Q: Dear ASR,
I haven’t heard of this term before I came across your website. It is not defined in any of the online dictionaries. A google search just links to the same two places. What exactly does the term mean and why do you use it?
A: Dissecting the term, the word is the combination of two words: hone & meister. Hone refers to the sharpening stones we all use to put a fine edge on our tools, knives, and razors (hence the term honing, meaning to hone (sharpen)). Meister is a German word and translates literally into master. Wikipedia defines the term “meister” in the English language as: “A person referred to as “Meister” is one who has extensive theoretical knowledge and practical skills in his profession, business, or some other kind of work or activity.” Thus, in the English language, a hone-meister would be one with extensive theoretical knowledge and practical skills regarding sharpening stones, honing, sharpening, edge repair, and straight razors.
We didn’t hear the term until the advent of the internet. Before the shaving forums became extremely popular, the term was either nonexistent or used extremely rarely. In fact, the term honing wasn’t thrown around much back then either; it was still called sharpening. Consequently, we think the best definition of honemeister is provided by Badger & Blade: someone who sharpens straight razors professionally (edited for grammar)(link no longer working). There is no international or national accreditation or certification for hone-meisters. Consequently, anyone can hang out their shingle and call themselves a hone-meister. Simply put, the term is a word of art and is otherwise meaningless aside from denoting someone who sharpens & hones straight razors professionally or semi-professionally. We hone & sharpen professionally, and so we use the term. Until the English language comes up with a better term, everyone is going to use the term hone-meister.