Dear PoP – Where Can I Get Kitchen Knives Sharpened?

Photo of Duck Prosciutto by PoPville flickr user DCin3MP

“Dear PoP,

Where can I get my kitchen knives sharpened? Alton Brown recommends doing it every Thanksgiving, and it’s been at least two Thanksgivings now without sharpening.”

Anyone know? How often should you sharpen your good kitchen knives? How much does it cost?

44 Comment

  • Sur La Table in Pentagon City does it for sure. I think I got two knives done for $10, took a couple of days.

  • I have been told you can get it done at Eastern Market.

  • The butcher at Eastern Market does it. If its not busy they will do it right away. If you have a lot of knives, I think they will have them ready in a day.

  • The hardware store in MtP will do it.

  • A related question – where can I buy a good chef’s knife? I know I can buy one online, but I want to go to a shop and handle some before I buy one (as Bourdain and other chefs have recommended.)

    • Expensive – but Williams Sonoma. Look a the shuns – they are a incredible knife.

      I have one custom, hand made made Japanese knife (got in Japan) and can’t wait to replace my Henckels’s with something similar when I can justify the cost….

      Global is another good brand that is more of a cross of German and eastern blades.

    • Global and Shun are both excellent.

      • I have a Henckels, but the commenters are are right – Shun and Global are excellent. Japanese knives however are sharpened differently, so if you plan on doing it yourself, its something to be aware of. Globals also tend to dull quicker.

        I don’t think you can go wrong with a simple $60 or $70 basic santoku from Wustoff or Henckels though.

        • Globals come wicked sharp from the factory, but their steel is very hard and it’s difficult to sharpen them. If you hone them frequently they’ll stay keen a while longer (I think even Global recommends ceramic honing steels). A softer steel will require more frequent honing (I do all my knives once a week, some before every use), but you will be able to achieve a much, much sharper edge. A sharp blade is a safe blade!

          This only applies to their actual forged lines, the cheaper stamped stuff they are putting out now with the Global branding is crap; this actually applies to all of the “known” German and even Japanese brands (Wusthof, Henckels, Shun, Messermeister, etc.). Most of it is mass-produced Chinese steel not worth the money they are charging for the name. Only the top of the line is still forged. Make the extra $40-50 investment for something that will last.

    • *Don’t* buy a knife based on the brand (e.g. some people find Global too light) but buy one based on how it feels to you. Start with an 8″ chef’s knife, grip it correctly and chop/slice/dice a few things like carrots, onions, etc. Any decent store will provide these for you.

  • Sur la Table in Friendship Heights does a great job as well.

  • Get a whetstone, they sell em everywhere.

  • i’ve done at that hardware store in mount pleasant. it wasn’t cheap and took a couple days, but was super convenient.

  • Use the back of a plate. Google for instructions. Unless your knives are $1,000 affairs, you don’t need a professional sharpening job (and you would already know what you are doing)

  • La Cuisine in Alexandria does it too – I think for like $3~4 a knife.

    I recommend doing it about once a year if you use them often. The “sharpener” included with most sets (the metal rod) – is NOT a sharpener but a honer.

    It will make a huge difference to get them sharpened.

  • In college, I spent a few years working at a hardware store that sharpened knives. It was really cheap, maybe $2.50 per knife but no serrated knives.

    If you have a bench grinder, it is actually really easy to do. I’m sure there are videos on youtube or something that could explain.

    So, I would call around to your local hardware store to see if anyone does it.

  • saf

    17th Street Hardware does it too.

  • So do true value on P street — I think it is between 2 and 4 dollars a knife depending on the length of the blade. It usually takes 2 – 3 days.

  • Highly recommend this tool – idiot proof and $20
    Much less hassle than bringing them to a pro.

    Also, use a sharpening steel after every use or two and it will keep your blades sharp longer.

  • Spend the 25 dollars on a stone at Home Rule and youtube for instructions on how to use it. Sharpening a knife is not hard. Sharpen twice a year, hone every week.

  • We get them done at William Sonoma in Friendship. The sharpener is there every First Saturday of the month, and it ranges from $6-$8/knife, depending on size. They do a great job and the turnaround time is usually 1-2 hours.

  • The Eastern Market butcher does a good job

  • I agree with Jason above. Buy a couple sharpening stones off of amazon for like 5 bucks a piece and do it yourself. Its really pretty easy.

  • Another related question – where to sharpen crazy nice Japanese sushi knives that I don’t want the butcher to screw up. Suggestions?

    • La Cuisine in Alexandria did mine but I’m sure other specialty cook stores will do the same.

      Just call and ask if they do Japanese blades. I think I paid about $5.

      • Please, please, please buy a set of stones and learn to do it yourself. If some place is charging you $5 to sharpen the blade it means they are using a grinder or some other automated system. Guarantee that this will do bad things to a Japanese single-bevel edge; it may seem sharp coming back from the store, but they will NTO get the bevel correct and it will dull more quickly. If you have a “crazy nice” sushi blade don’t cheap out on the sharpening. If you can’t find somebody local to do it (a good sharpening by hand should run you $20-30 as it will take the good part of an hour on a series of increasing fine grit stones), then contact a specialty shop that does mail order sharpening. I believe Korin up in NYC does this; they sell nothing but mid-to-high end Japanese blades and have an in-house blade master. Not meaning to sound all dogmatic about this, but a quality blade is an heirloom that your grandkids will use if you take good care of it. Treat it as such.

  • This item just came across a number of neighborhood listservs (so I figure the person who sent it won’t mind it being posted on PoP):

    “John Vecciarrelli’s father Tony made his living sharpening knives, lawnmower blades, handmower blades and other tools all around the city. When John retired a few years ago, he began driving his dad’s workshop in an old green step van to events around town, offering the same sharpening services.

    “This Saturday, Apr. 23, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., John will be parked on the 6900 block of 5th Street NW, between Cedar and Butternut, next to the Takoma DC branch library. If your mower hasn’t been sharpened in years, or you’ve never known the joys of digging with a sharpened spade or trowel, you may want to come on over.

    “As a community service, I schedule sharpening projects a couple of times a year and coordinate things so that people can bring the objects they want sharpened, negotiate price with John, and then leave their things for pick-up from me later. It’s not a fundraiser; you just pay for the sharpening service.

    “If you have a number of things to be sharpened, or can’t transport them easily, call on Saturday and you can schedule John to go to your house later on Saturday, or another time in the future.

    “My phone, 202-643-6343, will be the contact number for Saturday morning, so if you have any specific questions about prices, etc., call SATURDAY AFTER 9 AM, and I’ll get your questions to John.

    “Feel free to call me in the interim with any other questions about the event,


    Dodie Butler, Realtor
    Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc.
    Licensed in D.C. and Maryland
    (202) 643-6343 Rings all my phones.”

    • bfinpetworth

      LOVE this guy. Last summer I passed by his truck on Upshur and stopped to see what his deal was. I mentioned my old push reel mower and he said he could sharpen it up. An hour later he was at my house and now I have a fully functional reel mower. He is a great guy, a true old-school craftsman.

  • Buy a sharpener…. after that, it’s always free and doesn’t take too long… I have one I bought from Williams Sonoma and it works quite well

  • the blade sharpening truck.

  • The Wagshal Butcher Shop in Spring Valley sharpens knives, Mass & 49th.

  • The Ace Hardware stores do it: Logan Hardware or the 5th & K store.

  • We had a steady stream of customers 9 to 1:30 today for John Vecciarrelli’s sharpening services today, so have scheduled another morning, Saturday, May 14. Same location: 6900 block of 5th Street NW. That’s next to the Takoma DC branch library and about two blocks west of Takoma DC Metro station. I coordinate, so if anyone wants to stop by, negotiate with John and then leave tools for later pickup from my porch, you can do so. It’s not a fundraiser, just a community networking activity available to all. You pay only for John’s service. Call if you need any information: 202-643-6343. Dodie Butler, Long and Foster Realtors

  • Related question for culinary tool maintenance: Anyone know a good (local) metal shop that will re-tin copper pans?

  • we had gotten our Shuns (we have a 4 set and the kramers) sharpened at Williams and Sanoma, friendship heights. The “knife expert” made a HUGE mistake of sharpening one w. angles for this one knife on both sides… We’ll never go there again. If you have Shuns, just send them into Shun. They do an amazing job. Just takes a bit longer since the services is done via mail, but free!

  • we had gotten our Shuns (we have a 4 set and the kramers) sharpened at Williams and Sanoma, friendship heights. The “knife expert” made a HUGE mistake of sharpening one w. angles for this one knife on both sides… We’ll never go there again. If you have Shuns, just send them into Shun. They do an amazing job. Just takes a bit longer since the services is done via mail, but free!

  • I used to work at the Sur la Table in Friendship Heights. They do a really really good job.

Comments are closed.