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I was hoping to ask your opinion on starting up a sharpening service and what advice you would have on tools of the trade. I have narrowed down to a few choices on manual guided systems and bench top wet stone/strop device.
Initially, I want to do kitchens and then work into salon clippers and shears. Any advice will be greatly appreciated thanks in advance.
I will be the first one to admit that sharpening is not my expertise. So I’m not the one to ask about specific equipment. But as an extremely well-informed consumer I can offer some tips and general advice:
– There’s always a need for high-quality sharpening services.
– Ninety percent (or more) of sharpening is the skill of the person doing it. Different people on the same equipment can reap widely different results. Much depends on the experience, ability, and quality-standard of the person sharpening.
– If it were me, I would definitely mentor with a high-quality pro sharpener and not try to totally train myself.
– To be good, it will take you at least two or three years of practice. Have a way to make income while you learn your craft.
– Manual systems are a great way to start and they are not as liable to ruin somebody’s knife as a powered system. But, long-term, to generate enough income as a full-time job, I think it will be hard to sharpen everything manually. At least as far as kitchen knives go. . .I don’t know the salon clippers market.
– If you haven’t already, please make sure to read my interview with Bob Tate of Seattle Knives. It should be useful.
Hope this helps,