Faster way of sharpening ?

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Thorndahl88

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So I’m in this lucky situation that I Can get a lot of knives to sharpen 50-100 knives a day
My only concern is, it’s really time consuming, and I was planning to maybe get a Tormek t8 for the rough part of the sharpening.

I think about Tormek to avoid too much noice and dust.

I sharpen mainly for private ppl. So the knives are nothing fancy.
I will use the Tormek for chip repair and the first stage of sharpening, after that i will finish on 1000 k and a finish stone.


For the better jknives, I will still sharpen by freehand with Waterstones.

Do u guys have any experience with jigs, or machinery for that part.

Cons of the t8 the way I intend to use it.
Is it worth the money, contra the time it takes.
Or should I stick with Waterstones, maybe with a jig etc ?
 
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Brian Weekley

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That’s a LOT of knives ... hats off to you. I have a Tormek T8 and use it often. I also have a variety of stones and have been freehand sharpening for about 50 years. The standard stone (wheel) that comes with the T8 is quite adequate to sharpen the average knife that most people use. The standard stone is a 250/1000 grit combination stone. It also has a nice leather stropping wheel and I also have their 4000 grit Japanese water stone. In my opinion it is not suitable for “standard” sharpening with Japanese, heirloom and custom knives as it can be very aggressive. It is powered and a moments inattention can cause a lot of damage to a blade. It can be used for repairs ... tips and chips, but very carefully with the 1000 grit wheel. The Japanese water stone is very interesting but I’ve found it to be more of a novelty for sharpening kitchen knives. I also understand that it is available with a variety of diamond wheels to 1200 grit but I haven’t personally used these.

With 50-100 knives a day I would divide the days knives into two batches. Wustoff’s and the like in one batch, Japanese, customs, and heirlooms in another. I would run the Wustoff and the like batch through the Tormek at 250 grit. When done I would dress the stone to 1000 grit then run the Wustoff batch through at 1000 grit. I would give the completed Wustoff and the like batch a quick run over the Tormek stropping wheel and I would stop there. Your edge will easily beat the factory edge and can have a nicely mirrored finish depending on how much time you spend on the stropping wheel. I would evaluate the Japanese and the like batch for repairs that may benefit from the Tormek using the 1000 grit wheel and run those next.

I would sharpen the Japanese and the like batch with your stones. With your experience at 50-100 blades a day I doubt that I could suggest anything to you that you don’t already know. After all, as Murray Carter says, sharpening is 90% technique and 10% equipment. Technique comes with experience.

I hope this helps.

Brian
 

nutmeg

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I have a machine like the Tormek (a smaller model) but didn't manage to get an acceptable finish this way.
I'd suggest investing in very coarse diamond stones. Every grit you find between 140 and 1200 and then go back to your 1000 grit and your finish stone. By the way I wouldn't go beyond 1000 for standard kitchen knives.

For very esthetic I love this one:
https://de.zwilling-shop.com/Kueche...Pro-Messerschaerfer-ZWILLING-32505-300-0.html

It doesn't "erase" the scratches but adds a nice mirror in a few stroke so the customer may have a feeling of elegance.
 

Thorndahl88

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That’s a LOT of knives ... hats off to you. I have a Tormek T8 and use it often. I also have a variety of stones and have been freehand sharpening for about 50 years. The standard stone (wheel) that comes with the T8 is quite adequate to sharpen the average knife that most people use. The standard stone is a 250/1000 grit combination stone. It also has a nice leather stropping wheel and I also have their 4000 grit Japanese water stone. In my opinion it is not suitable for “standard” sharpening with Japanese, heirloom and custom knives as it can be very aggressive. It is powered and a moments inattention can cause a lot of damage to a blade. It can be used for repairs ... tips and chips, but very carefully with the 1000 grit wheel. The Japanese water stone is very interesting but I’ve found it to be more of a novelty for sharpening kitchen knives. I also understand that it is available with a variety of diamond wheels to 1200 grit but I haven’t personally used these.

With 50-100 knives a day I would divide the days knives into two batches. Wustoff’s and the like in one batch, Japanese, customs, and heirlooms in another. I would run the Wustoff and the like batch through the Tormek at 250 grit. When done I would dress the stone to 1000 grit then run the Wustoff batch through at 1000 grit. I would give the completed Wustoff and the like batch a quick run over the Tormek stropping wheel and I would stop there. Your edge will easily beat the factory edge and can have a nicely mirrored finish depending on how much time you spend on the stropping wheel. I would evaluate the Japanese and the like batch for repairs that may benefit from the Tormek using the 1000 grit wheel and run those next.

I would sharpen the Japanese and the like batch with your stones. With your experience at 50-100 blades a day I doubt that I could suggest anything to you that you don’t already know. After all, as Murray Carter says, sharpening is 90% technique and 10% equipment. Technique comes with experience.

I hope this helps.

Brian
Thanks Brian for ur answer.
The knives I sharpen are cheap commercial knives, and some Victoria.
I would never do hard tempered knives on a machine.
I can’t keep up with 50 or 100 knives a day.
But I have the customers for it, so would like a way to speed up my sharpening to take in more knives
For the commercial knives it takes aprox 1 hour for 10 knives.

For harder steel and jknives it takes 15-20 minutes a knife, depending on the work that needs to be done.

So I was wondering if the t8 could speed up the proces a notch or 2.
 

kayman67

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Looks like too many knives daily to keep focus and do it right. At best 10 minutes (?) per knife, but really no one would be able to do this 8 hours straight. And I've been sharpening knives for years.
 

Brian Weekley

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In MY experience I could speed up sharpening a batch of “average” knives by using the technique I described. My guess ... 5-6 minutes a knife. But that is MY experience and I freely admit that there are many master sharpeners here on KKF who’s skills and knowledge are far superior to mine. I only replied because I DO have a Tormek T8 that I have used and have a few years experience sharpening on a variety of stones.
 

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When I sharpen multi knives for people I do all the blades on coarsest grit, then middle and finally the finest.
So I don‘t need to change the water every time.

I guess keeping with benchstones is good for the routine and be faster.

your 5 Minutes/knife is very good if you do it well! It‘s quite many $/hour.
 

nutmeg

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Or what about getting a healthy geometry on stones and skip the finishing stone by using a buffer machine for quick mirror?

But I don‘t know how much your customers care about the finish and how much they pay for this. For $10-20/ knife I would give only a very standard finish.
 

Thorndahl88

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Looks like too many knives daily to keep focus and do it right. At best 10 minutes (?) per knife, but really no one would be able to do this 8 hours straight. And I've been sharpening knives for years.
That’s Also my concern.
Hence the topic [emoji28]

But for now I manage to do 10 commercial knives a hour. So basically doing every knife in aprox 20 degree angle, with small variations. Finish em all on 1000 gritt then 3000.
I sort knives in gritt range, so if they have small chips it would be 200-1000-3000.

I don’t do 50 or 100 knives a day, but if I had the time I got customers for it
 

Brian Weekley

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I don’t charge for sharpening ... l never have. I owned a software company, sold it and retired when I was 49. Sharpening is my relaxation. Been doing it since I was 11. Like I said I ONLY responded because I have a Tormek T8 and have used a few stones for a few years. If it helps I will clearly state that I don’t know what I’m talking about and defer to those more knowledgeable.
 

nutmeg

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That’s Also my concern.
Hence the topic [emoji28]

But for now I manage to do 10 commercial knives a hour. So basically doing every knife in aprox 20 degree angle, with small variations. Finish em all on 1000 gritt then 3000.
I sort knives in gritt range, so if they have small chips it would be 200-1000-3000.

I don’t do 50 or 100 knives a day, but if I had the time I got customers for it
If you want to go fast, 1000 is going to be your maximal visible finish at a normal distance of view, say 70 cm.
So I would definitely invest at least in a 600#.

You can‘t go from 200 to 1000 easily.
I would do 200-600-1000. And then an optical trick.
 

ian

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I’ve never done anywhere near the volume you’re describing, but when I’ve been given 10 to do at once, I’ve definitely done them in batches on the stones as Brian described, and even started on an Atoma 140 for the terrible ones. Sometimes I feel like I need to remove so much fatigued steel until I get to metal that can hold an edge... on the real cheap knives, it’s better to remove too much than too little, to spare yourself the aggravation. (And the customer won’t ever notice if they’re using those knives...)

Anyway, I’m sure I’m not saying anything you don’t already know. Just commiserating.
 

Thorndahl88

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I don’t charge for sharpening ... l never have. I owned a software company, sold it and retired when I was 49. Sharpening is my relaxation. Been doing it since I was 11. Like I said I ONLY responded because I have a Tormek T8 and have used a few stones for a few years. If it helps I will clearly state that I don’t know what I’m talking about and defer to those more knowledgeable.
That would be my dream aswell.
I don’t have the opportunity to retire, but if I can manage 50 - 100 knives a day, it would sweeten the economy abit.
I’ve been working as a chef for many years but growed tired of it, and started a small firm where I sharpen knife for the normal household, and everyone got knives.
None know how to sharpen, so it’s a easy market to get a small succes
 

Thorndahl88

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Or what about getting a healthy geometry on stones and skip the finishing stone by using a buffer machine for quick mirror?

But I don‘t know how much your customers care about the finish and how much they pay for this. For $10-20/ knife I would give only a very standard finish.


I charge 10$ pr knife cheap service equal more customers.

For jknives and alike I charge 20 $
Barber knives 20$
Hairscissors 25$

I don’t make a great finish unless the customer wants it, and it will raise the cost abit for them aswell, most home users just want a functional knife.


If you want to go fast, 1000 is going to be your maximal visible finish at a normal distance of view, say 70 cm.
So I would definitely invest at least in a 600#.

You can‘t go from 200 to 1000 easily.
I would do 200-600-1000. And then an optical trick.
I got a 600 stone, just never used it.

I sharpen as peter Nowlan does with the p4 pressure, so I get a clean apex when I move to 1k gritt, then I raise a tiny burr on the 1 I gritt and continue the previous process, same goes for the finish stone .

I would just like to maybe be faster so I could do more knives.

belt grinder is out of the picture, as it’s too noisy, and the dust isn’t something I want.

Therefor maybe the Tormek could do some of the same work i do on the stones but faster ?

Thanks for the reply [emoji5]
 

Dave Martell

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I started out sharpening mobile in a van and quickly found myself in the same situation, too much volume for my methods. I tried the Tormek but this only marginally sped things up and that was going free hand (no jigs). In the end I bent and went with a belt grinder and that's what changed the game. I would use one belt for repairs/sharpening and a paper wheel to deburr. At my fastest I processed 1 knife every 2.5 minutes. Even at this rate I could be at a stop for an hour or more and for a commercial kitchen that would be pushing their patience.

There are wet belt grinders on the market (like F.Dick makes) that will allow for speed and clean grinding but they're somewhat limited for making repairs. Always a trade off I'm afraid.
 

Thorndahl88

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I started out sharpening mobile in a van and quickly found myself in the same situation, too much volume for my methods. I tried the Tormek but this only marginally sped things up and that was going free hand (no jigs). In the end I bent and went with a belt grinder and that's what changed the game. I would use one belt for repairs/sharpening and a paper wheel to deburr. At my fastest I processed 1 knife every 2.5 minutes. Even at this rate I could be at a stop for an hour or more and for a commercial kitchen that would be pushing their patience.

There are wet belt grinders on the market (like F.Dick makes) that will allow for speed and clean grinding but they're somewhat limited for making repairs. Always a trade off I'm afraid.
Hej Dave.
I was thinking about the van aswell.
I got a small workshop that fits my needs so far, only downside is power tools like a belt grinder can’t be used in there .
But a little less noisy machine with less dust is allowed.


Did u give up on shapening for a living, or was it a slowly transition to making ur own knifes that did the outcome.

I did a small calculation on it, if if I’m able to take 100 knives a day for a 8-9 hours working day 5 days a week that would be 21.500 $ a month without taxes and vat.
But i Can make a fine Living just doing 30-40 knives a day.

Can I drop ur a pm, as I’m sure u got the answers for the questions I might have.
 

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I'll defer to those on here that do a lot of blades, but I would think belt grinder would be the way to go for setting a bevel and repair quickly. A dust collector can be rigged up to capture nearly all swarf.
https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/35813-belt-grinder-dust-issue/

Something like a Wicked Edge to quickly sharpen. With some practice and efficiencies (read figuring out how to group the incoming knives so they flow efficiently) 5-6 minutes per blade might be doable?
 

Thorndahl88

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I'll defer to those on here that do a lot of blades, but I would think belt grinder would be the way to go for setting a bevel and repair quickly. A dust collector can be rigged up to capture nearly all swarf.
https://www.bladesmithsforum.com/index.php?/topic/35813-belt-grinder-dust-issue/

Something like a Wicked Edge to quickly sharpen. With some practice and efficiencies (read figuring out how to group the incoming knives so they flow efficiently) 5-6 minutes per blade might be doable?
I’m around 6 minutes on cheap knives with stones, so I need as Dave mentioned to go under 4 minutes, which is only durable with some sort of jig or power tool I’m sure of.

A power tool with a suction as above would make too much noise.
I might look for a better workshop, where I can be noisy. But for now I will have to settle .

Thanks for the reply
 

Dave Martell

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Did u give up on shapening for a living, or was it a slowly transition to making ur own knifes that did the outcome.
I ditched the mobile set up as soon as I could. Too many hours for not enough $$. The thing that I was up against was drive times (traffic) between stops and the knife rental places charging next to nothing for what the customer perceives as the same service. I was also working salons doing hair shears too and that work sucked so I was itching to get out of that business altogether as well.

I sold the van when the mail order Japanese knife sharpening picked up and went in that direction and then came the knife making, etc.





Can I drop ur a pm, as I’m sure u got the answers for the questions I might have.
Sure, anytime.
 
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Wow. That is some detailed, generous advice. I'm 100% pre-noobie on what you're talking about, but I read it all and found many parts where, if I tuck your words away in the mind, your reasoning provided info that I think will make my future learning clearer.

Thank you.

That’s a LOT of knives ... hats off to you. I have a Tormek T8 and use it often. I also have a variety of stones and have been freehand sharpening for about 50 years. The standard stone (wheel) that comes with the T8 is quite adequate to sharpen the average knife that most people use. The standard stone is a 250/1000 grit combination stone. It also has a nice leather stropping wheel and I also have their 4000 grit Japanese water stone. In my opinion it is not suitable for “standard” sharpening with Japanese, heirloom and custom knives as it can be very aggressive. It is powered and a moments inattention can cause a lot of damage to a blade. It can be used for repairs ... tips and chips, but very carefully with the 1000 grit wheel. The Japanese water stone is very interesting but I’ve found it to be more of a novelty for sharpening kitchen knives. I also understand that it is available with a variety of diamond wheels to 1200 grit but I haven’t personally used these.

With 50-100 knives a day I would divide the days knives into two batches. Wustoff’s and the like in one batch, Japanese, customs, and heirlooms in another. I would run the Wustoff and the like batch through the Tormek at 250 grit. When done I would dress the stone to 1000 grit then run the Wustoff batch through at 1000 grit. I would give the completed Wustoff and the like batch a quick run over the Tormek stropping wheel and I would stop there. Your edge will easily beat the factory edge and can have a nicely mirrored finish depending on how much time you spend on the stropping wheel. I would evaluate the Japanese and the like batch for repairs that may benefit from the Tormek using the 1000 grit wheel and run those next.

I would sharpen the Japanese and the like batch with your stones. With your experience at 50-100 blades a day I doubt that I could suggest anything to you that you don’t already know. After all, as Murray Carter says, sharpening is 90% technique and 10% equipment. Technique comes with experience.

I hope this helps.

Brian
 

Brian Weekley

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Thanks for your words. The problem with my advice is that it is from the perspective of a home enthusiast. What was wanted I believe was advice from the perspective of a commercial sharpening service probably operating from a van. On that perspective I really don’t know what I’m talking about and defer my advice to those among us who have direct experience in that world. I don’t have that experience.
 
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Hmm. Maybe I liked it because I'm a home user myself? I don't think that I'll ever have use for such a machine, but I will paraphrase what helpful info I felt I got from your advice. If you'll take a look and correct me in anything I got wrong, I'd be grateful. Thank you!

(What I thought I learned)
* A 250/1000 grit combination stone is quite adequate to sharpen the average knife that most people use.
* You don't wanna be too aggressive in "standard" sharpening with Japanese, heirloom and custom knives. With powered sharpeners, a moment's inattention can cause a lot of damage to a blade, but if carefully monitored, it can be used for repairs ... tips and chips.
*When choosing what knives to purchase and care for, it's helpful to view them in two groups: Wustoff's are adequate enough to consider and belong in your lower, or average group. This average group is sharpened first at 250 grit, then once more after dressing the stone to 1000 grit, then quickly stropped and you're done. This'll get your average knives an edge that beats factory and a nice mirrored finish to look at.
*For your higher grade knives, Japanese and the like, examine them first for any needed repairs. If you do find tip and chip issues, you can carefully use that power sharpener at 1000 grit to repair just those if you want, then proceed to your sharpening which is better served by hand for all knives of this grade.
*Don't even bother with a water stone, at least while you're learning.

Edit: Though you didn't mention it, I assume we should also check average knives for repair needs before sharpening.


Thanks for your words. The problem with my advice is that it is from the perspective of a home enthusiast. What was wanted I believe was advice from the perspective of a commercial sharpening service probably operating from a van. On that perspective I really don’t know what I’m talking about and defer my advice to those among us who have direct experience in that world. I don’t have that experience.
 
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I had the original Tormek Supergrind 4000(the green one) back in the day. I used it to sharpen Henckels' 5-star line knives almost exclusively, and I had almost the entire line at the time. I never let my knives get overly dull, so using it @1000 grit, and then finishing it on the stopping wheel gave some pretty good results @20 degrees per side. Although I wouldn't personally use a Tormek on higher quality J-knives & the like, but because of the large volume of average quality knives you're going through, it may in fact be worthy of serious consideration. I would recommend checking out a YouTube channel called Knife Grinders. The gentleman who does the videos also has a specialty shop for Tormeks and custom made accessories for the Tormek, which is also called Knife Grinders. From what I'm able to tell, he's a perfectionist, and has special equipment to measure things like the Bess rating of before/finished knives, a special laser apparatus to measure bevel angles, etc...There may in fact be some much better options out there that I'm not up to speed on, but I just wanted to throw in my two cents on the Tormek. Best of luck to you on whatever you decide on.
 

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In my opinion a “home” user has a very simple approach to keeping their knives sharp. A 1000/6000 grit stone combination will give you everything you want to keep your kitchen knives sharp and in top condition. A Tormek T8 is definitely not required. Anything coarser than 800-1000 grit isn’t required imho because the serious home user doesn’t abuse their blades. I sharpened knives very satisfactorily for 40 years with nothing but a soft Arkansas stone. I sharpen for friends and family. Mostly these are Wustoff or heirloom style knives and most come incredibly dull and many badly damaged ... tipped, heeled, chipped, reflexed from excessive steel use. A 250 grit stone can be used to fix these problems as can a 125 grit diamond stone and a 400-600 grit stone. The Tormek T8 does a great job of fixing these problems quickly and easily. I bought my Tormek mostly out of curiosity and my friend had a full meal deal Wicked Edge so I was going to do something different. I’ll keep my Tormek because it’s paid for and does a great job on friends and family knives that are abused and damaged. My knives will never see the Tormek. It is too aggressive and for my money any powered sharpener is too aggressive for my knives. If you are a commercial sharpener operating out of a van belt sharpeners are the way to go. Wham bam thank you ma’am ... that will be $10 please.

I’ll happily spend 2 hours sharpening one of my knives on a progression of 800-8000 grit. The only knives that I generally sharpen to a 50-50 edge are my gyutos. With other knives I sharpen at 60-40 to 90-10 depending on the knife and intended use. I’ll sharpen some knives to a 8000 grit mirrored finish then go back an put a toothed microbevel at 800 grit. You can’t take the time to do that if you’re operating a commercial service out of a van seeking to do 100 knives a day. Different steels require different approaches. ZDP189 and HAP40 require a completely different approach than Blue or White steels. My favourite steel is Aogami Super but I take pleasure in sharpening all steels.

So ... I hate to say it but if you are a home chef follow Murray Carters now obsolete teachings. Buy yourself a King 1000/6000 combination stone and start sharpening your own knives. For maintenance between stone sharpening’s buy a couple of strops using green and no compound. Sharpen ... sharpen ... sharpen! .... Sharpen everything. When you get tired of the results you are getting from your stones buy something else and use them. It’s 90% technique and 10% equipment.

If you have a van doing nothing and you want to start a sharpening business, buy 3 or 4 belt sharpeners of various grit and have some business cards printed up. Just decline to sharpen any Japanese knives you are given. Eventually you will get the hang of sharpening and will have a great business. That’s not to disrespect any van sharpeners out there but you all know what I mean.
 
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