The period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve usually means some rest with our families for the most of us. But if you’re like one of the crew – or just an average knife freak – chances are that you grow tired of doing nothing by December 27th, while the wife/girlfriend/parents still don’t tolerate any noise or absence during family meals.
The crew suffers from the same problem, so we take a little detour from our MAXIMUM PUNISHMENT project and collect the tips that help us survive this period.
1. Knife Maintenance
Now is the time to take out the sharpening stone from the drawer and take care of your inventory. Although most of us are keen on keeping a fine edge on our favourite blades, some knives tend to get less attention during the year. How are those knives in the kitchen? Your SO might be amazed how well they actually cut after a little touch up. Just tell her to be careful once those slicers actually start working.
And what about your folders? Taking one apart, thoroughly cleaning and oiling the components and putting back together everything can be a lot of time, but not only will this expand its service life, it will also make the mechanics work smoother and more reliably.
Taking care of your sheaths, harnesses and handles are also a must which most of us overlook during “business time”. Synthetic materials need little to no attention, but wooden and leather components need some oil or wax to preserve their natural shine, while torn and worn harness and sheath components are best repaired or replaced before they fail.
This period is usually a downtime for most of us, so it is best to schedule the maintenance work to this time interval. This way, your gear will be 100% up to the challenge when spring comes.
2. Shop Maintenance
Most knife enthusiasts have at least a bench where they can work on their projects or maintain their equipment. This is the time to do a thorough cleaning in your domain and assort all the little pieces that have been laying around for months. Are all your flat-head screwdrivers sharp and ready to use? When was the last time you oiled the bearings in your Dremel? If the answer is “Never”, then you may have a problem in a few years at the most…
Fixing your equipment is another good idea. Even some paint and oil can go a long way, not to mention chores like changing handles, fastening loose bits, or replacing some screws. With a bigger shop come bigger tasks, like changing the oil in the compressor, replacing those worn out bearings in one of the motor or filling up the sandblasting cabinet with sand. But workshop owners know the drill anyway. Most of these maintenance work can be done in relative quiet and without power tools, so it may be a good idea to take a break from the family and retire to your workshop for an hour or two. If you have little kids, you might ask them to help out daddy or mommy and clean the screwdriver set that started to rust on you.
3. Sketching Plans for the Next Project
Many knife enthusiasts have a clear vision about their ideal knife. Something you have been constantly thinking about, but never had a chance to lay it on paper while you were at work, driving home, taking care of the kids or doing the housework. Now is the time you grab a pen and a piece of paper and draw the knife which is just right for you. This way, you’re gonna have something to show a custom knifemaker when you place an order.
Or you can take your favourite knife and outline the modifications that you have been planning for the last season.
4. Catch up with the Reading
Knife literature is a bottomless well, and the list of books grows every year. Even if you have no specific article in mind (that one that seemed very interesting, but you just didn’t have the time to read), one can always learn something new about blade and handle materials, technologies or next year’s model lines at your favourite brand.
Diving deeper into forum threads is also a good idea. Forums like BritishBlades or BladeForums have 10+ pages of threads at least on every topic, so it may take days of reading to get to the end of it.
As an extra, you can do all this among your family, so daddy (or mommy) is right there should the kids need something.
5. Make a YouTube Marathon
If a picture is worth a thousand words, than what is the value of a video? We have no idea, but finding good and informative clips on YouTube is a piece of cake nowadays. After clicking the link of your choice, related videos just keep popping up thanks to the site’s advanced search algorithms to the point that you only notice that it’s night again. If you have no idea where to start, you might enjoy watching this one. Then take a look at the right side of the screen.
We could offer several arguments why you should watch online videos instead of the good old cable, but here’s the most important: you actually learn something. It’s amazing how custom knifemakers are willing to share their methods, but even if you’re not that into this stuff, there are plenty of videos that are easy to digest and show exactly what you’re interested in.
Not only that, if you’re a typical knife freak, at the end of the day your head will be full of ideas that these videos cultivated.
6. Teach Others How It’s Done
There were times when carving a turkey was an integral part of family etiquette. Even with those days gone, you can still show your kids the 101 of using knives: how to slice food, how to carve wood, how to look after a knife, so you can spare yourself a lot of worries in the long run.
Or, you can take your time and explain your SO why not to cut on a plate instead the usual mumbling.
Basically, these are the methods that the crew uses to balance project work and family time during the holidays. We’re gonna be back soon with our original MAXIMUM PUNISHMENT story line, but until then take it easy, spend some time with your loved ones and have a beer or two. See you next time!