A great article came out earlier this week about knife sharpening service options across the country.
"To control for variation across different knife brands and styles, we sent the same knife to all of the services: the Victorinox Swiss Classic 8” Chefs Knife, a mid-range workhorse knife favored in many professional kitchens. While we were confident that all the knives would come back serviceably sharp, we asked chef Christopher Arturo of ICE’s Culinary Technology Lab to help us parse through the minutiae of the results. Chef Arturo first evaluated the anonymized knives (including one straight from the box) on sight alone, then tested each knife cutting super-thin cabbage ribbons, chiffonading herbs, and mincing shallots."
We were approached by Saveur and asked to be included in the experiment and were thrilled to be given the opportunity to show what we can do. As a smaller, but growing, operation it can hard to get your name out with the big guns.
The entire article is well written and absolutely worth a read, but for the purpose of this post here's how we did:
And what they had to say:
"How it works: A new type of service has appeared on the market in the last few years: mail-in knife sharpening. The two mail-in services we tested were almost identical in process: request a prepaid mailer kit online for however many knives you want sharpened and a couple of days later, a thick cardboard envelope arrives with non-slip sleeves for each blade. (The sleeves fold in half with double-sided tape on each side. The sharp side of the blade fits into the crease, which extends a couple of inches beyond the knife tip for safety.) After you send out your knives via a USPS prepaid label, Knife Flight ships back your sharpened knives within 1-3 days of receipt in the same packaging you sent out. KnifeFlight was also the only service we tried offering “loaner” knives, which we thought was a no-brainer. “No one wants to be without their knives, right?” says Jess Miller, co-founder of KnifeFlight. “We have to use them every day. And so if you’re needing to get them all sharpened, it’s nice to get them all done at once instead of having to send them in chunks.”
Technique: KnifeFlight uses a combination of Tormek machines and handheld whetstones. “The Tormek is a wheel that turns kind of like a grinder would,” explains Miller, “but it moves at a much slower speed and it’s pushing water up on the blade the entire time it’s spinning so that the blade isn’t getting hot, therefore not affecting that temper of the metal.” After the machine and whetstones, knives are finished on a leather strop, which removes microscopic-level burrs and inconsistencies. Finally, they are cleaned with Bar Keepers Friend to remove any grit or residue from the sharpening process.
Results: As chef Arturo inspected the knife, he nodded approvingly. “They took some time with a finer stone at the end, like 6,000, 8,000 grit or above to get it nice and shiny.” In testing, the knife performed well—if not exceptionally. “I’m definitely getting thin cuts, but they took off too little [of the blade]—they didn’t provide enough pressure. But this is definitely usable, I would be happy with this.” Arturo’s approval, coupled with the reasonable price and convenience of loaner knives, makes this the leader in our evaluation."
As far as our one con, we are grateful for their honest feedback and feel good about it. Although it's wonderful to know Chef Arturo thinks we could apply more pressure, we'd rather take too little material off than too much. We have adjusted our compression slightly and will continue doing our best work!
Until next time,