Master is sharp dressed man at farmer’s market
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Updated: October 28, 2012 6:33AM
NORTHFIELD — In his casual t-shirt, Dave Nells of Skokie is one sharp dressed man at the Northfield Farmers Market.
As master sharpener in these here parts on Happ Road most Saturdays during farmers market season, the sound of a small red generator is a giveaway that Nells is open for business, welcoming most things with a dull edge.
Steak knives, lawnmower blades, and yep, even garden shovels, Nells sharpens things that help people garden or humbly slice daily bread.
“What’s happening now is we’re cooking together in the kitchen again, we’re baking, we’re going back to the healthy style of life,” said Nells, who with his wife Amanda are business partners at Chicago area farmers markets.
The parents of two children – Malia, 5, and Wynnsten, six months – sequed fromwatch repair and have developed a loyal customer following since starting the business 12 years ago.
“It was kind of part time,” Nells said. “And actually the passion came out, it started with hair shears, grooming shears, knives, and clipper blades and lawn equipment and shovels, and it just kept spiraling.”
Nells feels he is helping families get back to the basics, and a good sharp knife makes all the difference at meal prep time.
“Going back to the kitchen means more family and gathering at the table,” he said. “I believe people would have more to say at the dinner table than at a restaurant table. You can actually have a comfortable conversation.”
Nells has sharpened small swords and “some interesting hunting axes.”
What stands out as the most unusual item he’s sharpened?
“I would probably say some homemade knives that are very unique for their purpose.”
There is a safety element, as well.
“Actually, believe it or not, you can hurt yourself with a dull knife,” Nells said, explaining how unnecessary pressure placed on rough knives causes slippage and injuries.
As Nells spoke, patrons carried coffee cups while they conversed. Many stopped at the Sharpening by Dave tent to drop off metal wear.
“I’m delighted that he’s here,” said Mindy Nadell, a 15-year Glenview resident and loyal customer. “I bring him a lot of stuff. I try to keep my knives sharp.”
On a beautiful blue sky morning, North Shore shoppers carried bouquets of fresh flowers or pints of fresh raspberries, many wearing exercise gear after a brisk morning walk.
“Am I sharp dressed man?” Nells asked, with a laugh. “I like to think that I am sharp, but the t-shirt, it goes along with the territory, you know, we go anywhere from a cold morning to a hot afternoon, so we have to kind of dress appropriately.”