Messes, Frustration, and Fun on Maintenance Day

I spent the day making and cleaning messes and making things both better and worse. That’s what Maintenance Day is all about.

Knives:
I started with knives. Although I do some basic, regular maintenance on our kitchen knives, every few months I break out the Bar Keeper’s Friend, the stones and the strops to do serious maintenance.

First I scrub the knives clean and then I remove the edge and all the damaged metal and then start, in theory, resetting the apex. This step in the process involves swearing, frustration and the eventual admittance that the low grit stone I own is crap and (and concave) and is keeping me from forming the apex. I quickly move to a higher grit stone and eventually form an apex that actually cuts. I then strop it lightly a few times and call it done.

This leaves it clean and sharp until the next time I do all this.

If I did this more often I’d be better at it, but knife sharpening is one of those things I’m glad to have done but don’t always enjoy doing. This time there was an added twist: even though I don’t do this level of maintenance very often, I can see the cheap blade is starting to wear down to the point that it needs to be replaced and I totally didn’t do this on purpose and this totally isn’t an excuse to go knife shopping. No. Really. It isn’t.

Fountain Pens:
I also used today to do maintenance on various fountain pens. This involves washing them out and, if I want to change ink, soaking the nib and feed. Today, though, all I did was refill pens, which is a lot easier. I still managed to make a mess, though.

First, one of the pens has an odd leak around the ink window that is about to see it relegated to Garbage Reserve after its replacement arrives. (And after I review it on this blog.) This meant I had ink on my hands before I’d actually started refilling pens.

This turned out to be an omen I should have heeded:

I refilled five pens, and managed to get five different shades of ink on my fingers and, oddly, on the back of my hand. I look like a guy who got the ultimate drunken tattoo. I told the tattoo artist “Make it say LOVE and HATE on my” (drunken belch) “fingers.” The next day I discover the tattoo artist was also drunk and wrote the words JAKE and ELWOOD on my finger tips with a permanent marker and he is now passed out on my couch.

This is part of the fun of fountain pens, and part of their curse. You wear the ink as much as you use it even when you’re trying to be careful.

And I still can’t figure out how the tattoo artist found my apartment.

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