BONNERS FERRY — In Boundary County, one of the main industries is logging and mill work, with the addition of a wide variety of hobbyists and homesteaders. There are many people who utilize tools such as chainsaws, axes, knives, and a variety of other tools that need to be maintained and sharpened.
Seeing a need in the community for professional tool sharpening, Allen Avery took his knowledge and ideas, and has recently brought his expertise to share with the community.
Located in the old Pape Building, where the new Army Surplus store is located and the anticipated dollar store will be, Avery has set up his own niche where he has the space and tools to sharpen a wide variety of cutting blades.
There is a difference between someone who sharpens only knives and one who sharpens all tools. The distinction being the wide variety of sharpening tools and knowledge to properly restore each type of tool to its intended glory.
“What do you do with your hair clipper blades when they get dull and are pulling your hair out?” asked Avery. “I am here for that. Axes and chainsaws and everything that cuts basically.”
Speaking of how he came to know the sharpening trade, Avery said, “as a little kid, cutting firewood with my dad growing up, I learned how to sharpen chainsaws, which was probably the first thing that I learned how to sharpen.”
From there, Avery learned how to sharpen other useful tools.
“Then, as a young man I bought a used knife that had a chip in the blade, which drove me nuts,” said Avery. “I wanted it taken care of, but I didn’t know anybody who could sharpen it for me, so I had to learn on my own.”
Finding a need meant learning how to accomplish the finishing goal, which lead Avery to take the next step.
“I grabbed my great uncle’s sharpening stone, which is the same one that I still use today,” said Avery. “And I just taught myself from there.”
Eventually, Avery ended up landing a plumbing job in Sagle, where he noticed his boss had a stash of hole saws, which are drill bits that drill large holes. These expensive bits had been damaged and were in need of some care, which Avery volunteered to do.
“As soon as you hit nails with them, they don’t work anymore,” said Avery. “Being really expensive bits, you don’t want to just throw them away. So I asked if I could sharpen them, and he said go ahead, and I did. It turned out that I was really good at it.”
From there, Avery experimented with sharpening different tools, practicing and learning the art.
“It is something that I am really passionate about, and I am really good at it,” said Avery. “I think it will be a great service for this town.”
When Avery began the tool sharpening business, he didn’t have a plethora of start-up money, but that never deterred the young entrepreneur from pursuing his goals. He set up a Facebook page to gather customers over the online platform, bringing in work all around the area.
“People started seeing it, and I would then get in contact with them, meet them wherever they were at, and sharpen their tools for them,” said Avery.
After noticing the inconvenience that his on-call business had — not only for the customer, but for himself — Avery sought a new venue for customers to bring their tools into at their own leisure.
“I started pursuing where I could get a shop from,” said Avery. “It was my desire to be able to stand here, sharpen your tools, talk to the customers, and interact with the community in that kind of a way.”
After sharpening some tools for a fellow community member, Avery took his customer’s advice and talked to the owner of the previously known Pape Building about renting a space. After negotiations and some renovations, Avery has his own space in the building complete with some resale wares.
“I came and talked to the owner, who gave me a tour of the place,” said Avery. “He showed me this spot here, which needed some renovations. It really just got me in the door and he has been really supportive.”
He has progressively utilized the space for a few retail items such as refurbished axes, books, and other related items.
“I really like tools, it is something that I am really passionate about,” said Avery. “But selling them is not the main aspect of my business. It is more for decoration really, but if I can make a dollar on it, then cool. I rehandle all of these axes myself, I polish them, and I make the sheaths for them, but that is more of a hobby.”
Avery will be providing his services at both the Bonners Ferry, Troy, and Sandpoint farmers markets throughout their seasons.
“I want to reach those people who are the heart of this community,” said Avery.
Avery not only brings a unique business to the area, but he brings friendly customer service and professional quality work to his patrons.
“It is all about the tools,” said Avery. “If you have the right tools, you can do anything.”
His card boasts a punch card system, with so many tools sharpened and a freebie to boot. Located at 6606 Main St., across from the Boundary County Middle School in the former Pape Building, Avery is open five days a week from noon to 6 p.m. His phone number is 208-627-2153 and he also has a Facebook page under Professional Tool Sharpening.