Archive for the ‘Reed Knife’ Category

New Double Reed Products from Jende Industries – April 2017

March 27, 2017

We’d like to announce our newest double reed additions to the Jende product line for all you oboe and bassoon players!

First up is the Jende Reed Tool Roll. This high quality leather tool storage roll features 3 large and 3 small sleeves, and one covered and uncovered pouch to store your reed making knives and tools. The larger sleeves can hold knives, reamers, mandrels, etc, and the small sleeves can hold your ruler, calipers, pencil, etc.. The covered and uncovered pouches can hold your cutting block, plaque, and razor blades. The black leather also features red contrast stitching and silver hardware, keeping the roll formal yet exciting.

 

 

Next are the Jende Leather Reed Knife Sheaths. These stylish sheaths protect your reed knife’s edge, and gives you a little flair at the same time!

 

Third is the Jende Cutting Block. This 38mm round cutting block is made from ebony hardwood, and has an indented lip to make cutting the tips of your oboe and bassoon reeds more manageable. It also features a non-slip rubber bottom.

The New 15K Jende Reed Knife

September 14, 2016

The New 15K Jende Reed Knife is now available! The 15K Jende Reed Knife has been around since Jende Industries first opened its doors, but it has just now received a complete overhaul.

The New 15K Jende Reed Knife now features a stainless steel that has slightly more complexity and wear resistance, giving a different type of edge that can hold up longer. It is still sharpened to 15,000 grit for control and effortless removal of cane. The handle is Madagascar Ebony, and is tapered to fit hands of all sizes. The handle has been laser etched with the Jende logo and sealed with 100% natural bee’s wax. The weight of the hardwood handle helps keep a neutral balance for scraping your oboe, bassoon, and clarinet reeds. The sheath is Stone Oiled leather for stylish protection of the blade.

Jake Lieberstein – Now a Jende Reed Knife Retailer!

November 20, 2014

I’d like to welcome Jake Liebertstein to the Jende Reed Knife family! I first met Jake a few years back at a reed knife seminar at Oboe Works when they were at Columbus Circle in NY City. He was one of those students who took a deep interest in reed knife sharpening, and subsequently, in my method of sharpening reed knives. I’ve always been impressed with his work ethic and dedication to his oboe, and I’ve been particularly proud to watch his sharpening skills mature over the years.

I bumped into Jake again this past summer at IDRS in Manhattan, and was happy to find that he is now living in Chicago, and that he was ready to take on a few items to sell in his thriving reed making business. I was, and still am, honored that one of the first things he wished to sell was the Jende Reed Knife. So if you are in Chicago, or know Jake, look him up. He’s in the process of getting his webpage up, in the meantime, please contact him at jlieberstein@gmail.com.Kit-15

Sun Yat Sen University 中山大學 – A Musical Exchange between China and Taiwan

November 14, 2014

I’ve been fortunate enough to be the conductor of the National Sun Yat-Sen University (中山大學) wind band club in Taiwan for the last 14 years. Opening it’s doors in 1980, it is a top 10 school with a full fledged music department, but the wind band club is made up entirely of non-music majors. We’ve had some great years, winning 2nd place in the National Southern Taiwan Band Competition, getting a “Highest Achievement” award from the Ministry of Education, and even performing for the University’s graduation ceremony. I’m fiercely proud of them, to say the least.

This year is host to a new milestone for our band. Dr. Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925), who’s nickname in Chinese is 中山, or Chung Shan, literally meaning “middle mountain”(originally called “Nakayama”, in Japanese – his story is quite amazing, actually!) is the father of Democracy in pre-communist China and later, democratic Taiwan, and is a highly respected figure in both countries. In 1924, he started a civic university what would become Chung Shan University in Guangzhou, China, and this year marks the 90th anniversary of the school’s founding. As part of the celebrations, the band, choir and string club students of the Taiwanese University were invited to take part in a joint concert to celebrate.

The timing was tough – it was midterms for the Taiwanese students – but we still managed to muster up 35 or so club members for the trip. As their band conductor, I was able to tag along, but I lurked in the background as this was about the China/Taiwan relations event, and not about me being the conductor. I went because as a somewhat protective teacher to my students, I wanted to make sure my students got the most out of this experience. These students are not music majors, they did not experience regional or all state bands, and I knew that this experience of many hours of rehearsals over several days would be a challenge for them, even though the final rewards would be immeasurable.

Day 1 was pretty exciting – a new university (actually not so very different, since it was technically “the same” university…)

Chung Shan University - China

Chung Shan University – China

Breakfast at the Student Union was actually pretty good! (All the school meals were unsettling good, actually – I was getting scared because institution food was not supposed to be so good…) Then onto the first rehearsal. There was that awkward moment when no one knows anyone, but everyone managed to find a chair.

First Rehearsal

First Rehearsal

The joint Choirs were not there yet so our students made the best of their free time and rehearsed on their own.

Choir Rehearsal

Choir Rehearsal

Here the conductor is rehearsing “more” of the choir. There were still quite a few more people who would show up!

Some of the full choir

Some of the full choir

After several grueling days, the students were definitely feeling the pain of the rehearsals, and lack of sleep – but it was soon time to check out the venue, and do a sound check and dress rehearsal.

Dress Rehearsal

Dress Rehearsal

And before you knew it, the concert was over! We got a few pics of our groups!

Band and String Clubs

Band and String Clubs

Choir Club

Choir Club

Support Team!

Support Team!

The results for my students was as I had hoped – they got a taste of what it is like to perform in a large orchestra with choir, and a taste of what it is like to endure the hours upon hours of unrelenting rehearsals with amazing conductors, so that just when they thought they couldn’t physically take it anymore, the excitement of the concert gave them that extra burst of energy which propelled them through an amazing performance experience that they will remember long after they graduate. And it was a job very well done, too. On a political, and more important personal growth note, they all made friends with people that are supposed to be political enemies, and through the beauty of music, were able to see that these sister-school students are not so different from each other, after all.

We are 中山大學!

Oboes.ch Reed Knife + 1,500 grit Shapton Pro Travel Sharpening Stone (2 Videos)

March 27, 2014

An introduction to using the Swiss Star Knife from Oboes.Ch on a custom 1,500 Shapton Pro grit travel stone by Tom Blodgett of Jende Industries, LLC.
This video first introduces the 1,500 grit Shapton Pro 1″ x 6″ stone, which is mounted to an aluminum base for better stability. The stone is stored dry in a sheath and just needs a quick splash of water before use. Then he uses the Oboes.ch Swiss Star Reed beveled reed knife to demonstrate how to properly use the stone in order to refresh an edge that is simply tired or dull, but otherwise in good condition.

The second video shows how to effectively account for the rounding by using a permanent marker to mark the edge. On older single bevel reed knives, there is almost always rounding that has occurred at the edge, either through sharpening and/or stone wear over time. When touching up the edge of the reed knife, it should remove the marker from the edge of the blade. If you use the travel stone on your older reed knife, it may not work when the blade is placed flat on the stone. If it does not remove the ink when flat, then the blade should be raised off the stone slightly in order to abrade the actual edge.

This stone can also be used on hollow ground knives and of reed knives of all makes. Enjoy!

Making Reeds Start to Finish – an Ebook by Nancy Ambrose King

August 18, 2013

Many people in the double reed world are familiar with Dr. Nancy Ambrose King, Professor of Oboe at Michigan University. Aside from being a truly gifted musician, teacher and a wonderful human being, she is the past president of the International Double Reed Society (IDRS), as well as a celebrated recording artist and international soloist. (You can read her extensive bio on her website).

Now you can add her ebook Making Reeds Start to Finish to her long list of accomplishments (2012). Obviously the book is about how Dr. King makes her oboe reeds, but the multimedia integration is what sets this book apart from all others in the field. As the iTunes site mentions:

…there are over 15 videos you can watch repeatedly…, multiple interactive images…, hand-drawn diagrams and a 3D interactive oboe reed which will allow you to spin around a computer generated version of her reed full screen to inspect details.

That 3D reed sounds pretty cool if you ask me! Like a Matrix version of reed making!

Perhaps most important is the following:

Dr. King will instruct from “Start to Finish” her entire process of making reeds including some invaluable insight about what tools she uses and recommends and she even provides a list of the major vendors in the United States from which you can buy these essential tools.

I’ll give you one guess as to what kind of reed knife she uses….

IDRS 2012 – Oxford, Ohio + Meeting Nasty & Gary Nicholas Sass

July 23, 2012

Even though I already had tons of fun in Chicago, Austin, and at the sharpening party, it was finally time to do what I initially intended to do on this trip – and that is to go to the International Double Reed Society’s  (IDRS) annual conference, which was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. (I know it’s a geographic mess – but it’s a real place!)

Due to the 4th of July holiday right before the show, there was no rush to drive to Ohio, so I scheduled a couple of stops along the way. The first stop was at knife maker Gary Nicholas Sass’s place in Sharpsville, PA. Yes, I said Sharpsville. It does exist! Interestingly enough, there are still remains of the  locks that were once part of the Erie canal system in Western Pennsylvania.

Upon arriving, I immediately got inducted into Gary’s knife shop – I hit my head on the low door even though he warned me it was low 🙂 A couple of days earlier, we had discussed him making a custom Reed knife for me, and he had a prototype for me that was ground down from an existing knife to take a look at. With a minor adjustment or 2, the knife was ready to go. There was a traditional samurai sword wrap on the handle that consisted of Ray skin wrapped in a synthetic silk, and this traditional approach was one of the things that drew me towards Gary’s knives a few weeks earlier at the Blade show in Atlanta.

Gary Nicholas Sass

We also discussed the different customizing of the handle options, which included different colored wraps and wood.  Here are some of his handles which included the ray skin wrap, dyed giraffe bone, and several types of wood. The far right is a boar tusk. I doubt it would ever be chosen for a reed knife, but it did fit in the hand quite comfortably…(BTW, the second from the left was the reed knife prototype).

Gary Sass’s Reed Knife handle options

Unfortunately, the prototype reed knife sold at the show the first day, and all I have are some quick photos I took so we can tweak the knife even more to suite oboists and bassoonists. With the slight curvature, the bassoonists LOVED the knife for getting into the channels, but the oboists were not as thrilled about it since their reeds are just so much smaller. FWIW, I asked Gary to put that slight curve on it for the bassoonists, and it was interesting that the oboists responded like they did! It was a bassoonist who bought the knife.

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 1

Gary Nicholas Sass Reed Knife 2

After some other business discussion (which will be posted soon!) Gary took us to Quaker Steak for some of their famous wings. The pepper parmesan sauce was just too good!

After a wonderful lunch at Quaker Steak, we headed out toward Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I was supposed to meet up with one of the super mods over at the knife forums, whose username is “Nasty”, but due to the storms that blew through OH, PA and West VA the previous weekend, our meeting was cancelled due to some cleaning up that needed to be done. There was mostly downed trees, but it was severe enough to cancel the local 4th of July celebrations. This setback would be remedied on the weekend, when Nasty and his wife came out to the university. But more on that in a little bit 🙂

We got to the beautiful Miami University campus, and started our normal setup routine, running into the usual suspects, including Ann Hodge of Hodge Products, Inc., who is one of my biggest retailers of the Jende Reed Knife and surrounding products. Her new display was amazing!

We bumped into Hanna Selznick, the “Oboe Fairy“, Robert Morgan of the Chicago Reed Company and inventor of the W.R.I.S.T, and Shawna Lake of Oboe Chicago.

I also ran into 2 new exhibitors – the first was Lisa Allen of Lisa’s oboe reedery, who also happened to be a fellow classmate and alumnus of The Boston Conservatory. She is now making oboe reeds full time. I couldn’t believe a fellow alum didn’t have my knife,  so I lent her my 15K Jende Reed Knife for a couple of days. She was happy 🙂

Lisa Allen of Lisa’s Oboe Reedery

I also ran into Robert Huffman, a long time “disciple” of mine who has sat at my table over the years observing, and absorbing the whole reed knife sharpening process. He’s a recently retired oboist of the US Army Band, and while he completely understands the sharpening process, his results were driving him to the point of no longer playing the oboe. Then he found the Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener (WEPS), which is an excellent guided sharpening system. Robert and I spoke about using the WEPS for reed knives several months ago, but when I saw him at the IDRS as an exhibitor FOR Wicked Edge, I was taken totally by surprise!

Wicked Edge Precision Sharpener for Reed Knives!

This was incredible news because I love my Wicked Edge, and Robert and I immediately went into the pros of using this system for reed knives – the most obvious is that it holds the angles for you. This is beneficial for repeatability, and for those players who might not have the dexterity needed for freehand sharpening on full sized stones, (which is the method I generally promote). For you double-reeders out there, I  also happen to be somewhat of an *ahem* expert on the Wicked Edge, although most of my you tube videos and blogging with the WEPS have been kitchen knife and shaving related. In fact, a few of us, including Robert, sat around watching some of my favorite shaving videos on one of the nights 🙂 Shave 1Shave 2, Shave 3 (#3 is not for the faint of heart!)

Back on track here – the good news is that you can use the same Shapton stones that I use, or their major competitor, the Chosera stones which are custom cut to fit the WEPS. The bad news was that Robert didn’t have them at this show…. We’ll soon remedy that, though!

Back at my table, Things were moving along as usual – lots of people dropping off knives for sharpening. This year was a little different because I brought an extra sharpening station for people to sharpen by themselves. In the past, there is just not enough time for me to “let” people sharpen on their own. I’ve seen more and more knives coming back for their yearly service in much better condition, which tells me people are getting results – no doubt a result of  the help from my Reed Knife Sharpening Book. 😀 It is also clear that more and more bassoonists are starting to get into sharp knives.

One of my self-sharpening visitors was oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu, from Turkey. She was very good at sharpening, and we had fun modifying my usual nickel and dime method of sharpening to using Turkish currency, which would help her students get good results when she returned home.

Turkish Oboist Aybegüm Şekercioğlu

In the middle of all the fun and noise, Nasty (the supermod from knife forums) and his wife paid us a visit at the exhibition hall. I was very excited that the meeting was actually taking place after all! With a little help from some friends and a small fortune in hush money, we got them in for a few minutes to show them what the IDRS was all about.

I showed Nasty my sharpening setup, and a few of the knives I was working on. We posed for the obligatory picture (otherwise it didn’t happen!) :

Nasty and Tom Blodgett

But then the real treat came when Nasty offered to give me a few pointers on my sharpening – it was an offer that I eagerly accepted. I like to learn from everyone, and it is clear from the footage below that Nasty truly is a master at his craft, and I walked away a better sharpener! 😀

We then headed into town for some lunch at Mac and Joe’s, Oxford’s oldest tavern, where we were able to talk in a quieter setting. Since we know Nasty and I are both respectful, but unmovable as far as our sharpening preferences, the conversation easily shifted toward life things such as our work and places we’ve lived. I can’t tell you more without having to kill you, but if anyone from the knife forums is driving through Ohio, it’s well worth stopping by to meet Nasty, who really isn’t so nasty at all. The only regret in meeting him and his wife is that our time was limited to just a few minutes at the show, and a quick lunch. This meeting was yet another amazing feather in the cap of this trip, though!

That was pretty much the peak of the trip! The next couple of days was full of sharpening, and showing off another reed knife prototype, this time made out of Bombshell Steel by Maestro Wu. It’s a single bevel, with the back side hollow ground. This one is left-handed, but there will be right handed ones available soon.

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -1

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -2

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -3

Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4
Maestro Wu Single Bevel Reed Knife -4

 

With a quick wrap up of the table, and a 12 hour drive back to NJ, We made it back just in time for me to get some laundry done, grab that last slice of pizza, and head out to the airport.

This trip was a whirlwind 3 weeks, with so many great things happening. It already seems like an eternity since the Northwestern Summer Camp that started this whole journey off, and I can’t wait until next year’s trip!

2012 Operation O.B.O.E and Bocal Majority Summer Camps – Austin, Texas

June 30, 2012

The second leg of my trip took me to Austin, Texas where the beautiful Chicago summer lake weather turned to hot and sunny Texas summer weather. I was scheduled to give some reed knife sharpening seminars to the budding oboe and bassoonists of the Bocal Majority and Operation O.B.O.E. Summer Camps, which are run by Bassoonist Jennifer Auerbach and her amazing admin team and student helpers/workers.

Jesse Woolery, who is the assistant director of the camp, and a band director at Denton High School in Denton Texas, met me at the airport and we immediately became the best of friends! This trip really needed to stop getting better already!

We headed over to the camp at Pflugerville high school, where I met up with Jennifer and the gang, and barged in on Martin Schuring’s reed making class to say hello. More on him later…

In the meantime, I received a phone call from Extended Stay America – the hotel where I was scheduled to stay – saying that they had overbooked the hotel, and they moved me to another hotel and were going to comp me 1 night! YEAH, BABY! And if things just couldn’t go any better, I even got a very nicely discounted rate for the second night!! Thank you for the great customer service, Extended Stay America!

The camp ended for the day, and we all headed out to eat at Kerby Lane. Their guacamole dip with melted cheese was just satanicly decadent. I ended up ordering the grilled chicken sandwich with a mashed potato side. As many of you may know, Martin Schuring is the current president of the IDRS, and with the 2012 conference in Oxford, Ohio only a week away, we ended up having a really nice, in-depth discussion some of the current IDRS issues. It is safe to say we all left fully satisfied after the great meal and a great conversation!

Tuesday was my seminar day. We got there a little early, and the door wasn’t open yet, so we ended up playing catch for a few minutes. 🙂

Oboists and Bassoonists Playing Catch

Since there are different age and level groups at these oboe and bassoon camps, we started with the beginner reed makers who were mostly middle school age and were making their first reeds ever this week. This was a new challenge for me, too, since my seminars usually cater to more experienced double reeders and reed makers. So instead of the usual knife sharpening demo, the seminar revolved around the introduction to the reed knife and its role in the whole reed making and adjusting process. We also passed around a few different knives of varying levels of “sharp”, and began to calibrate the students to the differences in feedback and results between a sharper knife and a duller knife. This worked out really well, and it was a great reminder that I can always learn something from my own seminars.

Just after lunch, Jesse conducted the more advanced ensemble, and I sat in for a bit. It was a little weird, actually. There are usually only 1-2 oboes and/or bassoons in an ensemble, but to see and hear 1st, 2nd and 3rd oboe and bassoon parts with multiple players on each part was a new experience for me – especially when one of the students is Martin Schuring!

Ensemble Rehearsal

 

The afternoon seminar was for the high school level students, who had more reed making skills overall, and knew about the importance/requirement of a reed knife. So this was familiar waters for me. We grouped the bassoon and oboe students together, and enjoyed a lengthy, in depth reed knife sharpening demo. After the initial demo had concluded, students had the choice to break off into their reed making groups, or stick around for more sharpening. Those who stuck around got their knives sharpened and questions answered. A nice treat was one bassoonist’s reed knife that was a beautiful single bevel knife made in Japan. It was very well made from laminated steel, and it was an absolute dream to sharpen. Even though my technique for sharpening that knife was not the usual method prescribed in my reed knife sharpening book, I was more than happy to get a little geeky on the student and produce a more aesthetic (yet every bit as sharp)  finish that was more the style of a Japanese sword polisher off my Shapton Pro stones.

As I was sharpening, it was really great to see Martin interact with the students. This man receives the utmost levels of respect in the double reed world, and I can totally see why. He was having a great time with the kids, patiently and informatively answering every question thrown at him, and making fun little jokes while enthusiastically encouraging them through the trials and errors of beginner reed making. All the students were relaxed and felt completely at home. I easily could see why there were about 50 participants in this week’s camp alone!

One interesting moment came when one Martin mentioned a reed knife at the table needing a little TLC. I naturally said that we can just happen to do that today… This knife was an older Herder, but the stabilizer on the shoulder was much lower than the rest of the blade. I didn’t want to ruin my stones too much over this (we’re actually talking a lot of time to fix this issue on just the stones) so I took Ashley, one of the assistants in the camp (who showed great interest and improvement in her own sharpening since I had met her a couple years ago at Michigan University) and gave her the “graduate” level sharpening class, which took place under the hot Texas sun on the curb just outside the music room. Yes, I literally took the knife and got medieval on it – scraping away the height of the shoulder to bring it up to level with the rest of the blade. Ashley even gave it a try. With the knife somewhat evened out (more of a band aid, really), I proceeded to sharpen it up, much to the satisfaction of everyone.

After the day died down and I cleaned up, we went to Tino’s Greek Café, where the food was plentiful and oh so tasty! I had a Gyro platter with beef, rice and vegetables along with a nice lemon chicken soup. The conversation centered on bassoon, which is an interesting change from all the oboe talk I’m more accustomed to.

I said goodbye to Jennifer, and thanked her for such a wonderful experience. I told her just how impressed I was with everything they were doing, and that I would love to come back again next year. On my way back to the hotel, Jesse and I had some more great conversation, and after a sound sleep, headed out to the airport, where I started getting ready for our sharpening party in New Jersey.

2012 Oboe Summer Session at Northwestern University

June 28, 2012

It was only about a week since the whirlwind Blade show in Atlanta, and I was already on the road again – this time for a couple of Reed Knife Sharpening Seminars. The first one was at Northwestern University’s Summer Session for Oboe, hosted by Robert Morgan (who is also the purveyor of Chicago Reed Company, and inventor of the W.R.I.S.T.). The second, which is written up in another post, was at one of the Bocal Majority and Operation O.B.O.E. Camps in Austin, Texas, hosted by Jennifer Auerbach.

Once again, the travel Gods were on my side – although I think they were cutting it close! A typhoon had just passed through Taiwan and Hong Kong hours before I was scheduled to leave. The plane was a little late getting into Hong Kong, and I literally had to run across from one wing of the airport to the other, and my fate rested in whether or not my suitcase would make it to the plane in time. Luckily it made it with only minutes to spare!

I arrived to lovely summer weather in Chicago and headed to the Evanston campus of Northwestern University, which is a beautiful campus on the lake loaded with a wonderful variety of architecture. I made my way to the Music Admin Building and quickly found the exhibit room, where I bumped into a few familiar faces, including Shawna Lake of Oboe Chicago,  Heidi Brann of HB Reeds, and  Carlos Coelho of Carlos Oboe . In fact, we were the only exhibitors, as this was a more intimate setting with about 20 attendees for the 3 day camp.

After lunch, while Carlos gave a class on basic oboe care and maintenance, I was able to catch up with Heidi and Shawna, who I haven’t seen since last year’s IDRS conference. We had a stimulating discussion that covered a lot of the “business talk” that we don’t normally get to do at the conferences, with each of us throwing out ideas for the others. Of course, we talked while I sharpened up Heidi’s Jende Reed Knife. 😀

When it came time to sharpen Shawna’s Jende Reed Knife, I had my work cut out for me… Somehow the bevel had grown into a 50+ degree angle on the back side. The good news was the front face of the knife was very much intact. It took a little effort, but I finally got that bevel back under control, and sharpened up to a brand new 15K edge.

After the exhibits shut down for the day, Robert took me back to his lovely 1920’s two-family style home where he and his wife treated me to BBQ Seattle Salmon, BBQ vegetables, fried sweet potatoes, and some nice white wine. It was delectable! But before we could relax too much, we headed back to the university to attend John Henes’s first of two Alexander Technique classes.

John worked with the students one by one, having them play as he made them aware of what their bodies were doing while they played. With a few simple changes in body stature or distribution of their weight, the sound quality and volume of each student noticeably improved. It was every bit as informative to simply watch and listen to John work his magic with the Alexander Technique as it would be to participate, and it is really a must-do for people from all walks of life.

Saturday started off with a meticulously fresh brewed cup of coffee (great food is the standard in the Morgan home!) as Robert and I discussed some ideas for reed knives over a breakfast of eggs, muffins and fresh fruit with Greek yogurt. Afterward, Robert’s wonderful wife Sandy – an accomplished flutist and amazing cook – took me downtown to the farmer’s market. There was also an arts and crafts festival taking place that was taking up several blocks of downtown Evanston. It was still a little early, but as we walked through the street toward the market, we stumbled upon the very knowledgeable Ms. Rachel, who was setting up a stand called Poetic Earth, which specializes in amazing leather bags and leather bound journals that must be seen (and smelled!) to be believed. They tan their own hides using environmentally-friendly methods and engrave and emboss them by hand – some with amazingly intricate designs.  They also make their own journal paper from cotton. I bought a small leather bound pocket journal, and I already feel more important!

Rachel from Poetic Earth

We got to the farmer’s market, and the first thing I saw was Joseph Schmidt of To The Point Onsite Sharpening Service busy sharpening one of the plenty of knives he needed to sharpen. I slowly circled while I observed him in action, and then struck up a friendly conversation with him. It was clear he knew what he was doing, starting with his water cooled Tormek and finishing with his paper wheel setup. While I’m not a huge fan of the paper wheels myself (but that’s another issue, entirely), there was no question that Joseph was getting excellent results and was well trained on the system. His overall technique of sharpening left me feeling all warm inside that the Evanston farmer’s market was truly in good hands!

Joseph Schmidt of To The Point Sharpening

After a few minutes of me invading Joseph’s personal space to check out his equipment, I caught back up with Sandy as she continued making her rounds, buying all kinds of amazingly fresh vegetables and fruits – much of which would show up in that night’s dinner – and we headed over to the university (that was why I was there, don’t forget!).

As I arrived at the exhibit area and started preparing for my reed knife sharpening seminar, Shawna’s table was abuzz with people trying out her extensive, yet personalized selection of oboes and English horns. She really took the time and focused all her attention on each person who was playing, and had a genuine interest in finding that perfect instrumental match for her customers. Heidi was hard at work making her reeds – which are catching on with oboists like wildfire – with a huge smile, thanks to a freshly sharpened knife. I remember meeting Heidi a couple of years ago at her first IDRS convention as an exhibitor, and she has really grown her business since then. People like Shawna and Heidi really make our little double reed society such a wonderful place!

Just after lunch, double reed repairman extraordinaire Paul Kober arrived. Paul has been a repairman for over 20 years, and has apprenticed at both Howarth of London (in Worthing) and with Fox. Oboe Chicago uses his services exclusively – that’s how good he is! He set up and quickly started tackling some oboes.

FINALLY, it was time for my seminar! We decided to move it into the exhibit area, where everyone crammed into the room. People know I usually take one or two reed knives from the group to demonstrate my sharpening methods, so they were all waiting with eager eyes and reed knives in hand.

Reed Knife Sharpening Seminar

I gave my seminar, complete with a hollow ground and a single bevel knife demonstration, a power point slide show, and even live microscope pictures. Much to my surprise, no one seemed to glaze over, and I only cracked one bad joke about bacon – although there were a few references to Shawna’s reed knife in there, too…

Afterward, Robert, Shawna and I went back home for dinner, which was BBQ white sea bass with some kind of amazing sauce Sandy conjured up, sautéed mushrooms, string beans, and scallions, as well as a fresh tomato, cucumber, basil and  mozzarella salad. Rosé and red wines were flowing, as was the wonderful dinner conversation that strengthened our tight bonds even more.

Once again, before we could get too comfortable, we needed to head out to catch the second of John Henes’s Alexander Technique class, which was a continuation of the previous evening’s class, thus giving John the chance to work with all the attendees. He’s truly a knowledgeable and gifted man and it was really a learning experience for all of us.

Sunday morning started off with another perfectly crafted cup of coffee, and Sandy whipped up a mouthwatering spinach and mushroom frittata, topped with some parmesan cheese. We also had a mixed bowl of the fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches and cantaloupe from the farmer’s market. I was truly being spoiled!

After saying my goodbyes to Sandy, Robert and I headed out to the university where he was scheduled to give his reed making class. I still had some sharpening to do, so I headed to the exhibit area to get some work done.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Heidi, Shawna, Paul and I were able to talk shop, and we naturally conspired how to take over the double reed world 😀

As if this leg of the trip couldn’t get any better, I went to meet and stay with Chuck, a friend from the Keeping Sharp Forum. Chuck is also quite the foodie, and the knifie, and even straight razorie guy!

We got to his beautiful home in the Chicago suburbs, and walked into the very homely aroma of beef stew that was simmering on the stove. We quickly got down to business – vodka tonics and we started to prepare the vegetables for the evening’s meal. Chuck and I split up the veggies, and chose from several very well sharpened knives. When Chuck says he’s got a zoo at his house, he isn’t lying – there were children appearing and disappearing everywhere.

Chuck made the guacamole dip and started the BBQ, which would cook up 3 flank steaks that were doused in marinade. Next up were the margaritas, which made me feel like I was back in Mexico! Dinner ended up being steak fajitas with sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole, sour cream, and some cheese. I did indulge, and probably had a fajita or two too many…

After dinner, we headed down to the man-cave to do some serious sharpening. I brought Chuck back his Robeson razors, one of which needed to be honed up again, so we hooked up the microscope and started honing away on his Chosera Edge Pro stones. We simultaneously played with a couple of kitchen knives on the Kalamazoo, too! Midway through the fun, Jake, Chuck’s son (aka, the Marine), showed up with a friend and showed off a couple of guns from Chuck’s collection.  As most of us on the forum know, Jake recently safely returned from an 8month tour at a FOB in Afghanistan. It was a pleasure to finally meet him, shake his hand, and to thank him face to face. (There is no intended political comment here, just an honest appreciation for someone who risked his life for his country)

L-R: Jake, Friend, and Chuck

After Chuck successfully honed up his Robeson (it was now 1am!) he headed off to bed, while Jake showed me some pictures of his experience in Afghanistan. We ended up talking up a storm about all kinds of good things until 3:30am.

7am arrived pretty fast… I woke up to the smell of some freshly brewed coffee, and Chuck made an amazing frittata (what is it with the frittatas?) with peppers, onions and some cottage cheese, and a side of spicy sausage. I was beginning to wonder if I was on a knife sharpening tour or a gastronomical tour!

All too quickly, it was time to start heading out to the airport. Chuck and I had a wonderful knife-free conversation, discussing such “ordinary” things as education and parenting, showing how our hobbies can make friends out of us all.

Next up is the Operation O.B.O.E.  and the Bocal Majority’s Sharpening seminar.

😀

Where to find Jende Industries…

December 8, 2010

Jende Industries serves a few different specialty markets, and I like to hang out in a few different places.

First, Jende Industries is a proud advertiser at the knife forums, where there is a Jende Industries sub-forum. I also spend most of my time in the keeping sharp area, where the discussions are obviously centered around sharpening. There are some seriously talented and knowledgeable people in there, and if you do nothing else, I highly recommend lurking there.

We have just become advertisers on Badger and Blade, too. Product announcements will be made in the Vendor Corner, but (to no big surprise) I usually hang out in the Hones/Honing sub-forum. There’s a solid group of people there, mostly people who like to hone straight razors. Honing skill levels vary from newbie to honemiester. I can honestly say  that knife sharpening and razor honing are two entirely different skills, and there is usually some very good advice offered up by the more experienced honers as well as some great pictures of hones/stones.  Be careful, though – getting into straights can be addictive on several fronts – including hones, razors, brushes, creams, aftershaves, and strops…..

I also love spending time on Shave Ready. It’s a vendor-friendly straight razor related forum started by Olivia’s soaps that has super friendly members who, as of now, are mostly experienced straight razor shavers. It’s more honing-heavy, which is why I love it so much. However, there are the usual forums to be found. Even though I am a vendor, I can hang out on Shave Ready and just be myself – an avid honer/sharpener.

I also check in on a regular basis on a few other forums, although mostly as a lurker.

Jende Industries got its start as the maker of the Jende Reed Knife, which has become a quality name in the Oboe and Bassoon world, known as the International Double Reed Society, or more commonly, as the IDRS. We advertise in their publications and we’ve been the annual conferences since 2004. They have a Forum, which is filled with information about everything Oboe and Bassoon related. I basically lurk there answering only when specific reed knife related question arise.

I also like to check in to two other shaving sites. Coticule.be is probably the finest forum to do with Belgian Coticules. Bart is probably the world’s foremost expert on coticules, and is lightning fast at honing and stropping. He also knows a ton about honing razors. Again, they have other forums, not just coticule related, and the members are generally more experienced straight razor shavers.

Lastly, I check into The Shaving Room. It’s a British based forum with a lot of DE users. If you start lurking on any of the shaving forums, you’ll quickly see a lot of the same names – that’s how addicting it is – not to mention most of the people are just great company.

 

I hope to see you there!