Marinos Grandfather Giacomo Collini In London 1925
CRAFTER: Franchi seen in a timeless photo

WHAT do Harrods, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Marylebone Police Station have in common?

They’ve all had their knives sharpened by expert craftsman Marino Franchi.

The 55-year-old, now based in Javea, was taught the elite craft from age of three by his Italian grandfather and is now reigniting the family business in a changing world.

“No machine can do what I can do,” Franchi, from London, tells the Olive Press.

“I look at a knife and I know exactly how the chef’s handled it and how to sharpen it for him.

“It’s a lost art now, nobody thinks about getting their tools sharpened.

“But it’s far safer to have a fresh blade that might give you a small nick than force a blunt knife and cut your thumb off.”

In his lengthy career, Franchi said he has brought Savile Row tailors, in London, to tears by resurrecting their well-worn scissors.

But he insists the pleasure of sharpened steel exists for everyone.

“There’s nothing like the romance of me bringing your grandfather’s rusty old shears back from the shed to something that can be a tool of wonder,” Franchi says.

“Or chatting to your loved ones at a dinner party while effortlessly slicing your sole off the bone.”

Franchi’s methods mirror the same his grandfather’s when Giacamo Collini started trading in 1925 – using a whetstone that rotates at 1,500rpm.

The passionate craftsman says however he is likely one of Europe’s ‘last knife sharpeners’ operating at the high standard drilled into him by his grandfather.

“My grandfather was a fierce tutor, but a loving grandfather,” says Franchi, who was made to work ‘until his hands bled’ while school friends were out enjoying summer holidays.

“But every time I sit down at the whetstone I feel him smiling at me and I know I’m doing something good.”

Franchi can resurrect everything from scissors to knives to garden tools, giving them a lease of life for decades to come.

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