By Elle McLogan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – What do a barber, a chef, and a surgeon have in common?

Sharp tools.

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In Brooklyn, such tools can be found at Bianco Brothers Instruments, a local institution run by identical twins Vincent and Joseph Bianco.

Their father founded John’s Sharpening Service nearly 50 years ago. When the twins took over, they began manufacturing equipment for podiatry and beauty. They now work alongside a third generation of sharpening specialists, their own sons John and Peter.

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Customers drop by with cleavers and steak knives for sharpening while they wait. The blades are ground on a stone wheel.

“This is a lost art,” Joseph said. “Nowadays, they [sharpen] knives on a double header—it takes no art, no talent.”

His father taught him to use the wheel when he was five years old.

“Sharpening retains value,” Vincent said. “Doctors buy very expensive equipment, and then they want to service it and sharpen it and repair it, so we do that for them.”

A sharp blade is also indispensable to butchers and cooks.

“Having sharp instruments makes a big difference in the kitchen,” Vincent said. “You force a dull knife, and it ends up cutting you.”

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The Biancos sharpen blades for unconventional needs.

“Sword swallowers come and visit us,” Vincent said.

Over the years, the store has become a neighborhood gathering place. Friends stop by to chat and drink coffee, such as 85-year-old Joe Solitario, who has lived down the block for 40 years. He visits every day to help with chores like sweeping.

“He’s great to have around. He’s like everybody’s grandfather,” Vincent said.

For Vincent, relationships are what make Bianco Brothers what it is.

“Including Joe, it’s family,” he said.

Bianco Brothers Surgical Instruments / John’s Sharpening Service
6301 10th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11219
(718) 680-4492

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Elle McLogan