I heard from reader JD after he read today’s installment of People at Work, on Nick Cutter, professional shears sharpener. JD said he’s an amateur sharpener who cares for high-end knives for himself and his family. He closed his e-mail with this:

Working with steel and an edge has its own zen aspects

Well, I couldn’t leave it there, so I asked JD to explain what he meant. Here’s his enlightening response:

The essence of Zen is to do or not do (wobbling not allowed) to paraphrase a popular poster. When you sharpen a steel edge it is either done or not done, and since the scissor edges must meet exactly it is even harder to do exactly and properly.


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