For the past 15 years, Southold resident Bill Plock has been obsessed with custom knives — and perfecting the craft of keeping them sharp.
Plock, 46, works by day as a parts manager at Brewer Yacht Yard in Greenport and seasonally as a captain of the North Ferry to and from Shelter Island. In a basement work area, he’s been sharpening cutlery for friends and co-workers, but now he said he’s ready to launch a legitimate knife sharpening business to service the East End, Long Island Knife Works.
Though some local hardware stores offer the service, the closest professional sharpening services are in Shirley and Miller Place. Plock said he’s very aware of the importance of sharp knives in the lives of cooks, fishermen and even beauticians — Plock does sharpen scissors too.
“I don’t want to say I’m a knife collector, though I do collect — I’d say I’m more a knife enthusiast,” Plock said. “And I’ve been perfecting the craft of sharpening for years now.”
Plock, a Southold native, has traveled to custom knife trade shows for the past 15 years, one in Jersey City and another in Atlanta, G.A. He works with three devices in his home workshop — one a standard grinder to reconfigure broken tips, the other two for sharpening and molding blades with fine diamond stone and leather strapping tools.
The diamond sandpaper actually sharpens the blade while the leather molds it, making it smooth. The process is quite delicate and can be time consuming, depending on the level of damage to the blade.
“A typical sharpening takes me about 20 minutes, and up to 45 if the blade has bad chips,” Plock said.
Plock charges $8 to $12 depending on the knife and what sort of treatment it needs. He said he’s looking forward to proving himself to clients as to why they should use him instead of sharpening themselves.
“Right now I need to prove to them that I can get it a lot sharper than anyone else,” he said. “I think once they see how easy it is to filet that fish they will come back to me.”
Contact information for Long Island Knife Works:
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