Learning how to fix it at Repair Cafe at Laurel event

While there was the usual amount of lamps and a lot of clocks at Laurel’s first Repair Cafe on Jan. 13, it was the knives that caught Margo Duesterhaus’ attention.

One of the five mini-workshops held at the cafe covered knife-sharpening, and it proved to be a cut above the rest.

“I think he sharpened over 20 knives,” Duesterhaus said. “A lot of knives came in. You never quite know what will show up.”

This was the fifth Repair Cafe Duesterhaus has organized and the first in Laurel. Started in Europe over five years ago, Repair Cafes bring various experts together to repair items that often are thrown away in order to keep them out of landfills. As the chair of the steering committee for Transition Howard, Duesterhaus held the the first cafe last April at Howard Community College’s Greenfest. The cafe will be at the next Greenfest on April 22.

“We are moving them around … to reach more people,” Duesterhaus said.

A steady stream of people brought various items to the 11 “fixers” on Saturday, Duesterhaus said. The darning socks workshop, she said, was also popular.

“We will probably do something similar at a future cafe,” Duesterhaus said.

On occasion, the cafe receives something either beyond repair or in need of a special part, Duesterhaus said.The volunteers will help provide basic information to order a part, she said.

“It is … a throw-away society,” said Tim Foresman, a Repair Cafe fixer. “Hold on to things and you can get them fixed.”

All repairs were free of charge, though donations were welcomed.

After a busy day, Duesterhaus sees the Repair Cafe returning to Laurel in the future.

“The church has invited us to come back,” Duesterhaus said. “We’ll be back more than likely. They have a really great room.”

Future Repair Cafe dates are:

April 22: Howard Community College Greenfest, 10901 Little Patuxent Pwky., Columbia.

July 21: Elkridge Branch of Howard County Library, 7071 Montgomery Road, Elkridge.

Oct. 13: East Columbia 50+ Center, 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia.

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