Since 1874, Henry Westpfal & Co., 115 W. 25th [6th/7th] 212.563.5990, has been in the knife sharpening trade. The store continues to be owned by Westpfals, and the grinders learn their craft from the family.
You can do a lot of damage to your knives by taking them to a local store that sharpens by putting the blades into a machine. The only good way, which the company uses, is the wet wheel method, in which the blade is carefully pressed against a spinning wheel that is frequently lubricated with water. Sharpening without water can burn the metal. The skill of the grinder is important, too: one wrong touch and your blade will never be the same.
In addition to knives, Westpfal will sharpen scissors, pinking shears, toenail and cuticle nippers, as well as straight blades. For a small knife, figure $5 for sharpening. A 10-inch chef's knife is $7.95. Two-three days turnaround. Closed weekends.
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Jason Polan started Every Person in New York in March of 2008. He plans on working on the project until it is finished. Look for Every Person in New York on Tuesdays in MUG and daily at Jason's site.