Sharpening fee question

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Ryan J, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Not sure if this is the right area for this but I couldnt find one more appropriate. To be clear Im not advertising as Im not a gold member. Im not offering mail service.
    Ive thought about starting a small sharpening service for some time. The other day i was visiting with a gun dealer friend and showed him my edc with a polished bevel. He liked it so much he wanted it on his knives. As well as polishing a blade on one. Gun guys are normally knife guys and he said if i want i can put some cards in his shop so bingo.

    I havent however been able to find much info on an acceptable fee. How do you guys do it? Ive seen $1 per inch thrown around alot. That just isnt worth it for hand work though. Maybe on a belt sander. I use a kme sharpener with 8 hone and 2 strop progression and can produce a mirror bevel down to 1.5 um that shows only the slightest whisker marks in direct sunlight, so my work is quality. It also takes between 30 minutes and 1 and 1/2 hours depending on steel hardness, blade length etc. What is that worth? You guys have taught me well and Im confident in my work. I have a worksharp I will use if people dont want hand sharpening and also for axes, machetes, mower blades etc.
    Please guys help me once again so I can get this thing off the ground.
     
  2. Jaidmaster

    Jaidmaster

    31
    Oct 1, 2014
    Just a few thoughts:
    Maybe offer some options - basic sharpening using the worksharp with a fee in the $1 per inch range.
    Custom hand sharpening to a mirror bevel maybe somewhere in the $5 per inch/ $20 flat fee range up to a certain blade length?
    I don't know, I've never paid to have a knife sharpened, but could not imagine spending over about $20 for it...
    Good luck - I'm sure you will get better responses. :)
     
  3. Eytan (Ethan) K

    Eytan (Ethan) K

    431
    Aug 1, 2013
    Hello,
    First I wish you good luck in your new enterprise.
    Few things:
    1. I have no experience with kme sharpening system, but I think it will be a problem sharpen with it: long blades, axes-hawks, convex edged blades, curved blades, machetes ect.
    2. I think it will be very difficult to sharpen chips\Dents on blades, re-set bevels; generally - using this system for "hard sharpening".
    3. about the price - try at first to take fixed price, something symbolic, get some rep.

    Hope that helped.
     
  4. Eytan (Ethan) K

    Eytan (Ethan) K

    431
    Aug 1, 2013
    And one more thing - get some coarse stones, the MOST IMPORTANT work phase on a blade, is the coarse, when you set the geometry.
     
  5. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Yeah thats pretty much right. Recurves wont happen or over 13 inches. As far as convex and axes and all that I plan to use the worksharp. And I have seen where people add $10 for fixing damage. Your right it takes a bit. But the 120 grit diamond plate will knock it down. Or i can offer a micro bevel.
     
  6. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    Sharpening your knives is easy, sharpening everyone else's is not.

    Sharpening with a jig is typically a slow process so you must figure out how much your time is worth. I sharpen a blade in about 10 minutes from start to finish with a average cost of $10 per blade. I also use top quality japanese waterstones and do 99% of my work by hand with no jigs or guides.

    I would recommend doing some free or very low cost sharpening until you get about 50-100 blades under your belt. If after that you decide this is something you want to continue you will have a better idea of how to price your services.
     
  7. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Yeah thats pretty much right. Recurves wont happen or over 13 inches. As far as convex and axes and all that I plan to use the worksharp. And I have seen where people add $10 for fixing damage or changing bevel angles. Your right it takes a bit. But the 120 grit diamond plate will knock it down. Or i can offer a micro bevel to fix chips.
     
  8. HeavyHanded

    HeavyHanded

    Jun 4, 2010
    I cannot imagine getting more than $1 per inch for machine sharpening, maybe offer hand sharpening for twice that. Average kitchen knife shouldn't take more than 15 or 20 minutes freehand with strong QC, at 6" or 8" that comes down to a pretty good hourly rate. Most would opt for machine sharpening at the lower price and I'd hope with time in you can hit that at 7 - 10 minutes with strong QC, maybe a bit less. Still a good hourly rate while up and running.

    I'm seriously considering going this route myself. The local kitchen specialty shop offers sharpening at $.50 per inch on a Chef's Choice sharpener IIRC.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  9. Eytan (Ethan) K

    Eytan (Ethan) K

    431
    Aug 1, 2013
    +1
    I'm also JP whetstons person.
     
  10. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Thanks everyone for the advice so far. The jig is a personal preference. I can sharpen a knife in 15 minutes if the edge is undamaged and I stop at a 2k finish. $2 an inch seems reasonable for handsharpening and $1 for machine heavyhanded. My little belt sander does quick work. Jason thank you for the advice and what level of refinement do you take a knife to for $10? Should it be the whole hone and strop progression or stop at 2k or so? Chasing out every last scratch and stropping with cbn is where the time gets wrapped up. If you guys can refine a mirror bevel in 10 minutes then hats off to you and I need more practice lol. I just cant do it for free though. Wife and baby and work and chores you know? Times tp valuable. Of course i say that and then spend probably 10 hours a week working my knifes over lol. The first three or months it was a 4 hour day obssesion. I knew it was getting out of hand when i started borrowing friends knifes to sharpen because id done everything here down to the lawn mower blades. So come to think of it, i have been doing it for free for awhile now
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  11. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Didnt mean to qoute myself lol

    Heres my thought so far.
    $1 per inch for machine sharpening regardless of damage
    $2 per inch for manual sharpening
    And then price add ons like maybe $10 extra to fix damage by hand, mirror polish, or reset bevel angles by hand.

    Does this sound reasonable? Im not greedy but hones dont last forever and cbn is $25 per vial as well
     
  12. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    I finish between 2k and 5k most often with the occasional 800-1000 grit edge for those that request a coarser cutting edge. I only apply a mirror edge to tools that require one, straight razors, yanagi, usuba's, etc. folding knives and most other average cutting tool are never taken beyond 5k and even at 5k the edge starts to become too refined depending on the steel. My edges are "polished" by most standards but a ways away from being mirror polished.
     
  13. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    You can upcharge for broken tips of 1/8in or more and chips larger than a dime but anything less and ALL reprofiling is part of the gig.
     
  14. HeavyHanded

    HeavyHanded

    Jun 4, 2010

    Some good questions - I'm also curious what sorts of cutlery make up the bulk. I imagine mostly mid range kitchen stiff, stainless in the low to mid 50s RC which would make it pretty fast and easy to whip up a good edge. Higher RC fare would slow the hand sharpening down quite a bit. I cannot imagine getting extra $ for fixing issues or resetting bevels to a better angle. Maybe a good strategy for "hand sharpened" jobs that are all kinked up would be to run heavily damaged stuff through the powered sharpener and finish by hand.

    In Jason's case, maybe higher RC Japanese stuff and still mostly carbon steels?
     
  15. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Okay I can accept that. I would imagine the majority of people wouldnt understand the characteristics of bevel angles and request reprofiling anyway. Besides I love sharpening and they always told me if you love your job youll never work. When you say bigger then a dime what do you mean? Seems if your talking width it would qll take the same amount of time as the entire bevel has to be taken back anyway
     
  16. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    I hadnt considered this. I was thinking about folders and fixed blades when i was calculating my time. My kitchen knives and friends fillet/kitchen kmives are much faster. Usually i do fix chips on the worksharp. It still takes a bit to flatten the convex afterwards but its much faster then taking the whole bevel back by hand. I hadnt thought about doing it with the service though. I was thinking hand sharpened meant all the way but it still is hand sharpened if i finish it that way. Thanks for that advice. I got the upcharge idea from a site called razoredgeknives. Wanted to come here to see if its how you guys do it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  17. orangehero

    orangehero Basic Member Basic Member

    124
    Apr 15, 2010
    For the pro's: when you're fixing major edge damage, do you remove material until all of the damage is ground away and do you also thin the blade to maintain cutting performance?
     
  18. wvdavidr

    wvdavidr

    357
    Mar 21, 2007
    My experience with sharpening others' knives is that the bulk are much harder to sharpen than mine. Many of their knives have never been sharpened or have been attempted with pull-through sharpeners. Some, esp. Farberware are made at extreme angles that are difficult to sharpen- one today was beyond the range of the Edge Pro Apex with the arm raised all the way. This knife was right-out-of-the-package. Those can become time-consuming and frustrating. If not reprofiled, it will never cut well (at 30+ degrees) and reprofiling would take an hour or more. I might start to refuse to sharpen some of those. The reason I am posting this is to warn you about this in your pricing strategy. I wouldn't assume most would be quick to sharpen, even if made of soft steel.
     
  19. Ryan J

    Ryan J

    233
    Jul 14, 2014
    Another good point. Easy to forget most knives are neglected by non knife people. Once I lost my buddies gas station knife and replaced it with a $50 Kershaw. He used it for a screwdriver. As far as kitchen knives though the wifes pretty hard on em so I kinda know what expect. At least theyre soft.
     
  20. wvdavidr

    wvdavidr

    357
    Mar 21, 2007
    Ryan,
    I'm not trying to argue with you, but your kitchen knives are probably better quality than a lot of what you'll encounter. Those damned Farberware knives tought me a lesson. People have really poor quality knives and think they're great- expect miracles.

    Good sharpening,
    Dave
     

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