I am hone impaired and need help!


Sep 6, 1999
Until I got a Lansky sharpening kit some years ago, getting a knife really sharp was a pretty difficult. Since I started using the Lansky set, I've been able to get my blades shaving sharp. However, I've noticed that on thicker blades the bevels on either side are not equal. On thinner blades such as my Dragonfly, the blade bevels seem equal. On my BM Panther and CS Master Hunter, for example, one side is "cut" farther up the blade than the other. Could this be a defect in the hole placement on the two halves of the blade clamp? Is it something I am doing? Is it actually happening on the Dragonfly, but because of the thin blade not so noticable? Is it the way I position the clamp?(the swedge on the combo edge BM Panther makes clamping a bit of a challenge) What gives? I still manage to get my knives quite sharp but it seems that both sides of the edge should be equal. Should I move on to a new sharpening system? What do you experienced knife people recommend? I've thought about the Spyderco Sharpmaker but wonder if I can trust myself to maintain a consistent angle. Presently I always mount the blade the same way in the clamp to maintain the existing angles. I like the set of 5 stones..from extra coarse to extra fine. I've seen the Gatco system advertised. It looks like the same idea. Is it a good quality outfit? Hopefully some of you kind folks will guide me in the right direction here. Thanks.

What method do you use with your Lansky? Grind a burr one-side only, the switch?

The most common reason for one side having a bigger bevel than the other is that you always *start* sharpening on that side. You remove a ton of metal to create the burr, and now the edge is so thin, when you switch sides, the other sides burrs over quickly with little metal removed.

To fix? For the next few times you sharpen, start the process on the side you usually do second. The whole thing should even out in a few sharpenings.


PS don't worry about your ability to hold an angle on the Sharpmaker. Holding a blade perfectly straight-up-and-down is very natural and easy, even for someone who is somewhat mechanically challenged such as myself. The system is easy to use, that's why it has so many fans here!
What Joe said is correct, also on thicker bladed knives I set the knife blade approx. 1/4" from top of blade each time. I used to have the same problem, and for some reason that corrected the problem for me. I also put masking tape on sides of blade to protect blade finish. After obtaining the initial desired edge with the Landsky, I use my newly purchased Spyderco Sharpmaker for all resharpening, as it puts the razor edge back in just a few seconds. At this time I still like to use my Landsky for the first sharpening, but will practice with the Sharpmaker for initial edge in the future. I realize a person doesn't need to get all these sharpeners, but after hearing about the 204, I just had to try one. The one thing the Sharpmaker has going for it is that it sets up easier and faster then the Landsky.
Thanks for the quick responses. I'll try your "fix" suggestion, Joe. To avoid the side to side bevel disparity, in the first place, do I take just a couple strokes per side and then switch?
I have used a Lansky for years with good results, but the Sharpmaker 204 is much,much easier.I am mechanically challenged myself,but Sal has taken most of the sweat and guesswork out of the process to where I can get great results in nothing flat!Keep the Lansky for grinding away a lot of metal when called for, but get the Spyderco for everyday use.I predict you'll be thrilled.

"To grow older is inevitable.To grow UP is optional."

Hey ptn, it sounds like the blade is not straight in the holder(cocked to one side).

Get the Sharpmaker....its far and away the best and easiest system I've used. I was very disappointed in the lansky it didn't do a damn thing for me. The Sharpmaker is easy to use and quick...w/ out alot of parts and guess work. I keep a bunch of different grit flat stones around for weird stuff but the sharpmaker is my work horse. I would like to see them make some higher grit stones for it though.
I just gave my sharpmaker to my dad.In my clumsy hands it was a dullmaker.I found a lansky type setup by DMT 1/2 price at the local Ace hardware(17.50 I believe).This setup works so good and the diamond stones cut fast.The only drawbacks I have found are that the clamp won't work on thick spines and the angles are not marked.I dont know how long it takes to set up the lansky but I can clamp the blade and set up the stone in about 10 seconds.I usually use the medium stone then follow with a steel.Shaving sharp every time in about 1 minute.My advice is :not every system works for every knife or person.Sometimes trying something new yields good results.Sometimes it is money wasted.Either way,you gain experience and that is a good thing.

What Joe described has happened to me, and it doesn't really bother me. I've done this one other way as well. When I get a new knife that needs a new back bevel, I usually use a system from Razor Edge. A few times, I've mounted the guide so that the blade is not perfectly aligned. This will always give a difference as well.

Knowledge without understanding is knowledge wasted.
Understanding without knowledge is a rare gift - but not an impossibility.
For the impossible is always possible through faith. - Bathroom graffiti, gas station, Grey, TN, Dec, 1988

AKTI Member #A000831
ptn: No need to go overboard. Once you get the bevels even again, just alternating which side you start on should be fine. If you are concerned, then sure, you can start on one side, then turn it over after 30 strokes no matter what, & repeat on other side. That'll keep things even until you finally get your burr.

I've had good results with my Lansky system.

Ahem, only I broke it a few weeks ago. You know that metal-like ribbed knob you turn to tighten the clamp on the blade? Well, when I was done sharpening, I started un-turning(loosening) it with my bare hands. It was going fine, I thought the screw was backing out. Doh! I'd twisted the stupid thing in two!

I had to have the hole with the screw threads still in it drilled out to a slightly larger size, tapped for a screw, and aisfix(I know I spelled that wrong) the head of the screw in a ribbed alum. knob. Good as new!

I need a bigger bucket.