The 16th Annual 2013 Sharpeners Jam brought lots of learning, shopping and ideas to the sharpeners who attended. All the ideas were not shared in the formal “Jam” portion of the week-end, but were heard throughout the days in workshops, seminars and hallway conversations. However, of the ideas presented and voted on by the sharpeners, the best ideas were as follows:
Idea #1 was the UFO Tool Holder. Harry Megowan ofJacksonville,FLsolved a problem many sharpeners have with the UFO / Tamper resistant screws found in many of the shears today. The star shaped adjuster is usually difficult to use. Harry bought a dowel stick from Home Depot and cut it in 4 inch sections. The he cut a slot at one end and pushed one of the UFO tools into the slot with the most commonly used section facing up. This little stick is easy to twirl and twist to tighten or loosen a screw. Harry also has a full set of these “Harry’s Wand’s” for each setting on the star type UFO tool.
Idea #2 came from Steve Paillet ofDayton, TN. Steve works a lot with quilt makers who use rotary cutters to cut fabric. Steve modified a clamp for the Twice as Sharp to sharpen rotary cutters. The cutter is held on magnetically and spins to sharpen. He typically exchanges 5 sharpened rotary cutters for 6 dull rotary cutters and charges $10.00. This gives him $2.00 a blade to sharpen plus an extra blade to sell.
Idea #3 was a number of special items that Ed Wozniak fromChapel Hill,NCsells to supplement the income lost due to the slow economy. Along with scissor sales and sharpening, Ed sells a number of things including stylist jewelry, sprushes (a hair color applicator), and “It Works” body wrap. They have products that removes wrinkles and inches off the waist. The “It Works” product costs $59.00 and sells for $100.00.
Idea #4 and an honorable mention went to Jim Turner ofGaffney,NC. Jim also had a host of other clipper blade sharpening ideas in his presentation on Monday called “Git’er Done Blade Sharpening.” Jim’s idea also related to clipper blades. He takes #10 and #40 clipper blades that may have broken teeth and creates a toe blade for dogs or a chunker blade. He says no one makes a chunker blade and his clipper blade creation sells for $25.00. He uses a bench grinder then polishes with scotch brite to remove several sections of teeth for a specialized cut similar to what would be created with a chunking shear.
Several other ideas were passed around at the Jam and will be on the Jam DVD’s available soon from Bonika Shears. Unfortunately some of the most informative parts of the week-end were private for the sharpeners in attendance and not open to public dissemination. Among these was the presentation by Dong Jun and Sun Parks of JP Plan which covered metallurgy, shear making and the theory of shear sharpening. In addition the tour of Zac Brown’s Southern Grind knife making facility was also a private tour. Much of the equipment and machinery used was the same that Don had shared in his presentation, but many of the machines were specifically designed by the experts at Southern Grind for making their unique expensive shears. The one machine were were allowed to photograph was the Scimech Scissor Flathone which is used by DJ Horn in some of the final edgework on their high grade shears.
About 100 attended the 2013 Sharpeners Jam, about the same number as last year. 3 brand new shear sharpeners trained at the Jam as well as 2 learning clipper blade sharpening for the first time. There were many veteran sharpeners who took advanced classes and workshops in clipper blade sharpening by bob Schiessl, clipper repair with Jim Sturm and master shear sharpening with Dennis Brooks.
One additional unexpected bonus this year was two stylists Chad Hanna and Kathryn Pilzcuk.Chadis a local stylist who helped Bonnie and Gene in the “Sharpen and Sell” presentation where they role played to show how a husband and wife can tag-team to sharpen and sell. Since the presentations were running ahead of schedule,Chadtook some time to answer questions from the sharpeners as to terminology stylists’ use and techniques for specific types of shears. In addition Kathryn was also on hand to give a stylists perspective and to present a new product for smoothing the hair that is designed to be marketed through sharpeners. She was joined in the vendor room with seven other scissor companies as well as Bonika Shears.
All in all, it was a successful Sharpeners Jam with lots of learning, fun, fresh ideas and friendships created and strengthened.