Biggest part of the business was sharpening clipper blades. Clippers have two blades sliding back and forth past each other so unlike knives, which need a beveled edge, clipper blades need to be flawlessly flat on their face, the surfaces where they meet.
When Mike first started training me, sometimes I’d ask him to check my edge. Are these sharp enough? Am I overdoing it, grinding too much metal away, shortening the life of the blade? Am I working fast enough?
Because he’s the closest friend I’ve had in my whole life, our conversations included a bunch of personal sharing you might not expect to find in a greasy hairy machine shop on a truck. Life, the universe, and everything — we covered it all.
In time, the phrase “check my edge” came to mean more than the mechanics of blade sharpening. I’m almost 20 years older than Mike. He grew up in the country, having adult responsibilities when he was quite young. We each had a vast storehouse of experience and knowledge the other didn’t. We shared. A lot.
When one of us asked the other, “Hey, check my edge?” it was about the value of another mind and heart, another set of life experiences, weighing in on a choice, a challenge.