef Crowne Plaza Hotel
    I am very busy and have a company who supplies and sharpens my knives for my hotel.I outsourced my personal knives for them to sharpen. I don’t have them back yet but are the results better if I do it myself? My blades are generally German or Japanese.
     
  2. brianshaw

    brianshaw

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    It depends...
     
  3. Walla

    Walla

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    Personally...I've had bad results with "professional" knife sharpeners...they are used to sharpening beater kitchen knives...

    Learn to sharpen your own...you won't regret it...or find a sharpener that uses stones and sharpens by hand...

    There are lots of good (and more poor) resources on the internet...I would suggest Japanese knife imports and peter Nowlan as videos worth watching...
     
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  4. foodpump

    foodpump

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    What Walla said.... The co.’s that rent out and / or sharpen knives TEND to put a very coarse hollow grind on the beater knives, and never go higher than 800-1000 grit.

    That being said I know of and have used a one-man show who has all of his gear in a van, he’d come around and sharpen, put a beautiful polished edge on my knives.
     
  5. phaedrus

    phaedrus

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    I only know a few people that sharpen at the level I do (I have in the past done it professionally) and there are very few I'd trust with my Japanese knives. So obviously the answer is "it depends". How skilled are you at sharpening? Are you interested in learning? What do you have for sharpening gear? What are your standards for knives? I have perhaps $3,500 dollars in stones, both synthetic and Japanese naturals, and a couple of grinders, various diamond plates, an arsenal of strops, hones and compounds, etc. You don't necessarily need all of that but I'd say at a minimum to do a good job on Japanese knives you need a good Arato, Nakato & Shiageto, plus something to flatten them. For German knives just use the sidewalk (kidding ;)).

    I like to start with a 400 grit or so, or a 120 grit Atoma if the knife really needs work. Generally I'll do 320/400 > 1k > 2k > 4k > 8k and hit the 10k Chocera. Beyond that I'll use a strop of balsa or kangaroo leather with 1/8 micron CBN. That's my standard for my own knives. Most won't bother and I'll admit it's overkill but that's the kind of edge I like.

    So it depends on what you like. There are some fantastic chefs that don't care at all about knives, so being a knife nerd is certainly optional.
     
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  6. panini

    panini

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    I agree with all of the above.
    To throw 1 more suggestion out: you may want to take a quick browse of your local area for blacksmith classes. When I semi retired, I spent most all free time at our local community college in the blacksmith shop to hone my skills.
    There might be veteran students that may be interested in keeping your knives sharpened. For almost 3 years, I sharpened knives for four of our local chefs. (to support my hobby play). Although, like anything else, do your due diligence. I would certainly expect the terms like, stones, grit, stropping, etc.
    I was selective in my chefs. They had to have the same philosophy as myself. I always had the same maintenance for my shoes and my knives. I personally think it's imperative to have at least 2 sets. Shoes-switching out daily- knives-2 sets for quicker turn-around-
    both provide longevity in usage and a reduces your chance of injury.
    just my 2 cents
     
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  7. Stephen Diaz

    Stephen Diaz

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    Thanks guys. I sharpen a lot of stuff on my own but with a number of knives and very little time I outsourced my knives.
    I have a company that comes to my hotel once a month to sharpen or replace my kitchen knives for staff. I used them once and got what I think is mediocre results. I will just take some time and invest into personal tools for my knives. Thanks everyone for the posts. Cheers!