On the last evening in February, a group of us made our way to the Carter institute, holding knives, axes, chisels and garden tools. Contrary to how this might have looked, this was not part of some village ‘uprising’ but to learn from the talented and highly experienced Nat, how to properly sharpen them and give them a new lease of life.

After a very sensible and clear safety briefing, (never use your fingers to test your blade!) Nat started by showing us how we could identify what sort of blade we had in front of us and then showing us how we could assess our sharpening skills by using a sharpie to mark along the bevel. She then provided us with nothing more complicated than a small mdf block, some tape and some 600 grit wet and dry sandpaper to tape to the block for a home-made whetstone and got us sharpening our knives, keeping a careful eye on our progress all along. Once our blades were sharpened to perfection, we were able to move on to some of the other items we had brought along. People had brought everything from elderly chisels, worn out secateurs, blunt kitchen scissors and axes with no cutting edge left at all and we all picked up lots of tips and tricks on how to best deal with our individual items. It was a very sociable evening and lots of tools were made good which would otherwise have ended up in landfill, without having to buy expensive or ineffective equipment to do it.

Nat and Kat were fantastic, they were so knowledgeable and had many practical and sensible solutions to every type of situation and I came home with not only a bag of revitalised tools but the knowledge to keep them that way for many, many years to come. Thank you Nat and Kat, it was a brilliant workshop and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is good that you will be at many of our repair cafes providing sharpening services, so we can tap further into your knowledge and get anything sharpened that our new found skills aren’t quite up to yet!

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