By Gianna Volpe
The time to carve that epic Thanksgiving bird is just around the corner, which makes this a busy time of year for the Hamptons’ own knife-sharpening mogul, Greg Hollmann of Sharp Hamptons. The solar-powered trailer from which Mr. Hollmann soundlessly sharpens edges—whether on knives, axes or other tools—is now a favorite at farmer’s markets among those whose curiosities are piqued by the appearance of the tiny mobile workshop.
“It’s fun sharpening axes when I’m at the farmer’s markets because you’ll see a guy carrying a couple axes and know he’s coming to you,” Mr. Hollmann said with a laugh. “Kids also love when I sharpen axes because there’s always sparks flying, so they flock to the trailer.”
Baby-faced Justin Bieber was even counted among Mr. Hollmann’s customers this summer after Sharp Hamptons’ had a chance path crossing with the singer’s bus caravan at Bridgehampton Commons.
“I sharpened knives at Williams-Sonoma every Friday during the summer and one Friday there were all these tour busses in the parking lot and we didn’t know what was going on, but suddenly this guy came in with his Justin Bieber All-Access passes and a few knives, so I sharpened Justin Bieber’s tour knives,” said the 48-year-old Springs resident, adding Sharp Hamptons should be back outside Williams-Sonoma on the Saturday before Thanksgiving between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as well as outside East Hampton’s Domaine Franey Wines & Liquors on Pantigo Road between 4 and 7 p.m. that day for those in need of a sharper edge to carve their turkey.
Mr. Hollmann said Sharp Hamptons is able to sharpen just about anything—Japanese blades and serrated edges included. A house call may be in order for the homeowner who has a shed full of garden tools that’s ready to hibernate for the season as there’s no service charge for anyone with five or more knives and/or tools.
“We oil up garden tools because they won’t rust that way and we’ve got gift certificates because now’s the perfect time to get that stuff put away for the season,” he said, adding one recent house call turned out to be a gift in itself as “Madame Secretary” star Zelijko Ivanek had Sharp Hamptons visit Montauk to thank his friends who’d hosted him for a visit by having their knives sharpened.
And the South Fork isn’t the only place benefitting from the East End’s unique mobile business as Sharp Hamptons can also sometimes found at Browder’s Birds in Mattituck where Mr. Hollmann has worked to keep sharp the tools of the Browder’s organic farming trade. Sharp Hamptons also sources beeswax from the Browder’s home, making $12 per 8-ounce jars of multi-purpose conditioning cream.
“It was developed to condition wooden cutting boards, wooden spoons and salad bowls, but I have a woman who buys it and puts it in her hair,” Mr. Hollmann said of the stuff. “I’ll condition leather boots with it—even rub it into the wooden handles of the knives I sharpen—the beeswax penetrates into the handle to keep it moist and the mineral oil keeps the moisture locked in to protect it.”
Mr. Hollmann has become fairly well-versed in blades over the past two years Sharp Hamptons has been in operation, and though business has ultimately begun to boom, this is rather a new passion and mindfulness method for the former woodworker and photographer of two decades.
“I initially learned to sharpen knives because I needed to keep my woodworking tools sharp, but about two years ago, I had a health issue and had to kind of slow my life down,” he said. “I was commuting into the city two, three days a week from out here and that gets a little rough, so after my health issue I was literally lying in my hospital bed to see what I could do to de-stress and work for myself and was thinking about what we need out here in the Hamptons that I enjoy doing…I find it very relaxing to sharpen my own knives—and to do so by hand—so since I already knew how to sharpen knives and tools, the idea of starting a mobile knife-sharpening business just came to me.”
For more information: Check out Hollmann’s tips for slicing a Thanksgiving Turkey in the Express Magazine Holiday Book, on newsstands November 17, or call (646) 823-3346 or visit sharphamptons.com.