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Farmers Market - Day one.

Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:27 pm

I was contacted by the Manager of a pretty decent Farmers Market to see if I would set up a "sharpening table". They had no sharpener locally for the last 2 years.

It is an hour away so and the table costs 50 dollars to rent, so about $65.00 out of my pocket (Incl. gas money). I immediately said yes and I went there thinking that the first day would be a loss in terms of money but a gain in terms of experience, fun, networking.

I also went thinking that I would have no knives, as this would be their first exposure to a sharpener at the Market.
Well nothing unfolded as I suspected. It was a lot of fun, somewhat exhilirating and a little intense to be honest.
I am used to working on a knife at home, in private, completely focused on the job at hand.
I arrived there at 7am, the Market opens at 8:30, and I had 3 knives waiting for me. Any thought of getting up and wondering around and checking out the other vendors soon vanished, I spent 6 hours non-stop sharpening, it really was quite enjoyable. They had put it on Facebook a couple of days before so some folks did bring knives and others went home and got some.
Almost every knife was done by free-hand, it was just quicker and many people just came to watch and chat and talk about their oil stones and Grandfathers skills at sharpening and such, very cool.

I know that some of you have had this opportunity, thats' why I mention it. I recommend it if you get a chance.

In terms of money, I made enough to cover all my expenses and about 25 bucks on top of that. I'll see how it goes over the next few weeks.

I had just purchased a Sigma Power Select II, 240 grit stone a few days prior and it is worth it's weight in gold. I moved from that to my 500 and 2k Shapton GS and then finished them on the Imanishi 4k. I also had my 1X42 inch belt sander on hand which also came in very handy for repairs.

Oh, I made the pricing quite simple, $6.00 for paring knives and $10.00 for large knives, repairs were free. I think I will have an in-between price of $8.00 for the 6/7inch utility types.

Good times.
I welcome any advice from you guys. Thanks.http://www.wolfvillefarmersmarket.ca/

Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:15 pm

Sounds like great fun.

It's too bad the market is so far from your home. We have a massive one that we can walk to. Usually about 150,000 attend each saturday.

Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:27 pm

That would be cool Mark. There is a big one closer to me, I just never thought of setting up as a Vendor. I was asked about 10 times if I did scissors...another project of mine.

Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:02 pm

The first few Saturdays at the Market I was swamped, rubbing steel on stones for 4 hours at least, and I made a few hundred bucks. Then it got ripping hot, and nobody came out, and then the Market stopped getting new customers, and I was lucky to break even on $25. I just sharpened all the knives in Keller, TX, apparently.

I charge $1 per inch, for any kind of knife. I'd do pocket knives for $1 almost every Saturday but it didn't take long and if I am sharpening, people sign up and stop by.

And yes, the low grit stone is where the magic happens.

Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:07 am

I gave it up after three weeks. It reminded me too much of catering. Pick all this stuff up, haul, set-up, take it down, return and repeat.

It was too much like work. I certainly wasn't in it for the money.

Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:20 pm

Hi, well day two has come and gone.

I'm starting to already see where the fun in this has the potential to vanish after a few sessions.
Again, it was non stop sharpening for 6 hours and this time, a hundred dollar profit. However, sharpening knives quickly for people who regardless what they tell me, do not own the worlds finest knives puts me out of my comfort zone.

I much prefer to be at home in my own environment sharpening at my own pace. (There has been a benefit though, an Executive Chef who runs a pretty nice restaurant in the area asked me to meet him after the Market and that went really well.)

There will be a Day three and that I suspect that will be end of my market days. I don't want to have to alter the normal pace of my work and possibly compromise my standards just to satisfy a lady who is in rush to get home.


Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:36 am

How long is it taking you, Peter? Let's say I had one 6" Calphalon Santoku and one 10" Mercer slicer with a broken tip. No chips in the edge because the Lord is smiling on you, but the edge has been honed into non-existence.

Re: Farmers Market - Day one.

Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:08 am

Thanks for asking, the slicer would probably take me 25 minutes, 5-7 min for the tip and the rest on the edge, the Santoku would take me 20 min probably, that is with a distraction or two, so 40-45 min in a best case scenario, perhaps an hour for those two if I'm running into any problems. On average, a knife has been taking me 20 minutes to finish to my satisfaction. I find that I can be doing some in about 12 minutes, then one knife will come along that just seems to take forever and is painfully slow. They always seem to be the cheaper knives too, the nice ones are the easiest and quickest regardless of how dull it is. Undoubtedly because of the quality of the steel. Probably some mistakes here and there on my part too.
It's like speed sharpening.

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