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Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day #7: Maui - Day 3 - Sharp tools: necessity, compulsion, fetish, or a LJ habit?

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 1683 days ago 838 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Maui - Day 2 Part 7 of Alaska Jim's Comments of the Day series Part 8: Maui - Day 8 - More photos and phun »

Let’s get to the nub right away, are we sharp freaks, or is it the only way to go?

.....the story…..

Sherie (my wife) and Shirley (Sherie’s mother) have been wronged. Suffered at the hand of inadequate cutlery. Protested and whined while preparing the repast, darting critical and expectant glances in my direction, as I…...... decadently in my cups, enjoyed the day. Since we came to Maui, they have done the cooking, although I am in the barrel tonight. You wouldn’t think for a minute, that it had anything to do with my belated, but expert, attention to this most consternating situation?

So strutting to the kitchen, dragging the drawer from beneath the counter, from where it cowered, I surveyed the….hmmm… junkyard. The condo’s drawer of knives….........I use the term loosely, is an abomination. Multiple serrated knives, missharpened, cheap, certainly maligned, tortured, and abused, lay prostrate, miserable in the depths of the drawer. A few standard knives, with edges only my bench grinder could bring back to a remedial state, looked hopefully my way. But alas, only one was capable of repair with simple measures….........which I did not have at my disposal.

Lingering at the mall, having dined Vietnamese for lunch today, Sherie reminds me of her paramount vexation, the squeaking balcony sliding screens…....since they are actuated at a most unnatural hour by her habitually early rising spouse, namely me.

Aha, lubricant, and there in a deep corner recess of the mall, I spy a True Value. So, checking for my always anemic wallet, remembering the magic plastic, I jauntily press into the gloom, entering the premise with pessimism. But it is a first class hardware store, complete with helpful smiling faces dressed in aprons (no, not LJ leather), and those elfen customer reps jumped right to my assistance. I tell you, this store is from yesteryear. Found everthing (explanations coming) on my agenda with a passing custrep offhandedly showing me precisely the displays to satisfy my exacting needs. My quick hand extracts the WD40 can with its new sexy swiveling spray head. And two aisles later, following the swishing apron, I found with her offhanded direction, the sharpening stones. I looked after her, amazed, as she turned a corner, never to be seen again.

I digress…......I always digress.

I am definitely OCD, but a corollary…... with compulsion, comes excess.

To the story…....

....and looking throught the various stones and devices, I make a prudent decision, one of my lifelong few, I selected the smallest cheapest stone.

But at the periphery of my visual field, to the left, but slipping into recognition, and comprehension…....a selection of knives.

The biggest baddest Chicago Cutlery French Chef’s Knife comes to view and I purloin it, you must understand I had no long term use for the beast….........but I could give it to Shirley to take home…......what better recipient than Grandma. So I slyly slipped through the register with my treasures.

.......to make a too long story short, I sharpened the only knife that was repairable, and added the chef’s knife to it, in a special section in the drawer. So everyone was happy, because Shirley, I just found out, was looking at buying this very knife, yes, Chicago Cutlery Chef’s Knife. Serendipity.

The End.

However the real question, and I know by reading this forum, we are into sharp things….....

.........necessity, fetish, compulsion, or LJ habit…....what is the real answer…..........????

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska



13 comments so far

View lew's profile

lew

9991 posts in 2381 days


#1 posted 1683 days ago

Jim,
As one who loves to cook, my worst (?) pet peeve is a dull knife. Ahh, the joy of a razor sharp knife swishing through a red pepper, julienning a scallion or slicing tissue thin pieces of smoked salmon. Life is good- unless your spouse believes a knife is really a pry bar, screw driver and ice pick combination. I have taken to hiding my freshly cutlery to protect it from abuse.

Glad you are enjoying your vacation!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3642 posts in 1790 days


#2 posted 1683 days ago

lew
Fortunately, my wife Sherie likes a sharp knife too, and unlike chisels, which she thinks are screwdrivers, she treats the knives well. At my request, she gave me a full set of great German knives, and again at my request, a first class kitchen sharpener the next year for Christmas. I have to hide and protect my chisels, like you have to protect your knives…..............(-:

Thanks again, Lew…........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1734 days


#3 posted 1683 days ago

I have had very bad experiences with dull chisels. Out of my naivete, I once believed chisels were sharp enough to use right out of the box. I didn’t see any instructions that recommended “hone before use” and so I attributed the splintered results to my incompetence (true, except out of context). So maybe others (please oh please tell me that there are others, that I am not the only one who had such experiences…) who share similar traumas get a little obsessed with the sharpening.

And as far as the spousal abuse of tools, maybe there is a gene that causes one to feel compelled to bypass the tool stand that has 3 inexpensive hammers for daily household stuff and maybe rummage to the bottom of a tool chest to find, not the cheap utility knife on top but, that special utility knife that has a built in mechanism for storing and replacing used blades with a flick of a switch and use it as a blunt instrument to bash against a spike sized nail that has been conveniently placed in front of a thick stud to hang a seemingly weightless picture…

Hope you are enjoying your time in Maui Jim and thanks for keeping in touch during your vacation.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3642 posts in 1790 days


#4 posted 1683 days ago

David Craig
You know right next to those chisels was a full set of screwdrivers of all description….........yup, the chisel looked like it would make a great screwdriver…..........oh, well, I think she knows better now, and is accumulating her own tools….(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3642 posts in 1790 days


#5 posted 1683 days ago

David Craig
And at home I am slowly accumulating some good sharpening tools, and you are right about the chisels…...looked at a 1 1/2 chisel that had never been used just before we came to Maui, it had a bonified nick in it, right out of the box….........Oh well…........

Thanks for stopping by, don’t have a shop here, but I still have my LJ friends…...........(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile

stefang

12873 posts in 1960 days


#6 posted 1683 days ago

I don’t do anything special with the cutlery at home, but before use I do give the knives a few strokes with the burnisher. It’s quick and does the trick.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

3582 posts in 2201 days


#7 posted 1683 days ago

lew,
I thought my wife had the market cornered on using kitchen utensils as implements for foundry use.
My kids are absolute experts on finding my most expensive (and best hidden) tools to use pry bars and nail bashers…..groan….
It’s enough to make a grown man cry….

-- Having fun...Eric

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1741 days


#8 posted 1683 days ago

you lucky man that have a wife that seems to understand that a knife is a tool and has to be treaded
like a tool in the way of using, washing and store them the correct way

but wasn´t it so that you shuold relax and not behave as a L J on the vacation WHAT ARE YOU DOING
IN A STORE BUYING SLIPSTONE AND WD 40 FOR stay a way for the rest of the time and relax
you are warend we are demanding so much from you when you return :-)

Dennis

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3642 posts in 1790 days


#9 posted 1683 days ago

Mike
I check them before I use them, and if they are getting dull, I use my electric kitchen sharpener on them. It has three wheels, the finest being a ceramic disc. It is more like a burnisher and that is all I use normally.

Eric
No kids around the house for years, so that is not a problem any more. Actually, even my wife is getting used to not using my tools, especially since I have convinced her to give me tools for gifts. Now she knows what they cost (-:

Dennis
I hear you Dennis, but it is just like my wife and her mother with their portable sewing machines, which they set up here everyday. Just can’t leave the hobbies alone for long. The WD40 did solve the sliding door problem, and now we have two decent knives to use. Off to fast walking….............

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1799 days


#10 posted 1682 days ago

Ahhh, Jim. ‘Tis good to hear that …. not all is sweetness, light, bliss, and perfection in Paradise :-)

Dull knives, indeed. Ptooey!

Wayyyy back when, I bought the old school Calphalon cookware, and a pretty good set of Wusthof Trident knifes. I use a Chef’s Choice 3-wheel sharpener, infrequently, and keep them sharp enough to split the atom.

But … aren’t the old-type hardware stores just the coolest? I’m under the impression that they carry …. everything, employ people who … know what they’re doing, and … if there IS some chimerical item that they do NOT stock … they are tooled to manufacture it for you while you wait.

Great story, as always, and told in your usual riveting fashion. Bon appetit!!

ps: I love the new WD cans. I was far from out, but … bought two more cans … just to get the new Toro Sprinkler Head adornments!

-- -- Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3642 posts in 1790 days


#11 posted 1682 days ago

Neil
Wayyy back when, I bought the old school Calphalon cookware, and more recently was gifted the Wusthof knives, and use a Chef’s Choice 3-wheel sharpener, infrequently, and keep them sharp enough to split the atom…......

you took the words right out of my mouth…....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1734 days


#12 posted 1682 days ago

I would have to say, then, that you chefs offer a real culinary treat. Not many cooks can offer a mini atom bomb inside every bite of meat loaf :)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3642 posts in 1790 days


#13 posted 1682 days ago

David Craig
Why split hairs, obviously Neil and I must be chefs of reknown. When you can make the very best….....even better, which would you want?...........why split hairs…...split the atom…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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