An Old Profession

Old Sharpening Stone

The old profession of knife sharpener is not really thought in school. It is a knowledge that is often passed down through the generations. Like the saying literally translated from French “It is by forging that one becomes a blacksmith” which better translates to “Practice makes perfect”, it is a profession where expertise is acquired through practice.

Some short messages from Jean-Claude Brunet, the founder, and specialist, who describes well the history and provenance of the concepts that are applied at Le Spécialiste de l’Aiguisage for all stages of the work done.

I started learning to sharpen knives at a young age when I worked as an apprentice butcher in my father’s small butcher shop on the South Shore of Montreal. Sharpening the shop’s knives was the apprentice’s job, so I quickly learned to sharpen different types of knives, blades, saws, and axes. At the time, everything was sharpened by hand, which gave me a greater understanding of the precise angles necessary for good sharpening.

Jean-Claude Brunet

I also held other positions, such as that of cabinetmaker, wood worker, where the sharpness of the tools is a necessity. It is also an environment where maintenance and sharpening is one of the tasks of the workers and where we must know as much about the wood species as the sharpening required for the tools to work them. Today, techniques and equipment have changed. We have seen the appearance of dry grinding wheels, silicon carbide paper belts, and we have also moved from manual sharpening on water stones to oil stones and to diamond stones. After having explored all these new ways, my choice has now come to rest on electric wet stones with the special characteristics of very slow revolution and very fine grain. These mechanical sharpening stones give all the control and precision of a hand sharpening of the past, but without the negative aspects related to dry stones such as uneven abrasion or burning.

Jean-Claude Brunet

New services

The desire to deepen knowledge and refine techniques, as well as the appearance of new materials or sharpening tools, has allowed us to expand our services beyond sharpening. We now offer custom design and manufacturing services for knives or other manual tools. We can also repair, restore, modify, and de-rust them.