Start a sharpening service?

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Forum topic by pashley posted 10-01-2009 09:47 PM 2137 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1035 posts in 3141 days

10-01-2009 09:47 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sharpening

I’m making no money selling stuff on my website, New Mission Workshop, which is a pity, because I have (I feel) good stuff, at very good prices. So….

While looking for a sharpening service here in Rochester, NY – a pretty large city – I could find only ONE sharpening service! I had to get some shop stuff done, and it took two weeks. Obviously, these guys are backed up.

I’m wondering now, would it be worth starting up a sharpening service? There seems to be a lack of it in this area, and I think some money can be made at doing it, while start-up costs could be very reasonable.

So my question to the community is, do you, or do you know someone who does it, and how are they doing at it? Problems or concerns?

These guys charged me a good buck: $7 for a chisel, and $17 for a carbide tip saw blade, 10”, no teeth missing. $3.50 per planer knife.

Again, just looking for some real-world experience before I toy around with this idea any more!

-- Have a blessed day!

7 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#1 posted 10-01-2009 10:02 PM

I think it really depends on demand, which might explain the fact that there’s only 1 guy in your area that does that. just a thought, I could be wrong.

I believe that most members here would rather sharpen their own chisels and blades, with the exception of saw blades.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2694 days

#2 posted 10-01-2009 10:14 PM

There is a few services in my area…and the place I get my carving tools from (Little Shaver’s in WA State) gives you free sharpening on the items you buy from them….Now I pretty much sharpen my own….but there are times that the blade gets roughed out…that I prefer to have an expert do the fixing.

For blades….I use the Forrest folks…since my blades are Forrest made….seems to make sense to me…

I would recommend you put out some feelers if you want to see what the demand is like….Some folks, like myself, don’t mind a little postage if the job is done quickly and correctly…

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3202 days

#3 posted 10-01-2009 10:34 PM

I disagree with PurpLev about sharpening my own tools. A straight chisel, drill bit, or a knife but that is just about all I would do myself. Saw blades could be a pain to sharpen because of the special grinds many blades use today. May take some pretty expensive equipment.

Have you tried selling on eBay or Both are pretty easy to setup. You don’t need to setup a store front, just setup an account and start selling.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3072 days

#4 posted 10-01-2009 10:46 PM

DaveH – reread my comment – according to my logic you ARE agreeing with me… lol

I’ll second reggiek – put out some flyiers, post on craiglist, and offer sharpening services – and see what kind of feedback you’re getting from it.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 3152 days

#5 posted 10-01-2009 10:52 PM

Daren Nelson has posted a few blog entries about sharpening. I guess he provides the service, and as a results has posted some interesting information about some sharpening tools he has used. One example was a saw retoother he had that put new teeth on handsaws so that they could be repurposed (or repaired I suppose). You might want to browse his blogs and then PM him.

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3316 days

#6 posted 10-02-2009 12:00 AM

Does anyone know where I can get a machine for sharpening 10” TS blades. I would prefer to do my own, but I have not been able to find anywhere on the Net that carries something to do this.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3329 days

#7 posted 10-02-2009 12:04 AM

I do have a few pieces of advice off the top of my head, feel free to PM-email me in the future. Figure out what you want to sharpen and ask around at the local hardware stores/lumber yards (if there are any left in your area, the borgs may have run them out) if you can have a drop off there or at least leave a pile of cards. Carbide sawblades and planer/jointer knifes are good. My original plan when I opened my shop was 2 fold. Since I run a sawmill I was hoping if I sharpened chainsaws (another service you should look into, I do a lot of them) I would meet people cutting down trees…logs for the mill. That worked/works to a certain extent. The other end of it if I am sharpening woodworking tools…woodworkers are coming to a sawmill/lumber yard. I may do a $20 sharpening job and sell $400 worth of lumber to the guy before he gets gone on an impulse buy.

I know this varies greatly by region, maybe in your neck of the woods you can just pick a few tools you want to sharpen and do OK. Where I live (boonies) I have to sharpen everything to make it worth while. Hedge clippers, lawn mower blades, scissors, cutlery…to be honest those things are the majority of my business. Not woodworking tools like I had originally planned. But business is not bad. I bought used Foley Belsaw (for the most part) machines for a reasonable price and they did pay for themselves in just a few months.

The last piece of advice is starting out it is going to take WAY more time to do the job (whatever it may be) than you think. It can get frustrating at first. You just have to take your time, do good work even if it feels like you are “losing money”. Efficiency come with practice. I know I can do some things in 5 minutes that took me 20 the first several times. But in the beginning taking the time is key, if you start pushing a bunch of less than perfect (shoddy) work out the door word of mouth will kill your business faster than anything. Just like word of mouth of a job well done can make a business thrive.

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