By Marty Bass

Hi everyone!

TGIF… ain’t that the truth?

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Today we met a truly legit character and skilled man. Frank Mondaldi Sr. is a third generation knife and blade sharpener, otherwise known as a grinder. He learned the art (and it is an art form) from his uncles, who learned it from his grandfather.

Back “in the day” butchers, fishmongers and even grocers needed sharp knives, as did homes. Using a horse-drawn wagon, Monaldi’s grandfather would ply the streets and neighborhoods, sharpening their steel.

Throw in restaurants and a growing population using home cutlery, and the potential business grows, bringing other family members into the trade. In the early 1970s, Frank had been discharged from the Navy and took up his family’s craft.

He told us his uncle could listen to a knife on the 700-pound grinding wheel and know if he was doing it right, if the angle of the blade was perfect to make the steel razor sharp. Now, after thousands of jobs, he nails it every single time.

Fast forward to the recent pandemic, which killed about 80% of Frank’s business. It just goes to show how far reaching the implications of a global health crisis can be. When restaurants are doing a fraction of their business, knives do not need frequent sharpening.

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But Frank held steady and prayed and finally business is starting to pick back up. Toss in the changing seasons, and the business Frank will get from sharpening mower blades and the like, and sunnier days lie ahead.

As I mentioned, Frank is a character. He could do standup comedy with the best of them. And his tales of growing up in Little Italy tell a story of family, of people, of friends–the fabric of Baltimore itself.

Need your cutting blades sharpened? I know just the guy. Just ask Frank, who will tell you he is the “sharpest guy in town.” I have his contact information. Just drop me an email with the subject line “Knife Sharpener,” and I’ll get back to you.

Alright y’all, it is finally the weekend. Get your laidback vibes on, find ya some fun and be safe out there!

– Marty B!

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