I’m starting a series of “conversations” with vendors, here’s the first, hope you enjoy it:

CONVERSATION WITH A SHARP GUY

Last Saturday at the Market, I asked Jim of Jim’s Sharpening Service & Wood Working, “Why do my knives get dull? And, “How do I keep them sharp?” His  response: “A dull knife is one where the edge has rolled sideways so that the cutting edge is no longer making contact with the surface you want to cut.”  Hmmm, “how do I keep that from happening?”  Jim offered the following advice:

1) Never use glass, ceramic, granite, or anything else hard and unyielding. as a cutting board.

2) Don’t use your knives to hack at turkey joints or saw through frozen cookie dough (or anything else frozen for that matter). They’re not chisels or cleavers, but highly-tuned instruments.

3) Avoid soaking them in the sink—or leaving them in a puddle of tomato puree. They may be stainless steel, but their super-fine edges are ripe for corrosion.

4) Always wash knives separately in hot water. Hand-dry only.

5) Ban them from the dishwasher where they might bounce around knocking into other items and, never store them in a drawer with other utensils.  This bouncing around is what causes the edges to roll sideways.

6)  Always store them in a knife block or use edge protectors.

7) Hone (with a steel)  your knives regularly – the proper way. See Jim at the Saturday Market and he’ll be glad to show you how –it’s really easy.

8) Learn how to sharpen knives properly, or, better yet, get them sharpened by a professional like Jim.. (It’s not a great cost to you and it makes a huge difference to your knives – ask Donna!)

9) Never, ever-ever, sharpen them with a can-opener sharpener like the one your Mom used to have – bring them to Jim.

10) Afraid of getting arrested walking through Lumby with a clutch of dull knives only to find Jim ‘s fallen ill that day?  Call the Market in advance to arrange for knife sharpening or to get a free lesson on the art of “the steel”

I also asked Jim about buying a knife as a gift.  His answer was surprising: “Have the person who’s going to use the knife go to the store for a fitting.”  What?  like trying on a pair of trousers?  “Yup, the best knife is not one that feels the most comfortable in your hand, it’s the one that’s going to be the best fit for the person you’re giving it to.”