I recently came across this at an auction:

George Kent’s Antique English Rotary Knife Sharpener

This lot has sold for $700.

Description19th century, oak case with iron and brass mounts, with direction plate and labels.

Size: 18 x 17 x 8 in.

Condition: Surface stains and separation cracks to case; appears to be in working order.

For an explanation of the device, read the device:


The label says it all.

P1020922 - Version 2

Not that informative, I just like the look.

Some information from the Live Auctioneer website:

A Rotary disc hand-operated knife sharpening and cleaning machine. The oak drum sits on 2 iron brackets. Produced between 1850 and 1900. Made by George Kent of High Holborn London. Knives are placed in the slots at the top of the rotary oak box. Inside are roller sharpeners, buffers, and bristles that sharpen, clean, and polish the knives. An abrasive powder was poured into the machine as the polishing agent. These machines were very popular before stainless steel knives were made.

If you are interested, there is a longer article HERE from the New-York Historical Society.

I sometimes get so involved in taking the pictures that I don’t really pay attention to what I’m taking pictures of. All technique and no context. This item was one of those items lost in the fog. I vaguely remember taking the pictures but only became aware of it when I was reviewing my pictures for the blog.

This is one of those things I might have wanted to own. As I have mentioned before, I am not a collector. More an accumulator. A collection implies intent or pursuit of a goal. For instance, acquiring every known variant of the type 608 Stanley Bed Rock 24″ jointer plane in existence (and a few only imagined.) That’s a collector.

As an accumulator, I am more likely to come across something interesting or novel that is sufficiently different from things I own and take it home, if priced reasonably. My wife believes that as we get older we should be actively deacessioning, that is, owning less, getting rid of things. I am stocking up with the intent of offering one of the most interesting estate sales in the Triangle area, creating opportunities for the next generation of accumulators.

Doing research, I saw that there were  several of these devices sold at auction for amounts in the $300’s, fairly high for something that’s just amusing but not out of the question. I was relieved to see it sold for $700, definitely in the collector range. Way more than amusing.

On a different topic, anyone willing to share their opinions of Fine Woodworking Live? I attended several Woodworking in America‘s but I believe it is dead. There was a time when I knew most of the people in the Popular Woodworking building but that time is now gone. Well, I do know David Thiel but we were never that close.  And if nothing in this paragraph makes any sense, don’t worry. Your much better off not knowing or caring.

And if not knowing bothers you that much, Google it.