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Best place to get knives whetstone-sharpened in Tokyo?

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a.lber.to

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Hello everyone.

This is my first post here, so apologies in advance if this is not the right forum to ask this.

I will be going to Japan in about a month, and in researching my trip (and preparing my shopping list!), I was lucky enough to track down a store in Tokyo which still had three brand new Hattori KD knives in stock. Needless to say, having been on Koki's list for some time now with no realistic hope of ever making it to the top, I immediately bought them sight-unseen, and I will be picking them up when I get there.

Given that the store also offers a whetstone sharpening service, I asked them to please sharpen them before I come by to collect them, to which they replied that they would be glad to do so, provided that I did not mind that they make "very tiny scratches" on them. Now, while I am sure that there is a lot getting lost in translation there (i.e. I suspect that they probably mean that, as with any manual process, accidents may happen and they *might* make very tiny scratches on the blades), their reply surprised me enough to make me hold off on their offer.

So my question is: does anyone know what is the best place to have knives whetstone-sharpened in Tokyo? My idea would be to pick up my knives, and then take them to the best place available for their first sharpening, even if I would then have to pay for the service.

Thanks in advance!
Alberto

P.S. I am based in Europe, so US-based sharpening services will unfortunately not work for me...
 

stevenStefano

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Where in Europe are you based? You could send them to Maxim when you get back, he is in Denmark.
 

shankster

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Why can't you just sharpen them yourself?
I this a work related trip?Are you going to be using them immediately after you pick them up?
 

banjo1071

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Hi Alberto

1. Every shapening process results in tiny scratches, depending on the grid of the stone. Even mirrorfinish, just that they are under 400nm, so cannot see them.. Someone who sells highend-drawerqueens should be able to sharpen properly. BTW: I think the OOTB-sharpness isnt so bad with these knives (i only have forums/rumors-knowlegde though)

2. It may sound funny, but even KDs will get dull eventually, so will have to find a way to sharpen them yourself. This time or the next time. Why waste time an money on a service, that you will have to perform afterward yourself. Better invest in sharpeningstuff an learn how to use it (hint: do not practice with expensives knives..)

Greets Benjamin
 

Benuser

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I guess the question of your Japanese interlocutor has to do with liability. To some people a sharpened knife won't look brand new any more...
 

a.lber.to

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Where in Europe are you based? You could send them to Maxim when you get back, he is in Denmark.
Hi - I am based in Paris, so this could be an option. Does he have a web site I could look at? Thanks
 

a.lber.to

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Why can't you just sharpen them yourself?
I this a work related trip?Are you going to be using them immediately after you pick them up?
I am certainly not skilled enough at this stage to try my hand on Hattori KDs. I will certainly get there at some point, but I am not there yet, and I thought that I should take advantage of being in Tokyo to have as good an edge put on them as they can take...
 

stevenStefano

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Hi - I am based in Paris, so this could be an option. Does he have a web site I could look at? Thanks
Yes, Maxim is one of the vendors here, he has his own forum here, JapaneseNaturalStones.com is his site. I'd send him a PT if I were you. He is possibly the world's foremost expert on Japanese natural stones so I'd say he would do a great job if you sent him your knives. Here is a link to the part of his site about sharpening
 

a.lber.to

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Hi Alberto

1. Every shapening process results in tiny scratches, depending on the grid of the stone. Even mirrorfinish, just that they are under 400nm, so cannot see them.. Someone who sells highend-drawerqueens should be able to sharpen properly. BTW: I think the OOTB-sharpness isnt so bad with these knives (i only have forums/rumors-knowlegde though)

2. It may sound funny, but even KDs will get dull eventually, so will have to find a way to sharpen them yourself. This time or the next time. Why waste time an money on a service, that you will have to perform afterward yourself. Better invest in sharpeningstuff an learn how to use it (hint: do not practice with expensives knives..)

Greets Benjamin
Hi Benjamin.

I know of course that the sharpening process is basically one that puts finer and finer scratches on the edge until they basically become invisible to the naked eye. And the rational side of me also knows that any responsible store owner should warn a customer about the possibility that a blade might get scratched during the sharpening process... Their comment just made me think that perhaps, as I am there, I should give them the best sharpening treatment which is available locally.

As to doing ti myself, I intend to one day. I actually already have an edge-pro apex as well as some Chosera stones for it, but I just do not feel confident enough in my abilities to attempt sharpening Hattori KDs yet. As you say, I am trying my hand first with the cheaper knives... I will leave the Itous and the Hattoris for a future day! :)
 

a.lber.to

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I guess the question of your Japanese interlocutor has to do with liability. To some people a sharpened knife won't look brand new any more...
I think you may well be right here - they are probably just being careful, and managing expectations...
 

SameGuy

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I did the rounds of the Tokyo shops a couple of weeks ago. In general, the owners and employees are very friendly and helpful, even with limited English abilities (n'attendez pas qu'ils comprennent un mot de français!). As all of the shops -- whether in Tsukiji or on Kappabashi-dori -- also sharpen knives, all day long, for their commercial customers, they are very experienced. Have no fear that they will do a good job "opening" the knives for you. The person with whom you spoke was no doubt just protecting the shop for all eventualities -- "managing expectations".

Which shop is this? I found the staff at Union Commerce and Tsubaya (across the street from each other in Kappabashi) to be extremely friendly and helpful and both shops have someone on hand who speaks English. TDI, Kamata and Kamaasa were friendly as well, with a little less English. The blokes at the shops in Tsukiji were also helpful, in spite of the fact that they were incredibly busy on a Monday market morning.
 

a.lber.to

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I did the rounds of the Tokyo shops a couple of weeks ago. In general, the owners and employees are very friendly and helpful, even with limited English abilities (n'attendez pas qu'ils comprennent un mot de français!). As all of the shops -- whether in Tsukiji or on Kappabashi-dori -- also sharpen knives, all day long, for their commercial customers, they are very experienced. Have no fear that they will do a good job "opening" the knives for you. The person with whom you spoke was no doubt just protecting the shop for all eventualities -- "managing expectations".

Which shop is this? I found the staff at Union Commerce and Tsubaya (across the street from each other in Kappabashi) to be extremely friendly and helpful and both shops have someone on hand who speaks English. TDI, Kamata and Kamaasa were friendly as well, with a little less English. The blokes at the shops in Tsukiji were also helpful, in spite of the fact that they were incredibly busy on a Monday market morning.
Thank you - I will give myself a few days, and then decide what to do. I may in the end just decide to let the store do it, as I am beginning to think that given the circumstances they would probably be extra-careful...
 

SameGuy

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As explained in his intro thread, a.lber.to is an Italian diplomat living in Paris.
 

SameGuy

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Thank you - I will give myself a few days, and then decide what to do. I may in the end just decide to let the store do it, as I am beginning to think that given the circumstances they would probably be extra-careful...
L'ho fatto così anch'io a Union a Kappabashi... Ho comprato un Masamoto KS gyuto (270 mm) e ho deciso di lasciare il negozio affilarlo la prima volta.
 

slowtyper

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Congrats. I'm curious what store did u get them and what kind of price? I have fond memories of walking around Tsukiji and Kappabashi browsing. I regret I didn't buy a knife and a few other things. It kind of puts you out of your element because i find they don't really carry the same Japanese knives we are all used to here so its hard to compare things.
 
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