Sharpening the senses

When we sharpen anything (knives, scissors, clippers, garden tools etc) there's a lot of sensory use in the trade. Sight, sound, touch the most common.


Seeing is definitely important with the old telly gawkers leading the way for the most part of the work with some of the machines speeds.

In sharpening this means everything in the way of a great finish on the item but also so it doesn't accidently get caught up in a machine and go for a quick Wright brothers aerodynamics check imbedding into your sternum and deflating a organ or two.


We are always listening intently as there are different sounds in grinding that will tell you if things are going smoothly and roughly what speed the material is coming off at not to mention if there is any problems on the rise with our sharpening machines. I can tell you now that sharpening a low angle scissor on a Tormek has a shrill that makes fingernails on the chalkboard a sound you could sleep to.


Touch is your best friend and not just in the boudoir. It will tell you when your burrs have been formed, where tiny chips are present, smoothness and speed of the item. We make a point to regularly grope the bevel and make sure things are going according to plan.


When you have all this in tune you will definitely become a more proficient and better sharpener overall this is why I recommend always starting with hand sharpening knives on stones it helps dial in quite a considerable amount of sensory ability and skill.