Chris Schwarz's Blog

Steve Cooke, 'The Sharpening Guy,' Dies at 61

I’m sad to announce that the world has lost another good saw sharpener.

Steve Cooke, 61, of York, Pa., died on March 17. Cooke was the founder of Cooke’s Sharpening Service, which specialized in sharpening all forms of edge tools. But Cooke had a special place in his heart for saws, and he had an impressive collection.

I sent a lot of readers to Cooke because he always had an excellent selection of working saws that he had (lightly) restored, sharpened and priced them to sell to people who were interested in using them , instead of hanging them on the wall.

Personally I have about four or five saws that Cooke restored, including a nice 12-point saw I use for fine crosscuts and a very large Disston D7 with a thumbhole rip handle. Dealing with him was always a pleasure, and I know a lot of readers who became quite fond of him as well.

To read his full obituary, you can read this story from the York Daily Record.

- Christopher Schwarz

10 thoughts on “Steve Cooke, 'The Sharpening Guy,' Dies at 61

  1. Stephanie Cooke

    I just want to thank everyone for such nice comments about my dad. I’m his only daughter, and I remember going to work with him and watching him make saw blades and then move into sharpening them….he truly loved what he did. I miss him so much everyday and its great to see that you all loved the saws he sharpened for you.

    Thanks again,
    Stephanie

  2. Mark Hochstein

    I had the pleasure of sitting with Steve on two separate occasions as he sharpened my saws and gave me a running sharpening class as he did it. He was a very nice guys, extremely knowledgeable and willing to teach those who were interested. He will be sorely missed.

    Mark

  3. Gary

    I’ve got a couple saws from Steve. I used to exchange emails and the occasional phone call with him just to talk. He was great with saws and was a gentleman.

    Gary

  4. Shannon Brown

    He sharpened several saws of mine a few years back. He was one of the nicests, sweetest human beings I’ve ever had the privledge to meet. He’s the one who gave me the courage to start sharpening my own saws and even gave me a set of files to begin with. He was a great man.

  5. Skip Taylor

    Sad news indeed. Although I never met him in person, I talked to him on a number of occasions on the phone about saws. In fact, most of the hand saws I own came from him. He was remarkable in many ways, but perhaps the most unusual thing was his natural inclination was to trust folks. When I asked him about his willingness to send me a saw without payment up front, his response was "I trust ya…, at least until I know different." A quality craftsman. but a quality guy.

    Skip Taylor

  6. Alan

    Sorry to hear, Cooke will be missed in the industry, for certain. Good reminder to learn how to sharpen one’s saws if they don’t do so already. Might be a good time for Popular Woodworking to run more articles on educating people on sharpening saws????

    That said, I have only spoken to Steve once, and hadn’t bought anything from him, he used to sell quite a few saws on ebay though. Definitely a man that knew how to restore old tools and well respected for it. R.I.P.

  7. Eric R

    I’m sorry to hear of this loss.
    I remember your eloquent description of his talent and fondness for saws and sharpening.
    We in the wood working world sure have taken some hits this past year or so.

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