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The coffee cup honer.

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by jackknife, Aug 11, 2010.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    The humble coffee mug or cup is a ubiquitous object at best. You wouldn't think of it as anything other than a container to get a nice warm cup of joe to ones mouth, let alone an object of possable embarrasment to anyone. After all, it's just a coffee cup, right?

    To my father it was a knife hone of opportunity not to be passed up. Dad aways told me that a dull knife was like a gun without ammo. Dad took his little pocket knife seriously, as it was part of the items a man in his day always had on him, like a handkerchief or bandana, a watch, and a pocket knife. In my dad's day, if a man had his pants on, he had certain items with him.

    Enter the coffee cup.

    Dad always told me that one should never pass up a chance to maintain his knife. Even though dad never carried much of a knife, he was a fanatic on keeping as razor an edge as possable at all times. He and Mr. Van, always had the view that when a man walked out the door in the morning, he never knew what will happen in the course of a day that he may need a sharp cutter. And it may be a dire need in an emergency. So dad was fairly uninhibited at touching up his little knife when he had the chance here and there. The 'there' of it being sometimes his mid-day cup of joe. Back then, it was not uncommon for a man to give a quick touch up to his knife using the unglazed ring on the bottom of a coffee mug. Now we have Sharpmakers and Edge Pro's and all kinds of gizmos to sharpen a knife. Back in my dad's day, things were a little bit more un-complicated. There was no rocket science to putting or keeping a sharp edge on a knife, and the simple way of doing things was looked on as the best way.

    It wasn't so bad at home, when dad would finish lunch and making sure the last drop of coffee had been drained, turn his cup over and give his knife a wee bit of honing on his cups bottom. Mom would shake her head, and just put up with it, but she was quite flustered when he'd do it out at a diner someplace. Looking at dad, he was quite predictable in his preparations. He'd take that last gulp, peer into the cup making sure it was all gone to the last drop, then he's reach into his pocket and take out his little peanut. Mom would always act embarrased, saying "Oh no, Lee, do you have to do that?" But it was never a very strong protest, and I have a feeling that it was just a quirk of dad's nature that was something she put up with.

    He'd take a few swipes back and forth, feel the edge gently, nod in satisfaction and then it was over. It took dad only about a minute to do the deed. To be fair, that was not an unusual action in some blue collar diner type of places in that era. Sometimes a fellow diner would see the knife and ask what it was, and they would take out thier own knife and he and dad would compare pocket knives and talk a bit. In fact, I have some memories of sometimes the situation turning into a sort of courthouse whittlers scene trasplanted to lunch time. Some man and dad looking over a well used small jack or penknife of the day, and swapping tales of past fishing trips and the one that got away. Men comparing pocket knives was a normal course of events in thier day. Sometimes the stranger would have a wife along, the two women would exchange glances while shaking thier heads as if to say "Men, what are we going to do with them?"

    I guess it was a different era back then. I only think of this because I was just having lunch with Karen at the Silver Diner here in the area, and I had the weird thought that I should check on my pocket knife and maybe give it a bit of a lick. But times have changed now, and I think I'd probably find a SWAT team responding to the 'old fart with a knife' call. Not that I worry over that as much as Karen's reaction to me honing my knife in a public eating establishment. Sometimes we have to keep the better half happy, and stiffle our manly impulse. There may be worse things to face than a SWAT team.:D
  2. berzerker


    Jan 27, 2002
    I've done this at various times and places, including my in-laws house--to sharpen some of their kitchen knives (before I bought them something more efficient). I've also passed this along to various customers over the years.
  3. The Government

    The Government

    Aug 21, 2009
    Great thread :)

    After reading about this type of thing in the traditional forum, I went out and bought a coffee mug for my personal after-coffee sharpening. I picked a cup with a very smoothed bottom ring:p.

    The "simple mug" put a shaving edge on my previously dull Opinel #6 (carbon blade) this morning. :thumbup::cool:
  4. PB Wilson

    PB Wilson

    Jul 17, 2006
    The first time I heard about this technique was in one of the Hannibal Lecter books.
  5. mugwump867

    mugwump867 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 12, 2004
    My mom used to use the larger unglazed ring on the bottom of our ceramic dinner plates to sharpen the kitchen knives. She usually ended the proceedings by warning us how sharp the knives were and then nicking herself.
  6. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    Maybe some company could come up with a se of mugs that are specially formulated for sharpening. Dad' can be extra coarse, Mom's can be coarse, sonny's can be fine, and sis extra fine.:D
  7. yobbos1


    Mar 29, 2002
    The only knives I have ever sharpened on a coffee mug were a carbon peanut and an Opinel #7 (carbon of course) works great. As far as the SWAT team goes; so far so good, they are usually too busy with their own coffee in the coffee-shop in my little town to bother with little me.:D;)
  8. HAKnPocket


    Mar 2, 2008
    Had a fraternity bother tell me his grandad would take him to McDonalds every saturday for breakfast and at the end of the meal he would sharpen his pocket knife on the edge of the marble topped table. He said it was one of his fondest childhood memory. Really a story I will never forget and I appreciate you sharing your story Carl.
  9. untamed


    Jan 7, 2003
    Another gem of a thread from Jackknife! :thumbup: Yep, keeping things--and life--simple. Sometimes, all it takes is your cup's butt :eek: I too sometimes do this time-honored technique.

    Ok ka bay! ;) :D
  10. John A. Larsen

    John A. Larsen

    Jan 15, 2001
    Jackknife, the first time I saw this done was some 45 years ago on Okinawa by my future Mother-In-Law. Until then I did not have a clue it could be done with a coffee cup. Have you ever seen someone use the top edge of their car window to sharpen their knife? I tried it, rolled the window down till about only 1/2-inch was exposed, then run the blade down the spine of the window. It works pretty well. John
  11. s.c.

    s.c. Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 2, 2003
    I gave a friend of mine a knife a while back. When I visited months later, it wasn't in great condition as he's not an enthusiast, just a casual user. I started to sharpen it on a coffee mug and he thought I was crazy. Started with the bottom of the mug, then the top, stropped on my jeans, and then on a magazine. It was shaving sharp afterwards. I don't remember where I initially learned that from, but it worked.
  12. singularity35


    Mar 1, 2010
    Bisaya ko bay, ikaw sad?
  13. temp9


    Jul 29, 2009
    My first "shaving sharp" edge was actually done on the bottom of a coffee cup. I actually still have that same cup in my room right now...somewhere...I think....
  14. amue


    May 31, 2010
    And I thought I was the only one using coffee mugs to sharpen my knives :D
    Still haven't done it in a public place though. :p
  15. mnblade


    Feb 7, 2000

    Not much of a knife
    !? :eek: Don't you read your own stories, jackknife? Tales of your dad's peanut have probably sold more of those little two-bladers than any promotion Case could come up with!

    Man, can I relate to this! :D
  16. Toyz


    Nov 2, 2006
    This I gotta try - thanks for the story.

    Am going to pass along to a few co-workers who are always looking for ways to hone their knives.
  17. Nightshifter


    Jul 27, 2010
    When I was a detective years ago we all use to do the same thing in the morning as we went over the patrolmen's reports from the previous shift. Back then we all had a traditional knife(stockman,etc.), or maybe a Buck 110 on our belt. Most of those guys are dead or retired now. I'm the last dinosaur still on the street!
  18. Bad Monkey

    Bad Monkey

    Jul 2, 2010
    'Tis a pretty handy way of gettin' a sharp edge for sure :thumbup: i've done it more than a few times.
  19. retired city cop

    retired city cop

    Oct 26, 2010
    well, Carl, thank you for your helpful post! just a few minutes ago i sharpened my case med. stainless steel stockman as you suggested and after light stropping it can now pop hairs!

    and oh, nightshifter, as a retired cop and detective, you brought back some wonderful memories for me! thank you

  20. dorpmuller


    Oct 25, 2010
    Nice story and very well written! Just tried it-got it phone book paper sharp.


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