Author Topic: Farmers Market update  (Read 4085 times)

Offline Y-Not

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Farmers Market update
« on: May 28, 2018, 01:40:41 pm »
Hey everyone...

I've got good news and bad news.

First off, the Farmers Market was an OUTSTANDING success.

We pulled in a really nice bit of business. While the weather report called for rain, not a drop fell. :)
We were talking to several other vendors and most all of them said that this was the biggest opening day for the market that they've had in the 10 years the market has been happening.

We were pretty much set up and ready for business about 15 minutes before the official starting time.  About 10 minutes before the opening, I started sharpening my first blade and was sharpening something, non-stop for the next 90 minutes. Which is sort of funny because I had told my wife that I needed to use the restroom before we got started...Damn good thing I was highly focused or I might have wet myself.   :P

We had one fella (older gent) wander by. Asked about the price. Then he said "for that, I'll just keep trying on my own".
Everyone else, was more than willing to pay.  One guy said that no matter what he did or who tried, he could not get an edge on his pocket knife. I told him to let me try. If I can't do it either, there would be no charge for my failure.  ;)

5 minutes later, I look over to my wife who is giving him his knife back. I saw him shave a 1 inch strip of fur off of the back of his hand. The look on his face was worth more than what he paid for the sharpening.  That was a beautiful thing and a hell of a confidence booster.

Another fella had a combo straight edge/serrated pocket knife. He said that he thought that serrated edges couldn't be sharpened. Again, I asked that he let me try it. We gave him a Tormek band-aid as he cut his thumb thinking it was still dull.  He gave us a tip.  :)

One guy was a retired military veteran and was awarded a very, very nice (and since very well used) pocket knife. Apparently whatever branch of the service he was in, didn't teach basic knife sharpening. He said that he's never been able to get an edge on it like it had when he first got it.
He left grinning like a school boy after his first kiss.  :)  Another happy customer.
 
We had a few Scissors. I cut myself a few times just cleaning them up. Job hazard I guess you'd call it.

The bad news...and I hate to bring it up due to present company (this entire forum) is that while the Tormek was present the whole time, it was never used. Not even plugged in. :(

While I love everything about the Tormek, it's simply not fast enough to keep pace at the market. It does a beautiful job. Edges are a delight to look at but it's not designed or capable of being used in a high volume environment. I needed really sharp edges and a really fast turnaround and the Tormek can only fulfill one of those requirements. :(

I've got a belt sharpener with various grit belts and a leather belt with honing compound. As I've grown up free handing on stones, the various angles were muscle memory. The biggest different between the belt sander and stones is the heat.  As long and I used a light touch and paid close attention to the blade temperatures (fingers always on the blade, sensing for warmth), it was the best and fastest method of getting the hair cutting edges I was looking for.
If a blade started getting warm, I'd quench it in a bucket of water and get right back to sharpening. It worked, it was fast and no one had to wait more than about 5 minutes. Most everyone had their blades done and waiting for them when they returned from shopping all the other vendors.

Everyone seemed to like the claim ticket concept. It made sense to them. Some of the guys didn't want to wear them around their necks. We told them to put'em in your pocket if you want. Just make sure to bring it back when you come to collect you blades.

I was a little sad (a lot really) to see the Tormek sitting on the bench, not being used. But I was happy to produce the edges I was wanting and to see the expressions on the faces of the customers when they came to collect their knives.

All in all, it was a fun and profitable day and I now look forward to doing it again next Saturday and the next, and the next, and the next...Until the last Saturday in October. :)
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline Grizz

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 04:21:37 pm »
just curious, do you use a Bess scale after sharpening ?

Offline cbwx34

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 05:15:22 pm »
just curious, do you use a Bess scale after sharpening ?

I think he uses the BOG scale.
Big ol’ Grin  ;)

Offline RickKrung

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 05:23:55 pm »
Bad Ole Guess?   ;)

Nice going.  Sorry that the Tormek didn't fit in.  Maybe another time.  With that under your belt, what to you see yourself using the Tormek for? 

Rick
Quality is like buying oats.  If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

Offline Y-Not

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 05:30:17 pm »
just curious, do you use a Bess scale after sharpening ?

Love too but...Most market folks aren't impressed with numbers.
Can it shave hair?  That's what they are asking for. 

I'll use the phone book paper or news paper to check my work for areas that need a little more attention.
Outside of that, the market folks are tickled stupid to have sharp edges again.
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline Y-Not

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2018, 05:31:18 pm »
I think he uses the BOG scale.
Big ol’ Grin  ;)

Pretty much.
If my customers are grinning, I've done my job.
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline Y-Not

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2018, 05:34:19 pm »
Bad Ole Guess?   ;)

Nice going.  Sorry that the Tormek didn't fit in.  Maybe another time.  With that under your belt, what to you see yourself using the Tormek for? 

Rick

It depends on what unfolds over the next few weeks.  The woman managing the market wants to put me in touch with the local restaurant chiefs. If that happens, it'll be nothing but Tormek.  While turnaround is important, precision is more so in that case.
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline RickKrung

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2018, 05:46:46 pm »
Excellent!  I hope that works out for you. 

A mobile service sharpener, sharpening knives in a restaurant was the first time I observed anyone using a Tormek (or clone, not sure).  I had him sharpen my pocket knife and I was hooked.  He showed up at the natural/organic foods supermarket that I frequented and that is where I went to him most often.  He gave me a business card and I would call him and find out when he would be there again.  I'm sure you must be doing something similar. 

Rick
Quality is like buying oats.  If you want nice clean, fresh oats, you must pay a fair price. However, if you can be satisfied with oats that have already been through the horse, that comes at a lower price.

Offline Y-Not

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2018, 06:12:06 pm »
He gave me a business card and I would call him and find out when he would be there again.  I'm sure you must be doing something similar. 

Rick

Yeah, sort of.
I toyed with the idea of getting business cards.
Then my wife suggested that instead of business cards, we hand out the knife sheaths that already have our info on them.

Everyone seemed to think that it was a clever/good idea.
They have my info and they have something to bring their knife back to me in.  Win/Win.

I'm all over Facebook and NextDoor.  I had one elderly lady that has physical issues and can not get around the market. She contacted me yesterday and dropped off 4 scissors and 8 knives.  I told her that if she didn't need the sheaths, to please hand them out to friends, family and neighbors. Just as one might do with business cards.

What they don't know is that all of the sheaths we've given out, have a little mark on them that only we know to look for.  So...I'll know if the "business cards" are coming back or not.
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline Ken S

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2018, 10:00:58 pm »
Y-Not,

I am pleased your farmers market experience has been such a fine success. As a telephone man, I spent much of my time working atop of telephone poles. In the rural areas, I frequently worked with large, dense sticker bushes below me and an hour's drive from the tool cabinet. I quickly learn how to work using substitute tools to replace tools which had dropped.

My two principal sharpening tools are my Tormek and my belt grinder. For me, my Tormek is my work horse, however, I would feel uncomfortable without either of my complementary tools. They work well together. I would feel uncomfortable in a farmers market situation without a good backup.

Granted, the belt grinder is a very efficient and versatile tool. I think the Tormek is, too. However, I do not the standard Tormek technique is always fast for volume work.

This is changing. The new diamond wheels will eliminate many of the constraints. There will be no need to interrupt sharpening for truing or grading the stone. This will be a huge improvement. Also, I believe the 600 grit diamond wheel will eliminate the necessity for changing grits, especially when used wet.

My thoughts on bevel setting are well known on this forum. The Anglemaster works fine with chisels, however, I find it difficult and slow to use with knives. I find the black marker easier to use, but certainly not as quick as a kenjig. The diamond wheels will eliminate any need to compensate for wheel wear.

I think Wootz' applet is an excellent tool for high end sharpening. It is also useful orl initially setting up uncommon angles with the kenjig. I have it and like it. However, it is better designed for slower work than the frantic pace of the farmers market.

Y-Not, I suggest you keep using your belt grinder at the farmers market and also continue tuning your Tormek technique. You have a good sharpening background. As you continue tuning your technique, you may wish to use both tools. Whichever tool you favor, I would feel more comfortable having a good back up system with me at the farmers market!

Do keep us posted and, as always, the best of luck.

Ken

ps I think the paper knife sheaths with your contact info are an excellent idea!

pps For very mobile work, where you have to carry and set up a lot like in restaurants, I love my T4 carried in a bowling ball bag. It's the cat's meow!




Offline Y-Not

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2018, 03:04:03 pm »
Y-Not,

I am pleased your farmers market experience has been such a fine success.

My two principal sharpening tools are my Tormek and my belt grinder. For me, my Tormek is my work horse, however, I would feel uncomfortable without either of my complementary tools. They work well together. I would feel uncomfortable in a farmers market situation without a good backup.

Granted, the belt grinder is a very efficient and versatile tool. I think the Tormek is, too. However, I do not the standard Tormek technique is always fast for volume work.

This is changing. The new diamond wheels will eliminate many of the constraints. There will be no need to interrupt sharpening for truing or grading the stone. This will be a huge improvement. Also, I believe the 600 grit diamond wheel will eliminate the necessity for changing grits, especially when used wet.

My thoughts on bevel setting are well known on this forum. The Anglemaster works fine with chisels, however, I find it difficult and slow to use with knives. I find the black marker easier to use, but certainly not as quick as a kenjig. The diamond wheels will eliminate any need to compensate for wheel wear.

Y-Not, I suggest you keep using your belt grinder at the farmers market and also continue tuning your Tormek technique. You have a good sharpening background. As you continue tuning your technique, you may wish to use both tools. Whichever tool you favor, I would feel more comfortable having a good back up system with me at the farmers market!

Do keep us posted and, as always, the best of luck.

Ken

ps I think the paper knife sheaths with your contact info are an excellent idea!

pps For very mobile work, where you have to carry and set up a lot like in restaurants, I love my T4 carried in a bowling ball bag. It's the cat's meow!

Ken,

As always, you and everyone here have been very supportive and willing to share your knowledge.  This has been a BIG help as my anxiety about market and using the Tormek were taking hold, it was and still is fun to be involved with a group like this.  Bloopers and all. ;)

I'm sure that given enough time, my performance with the Tormek would get much better.  At this point, it's all about the turnaround time (and not over heating the metal).  The belt sander has the speed that I need and it's up to me to manage the temperature of the metal.

I fully intend to keep sharpening my skills with the Tormek.

My full time job is computer hardware repair and I'm always moving from one tool to another as my experience with each one tells me which will perform best for the task at hand.

Swapping between the sander and the Tormek is not all that different.

Thanks again and I'll keep you posted as my progression continues.
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline cbwx34

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2018, 03:40:41 pm »
I suspect part of this is just returning to your "comfort zone"... using something you're familiar with... especially in a new/unknown environment?

But if you continue to evaluate using the Tormek, I would consider looking at alternatives to the Platform Jig.  I've only used it for a short time... but am finding it really slows the sharpening process down.

The quote from Tormek that Herman Trivilino posted, I'm finding to be spot on.

I haven't timed it, but I know I could set a knife in the standard jig, set the angle, and sharpen it, considerably faster than using the Platform... even if the Platform Jig was already set.

If a knife needed a quick touch-up, I could see using the Platform... but I doubt you're seeing that at a Farmer's Market.  ;)

Maybe take another look at Steve's ideas for incorporating the Tormek with your other methods?  (At least so it's not just "sitting there"...).

Just a couple of ideas. ???

Offline Y-Not

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2018, 04:54:25 pm »
I suspect part of this is just returning to your "comfort zone"... using something you're familiar with... especially in a new/unknown environment?

But if you continue to evaluate using the Tormek, I would consider looking at alternatives to the Platform Jig.  I've only used it for a short time... but am finding it really slows the sharpening process down.

The quote from Tormek that Herman Trivilino posted, I'm finding to be spot on.

I haven't timed it, but I know I could set a knife in the standard jig, set the angle, and sharpen it, considerably faster than using the Platform... even if the Platform Jig was already set.

If a knife needed a quick touch-up, I could see using the Platform... but I doubt you're seeing that at a Farmer's Market.  ;)

Maybe take another look at Steve's ideas for incorporating the Tormek with your other methods?  (At least so it's not just "sitting there"...).

Just a couple of ideas. ???

You might be right.
Before the whole farmers market thing came about, I had only sharpened freehand with stones then in the last 2 years, using a guided rod system. I had never used a belt before. I suspect that my freehand experience is why the belt worked so well for me.

Steve...Steve is Da Man in my book.
I'm always looking into his operation (when he was doing it).  My setup is almost a carbon copy of what he had set up at the markets he attended.
Not that I'm trying to model myself after him. It's just that his setup makes sense to me and works for me.

When I sharpened my (not dull) kitchen knives, the Tormek was the Mac Daddy! 
A couple of quick passes then a visit to the leather wheel and I was done.
Anything else, took more time that I wanted.

I'm sure the diamond wheels will have a positive impact on turn around times and I'm looking forward to them coming out.
Not as sharp as I once was but I'm as sharp once as I ever was.

Offline Grizz

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2018, 05:48:34 pm »
I suspect part of this is just returning to your "comfort zone"... using something you're familiar with... especially in a new/unknown environment?

But if you continue to evaluate using the Tormek, I would consider looking at alternatives to the Platform Jig.  I've only used it for a short time... but am finding it really slows the sharpening process down.

The quote from Tormek that Herman Trivilino posted, I'm finding to be spot on.

I haven't timed it, but I know I could set a knife in the standard jig, set the angle, and sharpen it, considerably faster than using the Platform... even if the Platform Jig was already set.

If a knife needed a quick touch-up, I could see using the Platform... but I doubt you're seeing that at a Farmer's Market.  ;)

Maybe take another look at Steve's ideas for incorporating the Tormek with your other methods?  (At least so it's not just "sitting there"...).

Just a couple of ideas. ???

You might be right.
Before the whole farmers market thing came about, I had only sharpened freehand with stones then in the last 2 years, using a guided rod system. I had never used a belt before. I suspect that my freehand experience is why the belt worked so well for me.

Steve...Steve is Da Man in my book.
I'm always looking into his operation (when he was doing it).  My setup is almost a carbon copy of what he had set up at the markets he attended.
Not that I'm trying to model myself after him. It's just that his setup makes sense to me and works for me.

When I sharpened my (not dull) kitchen knives, the Tormek was the Mac Daddy! 
A couple of quick passes then a visit to the leather wheel and I was done.
Anything else, took more time that I wanted.

I'm sure the diamond wheels will have a positive impact on turn around times and I'm looking forward to them coming out.
I watch Steve's training video bout once a month and seems like I pickup on something new each time. yes, the new diamond wheels may be a game changer and eliminate some of the equipment we have to use for speed.

Offline Ken S

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Re: Farmers Market update
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2018, 07:52:20 pm »
Grizz,

I totally agree. Steve has become a valued friend. He asked me to review his video for the forum. I have lost count of the times I have watched it. Like you, I continue learning with each watching. It is invaluable, "from the trenches" practical knowledge very clearly presented. Steve manned the farmers markets for many years and also taught one on one. Both come through in his video. He decided to make the professional quality video done to offer his class after his retired. It succeeds in this handily.

I agree that Tormek's new diamond wheels will quickly become game changers for sharpeners, including the farmers market group. I will be curious to read what veterans like Steve think about the new diamond wheels.

Ken