Sharpening

Question of the Day: Have you ever had your knives professionally sharpened?

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My Kim Breed is developing a nice patina, some natural, some forced.

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.

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I forget how many layers of t-shirt this was, but you can see it is sharp.

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…

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Cool swag.

 

 

Discussion

6 responses to ‘Question of the Day: Have you ever had your knives professionally sharpened?

  1. I haven’t used a professional service because with water stones and a strop I can put a very good edge on my knives myself. Sharpening is an exercise that I enjoy and it’s very satisfying to take a blunt chunk of steel and make it the bane of scrap paper and cardboard everywhere. However, one of my knives will likely see a professional as soon as I can get to one. I own a Tops Back Bite and despite a lot of effort I cannot get it sharp, so it’s time to let someone else have a go.

  2. i have never sent off any of my knives to a professional. I do not know any in the area and i have been able to get a really nice edge using my darex work sharp + stropping. I want to invest in a nice set of whetstones in the future to try and get the hang of it. great article!

  3. The only professional sharpener my stuff has been to since I was 18 is myself. Technically I’m professional in that I make a percentage of my living from it, but I’ve always been small time. We had a well known pro sharpener a few miles from me and he was so hostile and unpleasant that I never went back. His work left something to be desired anyway. A teenage amateur with Case branded stones shouldn’t be able to slightly exceed a professional.

  4. Believe it or not, I have had my knives sharpened professionally at the exact place you’re referring to. Really nice folks, I actually had my Mora Bushcraft down there for them to sharpen not too long ago and they did a great job. I’ve also had multiple pocket knives and kitchen knives sharpened by them and A+++ would use again.

    Congratulations on being rad at sharpening too! As someone who cannot sharpen to save his life, I can already tell that learning how to do it properly at home is going to be my next knife project. I am jealous of your skills!

    Ironically enough, getting my knives sharpened professionally by these folks and seeing how good my knives can be is driving me to learn the dark art of sharpening. I’m spoiled now.

  5. Nope. I sharpen my knives, axes etc… different ways
    depending on there purpose. Most professionals
    won’t do that; not that they can’t but it’s not really cost
    effective for them. Also if someone else sharpens your
    stuff you could completely throw off the grain if you
    try to touch up the blade.

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