Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ode to my knife

Monday morning I sat down in the studio to do some work with my knife.
It was as blunt as a spoon and was really shitting me, after 5 mins of wrestling with it I hastily sharpened it on my stone.
Alas, I gave it a huge burr, and all the work I tried with it after that was even worse.

I asked myself how I could possibly call myself a shoemaker if I didn't have a well-sharpened knife? What was I playing at?

So after a moment's thought, I went back to the stone and methodically sharpened it for about 20 mins. First I took off the rounded shoulder which my slack sharpening had created. Then I worked on getting a nice straight edge on the blade. The rough side of the stone was swapped for the smooth side, then I took off the burr and lovingly cleaned it up on my leather strop.

Holy Smokes, this was a new knife! It's the sharpest and straightest bastard of a knife that I have ever used.

And I did it myself, with a bit of time, attention and elbow grease. It's a joyful thing to be able to restore my favourite hand tool to its glorious rightful state. Hurrah for paying attention to my teachers when they stressed how important knife sharpening was.

How about your tools/machines/apparatus? Do you need to maintain them but often forget/can't be arsed/never found out how? How good does it feel to get them to their optimal state? Yes indeed. That's what I'm talking about.

Listening to: Mack the Knife - Dinah Shore and Pearl Bailey - gorgeous!


pen said...

just changed the feed dogs and plate on my hard working Brother.... nice!
sometimes I forget to look after my tools but then feel so much better when I give them some love and tlc
I feel like they are so much happier when I lavish a little attention on them

Unknown said...

Good old feed dogs, must see how mine are going..... never ending maintenance!

Mainichi said...

Em, if only I could sharpen ALL my pairs of scissors the way you have sharpened your knife...I took two pairs to that nasty chain of stores selling fabrics and my fave pair now has a nick in the blade...grrrr