Category Archives: Knife Sharpening

Ten Reasons why Knife Sharpening is a Good Hustle

As I write this, I am still in the process of establishing my knife sharpening business, but it appears to be working.

My goal is to sharpen 10 knives a week, and for the past two months, I’ve been hitting my mark. With recent exposure at the local Farmer’s Market, and a new Facebook Page, I’m optimistic that in the coming months I’ll be able to continue meeting my goal.

If you, too, are interested in starting a business, either for cash money or for experience, I’d like to make a 10 point case for why knife sharpening might worthy of exploration.

  1. Scratch your own itch.

As an engineer, I hate absolutes, but chances are, you have knives. Even if you go through all the effort to learn how to sharpen knives, market it, and turn it into a business that fails, you’ll still know how to sharpen your own knives.

  1. Low capital investment.

In my humble opinion, the Edge Pro is the way to go, and you’re talking a few hundred bucks to get an adequate setup, so this is all relative, but in the big scheme of things…well, how about this…I paid mine off in less than a year.

  1. The skills are easily learned.

It will help having some hand’s on skills to start, but the required information is on YouTube and with a little practice on your own knives you’ll be able to get the hang of it. After that, you can sharpen knives for friends and family to practice and spread the word. And by then, you’ll know what a sharp knife is.

  1. Near limitless opportunity.

Again, I hate absolutes, but every house where food is served has a set of knives. That doesn’t even cover the tools in all the sheds around you, or the knives in pockets. There are knives everywhere, and they are probably dull, or otherwise poorly maintained.

  1. Subscription opportunity.

Even a meticulously maintained knife will get dull. It’s not inconceivable to suggest that once a good relationship is established, the clientele will return for years.

  1. Existing service sucks.

I am never in the game of bashing someone behind their back, but, many existing knife sharpeners use fast tools that provide mediocre results. In Fact! One of my biggest challenges is convincing people I am not one of them. I use the term precision sharpening to try to convey that.

  1. Set your own hours.

The thing about the side hustle is that it has to be done outside of your normal work hours. Once you establish a good drop off and pick up method, the physical act of sharpening can occur any time of day.

  1. Use it to build an email list.

Maybe you, like me, do not aspire to sharpen knives for 40 hours a week, every week. Well, in addition to building savvy business skills, you can keep in touch with your customers offering deals and information to one day transition them into customers in any other venture. Many of the people I listen to and follow who are successful have stressed the importance of an email list.

  1. Scale as much or as little as you want.

If your market really demands it, this is a service you could turn into one with employees, travel vans, and dedicated brick and mortar infrastructure. Or, it can stay in the basement and after hours.

  1. Competition is valuable.

Miles may vary with this, but in my opinion, more knife sharpeners the better. Because, the biggest issue we face is that people don’t even know that their knives should be sharpened. So, since educating the customer is a big hurdle, the more people out there getting after it, the more people will come to respect sharp knives.

There are more reasons, but I think that is enough to make a case. I welcome your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below.

How to care for kitchen knives

I have been itching to cut this video for some time now.

A tutorial of my recommendations on daily and routine knife maintenance.

Links to products I recommend:

Knife Oil: For you high-carbon-knife operators.

Ceramic Hone: In the vid you’ll see the way I recommend you use a hone in the kitchen. Once you nail that, you should treat yourself to a better hone than that cheesy steel that came in your set.

Without further ado:


The American Edge on a Chainsaw

Here’s one I’d prefer you to do on you own.

The chainsaw.

To be safe, you should touch up your chain every time you go out. To do it that often, you need to be good at doing it yourself.

I use the Granberg G-106B, it used to be $30, looks like it climbed a little bit, still worth it.

I think any bad reviews are by people who aren’t using it correctly. It’s not rocket science, but the included directions are rather sparse.

Here you go:

Redefining a sharp hatchet

This hatchet sharpened on the Edge Pro Apex.

The edge was restored using a 120 grit stone, and finished with a 2k grit polish.

The handle was treated with boiled linseed oil.

I charge $15 dollars, which is comparable to a new hatchet, but a new hatchet won’t come out of the box this sharp, or with an edge this durable.

Camping this summer?

Do yourself a favor:

You’re Smarter Than you think… ~ Applied Permaculture Update for February, 2017

Subscribe to my email list to receive these monthly updates and special offers. Posted here, time late, for future reference.

You’re smarter than you think…

I mean that.

I was hustling my knife sharpening in a local eatery and in a casual conversation I learned something that I believe to be true in most households.

They don’t sharpen their knives.

Well, they said they do it themselves.

But they’re about to buy a new set, because the ones they have are just getting too old.

That blew me away!

One of my biggest challenges in running a knife sharpening business is to educate people on the importance of maintaining their blades. But there’s more!

That eatery also told me that they took a knife to a local hardware store and it came back worse than it left!

I’m concerned that, in the interest of time, some sharpeners use bench grinders and belt sanders to sharpen knives.

Zing, Zing and you’re done. But…

Using your mind’s eye, imagine the very, very edge of that blade. The thinnest point where the two sides of the blade come together. The EDGE. Well when you put that on a grinder it’s going to heat up something fierce, and in doing so, it will change the mechanical properties of the metal, for the worse.

That’s why I use the long and slow method of whetstones. And so do you. Because you’re smart.

Speaking of being smart, I want to share some updates from the homestead and some resources I hope you find worthy of exploration.

I hope you know that my motivation to sharpen knives is so I can grow the best food on earth for my family. I recently heard Robyn O’Brien speak on the Tony Robbins Podcast about topics she covered in her book, ‘The Unhealthy Truth’. It’s all old news to me, but what I want to share in case you think I’m just a permaculture fanatic. It reinforced all my motivations and I want it to do the same for you, and more importantly, your kids.

In that same vein, I want to share some information on fermenting foods, namely, sauerkraut.

In a recent conversation with a dear friend she told me that she always keeps sauerkraut at home and has some whenever she has a stomach ache.


Know why?

It’s the probiotics. Those little living things inside our gut that make us feel good when they’re in balance, and terrible when they’re not. Eating lacto-fermented foods promotes a healthy balance.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage.

If you read my post about how I know when to plant seeds, indoors and out, you might already know that the cabbage has been started indoors, and they’re doing great!

We also started our first batch of sauerkraut with some store-bought cabbage!

It’s been fermenting for two weeks, and going well. We’ve sampled it every week and I’m confident next week it will be done.

It’s way easier than you think. Cabbage, salt, water, done. With a little bit of measuring putting it all together.

I got hooked on fermented foods by Erica Strauss at Northwest Edible Life. Her site is a good resource, but if you really want the proof that she’s a genius, search for her at The Survival Podcast and listen to her answering audience questions. She’s good. Real good.

Lastly, if you’re not using Pink Himalayan Salt in your kitchen, please do yourself a favor and get some. Your grocery store probably stocks it. Trust me.


That’s it for now.

Do me a favor and forward this to the smartest person you know. If they read this far they’ll learn that they can email me to get on my monthly update and subscribe to my blog here.

Stay awesome,


My Russian Queen from Georgia ~ Applied Permaculture Project Update for Jan 2017

Join my email list to receive monthly updates first. Posted here, time late, for future reference.

My shopping cart with Johnny’s Selected Seeds is currently sitting at over 300 bones!

That seems like a lot to me, but, it’s comparable to 2 weeks of groceries for our family of three.

Can we shave our grocery bill by $300 this year?

Will we eat better food?

Subscribe to the blog to find out how our harvest goes as well as all the other suppliers we’ll be using for bees (Bobo and I are down for some Russians for Georgia), chicks (hatched baby chickens) (did you know chicks come shipped live in the mail) (it’s cool), blueberry plants, apple trees (holler for that Honey Crisp cross with a Gala) (dang!) and anything else we can get into this year.

I’ll confess I have not grossed $300 in knife sharpening, yet. So, we’ll have to dip into the old annual salary to get this year off the ground, but I’m using that as inspiration to press up my knife sharpening marketing.

Fifty free knives!

Tell your friends. One free knife to set the hook for an eternity of sharpness snobbery.

Eat smart,


PS. Let me know if you cook with cast iron. I’ve been doing some experimental research with seasoning and I think I might be onto something.

PSS. Lilly wants bees. I’m taking a course that blows my mind every week. Check out the Bees Knees category at my site for my collection of the most fascinating aspects of bees.

How to sharpen a machete

When I started using an Edge Pro, or even before I started using one, while I was shopping, I wondered how to do all the different types of blades, and if they were even possible to sharpen!

My own knowledge on sharpening has come a long way and with this blog I’m trying to record what I learn and share it so that others may learn as well.

I am beginning to show that knife sharpening is a worthy skill to provide a supplemental income to a family or homestead. I’m using it to fund an Applied Permaculture Project at home to provide the initial, and ongoing, capital for investment into an ever increasingly sustainable project.

A machete is one of many blades the Edge Pro sharpener handles well and in this video I show you how I do it. Take particular note to the long shallow primary bevel that is required to bring the 1/8th inch thick steel blade down to an edge. A shallow bevel like that is easy to fold over in an application like that which a machete gets used, so I added a secondary bevel. Not only does the secondary bevel add durability to the edge, as it gets sharpened over time it requires less material removal.  So, if you are an avid user of your machete, this technique can add time to the lifespan of the tool.

These techniques are also used on folding pocket and tactical knives. After several rounds of sharpening a flat ground blade you may notice reduced performance. One option is to ‘thin’ the blade, by removing bulk material at a shallow angle, and then apply that secondary bevel at a 21 degree, or so, half angle.

Lastly, and commonly confused, is the term ‘micro bevel’. There is no micro bevel on the machete. When I do kitchen knives I finish them at 600 grit and then remove any burr that is left using a ceramic hone. This effectively adds a micro bevel to the apex of the blade. Routinely using a hone on kitchen blades can add a lot of time between sharpening. After you’ve passed a kitchen knife over a hone 15-30 times the results will peter out and it’ll be time to put it back on the sharpening bench.

How to sharpen serrated blades on an Edge Pro Apex

A drawback of the Edge Pro Apex is the inability to set the sharpening stones at or near zero degrees. Edge Pro addressed this issue with the professional model, but by building an appropriate shim you can get pretty solid work around on the Apex.

The way I have worked around this issue is by building a shim that sits on the deck of the edge pro against the guide. It raises the spine of the knife off the deck of the Apex enough to improve the angle, but not so much that it can slip over the guide.

Dimensioned drawing of the shim used on the Edge Pro Apex to sharpen serrated blades.

In my video, I go through the process of building the shims and how they are used to sharpen a standard kitchen serrated blade.

As I mentioned in my video, I punched out quite a few of these. If you would like one, please reach out to me and we can work something out.

Happy sharpening!

Don’t Bench Mount Your Edge Pro

The Edge Pro Apex is arguably the best knife sharpening tool available, yet it has some limitations. In this article I’ll show you a base I built that gets rid of the suction cups, adds stability, and retains portability.

First, as I progressively provide the details of my Applied Permaculture Project I want to share my intent with starting a knife sharpening business. The objective is not to become a full-time knife sharpener. Though I do find the metallurgy and science fascinating, neither do I intend to become the smartest dude on knives. My intent is really to provide an alternative source of income and to channel that income into a sustainability project on my homestead. When that project is successful I will look back on knife sharpening as the snowflake that started the snowball.

I heard a quote today on the Tim Ferriss podcast that struck a chord with me. Trying to win is not the same as trying not to lose. I find that motivational as I try to acquire customers for my knife sharpening business.

With that in mind, I also want to find other people with the itch to start a knife sharpening service in pursuit of greater self-reliance. For that reason I am posting as many details as I can of this venture. I sincerely hope this works, and that it can be used as a blueprint for someone else seeking greater control of life.

Now to the Edge Pro Apex. Really a great tool, with a major limitation. As sold, it does not stay put when sharpening a knife. I tried to correct this by mounting it directly to my workbench, but that made my work bench relatively unusable for other projects, and limited my ability to travel with the Edge Pro. One of the best things about acquiring any skill is the opportunity to share it with friends and family. My motivation to improve the mount was so that I could travel with the Edge Pro at Thanksgiving to sharpen the carving knife.

The best way I have come up with is a rigid mount to a plywood base. See the drawing below and download a higher resolution copy here:

Edge Pro Mount

Screenshot of the drawing, see the text for a link to a higher resolution version to build off.

This is a straight forward, simple, yet effective design. Non-slip adhesive pads are installed on the bottom, and the holes for the edge pro are drilled from the bottom with a 3/16” drill and countersunk to accept #8-32 flat head screw. I used 1.5” screws. Feed them through the hole, run a washer and nut down them, keep it loose as you screw it into the Edge Pro and when you have the Edge Pro at the height that you like, tighten the nuts to the plywood.

Detail on the fasteners for the Edge Pro mount.

The wings on the plywood allow the mount to be clamped to a table in case it still slides. I’ve used this on several surfaces and have not yet needed the clamps.

Please let me know if I missed any details, or if you need any help building one for yourself. Please also check out my YouTube video to see if it answers any questions you might have.