How much to charge to sharpen knives?

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Woody's Workshop
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How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Woody's Workshop » Mon Jun 24, 2019 7:12 pm

I figured about $1 per inch on straight edged blades if you don't need to remove chip, dents (like someone used it as a screw driver) and other defects.
That would include angle setting with my 220 Grit. working my way to 3000 grit on the diamond stones.
Then move to the Norton wet stone and pick up with the 4000 grit, working it to 8000 grit and finish up with strop on a board with blue jewler's rouge.
As for serrated blades, I figured $0.50 per inch, considering that you can only sharpen the back side.
Later on, I plan to invest in round diamond picks and wet stone to do the front side as well, but for now, just the back side.
Does this sound about right to you guys?

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Colonel26
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Colonel26 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:04 pm

Just my opinion, and it’s worth exactly what you’re paying for it, but that sounds like an awful lot of sharpening for $1.00 per inch. You’ll have to sharpen a whole lot of knives to pay for just one of the stones you mentioned.

And for normal using knives I don’t really see the need to go through that many of the finer polishing grits, imo. Unless it’s some kind of specialized knife for cutting very delicate things a coarse, medium, and fine stone followed by a strop sounds like more than enough to me. I sharpen mine on a medium natural stone, then an extra fine diamond bench stone, and use an old German steel to finish it off. Touch ups are just the steel or the diamond hone. YMMV.
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OLDE CUTLER
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby OLDE CUTLER » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:08 pm

Woody's Workshop wrote:I figured about $1 per inch on straight edged blades if you don't need to remove chip, dents (like someone used it as a screw driver) and other defects.
That would include angle setting with my 220 Grit. working my way to 3000 grit on the diamond stones.
Then move to the Norton wet stone and pick up with the 4000 grit, working it to 8000 grit and finish up with strop on a board with blue jewler's rouge.
As for serrated blades, I figured $0.50 per inch, considering that you can only sharpen the back side.
Later on, I plan to invest in round diamond picks and wet stone to do the front side as well, but for now, just the back side.
Does this sound about right to you guys?


I was just trying to figure out for myself, if I was doing it and had a pocket knife with a blade that measured 2 inches, and went through the steps you listed, what would I be making per hour that way? If it took one half hour to do all the steps, then I would be making $4 per hour. If I could do all those steps in 15 minutes, then I would be making $8 per hour, 10 minutes would be $12 per hour, 5 minutes would be $24 per hour. I wouldn't think that I could do all of those steps in less than 10 minutes, so the max. I would be making would be $12 per hour. Then there is the wear and tear on the stones that would need to be replaced eventually, and consumables such as oil for the stones if used, and rouge. And are you going to advertise your services? For me anyway, these things always take longer than what I think they would. So I would be making less than what I would consider ideal, but probably would have a lot of work. So what would your time guestimate be for sharpening my pocket knife with a 2 inch blade? And if my knife was a three blade stockman, you would sharpen the whole thing for $6, correct? And are you going to charge fractional inches, that is if my knife has a 2 1/2" blade, then you will charge $2.50? It really does come down to one big math problem, based on how much time is involved. But, and it is a big but, you would be competing with sharpeners that are doing it with electric powered equipment, so that gives them a time advantage over you doing it by hand. Wow, this is getting to be a big can of worms!!!
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Railsplitter » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:53 pm

Most of my blades are 3 inches or less. I sharpen my own knives but if I could get an 8000 grit stropped edge for $3 I'd be all over it.

Awhile back I wanted to treat myself to a professional sharpening so I sent a three blade knife out to a guy with a great reputation. He put a mirror edge on all three blades and all the work was done by hand. I don't remember how high he went with grits but the blades came out great. Took him about 10 days to do the work and get the knife back to me which was agreed on from the start.

That cost me $85 plus shipping both ways. About $28 per blade and none of them were over 3 inches long.

I can't recommend a fair price to charge for your work but I think it should be more than $1 per inch. Your time is worth more than that and if you're good at it, people won't mind paying more.

Either that or just put a single grit edge on them to keep the price down. Many people won't mind that either as long as it's sharp.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Doc B » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:54 pm

Definitely sounded cheap, to me...for the work involved. Good breakdown OC.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby jerryd6818 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:45 pm

You just gotta love, love, love sharpening knives to get into the business and especially doing it by hand. You know, be Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs. If you love it that much and have that low of an opinion of your work, you might as well be doing it for free.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby kootenay joe » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:10 am

You need to charge enough to give yourself a decent return which i think is at least $15-$20 per hour at a minimum. To be successful you have to be good at sharpening and fast as well. If i sent in a 1 blade folding knife i would expect to pay about $20 to have it sharpened. A 3 blade folder i would expect to pay $30-$40. For this amount of money i would expect to receive very sharp edges that are consistent along the entire edge including the very tip.
If you can do a 3 blade knife in 1 hour then i'd say it could be a successful business for you.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Mumbleypeg » Tue Jun 25, 2019 2:50 am

Not to be a wet blanket but you’re gonna have a hard time competing with guys who have automated sharpening equipment (belt sanders) and charge $2 a blade, $5 for a three-blade stockman. There’s a guy in a panel truck who comes to local trade days around here and sets up a workbench with three belt sanders, each a different grit, and a buffer. He will put a shaving edge on all three blades of a stockman knife, and lightly buff it if you want, in about 5 minutes, for $5. Since I sharpen my own, I don’t use his services myself but have talked with him and watched him work. Nice guy who knows his stuff.

I’ve seen guys (and a couple of women) doing the same at Cabalas, Bass Pro, at the stock show, etc.

Assuming you do it well your process sounds like it would be superior to his. But how many customers would care (or know) enough to pay the difference? ::shrug:: JMO

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby mrwatch » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:52 am

We have an area kitchen goods store. Not seen what they use but they sharpens kitchen knives for $2. They Won't do serrated edge knives. I have a round tapered diamond file and after watching YouTube videos on serrated it does great. The ones I see in garage sales and thrift stores often have damaged or rolled over serrations.

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby btrwtr » Tue Jun 25, 2019 12:16 pm

I sharpen using a belt sander going to 400 grit until I can see the metal edge turning. This coarse folded wire edge can be both seen and felt. Then I finish using ceramic rods and a leather strop. The ceramic and leather is used to remove the turned wire edge created by the 400 belt. I don't normally find it necessary to go to anything past 400 grit before going to ceramic and leather.

I realize that not everyone has or wants to use a belt grinder to sharpen but the point is that regardless of method I don't think it is necessary to use much past a coarse 400 grit before finishing the edge in order to get a shaving sharp blade.

Lansky stone systems use a 600 grit (blue plastic mount) stone for their fine grit and 1000 grit (yellow plastic mount) for ultra fine. I think the 1000 is a bit of an overkill.

There is some school of thought that blades sharpened on courser abrasives create a coarser more biting edge than a finely honed super polished edge. I do think that there is something to be said for this.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Dinadan » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:24 pm

Do not forget to factor in the cost of band-aids!
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Colonel26 » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:44 pm

btrwtr wrote:I sharpen using a belt sander going to 400 grit until I can see the metal edge turning. This coarse folded wire edge can be both seen and felt. Then I finish using ceramic rods and a leather strop. The ceramic and leather is used to remove the turned wire edge created by the 400 belt. I don't normally find it necessary to go to anything past 400 grit before going to ceramic and leather.

I realize that not everyone has or wants to use a belt grinder to sharpen but the point is that regardless of method I don't think it is necessary to use much past a coarse 400 grit before finishing the edge in order to get a shaving sharp blade.

Lansky stone systems use a 600 grit (blue plastic mount) stone for their fine grit and 1000 grit (yellow plastic mount) for ultra fine. I think the 1000 is a bit of an overkill.

There is some school of thought that blades sharpened on courser abrasives create a coarser more biting edge than a finely honed super polished edge. I do think that there is something to be said for this.


You summed up my point well. A “toothy” edge, to me cuts better than a highly polished edge for most every day cutting.

Case in point, slicing a tomato. A highly polished edge will mash it up before cutting. A toothy edge will bite into it a cut.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby philco » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:20 pm

Woody's Workshop wrote:I figured about $1 per inch on straight edged blades if you don't need to remove chip, dents (like someone used it as a screw driver) and other defects.
That would include angle setting with my 220 Grit. working my way to 3000 grit on the diamond stones.
Then move to the Norton wet stone and pick up with the 4000 grit, working it to 8000 grit and finish up with strop on a board with blue jewler's rouge.
As for serrated blades, I figured $0.50 per inch, considering that you can only sharpen the back side.
Later on, I plan to invest in round diamond picks and wet stone to do the front side as well, but for now, just the back side.
Does this sound about right to you guys?



I'd starve to death if I tried to make a living sharpening knives. For me, it's a labor of love but one I take far to long to complete for it to ever be profitable. I wish you all the best in your endeavors.
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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby mrwatch » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:57 pm

A lady recently told me to cut steaks only with a very smooth blade steak knife. don't tear it with a serrated edge. For wood lathe tools you need the wire edge from belt sanding. Watched one man sharpen a wood plane using the "scary sharp method." Time consuming and I'm not look for fine curls of wood. Haven't cut matters but wood probably buy a Kyocera ceramic Knife. an area kitchen store say's they sell and get repeat buyers.

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Re: How much to charge to sharpen knives?

Postby Colonel26 » Wed Jun 26, 2019 9:51 pm

Woody's Workshop wrote:I figured about $1 per inch on straight edged blades if you don't need to remove chip, dents (like someone used it as a screw driver) and other defects.
That would include angle setting with my 220 Grit. working my way to 3000 grit on the diamond stones.
Then move to the Norton wet stone and pick up with the 4000 grit, working it to 8000 grit and finish up with strop on a board with blue jewler's rouge.
As for serrated blades, I figured $0.50 per inch, considering that you can only sharpen the back side.
Later on, I plan to invest in round diamond picks and wet stone to do the front side as well, but for now, just the back side.
Does this sound about right to you guys?


This is a Spyderco Military in S30V, a very hard steel that some folks have trouble sharpening. I had totally destroyed the edge stripping double coated wire and doing general farm chores. So today it was time for its first real sharpening. Three or four light passes on a 150 grit belt on my 1x30 belt sander followed by polishing it up for a few strokes on a DMT diamond hone 8k grit just to remove the wire edge and polish it up a might. It’s toothy, as in it’ll grab your finger when you test it, and it’ll shave hair with out pulling. No assorted series of complicated stones needed. And the total time including walking from my shop to the house to finish on the hone was about 10 minutes. If my hone were in the shop, maybe 5 if I hurried.

170DA2C0-3519-4BC3-B391-B3E63699FBA8.jpeg
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