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Knife Sharpening Q&A
How Can I get My Knives Sharpened?
Questions Answered by Keith Nix Knives

There's no need to be in the dark about Knife Sharpening Services, why knives get dull, what Professional Knife Sharpening costs or how long it takes. Find out when to have your knives sharpened, how to make the edge last longer, and safety tips, all right here!

Sometimes we're a little resistant to do something we've never done before. We don't know what to expect, or how the whole Professional Knife Sharpening procedure plays out. You have knife sharpening questions and we have answers! 
Let's dive in!

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A Well Sharpened Knife Edge From Keith N
Chef Knife Set with Cleaver, Curupau Han
Guacamole in the making, courtesy Sarah

I contacted Mr Nix about sharpening a set of German knives that I have. He was super friendly and easy to work with - even letting me mail my knives to him! He turned them around in 1 day and stayed in communication with me. Just a great overall experience, a great price and a great job! Can’t recommend him any more highly!- Chris

 

Q: Is it worth it to get my knives professionally sharpened?

A: Do you know the angle you're sharpening, or honing, or steeling your knives to? Have you taken the time to thin the width behind the edge of your knives? Quality Assurance at Keith Nix Knives takes care of that. We know the angle. We thin the edges at the right angle. We hand sharpen the apex of your knives. If you're reasonably good at steeling or stropping, you shouldn't need my services more that once a year unless you're a professional chef or butcher. But your edges do need a reset now and then. That's where Professional Knife Sharpening comes in, and the answer is YES!
 

Q: What does it cost to have my knives Professionally Sharpened?
A:
This is the most asked question here at Keith Nix Knives, so let's address it early and get it out of the way. We charge $1 per blade, plus $1 per inch of blade. That is, a knife with an 8" blade costs $9, 6" blade is $7, and so on. The handle length doesn't count! For that cost you get the following:

Every knife receives this attention:
1) A full inspection of your knife to check for cracks in the steel and other safety issues.
2) Measurement of "thickness behind the edge", the  key metric in keenness.
3) Edge thinning, most often at 10-12 degrees per side for kitchen knives, higher for heavy use knives.
4) Final HAND sharpening, on a fixed angle sharpener (Hapstone), at a final angle appropriate for the knife, it's use, and the quality of the steel it is made from, I use a progression of diamond stones from 80 to 2000 grit and finish deburr with a 3000 grit ceramic.
5) Final Stropping on leather loaded with 1 micron diamond paste, to polish the apex of your knife and remove the burrs created in the sharpening process.

6) Measurement of the sharpness with the Edge on Up Sharpness tester. If your edge doesn't cut the test media with less than 170 grams (6 ounces) of force, it gets resharpened. We no longer say "it's shaving sharp", we measure sharpness for quality assurance!
7) Final cleanup and wipedown with isopropyl alcohol to remove residues.
8) 100% satisfaction guarantee!

Q: How do I know when my knives need sharpening?

A: If you're having difficulty slicing a ripe tomato, if you're slicing carrots and they pop off the cutting board, if you have to saw back and forth on the roast or onion you're slicing, your knives need help. If your knife won't cleanly slice paper, that's a great indicator. If the edge of your knife has visible nicks or chips, please bring it to me as soon as possible.
 

Q: How can I get my knives sharpened?

A: At Keith Nix Knives, it's as simple as a call, text, or email to make an appointment. I'll normally need no more than 24 hours to fine tune the edges of your knives so you actually ENJOY using them! See the contact info RIGHT HERE!
 

Q: How Long Do Kitchen Knives Last?

There is NO reason for a quality kitchen knife to wear out in a single lifetime. With proper care and sharpening, your custom knife should be something your kids and grandkids will treasure long after you're gone! Refer to the links right after the next question for some tips to make your knives last longer.

Q: Why Do My Knives Get Dull So Fast?

A: There are several possible reasons your knives are dulling quickly. If you own factory made knives, it could be the quality of the steel or the factory heat treatment of the steel. Storing knives loose in a drawer can roll, chip, and ding the edges. Dishwashers are notorious for ruining fine edges, and should be avoided at all cost! And the type of material your cutting board is made from! That too. There are two pages right here at Keith Nix Knives for you to read:

Caring For Custom Knives

Choosing The Right Cutting Board

  

Q: What is "Quantifying Sharpness"?

A: Where I work as a machinist, we make parts with exceedingly close tolerances on a daily basis. Bearing journal ID and OD tolerances are .0003" TOTAL. We often hold plus or minus .0005". We have to have the means to MEASURE, or quantify, those dimensions and guarantee their accuracy. And from the time I started this little business, not being able to actually measure sharpness bothered me. 

I could slice paper, shave arm hair, all the anecdotal, subjective "Papaw taught me" tests. But I lacked a way to put a solid number on sharpness until the "Edge on Up" Sharpness tester. I've written about it so if you're interested, click on "Quantifying Sharpness".

Q: Can you sharpen Japanese knives?

Yes I can. In fact I love sharpening high end Japanese blades. The quality of the steel and the heat treatment is superb, making my job easier! Most mass produced blades, whether western or Japanese, are made from steel with an inferior heat treatment. They are softer than a knife should be, and during sharpening that softer steel is harder to give a really keen edge, it's harder to deburr and strop, and harder to polish well. Properly hardened and tempered knives are a dream!

 

Q: How long will my knives stay sharp after you work on them?

A: That depends more on how you use and care for your knives than how I sharpen them. The steel they're made from and heat treatment applied at the factory matter too. No knife sharpener has a magic machine that will make your knives stay sharper longer. I know some sharpeners tell you that, but it just isn't true. Proper care, use, and storage improve edge life dramatically! And proper edge thinning makes a knife "feel" sharper longer.

This article will give you some tips on caring for your knives. 

And this post will help you choose an appropriate cutting board.

Here are some knife safety tips.

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Q: Can You Sharpen my knives while I wait?
A: I'm going to say no to that. Knife sharpening requires concentration, patience, and time. My shop is tiny. My procedure and protocols are not secret in any way, I've written about them at length. I can do same day sharpening with an appointment beforehand,  SOMETIMES. I typically don't do "walk up" same day sharpening, and sometimes I won't be able to do same day on your schedule. Make an appointment, please, let's talk about it. I will try my best to accommodate your needs. Besides, I know I don't do my best work with someone standing over me or waiting on me. Go have lunch, see the sights in Black Mountain. I'll be done in a little while!

Q: Do you offer pick up and delivery?

A: Yes, within a reasonable distance of say 10-15 miles, Beyond that there will be a mileage based fee.

Q: May I mail you my knives and have you mail them back?

A: Yes, provided you pay postage both ways and understand that I am not responsible for the safety of your blades in either direction.

More Knife Sharpening Info:

Knife Sharpening At Keith Nix Knives

Quantifying Sharpness

Quantifying Sharpness II

Quantifying Sharpness III

 

If you have any questions about knife sharpening, knife making, how to book a custom knife or have a special blade designed, please get in touch with Keith as described below:

 

Call or Text: 828.337.7836

Email: keithnixknives @gmail.com