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The importance of a sharp blade

ANN/THE STAR – Giving your knife a mirror polish is not just for good looks – that gleam means your blade is sharp at a microscopic level.

Though the edge may look and feel keen, it is actually full of chips, nicks, rolls and burrs at the microscopic level.

These deformities cause the edge to go blunt quickly when continually used. Only when that edge gleams like a mirror will it be truly keen.

While doing camp chores, for example, an outdoorsman’s cutting tools need to start out super sharp so that they stay that way for as long as possible before field-sharpening is needed. “When it is not sharp, we must use more force to cut something. That can cause us to make mistakes and even cut ourselves.

“A sharp knife cuts precisely and with little effort, so the chances of an accident are smaller,” explained master knife sharpener Mohd Faddli Abdullah, 39. Kuala Lumpur-born Mohd Faddli is the son of a traditional cattle butcher.

Mohd Faddli honing a knife. PHOTO: ANN/THE STAR

His father has many knives for skinning, cleaving, chopping and what-have-you.

Ever since Mohd Faddli was a boy, his father taught him how to hone those blades. Mohd Faddli grew up to be an electrician but continued helping his father and grew to love sharpening knives as an art of sorts.

In 2021, he paired his skill as an electrician with his knife-honing abilities and built his own electric belt sharpener. He ordered parts from China, Japan and the United States to build it.

The what and how of his machine are trade secrets, though he was willing to reveal that he had spent close to MYR30,000 buying the components. He now plies many neighbourhoods in the Klang Valley daily, especially gated communities, sharpening residents’ knives and garden and farming tools.

He estimates that perhaps 20 per cent of his customers’ knives are for outdoor use, and they are a challenge he enjoys.

“Blades for outdoor use are always thicker and made with steel that are a lot tougher than home varieties,” he said.

Fortunately for Mohd Faddli, it still takes less than 10 minutes to give almost any outdoorsman’s blade a mirror edge with his high-speed belt sharpener.

“They are beautifully made and a joy to sharpen,” he added.

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