With the discovery of materials such as Flint and then Steel, which could be made into efficient cutting tools, man has became the dominant species of this planet. It is this ability to cut and chop at wood, plants, leather and flesh that has allowed us, as a species, to define ourselves within the world. We are the only species on earth that is able to slice and cut these items by the manipulation of tools that are not grown as part of our own bodies. Rightly or wrongly, with such tools as these, man has moulded and shaped the world around him, removing obstacles such as trees and even his fellow man to suit his needs; with such tools man has tamed wild frontiers, making hostile environments safe and safe environments hostile.
It is ironic that even with modern metallurgy and all of the technology available to us today, man is still unable to create cutting tools that even comes come close to being as sharp as a simple flake of natural Obsidian. To make matters worse, when it comes down to Mr Everyday Man On The Street the issues of sharpness goes exponentially downhill.
Like helpless babies your average Joe will hack and slash his way through a myriad of substance unaware that he is able to give his cutting tools even the most rudimentary of cutting edges let alone an efficient razor sharp cutting edge with minimal effort and skill. It is our experience that Kitchen and working knives become so dull they actually become dangerous to the user. The perceived danger, which is very real, is understood deep within our psyche making many afraid to use these essential tools. For the brave souls who understand the irony that ‘The sharper a cutting tool is, the safer that cutting tool is,’ the stumbling block have usually only just begun. For these lucky, or unlucky folks, the desire to sharpen usually leads them down the road of quick fix sharpening gadgets and devices that were only designed to make their wallets lighter and provide the saleman with a new car or house. Nearly all of these gimmicks do not do what they claim, some will irreversibly damage a cutting tool, causing slivers of sharp wire to be formed, which are wrongly perceived to be a sharpened cutting edge. In fact, such cutting edges are quite dangerous; these flimsy strands of wire are easily torn off as we cut through our food, which can then be eaten!
Shark (Sharp) Designs Knife Sharpening Courses are designed to give you a deep understanding of the principles and techniques that have been tried and test and are guaranteed to work. Straight away the sharpening principles and techniques that we teach, will enable you to sharpen any cutting tool to a level of sharpness that is by any standards considered extremely sharp, even with materials that are present in the wild. With a little practice, using these simple principles and techniques, the ability to achieve Razor Sharp (Shark) Perfection will be within your grasp.
This course is run on a One-2-One Personal Tuition basis.
Our aim during this intensive one day course is to instruct you in all the necessary concepts and principles that you will need to be able to sharpen a knife, or any cutting tool for that matter, to razor sharp level whilst only using your own muscles, bones and tendons to guide the blade whilst on a sharpening stone.
You will be taught, step-by-step, every process that will enable you to accomplish a level of sharpness that only seems to be reserved for barbers, surgeons or those in the know, and given a little practice you will be able to attain these same levels of sharpness.
Our ultimate aim with this course is to instil in you all of the necessary knowledge so that you can … hone your knife sharpening skill in the days and weeks that follow the course. You will attain a deep level of understanding of freehand sharpening that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life, enabling you to always have at hand a cutting tool that is fit for the job.
To begin the course your instructor will give you a quick rundown on workshop safety and procedures (i.e. what is safe to touch and what is not etcetera). Once these important preliminaries have been introduced to you the principles and practice of sharpening can begin :
The course proper begins with a few basic principles of knife safety. You will also learn what constitutes a good knife and what does not, how to, how to clean a knife, check a knife for damage and most importantly how to check a knife for sharpness in a safe and accurate way. You will learn why a sharp blade is a safe blade and why a dull blade is so dangerous. As part of this course you will be given reasons why sharpening on Japanese Water Stones is preferable over oil stones and why you should always hold a respectful distain for new sharpening gimmicks.
With guidance from the course instructor you will be shown how to prepare knives for sharpening removing rust and chips as well as reform a broken knife tip.
Once you have an understanding of what knives are all about, and have learned to prepare your knives for sharpening, you will be shown the various forms of sharpening stones that are on the market and how they are cared for as well as most effectively used. You will be shown how certain sharpening stones are worth their weight in gold and why some should only be used as door stops ... poor ones at that!
You will be guided, during the sharpening practice session, so that you can quickly hone your skills as a competent freehand knife sharpener, enabling you to develop the necessary skill level to quickly and efficiently sharpen your knives so that they are extremely sharp indeed.
Concluding the course, will be a comprehensive rundown on knife maintenance and care, as well as the main differences between High Carbon Steel knives and those made from Stainless Steel and why you would choose one over the other. You should leave the course with a full working knowledge of freehand knife sharpening that will allow you to never again fall victim to the dubious world of sharpening gimmicks; you will leave with the certain knowledge that Razor Sharp Knife sharpening is within your grasp, given a little practice. This is a skill that lives in your mind, muscles and bones, which will serve you well for a lifetime.
Students require no background knowledge of knife sharpening, however, since extremely sharp knives and blade will be handled throughout the course, we suggest that students who are a little squeamish or shy about handling knives approach the course with an open mind. We promise you that you will quickly develop a confident, but respectful, attitude towards knives by the end of the course. And whilst we cannot guarantee that you will have developed All of the skills necessary to create a Razor sharp knife, you will have the knowledge base so that your skills can be developed.
Whilst all tools, materials and equipment will be supplied to you during this sharpening course, we have noticed that during these knife sharpening courses we tend to run out of dull knives with which to practice on. We would therefore ask that students attending this course bring with them a number of knives and blade that they would like bringing back to life and or sharpening.
PLEASE NOTE: We would like to point out to you that whilst you have a legitimate reason for transporting any knives that you may bring with you to this course knives in a public place, it is very important that students observe and uphold the law with regard to carrying an offensive weapons whilst in public places. We also recommend that students observe a sensible degree of knife safety, to this end we would advise that all knives and blades are individually wrapped in several sheets of newspaper and carried in the boot of your vehicle. At no times should a knife be placed on display to the public and all tools should be secured for transport.
It is advised that you bring with you an apron or coverall that should be worn over your clothing. This will protect your clothes from potential damage or harm, since some of the tools and materials used during this course may damage your clothing. Students will be provide with disposable hand protection if needed, however, it is expected that students bring their own eye protection for health and safety reasons.
Whilst students will be expected to provide their own food and drinks for lunch, or snacks during the day, light refreshments such as tea, coffee and orange squash, will be made available at certain times throughout the day.
Students who wish to camp in the local area, or in our garden, whilst attending the course, are more than welcome to do so, however the facilities that we can offer are very limited, our garden is the size of a postage stamp and will only hold a single 2-man tent comfortably, plus there is no access to the garden except through the house.
For students who wish to stay in a B&B, we can make arrangements for you to do so if you wish. Please let us know your intentions well before your course start date, so that we can make all necessary arrangements.
The Freehand Knife Sharpening & Knife Maintenance course will be held in our Kent based workshop, the specific location details, along with full directions (for those who do not have access to a Sta. Nav. that is) will be given when the course is booked.
Please Note: This course runs at all times throughout the year. Since there is no fixed time or date that this course is set in, students who wish to attend this course can make bookings during Daytimes or Evenings - 7 days a week at your convenience (See our Course Calendar page for available Times & Dates).
This course is limited to just one student, who will receive personal one to one tuition throughout the day, however, should two students (max) wish to attend the course together they will be most welcome. Course numbers are limited to this number so that each attendee is given the maximum attention and instruction as possible in a relaxed and friendly environment so that the completion of the project, within the time constraints of the course, is pretty much guaranteed.
The Booking Fee for the 'Custom Belt Making' course is £50, to be paid in advance this provisionally books your place on one of our courses. You will be invoiced for final course payments 4 weeks, and then 3 weeks, prior to the courses start date. Final payments should be made a maximum of 2 weeks prior to the courses start date. Remaining course fee payments can be made over the phone, or through Pay Pal, with any major Credit Cards. By clicking on the Booking Fee 'Add to Cart' button (below) you are provisionally guaranteeing a place on this course.