Yesterday we had our kitchen knives sharpened by a wonderful woman named Louise. She has a mobile knife sharpening business where she pulls up to your home with a trailer that contains her tiny, perfectly arranged workshop; and for an extremely reasonable price she expertly sharpens your kitchen knives, pruners, axes, reel lawn mowers, and pretty much anything else with a sharp (errr - dull) edge. Our knives are now deliciously sharp, our rusted pruning shears are in great shape, and the lawnmower has been adjusted. She even gave us two BandAids, in case of accidents with our newly sharp knives.
But Louise only serves a small local area. What if you don't have easy access to knife sharpening in your area? Well, you can always get your knives sharpened by mail - and it doesn't even cost that much. Knife sharpening was historically a home-to-home business. An expert knife sharpener would travel a circuit between towns and stop at homes once or twice a year to sharpen the household blades. These days it's a little harder to find someone to come to your home. We usually resort to taking ours into a cookware shop, or even to a local JoAnn Fabrics on their free knife sharpening day.
The only problem is that knife sharpening is best done by a trained craftsman. Often these free knife sharpening opportunities, and even the ones in cookware shops, are done with machines. Hand sharpening is more rare. We prefer to have our blades hand sharpened by someone like Louise who is a craftsman and who pays careful attention to the unique character of each knife and tool. (She gave us a small lecture on the character of each of our blades, and tips for knowing when they need to be sharpened.)
One other option for this kind of craftsmanship is The Knife Guy's mail-in knife sharpening service. For $45 he will send you a special pre-paid postage box. You ship him up to 5 of your kitchen knives, and he'll sharpen and send them back. $45 covers the 3-way shipping and the sharpening. Repeat customers keep the box and only need to pay $35 for subsequent sharpening sessions. This price (about $5-7 per knife) is comparable to what you'd pay at other knife sharpeners.
He also promises fast turnaround times: 3-5 days total. The convenience of course is another benefit; not many places sharpen while you wait, so you often have to drop your knives off somewhere, then pick them up a couple days later. This cuts out those extra errands and brings your sharpened knives straight to your door.
We highly recommend keeping your knives sharp; dull knives are more likely to cut you, since you have to apply more pressure to chop. The knife slips more easily than a sharp, precise blade. We were so delighted to have all our blades ultra-sharp again! It makes cooking more fun. Be sure to check out the Knife Guy's reasons why even cheap, dull knives are worth sharpening.
• The Knife Guy's Mail-In Sharpening Service
And if you're in central Ohio, check out Louise Radanovich's business. Highly recommended!
• Sharpening On Site
Related: Knife Skills: Keeping Your Knife Sharp
(Images: The Knife Guy)