After a short 2 day break from my travels to Chicago and Austin, it was finally time for my Sharpening Party! Ken Schwartz from Precise Sharpening flew in the previous evening, and we had a chance to catch up again – after only 2 weeks since seeing each other at the BLADE show in Atlanta :D Greg (Dudly the togi from the knife forums), John Fortune (Hone Ranger), and Ron Swartz of KME Sharpeners arrived with lots of goodies in tow! Greg brought his sword polishing station, complete with stones and a couple of Katanas, John brought the all important Arizona Iced Tea along with a few sharpening goodies, and Ron brought his KME Sharpener with about 20 different accessory stones, including the new Choseras.
Having Ken, Ron, John and Greg would’ve easily been more than enough for an all day sharpening “meeting of the minds,” but we took this party to an all new level – we went international, baby! That’s right, we hooked up our laptops and had Skype video calls from Belgium with Michiel Vanhoudt from Belgian Sharpening, and Jens Skandevall (our famous – and crazy – shaving competition winner) from Sweden.
And this was completely interactive – Jens and Michiel were honing razors in front of each other (we turned the computers toward themselves :D ), Michiel gave Ron a Belgian coticule/BBW tutorial, and then we all watched with complete amazement while Greg blew our minds with his sword polishing demo, which took us all too quickly through just about the entire process (obviously not on the entire sword, which would take over a week).
We were in the garage for the sword polishing demo for about 2 hours before we decided to head inside for some much needed AC!
Once inside, the fun continued – we brought Michiel and Jens in with us, and we all continued to sharpen stuff – Ron broke out his EDC, clamped it into the KME sharpener, and we documented the entire Chosera series on the KME on the microscope. Ken started bringing out all kinds of Nubatama stones – Japanese naturals and synthetics – for Greg to play with, and John started in on a Maestro Wu folding knife with the Atoma diamond plates for the Edge pro. I played with a few EP stones that John brought and generously gifted to me. Jens started sharpening some knives while Michiel honed up a razor or two. This was just too much fun!
The fun continued until about 5pm, when we took a dinner break. This was a 7 hour marathon, and Michiel and Jens lasted over 5 hours with us, and John had to head home to his family ( a few hours later than anticipated!). Since Ron took Ken and me out to the Longhorn steakhouse a few weeks earlier, we decided to return the favor.
After the wonderful steak dinner, Greg took off, and Ron, Ken and I returned to the kitchen to sharpen even more. This time, Ken broke out his famed CBN sprays on Balsa, and put them on Ron’s KME Sharpener. I must say, that CBN is totally awesome, and it works so much faster than you would think given it’s just a spritz or two on the balsa! We continued the sharpening madness until around 11pm, a full 13 hours since we started.
It was really great to spend time with John and Greg again, and for Michiel and Jens to watch us patiently for so long (even though they were included in on the conversations). This was the first real significant amount of time Ken and I got to spend with Ron since he picked up the Choseras for the KME, and I must say, we all got along grandly. What was most amazing about this party was the fact that we all sharpened only 1 knife the entire day – not because we were slow, but because we were able to take the time to discuss and explore things in depth, rather than having to bang out a bunch of knives like we would at a trade show or convention.
What a great sharpening party!