Light & Verity

Sharp operator

An undergrad sharpens knives to earn his spending money.

Mark Zurolo ’01MFA

Mark Zurolo ’01MFA

View full image

Most people bring canvas bags to the CitySeed Indoor Winter Market in New Haven. But lately, more and more have been bringing their knives. That’s because of Harper Keehn ’17, who brought his knife-sharpening skills with him when he arrived at Yale as an Eli Whitney Student last year. Keehn, 25, who built furniture and worked on a Colorado cattle ranch before coming to Yale, sharpens knives at local farmers’ markets a few times a month, charging a dollar per inch and earning up to $200 per hour.

“Anyone can do it. It’s really not that difficult,” Keehn says. “People are just paying me to touch their knives for 60 to 120 seconds. In fact, I give them back a little less than what they had before.”

The comment period has expired.