Austin sharpening at the Beans and Barley Farmers Market, Milwaukee, WI, 2004

Austin sharpening at the Beans and Barley Farmers Market, Milwaukee, WI, 2004

The Sharp Brothers Help Cooks Keep Their Edge

Taking form in 2004, The Sharp Brothers started as a father and son duo. Lee has been sharpening for over 50 years. He began as a young boy growing up on a farm in southern Illinois and now sharpens the knives of top chefs, frivolous home cooks, and unusual yokels. He possesses a certain finesse and wisdom which can only be accumulated with decades of care and respect towards maintaining the functionality of our favorite edged tools. Austin, his son, with fine eyes and nimble hands has been sharpening since he was 14.

In 2012, after finishing an undergraduate degree at The Evergreen State College, he moved to Oakland, CA. Starting at the Kensington Farmers Market, he slowly expanded to many Bay Area farmers markets and restaurants. Now you can book knife sharpening parties, house calls, or see him and his staff performing at local farmers markets.

Over the years they have trained other sharpeners and placed them under their wings on an apprentice program. They work under taut and tame supervision to become master sharpeners. You can meet them at farmers markets, knife sharpening parties, block parties and more.

The Sharp Brothers use state-of-the-art equipment. Their fine gritted, two-inch belt sander lays a small burr and a high-speed leather wheel removes it making the perfect edge without taking much steel off. Once the burr is removed, a cotton wheel puts the final polish on it. They have sharpened over 100,000 knives and counting in the Milwaukee and San Francisco / Oakland Bay area.

Indeed, The Sharp Brothers act as “Knife Whisperers” as they are often asked to mediate the dissonance between knives and their owners.  The knives talk to the Sharp Brothers during sharpening. The sharpeners then translate the information to owners with the collective goal of improved care and appreciation for their knives.  See our  We the United Knives of Your Kitchen Drawer for more information.

Sharpening Around the World

We are always curious and thrilled to meet sharpeners on our travels. It is fascinating to share techniques and see unique styles. Below our some sharpeners from around the world we've had the pleasure of meeting!



Austin Freese

Co-founder - Master Sharpener - Favorite Sharp Thing: "Reshaped 7-inch vintage carbon steel santoku"


Bret Ward

Master Sharpener - Favorite Sharp Thing: “I like a sharp pencil.”