Are you a good sharpener?
I am! In 2015, I earned second place in a sharpening contest at a national meeting of sharpeners sponsored by Sharpeners Report, so you’ll get a world-class sharp knife. I have also participated in nationally recognized training for beauty shear sharpening.

A large portion of our business is repeat customers who bring their things back to us once a year. It’s always nice to see familiar faces, hear about their year, see their kids grow up, and know that we have gained their trust to handle their things with care. Over the years, we have sharpened for fabric and quilting shops on a regular basis. We love it when our customers stop by our stall and say, “Hey—those scissors you worked on are cutting really well now!” or “I’m cooking more at home and eating healthier foods now because my knives are easier to use!”

What is sharpening?
Sharpening is a process that improves the ability of a blade to do its job (slicing, cutting, chopping, etc.). The sharpening process occurs when a burr is raised on the blade and is then removed. The sharp edge results after a series of steps performed using specialized equipment.
What is steeling?
Steeling is not sharpening. It is the act of rubbing a steel bar across the edge of a knife to align the small mini-burr on the edge. Softer knife metals tend to let a knife edge to roll with use; a knife steel may straighten it. Harder knife metals are more brittle and may chip rather then roll.
Can you sharpen serrated knives?
Yes! This is one of our most frequently asked questions. Like all knives, we accomplish this by raising a burr and removing it.
What can I do to keep my knives sharp?
Use only wood or plastic cutting boards. Glass and marble may damage a knife.

Wash knives by hand by folding a soapy sponge over the back of the knife and carefully remove food, then dry them with a clean cloth to prevent rust. Never put them in the dishwasher.

Store them so that they don’t clatter around.

Prevent rust (especially on carbon knives) by wiping with a very small amount of food-grade mineral oil.

Which type of knife is best, stainless steel or carbon steel?
Julia Child, the famous chef who popularized French cooking, preferred carbon knives. Today, many chefs prefer stainless steel because it resists corrosion and is thus easier to care for.
Do you have any safety tips?
Respect your knife.

Don’t point the edge toward your hand or flesh. Don’t hold something to be cut (like a bagel) in one hand and slice toward your palm with your sharp knife. Always slice away from your hand or toward the cutting board surface. Ask us to demonstrate the safest way to slice a bagel.

If you’ve been used to a dull knife and have been sawing through your food, don’t get taken by surprise by how quickly the knife will slice through food now.

Why should I use a professional sharpener?
A professional sharpener will have the proper tools to renew knife sharpness while maintaining an even edge, proper alignment, and correct angle. A properly sharpened knife is safer to use than a dull knife and may help make food preparation more enjoyable and efficient. Our sharpening makes your blade like new, sometimes even better than new!
Can you fix broken knives?
We can usually reshape a blade that has a broken tip, chips or nicks, or a hollow in the edge. We can also usually reshape the bolster on a forged knife so that it doesn’t prevent the knife blade from contacting the cutting board
What are beauty shears?
They are special shears designed to cut hair (and often they cost hundreds of dollars). They are known by various names including convex scissors or salon shears. They actually have two edges on each blade and all have to be correctly sharpened if they are to cut correctly. Hair has the hardness of copper. Dull shears push hair instead of cutting it and this can be fatiguing for a stylist and cause carpal tunnel syndrome. We use a Japanese system of two different grits which gives it a dynamic edge that doesn’t push hair but instead holds it and stays sharp.

If you know a hair stylist, treat him or her to a sharpening of their shears. They will be glad you did!

Can customers bring knives, scissors, and garden tools to your workshop in Frederick?
Yes, by appointment. There is usually a 15- to 30-minute turnaround time for most work, so you can either wait or go shopping (historic Frederick and Wegmans, Lowes, Giant, and other stores are nearby). If you can’t make it to Frederick, between May and October you can find us at some farmer’s markets: including the popular Olney Farmers and Artists Market. Check our Web page for our full schedule at rodssharpening.com. Like our Facebook page to get notifications about our schedule and other news.
Why did you get into sharpening?
I like to tinker. I also love to eat and am very focused on eating healthy foods. Knives that won’t cut and scissors that won’t snip properly are little things, but they can add to life’s frustrations. Because it’s frustrating to cut with a dull knife, people don’t eat well and choose to eat fast food. I believed people would eat a healthier diet at home if their cooking tools stayed sharp. My theory is that if cooking becomes easier, then healthy eating might follow.