Mike’s Sharpening – The Lost Art


It seems that a man working with his hands is a lost art.  It’s largely tied now to big box retailers telling us that they can help us do it, a ridiculous  corporate-sponsored ‘reality’ show where some surfer-dude / decathlete type, turned handyman, guts an entire home in 3 days and then ceremoniously shows off his over-the-top creation for the entire world to see, or it’s some contractor telling us a problem is so severe that we end up paying insane amounts of money to have it fixed.

TFG doesn’t want your help, we can manage just fine; thank you.  We’re here because we thought what we could use to do the job broke, we narrowly avoided seriously injuring ourselves in an experiment, or we want to check things out a bit before we pay Joe The Plumber to do it.

IMG_1073Mike’s Sharpening is the living relic in the lost art of a man working with his hands.  His office is his 1964 Chevy C/K pickup truck turned workshop.  He parks it barely to the side of the street, as if to reinforce his slogan to passers by, “Original & Still the Best.”  The inside of his truck looks like my high school shop class.  There, he has his work bench, a grinding machine, and a fire extinguisher.

Mike is disinterested in what’s going on around him.  He was focused solely on the job, grinding some knives on his old grinding machine.  It makes sense.  Who has time for distractions when dealing with sharp objects?


IMG_1081Pass around to the passenger side of Mike’s truck and you’ll find his Chevy’s swing-out door wide open with one of his two dogs laying at the top of the stairs.  The other dog was sleeping, obscured because of his dark coat against the dark interior of the bus.  The Pitbull picks his head up to see me snap a photo.  Indifferent to my presence, like his owner, he puts his head back down and resumes being lazy.


It doesn’t get more simple, or better than this; a man, his hands, some tools, his workshop, and his dogs.  It is most significant, however, because he is the unique example of a lost art.



  1. Eric

    Love this little editorial, and the photos to go along with it. I agree with you in what you’ve said about a man having an innate need to have a skill related to working with his hands, if not as a vocation, at least as an avocation. I’ve always maintained a sizeable stable of tools, maybe as some kind of crutch, and I don’t shy away from the need to fix something. There’s a certain satisfaction in it; I hope it’s not lost amongst our fellow men. It’s an important part of who we are. I liked the reminder of that brought forth in this editorial.

    Keep those posts coming, Mark!

  2. Mark

    Hey Eric, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Sadly, it is lost among many of us. Many guys don’t know how to change a tire, or even own a basic toolset, e.g. screwdriver, hammer, drill. I’m always astounded when my friends tell me they don’t have tools, or when my women tell me about guys who don’t know how to fix something. Hard to believe.

    Thanks for following my blog. It’s greatly appreciated. It’s comments like yours that make me keep it going.


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