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Thread: What's the best knife sharpener

  1. #1

    What's the best knife sharpener


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    What's the best knife sharpener right now I use the sharp maker and it's good but wondering what you are using or think is best I really like how some or getting that mirror edge on their blades

  2. #2
    An Edge Pro Apex 4 kit is about $250. That's among the most reasonably-priced knife high quality sharpeners out there, and it will put a razor sharp, mirror-polished edge on just about anything.

  3. #3
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    Wicked edge is the best option according to me..no question!! Its a little expensive but the options are endless and it gives an extremely consistent edge (check my recent post of the FIRST attempt on the WES..not bad at all- i do habe some sharpening experience) There is a learning curve but you get the hang of it after a few edges. In my opinion a good sharpening system is the most important part of a solid knife collection and is a wise investment. Plus the WES's customer service is great, and there are tons of videos from the creator himself who is very active on the wicked edge forum..ask if you want more details or have questions I'd be happy to make you a wicked edger.

  4. #4
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    Best? I'd say freehand is the best method if you can do it well. Works for any knife shape or geometry.

    Having said that, the higher quality guided or clamped systems all work very well. I use an Edge Pro since I can't freehand worth a dang.

  5. #5
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    Depends on your objectives and experience level, really.

    Freehanding on waterstones is perhaps the most versatile, but is also by far the most difficult to master.

    Guided systems like the EdgePro or WEPS produce very similar results, except by adding the guidance aspect, the skill level required greatly decreases and the precision goes up several notches.

    Powdered systems like a belt grinder or the paper wheels will give you a great edge at exceptional speed, and the belt, especially, has tremendous versatility. The downside there is that again, it's a lot of practice and a feel for it. It's reasonably easy to toast a knife on a powered system, much harder on a manual one.

    They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some more specifics about budget range, etc would be helpful, given that the range in question runs from about $20 for a combo waterstone, to $3500 for a TW-90 belt grinder with all the bells, whistles and sirens.

  6. #6
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    By best I mean most consistent with the highest quality edges. I stand by it. Hand sharpening is way cooler and can get way better edges purely bc of higher grit stone options. It also does work for ANY blade shape...good point! However with a WES or alike I can do one knife at 15 degrees and the next at 20 and know my angles are going to be exactly 15 and 30 now and the next time I go to sharpen them. I have certainly not mastered freehand but the people i know personally who are better at free hand than myself cant do that. There are true masters I am sure that can or at least come close that but untill you have mastered free hand, and maybe even then a guided system will yield the most accurate results. You could go up to 30000 grit stones but if your angles are 15 and 18 I would take the more consistent angles. Although that poses an interesting experiement in my mind!

    Bottom line:
    I think the are a lot of great systems out there and I choose my favorite bc it has what i am looking for. My suggestions is take some suggestions from here and u tube some review and see how they work. I will warn you that not everyone that makes videos on are the best sources of info but its really about finding one that suites your needs, likes, and skills and i think seeing them in action will help! Good luck and let us know what you go with and how you like it when you get it!

  7. #7
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    The best knife sharpener is a person with skill and a set of stones...what type of stone doesn't matter. That's my opinion.

  8. #8
    you guys are crazy to spend that kind of Money on a sharpener. I use a Jewelstik Pro Diamond sharpener. I can sharpen any steel to a razor edge that will shave the hair off my arm in a fairly short period of time. its $45.00 bucks.

    it takes a little practice to get good but it wasn't that difficult. its basically holding the blade on a consitant angle. practice first on a cheaper knife before you use it on your more expensive ones. it has 3 grits on it but I only use the the finest one.

  9. #9
    Freehand sharpening is the most rewarding experience, by far. Once you get a feel for your angles and you get your first hair-whittling edge that you profiled yourself, there is nothing more satisfying. As many videos on YouTube have shown, you can get a fantastic working edge with nothing more than some concrete, bricks, the bottom of a ceramic coffee cup, and your leather belt. But to save time (and get a more precise and flat surface), diamond hones by DMT are worth their weight in gold.

  10. #10
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    What he said ^^^

    It takes time. I had to get a set of DMT diamond plates. With those, which cut very fast, the feedback loop is much faster and you learn faster and can adjust more quickly. On ever really hard steel, just of couple of strokes and you can tell where the metal is coming off. I spent about $150 for the whole set and it's paid for itself in both sharp knives and, quite frankly, some always welcome self asteem. I can sharpen knives for my friends without worry that I'll fail and I am the only one that can do it. I frequently take my equipment to the range and sharpen while the fellas shoot. I enjoy it and they let me shoot up some of their ammo!

  11. #11
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    If you are going for ultimate precision, though, a guided system is definitely the way to go. For practical purposes most people can use a benchstone to get very usable edges, but if you're going for precision and repeatability, a guided system is DEFINITELY going to be far more precise. Not necessarily BETTER, just a lot more precise and repeatable. And yes, I'll readily concede that there are a very, very few hand sharpeners that can probably be as precise as a guided system... but they've got 20+ years of practice and effort to accomplish what a well-designed guide puts into everyone's hands.

    Bear in mind that I am in no way degrading the actual USEFUL performance of a bench stone, nor the ultimate edge that it is capable of producing. Just that a guided system will give the same kind of results, with weeks of practice, instead of years or decades.

  12. #12
    Using a guided system for your sharpening is like riding a bike with training wheels. Yes, it is "more precise and repeatable" but... it's not very rewarding. And you don't learn the skills you need to really bring out the best in the craft. If you really want to understand sharpening and get the best edge you can, freehand is recommended. Take those training wheels off. yes, you will fall off, but you'll be better at the end of the day.

    And just like riding a bike, it does not take 20+ years. Yes, you always get better, but that's why it's an art. And anyone who has been freehand sharpening for 1 year can put a better edge on a knife than most people with a guided system because they have a better understanding of pressure, following angles along curves, and moving up in grit by feel and sound. You can't get a good sense of those things with a guided system. So there is a lot more to sharpening than just angles.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericvar101 View Post
    you guys are crazy to spend that kind of Money on a sharpener. I use a Jewelstik Pro Diamond sharpener. I can sharpen any steel to a razor edge that will shave the hair off my arm in a fairly short period of time. its $45.00 bucks.

    it takes a little practice to get good but it wasn't that difficult. its basically holding the blade on a consitant angle. practice first on a cheaper knife before you use it on your more expensive ones. it has 3 grits on it but I only use the the finest one.
    Hard to get an edge like this with that though. Yeh, I know...you don't need or want an edge like this.

    Not my pic, but you get what I mean.


  14. #14
    Completely sharpened freehand:






  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnaminous_G View Post
    Using a guided system for your sharpening is like riding a bike with training wheels. Yes, it is "more precise and repeatable" but... it's not very rewarding. And you don't learn the skills you need to really bring out the best in the craft. If you really want to understand sharpening and get the best edge you can, freehand is recommended. Take those training wheels off. yes, you will fall off, but you'll be better at the end of the day.

    And just like riding a bike, it does not take 20+ years. Yes, you always get better, but that's why it's an art. And anyone who has been freehand sharpening for 1 year can put a better edge on a knife than most people with a guided system because they have a better understanding of pressure, following angles along curves, and moving up in grit by feel and sound. You can't get a good sense of those things with a guided system. So there is a lot more to sharpening than just angles.
    A few thoughts keep popping back up every time this discussion comes up.

    What do you do if you should need to sharpen something away from home/unexpectedly?

    What do you do with a hatchet or machete? I believe some guided systems can do machetes, but how long does it take? Can any do a hatchet or axe (or grass hook, sickle, etc) and how long would it take?

    What about finishing an edge/reducing the burr? I have no experience w/guided clamp systems, but it seems like it would get very tedious switching sides to work on what is, ultimately, a consumable tool? Sharpening tools is a maintenance chore, it cannot be done once or twice to perfection and you're finished.

    What about maintaining/ altering edge geometry - grinding or thinning a back bevel has to be extremely tedious also.

    Haven't people sharpened tools for a couple thousand years without guided systems - why have they only cropped up recently?

    I can see where it might be nice to have for a knife that's just for display, but for a working tool I cannot imagine being tied to a machine. Then again, I have never owned a guided system so what can I say?

    I would only do my laundry by hand if I had absolutely no choice where some folks might enjoy beating clothes clean, so perhaps there are comparisons I can understand....

    Should I free-hand, use a rock, washboard, front loader, top loader? Too many choices!

    Its all good whatever you use but even so, just out of academic curiosity one should study free-hand - it can only help ones understanding in general (and you might have to sharpen a hatchet someday).

  16. #16
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    Yep, and crazy me, I keep thinking about sharpening a pair of scissors...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by singularity35 View Post
    Yep, and crazy me, I keep thinking about sharpening a pair of scissors...
    Yep, it would be a tough challenge to sharpen high end Japanese hair shear - continuous convex edge with belly/curve tip and hollow back. I sweated bucket freehand sharpened for the first few of them - just don't want to pay hundred of dollars for replacement. IMO, current guided system(s) can't continous changing convex angle change from heel to tip.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeavyHanded View Post
    A few thoughts keep popping back up every time this discussion comes up.

    What do you do if you should need to sharpen something away from home/unexpectedly?

    What do you do with a hatchet or machete? I believe some guided systems can do machetes, but how long does it take? Can any do a hatchet or axe (or grass hook, sickle, etc) and how long would it take?

    What about finishing an edge/reducing the burr? I have no experience w/guided clamp systems, but it seems like it would get very tedious switching sides to work on what is, ultimately, a consumable tool? Sharpening tools is a maintenance chore, it cannot be done once or twice to perfection and you're finished.

    What about maintaining/ altering edge geometry - grinding or thinning a back bevel has to be extremely tedious also.

    Haven't people sharpened tools for a couple thousand years without guided systems - why have they only cropped up recently?

    I can see where it might be nice to have for a knife that's just for display, but for a working tool I cannot imagine being tied to a machine. Then again, I have never owned a guided system so what can I say?

    I would only do my laundry by hand if I had absolutely no choice where some folks might enjoy beating clothes clean, so perhaps there are comparisons I can understand....

    Should I free-hand, use a rock, washboard, front loader, top loader? Too many choices!

    Its all good whatever you use but even so, just out of academic curiosity one should study free-hand - it can only help ones understanding in general (and you might have to sharpen a hatchet someday).
    Machete, non convexed scissors, hatchets (have't used an axe on it yet) easy as pie.

    Machetes are the easiest, just grab a file, get close and finish it on the stones, same for hatchets and probably axes.

    Variety is good, a nice flat benchstone works much better for some work. For instance I took a HG Manix 2 and made it flat ground... not something my Edge Pro could have done as easily.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magnaminous_G View Post
    Using a guided system for your sharpening is like riding a bike with training wheels. Yes, it is "more precise and repeatable" but... it's not very rewarding. And you don't learn the skills you need to really bring out the best in the craft. If you really want to understand sharpening and get the best edge you can, freehand is recommended. Take those training wheels off. yes, you will fall off, but you'll be better at the end of the day.

    And just like riding a bike, it does not take 20+ years. Yes, you always get better, but that's why it's an art. And anyone who has been freehand sharpening for 1 year can put a better edge on a knife than most people with a guided system because they have a better understanding of pressure, following angles along curves, and moving up in grit by feel and sound. You can't get a good sense of those things with a guided system. So there is a lot more to sharpening than just angles.
    Only if you aren't paying attention. The points highlighted above are exactly the things I did get a better feel for, when I was first using a guided system. Removing the (temporary) obstacle of holding a steady angle freed up my mind to pay attention to pressure, and the 'feel' aspect, such as when the apex is reached and the edge 'bites' into the hone. These are aspects which would be much more difficult to pin down individually, when you have excessive variability in angle and pressure, and no real sense of what the bevel is supposed to feel like when flush, all interacting at the same time. The guide removes one of those variables, while allowing one to focus on the others. I learned more about sharpening in a few weeks of using the guided system, than I did in the previous 20 years. Those 'feel' aspects, once acquired, are what made a transition into freehand much easier for me.

    You can learn a whole lot or nothing at all with any tool, depending entirely on how much you pay attention while using it. The lessons are there if you watch for them.
    Last edited by Obsessed with Edges; 06-12-2012 at 03:53 PM.

  20. #20
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    My preferred sharpening method is the Spyderco Sharpmaker. I own the full set of rods from the coarse all the way to extra fine. After sharpening the blade on the Sharpmaker, normally starting with the medium grit rods and then progressing to the fine and then to the extra fines rods, I finish the edge on a leather strop. However if the edge is damaged (noticeable chips in the edge for example) you'll need to start with the course diamond rods.

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