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EdgePro Professional vs. Spyderco Sharpmaker

Nov 30, 1998
I have been using the Spyderco Sharpmaker for about 7 years, ever since Chris Reeve recommended it to me. I have been eye-balling the Edge Pro Professional for about 8 months and it looks like a really nice system. The only thing I don't like is the price ($275), for that amount I could just buy another knife. I would like some people who have used both systems to post some opinions on if its worth its price tag or would that money be better spent on something with an edge. :)
WOW that much for a sharpener, unless you sharpen for a living, seems rediculous.
You could send a knife back to Chri Reeve many times for that much money and have him sharpen it. I vote spend the money on more Reeve products. MHO
Goodness, I'll sharpen it for a lot less and do it on the nearest hard flat surface.

Desert Rat


I bought an Edge-Pro about a year ago. I would recommend it if you are going to sharpen knives for money. As you may already know the blade is not clamped. My problem was one of coordination. Holding the blade on the ramp and moving the stone, then moving the blade across the ramp and moving the stone, etc. If you go real slow, forget about speed, it will come. That's what I did and after awhile it was not a big problem. Just took practice.

I talked with a guy at the Blade Show in '98. He said he made alot of money sharpening knives/scissors, etc. with his and loved it.

I've never used the Spydie.

Currently, the sharpener I turn to is the SKARB ( $75 at www.skarb.com )It's what I use first. I have considered selling them (so take the endorsement for what it's worth in that regard), but want to make sure they can supply them consistantly first (the inventor has sold rights to a partner, I believe). I contacted people who have used them and got one complaint about the device becoming loose and not holding the correct sharpening angle. Mine has not displayed that problem, and the guy who is manufacturing them now said he had never had that complaint. Maybe just a bad one, I don't know.

Anyway, that's my 1/50th of a buck.

Little River Trading Co.

[This message has been edited by Frank Norman (edited 12 August 1999).]

[This message has been edited by Frank Norman (edited 12 August 1999).]

I purchased an EdgePro Professional two weeks ago. I did this because I believe that maintaining the correct angle and a constant angle when sharpening the blade is important. I also have the Spyderco device and I don't see how a human being, unless he has a very precise stroke, can do this. The EdgePro is designed to do that.

Is it worth $275? Well, maybe if it is used ALOT, it is worth that much. It is probably overkill for my use but I figure it is less than the cost of one custom knife.

Even though it helps sharpen a knive a lot, there is still the human factor. I'm still learning how to perfect using it. This still takes practice.

The instructional video that comes with it shows the inventor, Ben Dale, sharpening a kitchen knife and then slicing the sides of a hanging piece of paper. A knife has to be REALLY sharp to do this. I have not been able to achieve this yet.

Ben is quite available and willing to field questions. He has been selling the device for many years and I'm sure he has heard lots of concerns. Call him and express yours.

I had never heard of the skarb device before. I checked out their web site. The device looks interesting. Does it have markers for setting the exact angle and thus duplicating this?

The problem with the edge-pro is that on ATS34, 440V or similar, the stones are slow and wear quite quickly. It is an excellent system but I think I'm going to wait for the diamond version.
I see a lot of reference to the $275 price but that is for the professional model. There is also a $125 model.

I don't own one so I can't comeent directly on it. However, I own a several other systems and find that all including free hand put on a shaving edge.

For keeping an sharp I think its hard to beat the Spyderco. Very little set up. For edge profiling its slow. Coarse diamond sleaves would help. For small knives the Lansky system works well at profiling.

Don G. Thanks for the info on the SKARB.
I own both and feel that they are both very good systems. I can get my knives shaving sharp with either one. The main advantage of the edgepro system is that it is easier to maintain a consistent angle on the knife. It is easier to sharpen your knives to a less than 30% included angle that will produce a very scary sharp but fragile edge with the edgepro whereas the spyderco’s limit is 30%. Yeah you can adjust the knife on the downward stroke to something other than vertical on the sharpmaker to decrease the angle but the edgepro is still much easier. I have also found that the edgepro is much faster when the knife is really dull. But then again, you can always speed up the spyderco by laying a diamond dmt stone on top of the ceramic rods as recommended by Joe Talmadge. The problem that I find with the edgepro is that it is really difficult to sharpen knives with double or false edges. The way the edgepro keeps the knife in place is with a metal stop approx. 1/16 thick that contacts the spine of the knife to prevent it from sliding back. The double or false edges tends to go right over the metal stop allowing the knife to move back. This makes it very difficult to keep the knife in place and keeping a consistent angle. I think this problem can be fixed by increasing the height of the stop. Another disadvantage with the edgrpo is that it takes time to set up and to tape the knives to prevent scratches. One advantage of the sharpmaker is that it can sharpen recurve edges because of the triangular ceramic rods. I would think that it would be more difficult to do with the edgpro because the stones are much wider. I am not sure about this though. The sharpmaker is also lighter weight and much quicker to setup when you only need to touch up a blade. Either way you can’t go wrong.


The waterstones are quite durable and and cuts fairly fast. I have used it on 0-1 62-63rc, A-2 62-63rc, CPM 10-V 61rc, and CPM 3-V with good results. If you want more durable and faster cutting stones, I heard that you can attach small ezelap diamond hones onto the system. Haven’t tried it yet though.


The Skarb does have markings on the horizontal barrel. They are fairly close together. It's out in the shop right now, so from memory I believe it's marked 15/20/25/30 degrees. Repeating these numbers from one sharpening to the next is quite easy, but something like 17 degrees may not be.

Little River Trading Co.

Plain and simple, $275 is way too much to pay for a sharpening system, unless you're doing it for just the pure joy of owning such an instrument (hey, sounds like the excuse we use to buy high-priced custom knives, eh?

Frankly, I think even the $125 Edge Pro Apex model is something you should consider carefully before buying. Definitely get the Apex if you just love Edge Pro's features. Or maybe you find the spyderco cumbersome for really big knives, and can't sharpen freehand, so you want the Apex because it can accomodate any size.

I look at the Apex as a luxury, not a necessity. But it's a cool system, I have one myself, I wouldn't begrudge anyone the joy of owning this gizmo. But I really don't use it much if ever.

Own both the spyderco and edge pro apex. Had the edge pro about 6 months. Love the way it sharpens the edge at the same angle all along the blade. You can see yourself on the bevel! Plus it is enjoyable using it.
The spyderco will sharpen most any blade and is a good value. Joe, good point, but I consider that professoinal mirror edge to be not a luxury but a necessity.

Some feel that a basic blade is all they want, others want a custom made by a master knifesmith. Personally my feelings are that way about a good looking blade.
The sharpmaker is good for quick field tune ups, but the edge pro edge is great for most all blades.
There are many ways to spend your money
, when I pull out one of my folders or fixed blades, it is enjoyable looking at the fine edge and being the one who sharpened it.

What? Another knife? Don't you have enough of those things already?
How many does one person need?
And just what are you going to do with this one that you can't do with the others?
What is the purpose of all these knives anyhow??

And I thought $40 was a lot to pay for a sharpener.

James, the Edge Pro systems offer a lot of advantages over the Sypderco one.

First off is that the Spyderco one requires some freehand ability while the Edge Pro one does not. If you simply keep the knife flat on the Edge Pro system and don't rotate it at all you can get a perfectly sharp edge, it will just be a little more acute near the top. However for a beginner this is the way to go. As you get better you can learn to rotate the knife so that the angle gets maintained along the edge.

Secondly the Edge Pro system offers much more in terms of what grits you can sharpen at, 7, compared to 2, and similar much more angle variation, anywhere from 12 to 35, compared to two fixed settings on the Sharpmaker.

Thirdly, the stones on the Edge Pro cut much faster than the Spyderco which is next to impossible to actually rebevel a knife on without additional equipment.

The Sharpmaker however has its advantages as well. The hones are ceramic which will last longer and they don't require any lubricant. Its also easier and faster to set up the Sharpmaker and do touchups on it.

As others have commented the $275 version is probably a bit much unless you are sharpening blades regularly for money. The $125 version does everything that the more expensive one does except it does not have the sissor attachment and comes with only 2 hones.

I own both sharpeners and I like the Edge Pro hands down. The only advantage that the Sharpmaker has over the Edge Pro is that you can take it out in the field to touch up blades.
The Edge Pro is the best I've ever used because it is fast and you can put the "perfect" angle edge on a blade! I have never got a blade so sharp on any system as I have on the Edge Pro. Is it worth the price...it is to me because I really enjoying being able to get blades so sharp and I make some spare change sharpening blades for friends and others. Also, I had rather have my "Pro" model than any knife I own because I enjoy it more and use it more! The Apex is only $125 and does the same thing as the Pro does. I bought the "Pro" model because I just like quality products that are handmade.
I love mine!!
I own both the older Spydie Triangle Sharpmaker and an Edge Pro Apex-1 with all the bells and whistles (extra hones, tapes, etc.). The advantages and disadvantages have been pretty much covered above save one issue. The Edge Pro is plain messy! The hones are water hones and I end up with a filthy counter when I use the system. It takes much longer to set up compared to the Sharpmaker too. I've found I now rarely use the system unless I've a blade that has become severely dull or needs are bevel angle change. It excells there and the time and mess are acceptable trade-offs. I've offered it for sale here too but the only bites I got were from folks who wanted to pay beer prices for a champagne setup.

Yeah, I'll lay out more clearly what I think the advantages & disadvantages are.

The Apex's biggest advantage is that it handles any size and shaped knife, does it extremely accurately, and at just about any angle. And a variety of grits are available. By contrast, the sharpmaker 204 has just 2 angles and 2 standard grits, and a *tiny* *tiny* bit of skill is needed to keep the spine straight up and down.

The Apex's biggest disadvantages. First, you won't be doing quick touch-ups on this thing. Cliff has pointed out that for him this is a non-issue because he does his touch-ups on a ceramic stick. But many people need to do their touch-ups on a system, and the Apex is too slow to set up and too messy, what with the water dripping all over. In addition, if you don't mask off the blade with masking tape, you will scratch the living crap out of your knife. Not a problem with an old working knife, but a problem with a coated blade or one that you'd like to keep looking good. In addition, I've had the tape coming peeling back on me, so even with masking tape there's no guarantee your fave knives won't get very badly scratched.

Joe :

In addition, if you don't mask off the blade with masking tape, you will scratch the living crap out of your knife.

Is this ever true. The stones need water and after a few swipes you have this slurry of water / grit and steel sloshing around, combine this with the knife moving around and you can say finish goodbye. You need to be very careful with the tape.

One other thing I forgot is that all the water needs to be carefully removed or it will rust. I put mine away in a hurry once and it was left slightly damp (I wiped it down, not just carefully). I didn't check it until weeks later and it had rust badly in places making a bit of a mess. Since then I tend to lubricate the moving parts with Tuff-Glide after cleanup.

In contrast I have not seen any rusting on the ceramic rods or plastic base of the Sharpmaker.

Cliff has pointed out that for him this is a non-issue because he does his touch-ups on a ceramic stick

That is part of the complete system. You can also buy it seperate. I have come to like it so much I think I am going to get a couple of DMT diamond rods.

You can get rid of a lot of the problems with the Apex as most center around the water so just use diamond hones. Ben Dale however has not found ones that he personally likes enough to make standard but recommends the Ez-Lap ones.

Let's hear it for diamond hones. It's the only thing preventing me from buying an edge-pro, I wish Ben would weigh in on this.
Here is Ben weighing in on diamonds. Over the years I have tested every diamond available and I always get the same results. I admit I test them under more severe conditions than most people use them. As an example, a few months ago I tested DNT's Industrial Coarse aganist my Coarse. These stones are used mostly by commercial sharpeners and only on severely dull knives. My stone will last for 20 or 30 knives and removes metal like crazy. The DMT was fading bad at 10 knives and was completely gone at 15 knives. My Med. stone will do over 100 knives and no has ever gotten a count on the finer ones, so I know no diamond will come close to them for longevity. The DMT did not cut as fast and cost over twice as much. The bottom line is diamonds are not compatable with knife steel. If you use them on hard stuff, like ceramic or carbide they last a long time but 60 rockwell steel is to soft. I think what happens is the diamond digs so far into the steel that it pulls the diamond off the plate. The other problem is that they leave a very coarse burr comparied to aluminum oxide. So you loose more metal off the the knife every time you sharpen with one. I had a customer do some high magnification tests on this and confirmed that it is true but could not figure out why. You do however need to use diamonds it you want to sharpen a ceramic knife.