I was paid quite the compliment today. I do not consider myself a professional sharpener, I am a skilled amateur. I know my way around sharpening all manner of chisels, knives, and even some specialty woodworking tools. I can use my Tormek, Bastard File, Spyderco Sharpmaker, or even sandpaper or stones. But when an actual professional told me that he didn’t think he could really improve on the edge I had already put on my Kim Breed Model 15, I felt a twinge of satisfaction.
I knew I was headed to the general vicinity of a professional sharpener whose shop I had visited once before, so I made a point of bringing along the Breed. The owner did not want his business to be mentioned by name (on my first visit I met his son, and I didn’t feel the need to press the issue). But I did ask him a few questions and learned that he had been sharpening professionally for over 20 years. The backbone of the business lies in sharpening surgical instruments, but they do a fair amount of consumer business as well. They sharpen everything from reciprocating hedge trimmers to those guillotine-like paper slicers that used to scare me in elementary school, for very modest prices. Kitchen knife sharpening runs $2-6 depending on size, a meat slicer disc $10, and carbide saw teeth .35 each, up to $30 for a complete gas hedge trimmer.
Using both stones and the Sharpmaker and have put a very good edge on my Breed. I just never felt it was quite “there”. But when I showed it to the shops owner, he told me that he honestly wouldn’t mess with it. He also said he really liked the knife’s weight and feel as well, so hats off to Kim as well.
We talked knives for about 20 minutes. He hadn’t heard of TTAK, though he had read a thing or two from TTAG along the way. He seemed enthusiastic about checking out our blog, especially to read more about Moras. He was unfamiliar with them but intrigued. He answered some of my sharpening questions and discussed a little bit of steel. It was a nice two way conversation.
Somewhere along the way in this last couple of years I have turned a corner. While as recently as the Blade Show I still felt like I was a trout bum masquerading as a knife guy, today I felt like I have become “fluent in knife”. I was able to both learn from and inform a professional I had only just met, and feel comfortable in a conversation the way I do when I am around fly-fishing industry folks. Cool feeling.
The story is really just a long digression that spawned the idea for today’s QOD:
Have you ever had your knives professionally sharpened? Why or Why Not?
I also got one of the most clever pieces of knife-related swag I have seen. A band aid dispenser with their contact info. Sweeet…