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Retiree makes sharpness his business

Many of the folks Harry Motter does work for have never seen him and don't even know his name.

But they really like what he does and use his services over and over.

Motter's specialty is taking apart, cleaning, oiling, sharpening and reassembling tools, knives, scissors and clippers. Customers include restaurants, pet groomers, veterinarians and weekend gardeners.

"Harry takes pride in what he does. He wants it done right. That's what I appreciate about Harry," said Bill Gessert, who has used Motter's services since he and his family opened the Hammerheads Ace Hardware store in Largo in the fall of 2005 and even before that, when they owned an Ace store in Oldsmar.

Customers bring items to the store to be cleaned up and sharpened and pick them up the next week looking like new.

Motter, 69, hasn't always been in the tool sharpening business. He was director of respiratory care at Mease Dunedin Hospital for 35 years and retired in 2000. Before becoming a respiratory therapist, he did a stint in the Air Force as a jet engine mechanic.

After retiring, "I knew I would need something to do," he said. "I like working with machines and fixing things." He planned to do woodworking but was fascinated by a friend's tool sharpening shop and became his apprentice.

"That was the beginning of my learning and I don't think I'll ever stop learning," Motter said.

He does skilled, quality work, Gessert said. And that's why he and other Ace franchise owners in Dunedin and Safety Harbor depend on him.

What kinds of tools do you work on?

I have 20 different machines in my shop and each machine does something different.

I sharpen hand saws, carbide saw blades, chain saws, scissors, knives, garden tools like hedge clippers, pruning shears and loppers. I even do pizza cutters for the Pizza Hut in Dunedin.

If I get a tool I'm not familiar with, I contact the manufacturer to find out how to sharpen it correctly.

What's the most unusual tool you have sharpened?

The big moon-shaped cutters for Pizza Hut.

How long does it take to work on each tool?

I may spend from one to three hours.

What do you like most about your work?

The satisfaction of accomplishing a job and making people happy. People are happy when they have clean, sharp tools to work with.

What is the name of your business?

D&H Tool Sharpening. Call (727) 733-1912.

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Retiree makes sharpness his business 03/13/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 13, 2008 5:23pm]
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