Friday, July 17, 2009

NBTSG National Beauty Tool Sharpeners Guild

**note** This is a reprint of the an article I wrote for the July Issue of On The Edge. It is rare that I ever mix these two mediums together, but I put a lot of though into this write up promoting Larry Brooks' new show and I wanted to share it here too. On The Edge is a subscription newsletter that I publish for the sharpening community. If you're interested in subscribing, or if you'd like to find out more about this newsletter; just e-mail me at **note**

I’ve been trying to figure out how I was going to promote this show over the past few days. I have a number of documents from Larry at Sharp Edges that are all well written and loaded with information, but I think I’m going to shy away from all that material and just tell you why I’m going.

Let’s Start with Larry Brooks
Those of you that have known me over the years know that I have been friends with Larry for a long time. We’ve spent many hours together trading ideas and techniques and we’ve collaborated together a number of times to work to help all of you in your businesses.

In my opinion, Larry is one of the finest examples of a professional sharpener in the industry. He has proven himself in three ways.

1. He has grown Sharp Edges into one of the most successful mobile sharpening business in the country. This business now supports not just he and his wife Linda, but their son Dennis and his family too.
2. I hear more complements about how well he trains and the time and attention he gives his students than I do about any of the other sharpening trainers in the industry. He has turned out a lot of successful pupils!
3. He has stuck his neck out to show he’s a great sharpener over-and-over again. Larry has been an active participant in the NSSG for years now. He started out as a entrant in the certification and over time, proved himself with his consistently high scores and eventually became a judge.

Let’s Look at the Plan for the New Guild
Larry has been talking about doing something like this for some time now. He mentioned to me a few years back that he thought there should be a Guild that would encompass the sharpening industry as a whole instead of just one aspect of it. While he has enjoyed his time with the NSSG and supports it, he thought it was time to push forward with this vision and make it a reality. He will do this with this show if we as sharpeners support him.

The Certification
Larry has created a certification process for the NBTSG that will allow you to increase your skills through both training and testing. The 2009 certification categories are Beauty Shears/ Thinners and Clipper Blade Sharpening. There will also be a discussion about including Nail Tech Tools in next years line up. If you participate in this certification you will achieve one of four potential Guild Membership Levels:
Guild Member Apprentice: This is a sharpener that tested but did not score high enough in the test to meet the requirements in their chosen field for full Guild Membership.
Guild Member: This is a sharpener that scored high enough on the test to achieve status in their chosen field.
Master Sharpener Guild Member: This is a sharpener that scored high enough on the test to achieve a title of Master Sharpener in the Guild in their chosen field.
Grand Master Sharpener Guild Member: This is a sharpener that has achieved Master Sharpener status in all the fields offered.

The test is graded on a point system based on the quality of work in a predetermined list of steps in the sharpening process. These shears and clipper blades will be judged by Larry Brooks, Dennis Brooks, and Craig Cazier. I can personally vouch for each of these men and feel they are more than qualified to judge for this certification. It is also planned that Bob or Bobby Huffman will help judge the clipper blades and a number of other industry leaders, like myself, will assist in the overall judging process.

The Show Itself
Many of you have expressed that you’d like to see the old-style Wolff show come back where you can view a number of seminars and visit with industry vendors. This show will have all of the best parts of the Wolff Show. There will be seminars on the latest equipment in all the different aspects of the sharpening industry. There will also be a vendor room that will be open during the entire show, so if there’s a seminar you’re not particularly interested in you can visit the vendors in the Vendor Room and learn as much there as in any of the seminars.

Finally Trust
I’d like to end this with one more word about how I personally feel about Larry. I trust him. And quite frankly, this is the highest complement I can pay a fellow sharpener, supplier, and trainer. When Larry attaches his name to something, he gives himself to it 120%. I strongly suggest you consider attending this show. I think it has the potential to become a powerful tool to help you, as a sharpener, grow in this industry and set yourself above your competition.

The dates for the show are August 30th, 31st, and September 1st. The cost to attend is just $175.00. The cost to participate in the shear or clipper blade certification is $120.00 for each. There will also be a fun getaway during the off hours; Larry has set up a dinner cruise. If you’d like to attend, the cost is just $40 per person. Call 217-853-6256 or visit to find out more or to sign up for the show.

I will be attending along with David Wolff and Bill Pierce. All three of us are looking forward to spending some time with you and helping you as you continue to expand your knowledge in what I think is one of the best businesses in the world. Please consider coming if you can. Larry has never disappointed me. I know this show will be a great success. Get in on the ground floor of this new Guild and help support the new NBTSG.

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