What’s Happening at the Market: Keepin’ Sequim sharp

Some offerings at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market feel completely quintessential to the Saturday market experience. For example, it’s difficult to imagine a stroll through the market without a chat with Dennis Westendorf, owner of A Razor Edge Sharpening.

In his third season with the market, the beloved bladesmith said he has experienced firsthand the value his skilled services bring to the community.

“They were waiting for a sharpener to show up in town,” Westendorf said. “The market is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger. More and more people are coming and enjoying it. My business has grown as a result of that.”

Though his efficiency has increased in the past three years, Westendorf said his knife and tool sharpening process remain the same: His aim has always been to provide market guests with a “top rate, Cadillac job.”

Westendorf measures each tool by length, inspecting it for bent or broken pieces. He then works to meticulously sharpen each piece, completing the process with a thorough polishing.

Westendorf said he often receives phone calls from visitors from out of town (Port Angeles, Bremerton, Port Orchard) eager to travel for his sharpening services.

“With the status of the market expanding, it’s now so large it allows people to drop things off to me early and spend a couple of hours wandering around shopping and grabbing some food,” Westendorf said. “They’re able to shop while they get their things sharpened.”

“They’ll say, ‘I’ve been to farmers markets throughout the state and they don’t have a sharpener.’ It’s unique, but it fits well with the farmers market.”

Laden with bundles of cherished, pointy objects, regulars and visitors alike make their way to check in with Westendorf in his weekly location at the market.

Situated next to Nomad Coffee on the market grounds, Westendorf sharpens tools as he chats with market guests in line to place their coffee orders.

Westendorf is a familiar, friendly face to market shoppers and they can’t get enough of his work.

“A number of people come back every year, sometimes even after several months depending on how much they use their tools,” he said. “Then they tell their friends.”

Often clad in his signature T-shirt (which proudly proclaims that he “plays with knives”), Westendorf has established a strong set of repeat customers, both individual and commercial.

With professional clients ranging from pet groomers to dental offices to landscapers, Westendorf has further developed his operation to meet the growing need.

“I’ve expanded to include some larger industrial machines at my home shop,” he said. “People can drop off things like mower blades, planer blades, circular saw blades. I’ll take them to my home shop and work on those there where I have more specialized equipment that doesn’t fit in the mobile trailer.”

An expansive service list and more information can be found on Westendorf’s website (arazoredge.com) although he encourages folks to reach out if they have a tool that requires sharpening that’s not on the list.

“If they wonder about something, please ask, because there’s a very good chance I’ll be able to sharpen it,” he said.

To say that Sequim relies on Westendorf’s expertise would be an understatement. As his following has grown, so has the community’s loyalty.

“People always ask if I’m from here, they’re afraid I’m not going to be here very long,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to say, ‘Oh I live just a mile from here.’ We’ve put down our roots. People are so relieved to know that the mobile shop isn’t going far.”

And Westendorf’s response to the cheery reception that greets him each market day?

“It’s a nice feeling,” he said. “Everybody loves the sharpener!”

A Razor Edge Sharpening can be found at the Sequim Farmers and Artisans Market, open every Saturday from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. through Oct. 29. Visit your community market at Sequim Civic Center Plaza at North Sequim Avenue and West Cedar Street.

Want more market updates? Be sure to tune in every Thursday at 4 p.m. to KSQM 91.5 FM for the live radio “Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market Hour.”

Emma Jane Garcia is the director of the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.

Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market

Open: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 29

Location: Sequim Civic Center Plaza and Centennial Place, downtown Sequim

More info: manager@sequimmarket.com

On the web: sequimmarket.com

Photo by Emma Jane Garcia/Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market
Dennis Westendorf offers services at the A Razor Edge Sharpening booth at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.

Photo by Emma Jane Garcia/Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market Dennis Westendorf offers services at the A Razor Edge Sharpening booth at the Sequim Farmers & Artisans Market.