Saturday, March 14, 2009


A couple of things I'm often asked is who should I buy a machine from, or who should I train with. Most everyone knows my personal preference for beauty shears sharpeners is either the Hira-To® or Ookami Gold®, the Twice as Sharp® for industrial shears, and the Extreme Kut for clipper blades; but everyone that has talked to me about this knows I'm not adverse to any of the machines out there. Most will sharpen just fine and the people that make them are proficient at sharpening, so there really isn't a wrong choice, but the questions still come; so let me give you some things to consider when you're ready to buy or train.

Things to Consider

Can you work with them?

There are many strong personalities in the sharpening business. Some come across as pompous, others arrogant, and then there's the ones that bad mouth everyone else. Watch out for all of these! If all you hear is how many years they've been sharpening, or how decorated they they are, or how no one can sharpen but them, run. If a person is truly good at what they do, they should have a quiet confidence that you will pick up on when you talk to them. If you feel they think too much of themselves, consider other options. Go with your gut.

Does the Number of Years They've Been Sharpening Matter?
To a degree yes, but this should not be the deciding factor. While I've been sharpening a long time myself, I've seen others that have been sharpening half that time that are excellent at what they do and would make a great trainer.

The Machine Does that "One" Thing
Boy this is the new rage out there! Let me let you in on something. If you hear a machine will do something none of the other machines can do on the market, it's a sales pitch; a gimmick. Is there anything wrong with the sharpening gimmick? No, not at all. But to spend more for a machine that will do some trick won't make you a better sharpener. What you ultimately need is a machine that is dependable and has a good jig system. All of the top selling machines have these features.

This is one of the most important things to consider. You want to buy from or train with a company that has a strong foundation. What should this foundation include? Here's my short list:
1. Longevity - can you see they've been in the business of supplying sharpeners for a while now.
2. Stock - if they don't have machines on the shelve ready to go, then they are building to order which is another way to say, "Flying by the seat of their pants." No stock, no stability.
3. Support - will they be able to help you when you run into a problem? Will you be able to get in touch with them when you have a questions? Here is something to think about. If you can't get in touch with a company on the phone to order a machine or set up a class during normal business hours, what makes you think you'll be able to get a hold of them if you need help. When you call, if a human being doesn't answer the phone, move on.

These are just a few things to consider. I said it before and I'll say it again, there is no wrong choice; it's just some of your options are better than others. If you'd like to discuss this more, please give me a call or drop me and e-mail. I'll talk to you soon.

Image: faby74


  1. Jim,
    Thanks for your honest advise. I am considering starting a beauty scissor sharpening business in the near future. I know you have stated that the Hira-To and Ookami Gold are your personal favorites. It is my understanding that both will sharpen convex styled scissors. Which one of the two would you recommend for someone just getting in to the business. Which will give you the most bang for the buck, ease of use and quality of work. Which would you start with if you were just getting in to the business. I'm sure I will be coming across beveled and convex scissors in my journey.

    Thanks for your dedication in keeping the sharpening world educated and informed.

    Ronnie Hopkins

  2. Ronnie - These are good questions. I'll answer them in a post sometime this week. Thanks for reading Jim Sharp and the kind words.

  3. Jim,
    In reading your blog I too would like your opinion on the equipment you would recommend for a starting sharpener and also in scissor sales.
    I know you have been quite busy and am looking forward to your article on these points