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Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Sat May 18, 2013 9:04 pm

Thanks Mel, luckily knife enthusiasts are eager to share what works, and following other's experience with all of these products is all I can rely on since I can't get my hands on much of it until I paid for it, and it gets delivered :s

I have spent a few hours reading bdl's musings. Great help, and and always good to know there is someone willing to be helpful with even the most general questions.

Before I did any spending, I lined up a few potential accounts and let people know. I was pretty surprised at the response while doing my due dilligence. The amount of hair stylists clamoring for even a simple stropping has me even considering looking at shear training possibilities (my wife has 2 sets I can destroy worry free to see if I can bring them back to life) I am well aware of how technical the demands of shears are, and I am not going to arrogantly grind away on professional shears before anyone worries. I still haven't dared touch a professional pair beyond stropping unloaded leather.

The 15k stone is really for my own giggles, as is the other exotics like boron carbide paste, and 2k trizact belts. I did hold back on kangaroo leather and .125 diamond spray... :-D I'm looking for an old straight razor to play with some day soon...but I digress...

Heck, I have managed well respected edges on only the 1k/4k Nainwa for 2 years... not much left of the 1k...

My first day at the farmers market will be basic sharpening setup with a few garage sale rescues, a couple cutting boards, a sack of potatoes, sharp knives and business cards.

I love cooking, but it won't buy me much of a house. An extra 500/mo would get me a respectable life out of renting.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Sat May 18, 2013 9:36 pm

CAKE <> Will get you... will get you a life out of renting. 8-) Quantum physics is no joke. You truly bring about what you think about. If you truly believe it - in your core, you will manifest it. I believe in your success, and I'm willing that to space... the space in which you will make be.

Good luck & keep having fun...

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Fri May 24, 2013 7:49 am

Pancake, your situation sounds similar to mine, I will take the liberty of sharing some things that may be useful but it looks like you have thought of everything. Here are some of my experiences/lessons learned:

The first thing I did was go into the local kitchen stores that sell knives and ask them who they recommended for knife sharpening. I was pleasantly surprised when they said "Nodoby, why, do you know someone". (Like you, my only competition was a company that uses grinders, they are no longer competition). I sat down with the Manager of a store and now his customers drop off their dull knives at the store, I pick them up and return the sharp knives to the store. So in this particular case, I don't see the customers themselves, and the store pays me monthly. In return, they get increased customer numbers and a small percentage of the profit. So touching base with the people that sell the knives and asking them to display your business cards could prove beneficial. (You have probably already done this). To put theirs mind at ease, I sharpened some of their personal knives so they had something to base their recommendations on. Most importantly, it provides a convenient drop off location for people at a very well known stores.

My first mistake was thinking that I had to get every knife sharpened up to 15k with a mirror finish and I spent too much time on 10 dollar knives or any knife for that matter, I didn't have a good understanding of what a good working edge was at the time, I just knew I could get a knife sharp but they were not all "smart sharp" if that makes sense. That was in the beginning, now a 2k-5k edge brings all the smiles needed and I've gone from spending 40 minutes on a knife to 15 with better results. Like everything else, one improves with time, education and an open ear. (Mentors are here at our disposal fortunately, I know that I can ask Ken, BDL, Rook, Mel or Shaun a question without being humilitated, it will be an honest and often brilliant response resulting in another layer of confidence)

Strangely enough, one of my biggest problems was what to charge people and I quickly realized that some people don't really care how the knives are sharpened, they just care about how much it costs and getting their nagging wives off of their back. (they think they could do a better job themselves so you're skills will go unnoticed for the most part, well until the wife sees the job you did of course)
I don't have an issue with pricing anymore and I never get any complaints about it, your time and skill is worth whatever you are charging.

Take care, have fun and be proud of what you can offer, you will help a lot of people.

I think you will find, especially at the Farmer's Market that people are fascinated by the process of knife sharpening, it will unleash memories and and you'll quickly gain respect.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Sat May 25, 2013 10:50 am




Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Sat May 25, 2013 12:36 pm

BDL <> Oh, stop it... you know we love you! :P 8-) ;)

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Tue May 28, 2013 8:24 am

I too have recently started a sharpening biz at one of the growers markets. So far, each week brings in a increased amount of business and more knives that I have to work on at home. I do cook full time, and find that the one market a week, plus co-workers knives keeps me busy and allows me to save up for some real nice knives! I think I have found the answer to my German knife bolster repair issue is to look for an affordable 1X42 belt grinder like your kalamazoo, instead of using my dopey wen whet-wheel.

Since you'll be at the growers market, try to purchase food from the vendors instead of bringing in produce from the grocery store. You'll enjoy the opportunity to meet and greet with other vendors, and may me able to work out deals using not so pretty produce that would likely not sell to well for them, produce you'll just cut up and discard anyway. Or you could work out trade.

Also, having a means to send off your finished product in a safe manner, such as wrapped in paper or folded cardboard, really helps with the pleasing.

Best of luck!

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 29, 2013 1:28 am

I just picked up a Viel S-5 belt grinder. Comes with a 1725 RPM 1/4 HP motor. Most other grinders come with a 3450 RPM motor IIRC. It is the only small unit that you can lay down on the bench or on the ground and use safely. Which allows you use it horizontally with the belt running away from you. A soon as my generator arrives things will be allot easier when I'm working the markets or on a customer site.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 29, 2013 10:08 am

I have the Viel as well, it's awesome.

CJPaul has made a good recommendation on how to present the finished knives.

I purchased a large roll of foam at a local hardware store, it is used for flooring. It is cheap and the roll is huge, I cut mine into 12" sections. I use this material to wrap the knives up individually.
I also used Word Art to create a very simple business card like paper that can be printed off and I wrap it around the foam covered knife. It has my business name and information, so the folks get their knives back safely wrapped with my name plastered all over it for future reference.

I also have a bit of fancy paper that I use to hand write how I sharpened their knives, what I used and the process, the date the knife was sharpened and a recommendation when to return it for re-sharpening.
I almost stopped doing this but I found a review online where a customer liked this approach so I try to do it now for most customers. (Not applicable to the Market crowd, no time for that). It is just an added touch that further separates you from the guy who uses a grinder and doesn't care about the customers or their knives.

Prepare to be judged, experts who have be instructed by their grandfather will question you and scrutinize your work. Pray that any CUTCO customers don't find you. If someone with a batch of Globals, so dull it's hard to believe, asks you "what angle are you going to sharpen these at" make sure you say between "10 & 15 degrees" because that is what the instructions online say. (I said 16 degrees once and she picked up her dull knives and walked away, clearly I was going to ruin her knives, even though I pointed out my EP and asked her "what angle woud you like?" and clearly she could tell the difference between 15 and 16 degrees)

Despite the odd occasion, almost every experience I had at the Market sharpening was enjoyable and appreciated.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 29, 2013 11:59 am

Oh yeah the Cutco curse. Especially that PITA, what they call, butcher knife. I'm seriously considering just saying no to all Cutco products. A $20.00 stamped Lamson off ebay is better than any Cutco knife. Good point on the angle deal!

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 29, 2013 10:53 pm

You hand sharpen cutco?
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