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Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 15, 2013 3:26 pm

> I'm planning on starting a small side business offering quality sharpening here in my home town.
> The only guy around just destroys edges with a bench grinder, and no concept of fine steel. (A few extra bucks would be nice for the household too)
> I need to figure out a solid setup for the shapton pro stones. Do you have any suggestions ? I'm considering the duradeck mount I have seen some build for custom ponds, but am open to suggestions.
> I'll be using a Kalamazoo 1x42 for a slack belt and extensive german knife repair.
> Thanks again.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 15, 2013 6:00 pm

JOHN DOE <> First, the best of luck to you in your new venture!

I don't sharpen professionally so I really cant comment on your question, but we have a section here on the Forum called The Sharpener's Corner & it may behoove you to stop over there & ask the guys individually.

Regarding your setup, do you mean mobile in a truck or trailer, or do you mean brick & mortar setup? Regardless, I imagine your setup will be very style specific though, and you will have to design it to your way of sharpening.

Best of luck, and I'm sure some of our power tool guys will chime in...

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Wed May 15, 2013 11:17 pm

Try to not use more than 3 stones for hand sharpening and NO more than 10 minutes per blade. Use the belt grinder for all German and China softness, plus setting bevels on about everything, it will save you valuable time. Japanese knives sharpen to no more than 5-6k.

Good luck.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Thu May 16, 2013 8:42 am

2,000 or 5,000 (can't decide here, not used them enough to be 100% sure)

Use the belt for anything coarser than 1,000 and the need to finish any higher than 8k wouldn't be there IMHO.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Thu May 16, 2013 11:33 am

The Shapton Pro series isn't the greatest choice for the only stones in a professional kit. There are stones which grind faster and finer, and which have considerably more "reach." Another oddity is that some Pros are better with stainless and others are better for carbon. If you're going to sharpen both types of alloy, you'll need the appropriate stones. For instance, 220 and 1K for stainless; and 320 and 1.5K for carbon.

If you're going to present yourself as a professional sharpener you not only want to offer your customers a range of options, you also want to have the right stones for the optimal finish for their knives. Most of the Japanese knives you'll see will probably be Globals and Shuns, which finish out at 5 or 6K; but you want to have something finer as well. Assuming you use a belt or grinder for the really coarse work, you're still going to want something like four, five, or even six stones in order to not only choose a suitable finish, but the fastest and best way to get there.

I understand that the Nubatamas are CKtG's best stones, but I have no real experience with them and can't offer an opinion.

A more economical kit might be:
  • Bester 500;
  • Beston 1.2K;
  • Naniwa SS 3K;
  • Arashiyama (6K); and
  • Kitayama (8K) and/or Naniwa Pure White (8K).
    [Note: The Arashiyama followed by the Naniwa Pure White is a really spectacular mirror finish; while the Pure White followed by the Kitayama is an equally spectacular frosty finish.]

Certainly not the only way to go; just an example of one good way.


Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Thu May 16, 2013 12:29 pm

I opened up my sharpening business 2 years ago and now I am rich and famous.

I agree with BDL, you will want a nice assortment of stones, to satisfy and bedazzle your customers.

In my experience, the chefs I deal with now had never really even seen a mirror finish on a knife and in fact the sharpest knife that they and anyone else had seen was a new knife. And as BDL has said, the Japanese knives you get will be Shun and Global and MAC.

It's has been an amazing experience for me and with the help of the good folks here, your confidence level will build as the gifted ones that are good enough to share their knowledge help you along, as they did me.

One of most beneficial items I have ever purchased is the Atoma 140 plate, truly a wonderful piece to own.

Good Luck friend. (Im not rich and famous by the way but I love what I do)

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Thu May 16, 2013 6:39 pm

I do about 30 to 50 knives a month in my spare time. Most of them are German and US made knives that I generally do with a 500, 1k and 2 k Shapton, and strop after. If your customers are like most of mine, they will be thrilled with these results after the neglect and abuse their knives have had. It's a rare treat when I receive a knife worth pulling out anything over 5 or 6k. I have a Shapton 6k , a Nubatama 5 and 10k and others. You will be happy with the results from any of them, all available on this site. The belts are great for cleaning up roughly treated restaurant knives, or heavy metal removal, but I finish the bevels on stones.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Fri May 17, 2013 12:58 am

:| I really hope this guy shows up to clarify because I have the feeling no one has addressed his question at all.

We have to remember that he did not header this text, Alexa or Sue or whomever did... he just sent an email, and from that mail I think he wants advice on, what seems to me, a physical station setup. From his text, he is already decided on Shapton Pros, and it seems like he's asking about constructing or buying a waterproof base for them to reside. That's why I asked if this was a mobile thing or if he was doing this in a warehouse e.g.

If this is the case, I know I sweep so I mostly can't use sink bridges as I need to be parallel rather then perpendicular to the stone. I would have to design my station accordingly, and if I was in a van or trailer like I have seen mobile sharpeners it would be different then when I sharpen in my kitchen.

I don't know. Like I said... I hope he chimes in.

Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Sat May 18, 2013 4:59 pm

I will chime in

The original post was just a section of a lot of questions I was asking cktg, and Sue was nice enough to try to help by asking forum denziens.

I have been fixing enough coworkers knife issues that I think it's worth a shot investing my tax return into a small side business. There is no one offering anything in a town of 20k, and even to sharpen my own kit, there is nothing but a few over-priced Norton combo stones available. With good turn around time on work, it could be a positive investment.

I have been working with metal since I was 12, and cooking for 16 years. I was taught a lot how to respect metal, and especially how heat can affect it, or destroy it. No expert, but I know a little.

I decided on a set of shaptons from 220-15k for ease of use with splash-and-go, and reasonably hard wearing.

I also have Nainwa 1k, 2k green brick, 4k lobster.

A dmt couse, and a diaflat plate in the stones kit.

There are a few other well regarded stones I would consider getting down the road, but I will definitely have a pop-up stand for farmers markets, and a lack of running water in my workshop has me steering away from a lot of soaking stones or a buttload of mud all over. Even something as simple as the plastic case is nice with the Shapton's

My original question was really based on stone holding, and quickly changing stones. The solution was in a tojiro sink bridge, and should work nicely.

95% of my projected work will be fixing up crummy, banged-up residential knives, and potentially some commercial kitchen drawer work. There are very few Japanese knives around here, though I am quite confident sharpening shiro, aogami, vg10, etc and anything up to 65rc. My overall skill has increased dramatically from here and especially bdl's endless love of explaining knives.

The Kalamazoo will do a lot of brute work for me with a good selection of 80g blue zircon - 2k trizact belts, and 2 leather belts. One will be loaded with 6 micron compound, one possibly 1 micron boron carbide or bare?

I also have a 6" bench grinder dedicated to polishing with a hard and soft wheels, and a 6" cool wheel should I need to hollow-grind

A selection of other useful odds n ends too I have gathered.

I'm confident in my core selection for start-up and still have about 350 in my fund for hardware.

Any advice would be awesome.


Re: Starting a sharpening business. What to get?

Sat May 18, 2013 5:23 pm

PANCAKE <> Glad to hear you resolved your question and decided on the sink bridge.

Best of luck, but I don't anticipate you needing much as it is #1 a side project & #2 you clearly have a vision & a plan to execute it.

side note: reading BDL's awesome, right.?!
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