Debunking an old family myth about knives and sharpeners

Once upon a time not too long ago in a neighborhood quite similar to yours the household’s children were awe-struck whenever their grandfather would pull out his old knife sharpening stone. They always believed that some drama was about to unfold as the old man unveiled the long sharp knives with its threatening serrated edges. Perhaps when you were young you had similar encounters about an age-old but effective practice involving just knives and sharpeners.

The myth was also that knives are extremely dangerous and should never be bandied about or brandished carelessly in front of friends, family or foe. That much is true, even for adults. All knives, even sharp hunting knives, have its purposes and users should stick to these. Proper use of knives, even the tame looking butter knives, ensures safety and there is no need to fear them. The grandfather scene, fortunately for the children, would only unfold before them once a year, usually around Christmas when a traditional carving of the roast would be carried out by the head of the family.

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To ensure that his carving ceremony would be performed perfunctorily and smoothly, or sharply as the case is here, grandfather would always ensure that his knife-sharpening ritual would be carried out first. And if they were lucky enough to arrive early, the children could gather around and watch in fascination. This seemingly old-fashioned practice was not something they were familiar with in their own, apparently modern households.

But today, this age-old practice is widely used. Chefs in their kitchens make sure of it. Old sharpening stones are no longer required. Electric knife sharpeners are now widely available from retailers and there are even those that are manufactured for different knives, depending on their purposes. Blue collar workers, if knives are their tools of trade will always be using sharpeners. So too, hunters, just like their forefathers used to do.