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Mobile Sharpening Rig

While on a trip to Mendoza, Argentina, I came across a man sharpening scissors using a bicycle to power his grinding wheel. It’s a clever lo-tech combination.

He was performing this service in a pedestrian mall. After filming him, I walked away and when I looked back, he was gone, in pursuit of another place to ply his trade.

18 thoughts on “Mobile Sharpening Rig

  1. Es una profesión tradicional de Argentina. Es muy común en los pequeños pueblos de interior, y su llamado se hace mediante una especie de ocarina.
    Saludos desde Córdoba, Argentina.

  2. After filming him, I walked away and when I looked back, he was gone, in pursuit of another place to ply his trade.”
    Either that or his stand collapsed when you had your back turned and woooosh, off he went!

    James May just did a similar thing with his ‘Swiss Army’ bike on his Manlab programme.

  3. In Argentina it’s a common practice, mostly in the “suburbs” or “barrios”, you hear the “afilador (sharpener?)” blowing a plastic whistle, with different notes like a sort of harmonica that sounds like a whistle, to announce he’s working. You would go to your door with your knife or scissor.
    Now I usually see sharpeners with bicycles quite older than the one in the video… you just found a “premium” service haha :P, but they all have the grinding wheels pedal-powered ;)

  4. I remember that when I was a child in North London (UK) there used to be a man on a bike with a similar setup. That would have been about 44 years ago.

    Now excuse me please as my CoCo is getting cold.


  5. It used to be common here in TN, India too till about 8-10 years ago… But seem to have lost…. either that or my hometown has upgraded big time and these have moved on to smaller villages…:)

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DALE DOUGHERTY is the leading advocate of the Maker Movement. He founded Make: Magazine 2005, which first used the term “makers” to describe people who enjoyed “hands-on” work and play. He started Maker Faire in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, and this event has spread to nearly 200 locations in 40 countries, with over 1.5M attendees annually. He is President of Make:Community, which produces Make: and Maker Faire.

In 2011 Dougherty was honored at the White House as a “Champion of Change” through an initiative that honors Americans who are “doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.” At the 2014 White House Maker Faire he was introduced by President Obama as an American innovator making significant contributions to the fields of education and business. He believes that the Maker Movement has the potential to transform the educational experience of students and introduce them to the practice of innovation through play and tinkering.

Dougherty is the author of “Free to Make: How the Maker Movement Is Changing our Jobs, Schools and Minds” with Adriane Conrad. He is co-author of "Maker City: A Practical Guide for Reinventing American Cities" with Peter Hirshberg and Marcia Kadanoff.

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