User's Guide, November 2000
pleasantly calm and very focused woman at the knife sharpening table
each Saturday in the Chelsea Market, 75 9th [15th] is Margery Cohen.
She maintains equilibrium while in constant motion -- examining the
knives that come in to determine their condition, smoothing blades
over her diamond stone, hand chiseling the teeth of a serrated knife,
answering many questions from passersby and returning precisely wrapped
and packaged knives to their owners. Ms. Cohen learned the value
of a properly sharpened knife when she was working in the fish business
and then as a part owner of a restaurant in Berkely, California.
her once-weekly stand is visited by a vaiety of people looking for
a keener blade -- men with pocket knives, home cooks and restaurant
chefs are all piling up knives on her table. Ms. Cohen uses a diamond
stone onto which she drips water for a smoother motion and less abrasion
on your knife. She uses a Japanese technique which she learned from
more a circular motion on the stone than back and forth, tiny movements
all the way down the side of the knife." Besides knives, she
sharpens scissors and tools and has even worked on a set of darts
that someone brought in. A variety of chisels, files and other stones
are used for more recherche items. Samurai Sharpening Service opens
at noon on Saturdays and Ms. Cohen hones until 6pm.
knives can be sharpened while you wait, but if the day is a busy
one you might have to leave them for an hour or so while you shop
or lunch. If she's very busy, she may have to keep your knives until
the following Saturday. Prices for sharpening start at $2 for a small
paring knife and go up to about $4 for an 8" chef's knife, depending
on the condition of the knife.
New York TImes, Wednesday, Aprl 7, 2004
More Than Appetites at Chelsea Market
Cohen, left, looks even less like a samurai than Tom Cruise does.
But on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. at the Samurai
Sharpening Service, in front of Bowery Kitchen Supplies at Chelsea
Market, 75 Ninth Avenue (15th Street), she can tackle your dullest
kitchen and garden tools.
Cohen, who worked in the fish business in New Jersey and San Francisco
(she wanted a job that required no dressing up), took over the business
from a Japanese-American woodworker who taught her to sharpen, then
left for Hawaii. She does not grind the blades with a wheel which
can wear them down, but by hand with a diamond stone charging $2
to $5 a blade, depending on size. She will make house calls, $150
minimum, so you might want to gather firends. She can be reached
at (212) 942-5228 or email@example.com.
Sharpener Brings Cutting Edge To Chelsea Market
January 28, 2002
here to see a video at NY1's website)
new home at Chelsea Market features an eclectic mix of wholesalers
and culinary specialists. In the following story, NY1 Home Reporter
Jill Scott tells us about one market member who's a cut above the
rest in her trade.
a trade not commonly found anymore. Many New Yorkers can remember
the days when it was common for a knife sharpener to come knocking
on your door, but now those seeking an edge in the kitchen can just
visit the Chelsea Market.
sharpen everything from scissors to garden tools, knives and chisels,” says
Margery Cohen, the owner of Samuari Sharpening Service. “I
had someone once bring me darts and arrows for archery – I’ll
do anything that needs sharpening.”
Saturday Cohen sets up shop in the market and gives customers a chance
to clean up their kitchen tools.
But in addition to those bringing in knives, she has plenty of onlookers who
are fascinated by her skill. That's because she doesn't rely on cutting edge
technology - she does it the old fashioned way.
have special New York City water, and I squirt it on my stone,” says
Cohen. “It’s a diamond stone, and it's got diamond dust
fused to the top of it. Then I take the knife and I make circular
motions around and around and up and down, and when I feel the metal
is turned over and I feel a burr on one side, I know that side is
she flips it over and does the other side. She then finishes it off
by moving the knife only in one direction.
But there's still one more step.
steel it last, and it makes a nice zinging sound,” says Cohen. “Then
I test it out to see if it's ready. And it’s not if it cuts
the paper, but how it cuts the paper. I look at edge of the paper
to see how raged it is.”
Cohen has had extensive training. She first realized this was her calling after
working at a fish market, and she was then trained by a woodworker who taught
her how to sharpen tools.
As for her customers, many say they are thrilled to have found this service.
“ It’s very hard to find people in Manhattan to do these things,” says
one woman who took advantage of Cohen’s services. “I mean, it’s
an old world kind of thing, a knife sharpener. When I walked in here one day
and saw this young lady I thought, ‘Yes, I must bring them down.”
To have a knife sharpened can cost anywhere from $$2 to $$5, depending on the
size, and it can usually be done in a couple of hours. And Cohen says during
her Saturdays at Chelsea Market there's never a dull moment.
to Cohen, “One of the things I like about this job is I get
to meet so many people, and as we all know, people in New York are
so interesting, especially in the Chelsea neighborhood. I have wonderful
conversations and I just have a fun time doing my job.”
you are interested in getting something sharpened, you can visit
Samuari on Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. So pack up your knives and
scissors and let Cohen get straight to the point.