I bought a 6-inch vegetable knife years ago, after seeing Jacques Pepin use one to do the most amazing things with everything from shallots to cucumbers. But the knife's been a disappointment since day one, barely capable of slicing florets off cauliflower heads. That is, until I took it to Seattle Cutlery. John, who trained in the Philippines and has been working at the store for six months, sharpens blades on the same grinder that knifemakers use, giving it a much lower, smoother bevel and an edge that can slice through ripe tomatoes as if they were made of sawdust. Sur La Table, one block down, does the same job for the same price—$1 an inch—but one of the counter people just runs each blade through a tabletop machine, which puts the tiniest edge on it. The knives I took there dulled so quickly that I had to take them to Seattle Cutlery for a redo. My Pepin blade? It's now the one I pick up first.—Jonathan Kauffman 1920 Pike Place, 441-8988, www.seacut.com.