The Colorado knife sharpener carries on the old tradition – and keeps the blades sharp | Culture & Leisure

Knives are easy for Erik Newsholme.

People strolling through the Farmers Market might be impressed by its sharpening facility, a sort of pop-up machine shop.

He’s been there, among stalls full of fruit or crafts, most Saturdays for the past two seasons with two sets of coveralls and an array of metal tools.

The longtime knife sharpener came up with the idea after visiting the Black Forest backyard market.

“I was blown away by the energy and the sellers,” he said. “I thought it didn’t make sense that people were buying all this stuff and butchering it with their dull knives.”

Newsholme suggests customers drop off their knives, scissors or other types of blades while they shop in the market to be repaired when they return. Many customers return for service “that not everyone can do”, he said.

“Sharpening is so simple,” he said. “But it’s so simple it’s difficult.”

Newsholme is used to doing things not everyone can do. Consider a goal he set for himself in 2014 to complete the Race Across America, a 3,000-mile cycling race traveling from California to Maryland.

He dedicated his days to preparing for what is called the “toughest bicycle race in the world”.

“When you’re training for America’s toughest race, you don’t have much time for anything else,” he said.

It helped to have a flexible job like sharpening knives.

After failed attempts to finish the race in the summers of 2015 and 2016, Newsholme thought his dream was over.

He and his wife, Beverly, moved to Colorado Springs from Atlanta in late 2016.

Then, in 2019, he got the itch again. By the time he joined the Black Forest market, his training stories made customers and other sellers happy. They were among those cheering Newsholme on for the 2021 race, which the cyclist considered his last hurray.

This time he had the advantage. Newsholme completed the course. It took him 11 days. He was the first man to cross the finish line. And, at 56, he became the oldest person to ever finish the race.

“It was a big part of my life for over seven years,” he said. “Now it’s time to move on.”

It means shifting one’s attention from the road to the blade. Newsholme has devoted more energy to his mobile business, which he calls Erik “The Blade” Sharpener.

In addition to setting up shop at Backyard Market this season, Newsholme does house calls and invites customers to his Peyton home for appointments.

“I try to make it as convenient for people as possible,” he said. “Sharpening isn’t something on most people’s minds until they use their dull blades and the frustration mounts.”

Newsholme knows this from experience. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of sharpening.

He got it from his father, who started a knife sharpening business in the 1980s in New York City after seeing push carts offering the service all over town. They continued the century-old tradition of “moletas”, grinders who traveled from village to village in northern Italy. He and his father have saved cookware from hundreds of restaurants, from those with celebrity chefs to mom and pop dinner parties.

“The common theme is that they need sharp knives to get the most out of their grocery dollar,” Newsholme said.

This applies to anyone who wants to slice a tomato.

The days of moletas in all neighborhoods may be over. But Newsholme keeps the skills sharp, which is often a sight on market days.

“I think they’re surprised anyone is still doing the craft,” he said. “There really aren’t many guys like me out there anymore.”


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