ARTICLE & PHOTOS BY: Kali McCrackin Goodenough
Everyone has something that needs sharpened, and for Richard and Shawnn Lively, owners of The Knife Guy, it’s the people they meet that they love most about the business.
“You get to meet so many different people,” Richard says. “I might sharpen only garden tools for one customer and they talk to me about all the neat stuff they grow.”
One of Richard’s most memorable sharpening projects was a pair of scissors. “The scissors were 75 years old when I sharpened them,” Richard says. The customer had purchased them when she was 14 years old and brought them with her from Japan.
“She hadn’t been able to use them for years because they’d gotten so dull and out of adjustment. It took me three days of work to get them to work,” Richard says, and it was worth it. The customer was so happy to have her scissors working again.
Richard sharpens anything, except electric sheers. He has sharpened everything including knives, food processor blades, garden tools, meat cutter blades, saws, ice cleats, and even a four-foot long sword.
Richard learned to sharpen knives from his brother. “I was a cook and my brother bought a really nice sharpening stone. I cook with my brother and I had to learn to take care of my own knifes.”
However, Richard got his start sharpening knives and tools for others after becoming disabled.
“I needed to do something or I’d go crazy,” he says. “So, we started doing the markets.”
“I put a flyer up at the university about the knife sharpening,” Shawnn says, and they were asked by a previous market manager to come to the farmers’ market, which at that time was the downtown market. “So, we started downtown in 2006, just sharpening. In 2012, we bought knives to sell.”
When the Thursday Local Market started in 2012, Richard and Shawnn moved with the market. The location of the market was a positive change for Richard.
“I like the fact that it’s got grass, got trees,” Richard says. “People are more laid back here.” He especially enjoys watching market-goes go by with their dogs, and occasionally their more unusual pets.
This week, stop by The Knife Guy booth to chat with Richard and Shawnn, and perhaps bring down those old yard clippers or those kitchen knives that could do with a good sharpening. Richard and Shawnn will be more than happy to help you out!