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We have a massive amount of Edge Pro products so we figured it would be good to have a whole section on how to use the machine and what to use on it.
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mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Hi all!

I'm thinking about earning a few extra euros by offering high-level sharpening services in my city (I ride in with my bicycle, sharpen the knives to scary sharp, and I'm on my way with a few EUR in my pocket).

I've been sharpening by hand with a few decent stones and got... average results. That's why I'm really interested in the Edge Pro system.

I really want to be able to offer incredible results, going all the way...

What stones/strops/add-ons should I get?

Would the Full Monty kit cover it all?

Also, what would you expect a mobile sharpening guy to know? Can anyone recommend any good books that would cover the theory of sharpening?

Thank you all!

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Thu Nov 21, 2013 10:42 pm

To be completely and totally honest, I personally don't see anyone that has expectations of a mobile sharpener beyond getting the knives sharp getting anything sharpened by someone else. What I mean is that the people you would service wouldn't care what you do or don't know or how you do it, they just want it sharp, repaired, whatever when they get it back. Anyone that already knows how to sharpen their stuff successfully most likely already does as they have a particular way they like it done or even something like the Edge Pro. I'm also not sure how well the Edge Pro would travel in a situation like that. It just seems like it would be a lot of setup and take down as well as almost impossible to be prepared for every situation or knife someone would want you to sharpen. Can an Edge Pro handle a recurve blade or anything that a flat stone would have a hard time with? Are there stones for sharpening serrations? Every type of serration (scalloped, pointy tip with rounded top, V-shaped, D-shaped, etc.)? Can it sharpen long, thin knives like a filet knife?

I don't own an Edge Pro but if you want to make money at sharpening, it needs to be fast in the situation you describe and you need to be able to handle a very wide variety of knives. I think that is why a mobile sharpening business usually uses a van... to hold all the stuff, including grinders, belt sanders, files, etc.

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Thu Nov 21, 2013 11:59 pm

Taking your proposition at face value, technically the EP would do the trick. Portable and sets up in a jif.

Just remember that a lot of the knives will need thinning which is time consuming on the EP and most pros use a belt for that. Maybe mount a grindstone on your freewheel? An Atoma 140 and/or a Bamboo 150 is mandatory and it will still take you a while. Time=money and possibly frustration for those waiting.

The EP handles long thin knives just fine. Recurves can apparently be sharpened using half width stones (assuming your town has had an influx of Ghurka chefs). Serrated knives just suck and I wouldn't mess with them.

I don't know. If I had a bike and was in Europe I would be pedaling between cafes and watching the ladies, not thinking about knife sharpening. It's a hard way to make a pfennig.

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:59 am

I own and use both the EP and freehand stones (which I'm just starting to get decent at using). IMO the EP is just not a high volume sharpening apparatus. It just takes too long to setup the proper angle, set the stop collar (must have IMO) and set the height for each stone, etc. etc.

Most of the knives you'll probably get will be in bad shape and need thinning, new bevels cut, etc. Things that require removing metal fast just to get to the point of actually refining an edge bevel. Just ask Sailor - hopefully he'll chime in here :-).

At best, just using the freehand sharpening method, you'll probably need an Atoma 140 diamond plate for heavy metal removal and a 2 or 3 stone sequence to cover a variety of knives. A belt sander added to the stones would be even better, but not on a bike of course :-).

I like Rick's idea!

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:17 am

Well for starters if you were going to seriously do this the best way to do it with just the EP would be to get the

Professional model and not the apex.
Then I would add a full line of Atomas
And then most of the Nubatamas.
Add a couple strops with some 1.0 and 0.5u CBN and your in business.

With some practice you can actually freehand on the EP , its how I do large beveled knives.

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 11:44 am

Thank you for the replies everyone!

You brought up some problems I haven't thought about yet thought about (recurved blades and serrated knives). The easier solution to getting a van's worth of gear is just to offer limited sharpening service for only the knives I can work on. Riding on a bicycle I think people would understand if I can't carry tens of kilos of equipment.

Sadden, thank you for your suggestions! I drool over the professional model, but it doesn't make sense in my case. I would be setting it up and taking it down quite often and on a bicycle, weight also matters (but it is way more impressive, I know... and probably has a few extra functions).

About the stones, I've read somewhere (I think) that diamond plates are not really suitable for sharpening metal... something to do with the diamonds becoming loose, I think... Aren't they meant mostly for ceramic knives?

This is not going to be my sole income. I have a job (a bad one, but that's another story) and this would be a hobby and some pocket money for beer and coffee for when I'll only be riding my bike in the old part of town, admiring all the long legs going by ;)

In the best case scenario, I might have 1 normal client and 1 restaurant per day. If a client has 5 knives and a restaurant has 10 I can sharpen, and I charge 5 EUR per knife on average... (how do professionals usually set their prices? on the length of the blade?), that is 75 EUR in my pocket. And I like the sound of that. Even if I make half that, I'd still be happy with it!

Also, are the "stock" stones really that bad? Or can I use the lower grids and splash out more on the polishing stones and strops?

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:33 pm

With serrated knives I just go in with a little Diamond Rat Tail (lansky) and gently make sure that the edge actually apexes inside the serrations , and just lightly clean them up. Your not going to run into any serrated knives that are worth sharpening anyways. As far as recurves if your mostly looking at kitchen knives this is not a hug deal , but the odd one can be handled with regular stones by gently tipping them slightly. Honestly When I get a recurve I just sharpen it like any other knife and let it worry about itself. The stones find their way in there.

The Pro model takes about the same time to set up as the apex and has tighter tolerances , as well is significantly more sturdy.

The diamonds work fine on knives , and come in handy when heavy stock removal is required. It takes some work to remove the scratches they leave , but they work well for their intended purpose.

Im not a fan of the stock stones , they aren't "bad" , but once you have handled a Nubatama or a Shapton then you never go back in my experience.

I charge according to the finish the knife gets. I make a recommendation to the customer based on the knives intended purpose and steel quality. Normally they just go with that. For obvious reasons I charge more for a 30k edge than I would charge for a 2k edge. Blade length is not something I charge for unless the blade surpasses 10" or so.

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:16 pm

@ Tall Dark and Swarfy: I was talking about pocket knives, hunting knives, etc. I couldn't stop laughing at the Ghurka chef comment! LOL It still makes me smile to think about it. And really, if a Ghurka asks you to sharpen his khukuri, I think the correct thing to do would be to say "Yes Sir!" and find a way to make it work... lol

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:34 pm

great info! Thank you so much!

The picture is slowly coming into focus.

EP Professional Pro 1 kit (do chefknivestogo sell the professional model? can't seem to find it)
http://www.edgeproinc.com/Professional- ... it-p8.html 375$

EP Pro Case
http://www.edgeproinc.com/Professional- ... e-p11.html 75$

Drill Stop Collar
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/5drstcowhexk.html 3,95$

Angle Cube
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/anglecube.html 34,95$

Edge Pro Spring
http://www.chefknivestogo.com/edprocospfor.html 2$

And now the stones...

Could you please give me some advice? Keep in mind that I'm on a budget and every EUR saved will help, but I want to get something high end that will last for a while. I can only buy one stone per reasonably required grid.. I guess the coarsest stone will be an Atoma, what about the others?

I really like the idea of the Shapton Glass stones, they seem to last a bit longer and require a bit less flattening (is this correct?), and go up to really polishing grids.

Do you strop the knives? I'm thinking about getting two (and one extra for backup) leather strops and one compound... so the finish will always be just leather. Is stropping worth it? What's the grid of stone you would be comfortable switching to a leather strop with a compound (and wich compound would you reccomend?)

I'm so sorry for all the questions, I got a bit excited :D

Re: mobile sharpening business - what should I buy?

Fri Nov 22, 2013 9:05 pm

After a lot of trial and error here is what I have:

140 Atoma
150 Bamboo (to remove scratches from the 140)
1K Shapton Pro
2K Shapton Pro
5K Shapton Pro
8K Shapton Pro
4 glass blanks
3.0 micron 3M diamond film
1.0 micron 3M diamond film
0.5 micron 3M diamond film
0.1 micron 3M diamond film

You could go from the 2K stone to the 3.0 micron 3M diamond film, polish with 1.0 micron and be done. That would get you up and running. In the long run the 5K stone (also 3 micron) will be cheaper than the film.


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