Just curious about how many of you guys sharpen your own saw blades and router bits? There is no local service in my area and the company I used for several years quit coming around thus forcing me to pack up the blades and ship via UPS. This is a big hassle for me since the closest UPS store is way across town. Just pondering the thought of getting a sharpening machine.
I feel your pain Kip, I'm in the same situation. I have a guy that is fairly local but certain things he's good at and other blades not so much. I contacted Williams and Hussey about sharpening their cutters and they want $28 a set which I think is ridiculous.
Mike, I would imagine that sharpening molding knives would be a good bit harder to do since you have to sharpen the contoured edge rather than just a flat face. The guy that makes my knives is very reasonable at both making new knives and sharpening my old ones.
Sharpening your own carbide table saw blades is a fool's errand. The difference between a cnc grinder and one of those old school grinders is obvious.
Buy 3 of the best blades you can afford. Its common to use the 40 tooth combo blades for ply and wood these days. If you cut a lot of melamine then buy 3 of those blades.
Only ship them when 2 of the blades are dull. It will save on shipping. Most carbide shaper cutters can be lapped a few times with a diamond stone without damaging the profile. Likewise with WH knives you can lap them several times. It makes them sharper than when you receive them.
Companies like CT Saw & Tool have excellent customer service. They will explain to you the most cost effective means of getting your stuff shipped and sharpened.
I'm the fool who bought the old school Foley Belsaw grinder.
I'm the fool who hasn't paid anyone to sharpen my blades in 4 years.
I'm the fool who hasn't had to pack up my blades and ship them.
I'm the fool that when I want something sharp I can do it right then and not wait 2 weeks to get my blades back.
I'm the fool who doesn't have to pay someone to do what I can do.
I'm the fool who bought the $6,000 Foley machine for $200 because no other fool would buy it.
I'm just a fool.
I would add up the time that one would spend sharpening their own blades, including the learning curve. Add in all the costs - grinder, wheels, lubricant, etc. Then add in your hourly shop rate. Work it out on a yearly basis. Compare it to any local service. Don't forget tooth brazing!
If you are honest and accurate, you will back away quickly.
There is a reason that shops - small shops, large shops - don't do this. It does not pay off. If you think you are different, you could be a fool fooling yourself.
I've seen your website, you do beautiful work. I suspect you have several employees and you have to bring in the
larger projects. For you sharpening does not make sense. I suspect that Kip's operation is not as large as yours and
might never be. What works for one may not work for another. Nothing saying when one is super busy you can't send your blades out to be sharpened. Kinda like making cabinet doors, sometimes I make my own and sometimes I order them.
Look at craigslist, these machines go relatively cheap. If it doesn't work out just re-sell it. Someone out there is considering buying a sharpener to start a part time business. They get the machine, learn how to use it and then
they have to find customers. Learning how to use it is not the hard part finding customers is! You already have a customer and that is you.
Lol al, we may be related! I'm the fool that still enjoys the challenge of doing the work. I'm certainly not knocking the guys who sub out what they don't want to do by any means. If it works for you, more power to you. I just love the challenge of new things. I'll probably give it a go and see if I like it. Thanks to all for your contributions. I'll be accepting blades and bits for sharpening in the near future;)
Understanding opportunity cost is key to business success. It effects everything you do.
"When economists refer to the "opportunity cost" of a resource, they mean the value of the next-highest-valued alternative use of that resource. If, for example, you spend time and money going to a movie, you cannot spend that time at home reading a book, and you can't spend the money on something else."
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