We love nothing more than a hidden city secret and we’ve covered everything from bars to tasting rooms so it’s safe to say we know a couple of secret spots. What we didn’t expect to find along a busy main road in Sydney, behind an almost undetectable locked door was ProTooling. A family-owned and operated specialist knife store importing high-end Japanese chef’s knives, woodworking hand-tools and whetstones.
ProTooling Knives, Tools, Sharpening
Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup · Delivery
Address: 16 Mallett St, Camperdown NSW 2050
Hours: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm
When you step inside, the small space reminds you of a hidden Japanese whiskey bar. It transported us back to the streets of Kappabashi in Tokyo. There are knives and tools lining the walls, in fact, you’re looking at Australia’s largest range (over 2,000 knives), and one of the largest collections globally. Your attention is then turned to one of the stars of the show, Hiroko, who is one of the world’s only female Japanese knife sharpeners. She works quietly and skillfully traditionally sharpening knives by hand on whetstones.
ProTooling supplies knives, sharpening services, and expertise to some of Australia’s top chefs and restaurants. With some of the highest quality products available in the world, it’s no wonder their clientele includes chefs from restaurants like Momofuku, Fred’s, Icebergs, Automata, Bert’s, Firedoor, Saint Peter, Ester, Bennelong, Sixpenny, Sokyo, Nobu, Continental Deli and Provenance.
To achieve such excellence, owner Paul Tayar partners directly with artisan blacksmiths in Japan. These smiths come from generations of tooling. Making everything from tools to swords and knives for hundreds of years, these products are unique and hard to obtain. There are four individual sections where people dedicate their entire life to one aspect of the craft, someone who forges, another who sharpens, another who makes the handle, and a finisher who puts it together and does the final sharpening. These products are handmade and can take over 5 years to be ready from order, with most having a minimum wait of 6-12 months.
One of the exclusive blacksmiths ProTooling works with is Jiro Nakagawa. From a remote workshop in Nagano, Japan, he creates some of the most exciting new works on the Japanese knife scene. Working completely alone, all aspects of Jiro’s process are expertly executed. Only a very small number of knives are crafted each month, and ProTooling is proud to be one of only 5 retailers worldwide, and the only one in Australia, permitted to carry his exceptional work.
ProTooling also stocks traditional Japanese woodworking hand-tools including Shogun hand saws, Kanetomo chisels and hammers. Their whetstone range is the largest in Australia, with all the major brands available, including the most high end, new ranges on the market. There is also a small but growing selection of food items to purchase, such as Soy Sauces, Ponzu, and Shichimi (chilli powders), some of which you will not find anywhere else in Australia.