I am getting one for sure. I think this is better for me than the original WS. That 1st one was too fast for me. I like the 320 grit side they chose to put on there, because it will establish a good flat bevel I can refine with the other 2, higher grit sides. Well thought out. Most novice sharpeners choose too high a grit, get tired, and lose the angle because it takes so long to establish that 1st bevel. A few places are taking pre orders but not sure if they are members here.
I decided to try one, I usually keep at least one inexpensive guided sharpener around for things where I don't freehand and don't care as much, just want to do them fast like most of our kitchen knives. I've used Sharpmaker for years and gotten quite proficient for these quick jobs, it works for almost everything including stuff like serrations, scissors, recurves, etc. But...the limitations of Sharpmaker get old. The lack of choices for sharpening media besides ceramics, and the lack of higher grit options to finish, especially in the diamond or cbn rods, which you need for dealing with any super steels. The limitation of only 2 sharpening angles. Everything has to be 15 or 20 degrees per side. The super skinny rods, giving you such tiny surface area per stroke, the infamous sharpening experience of "I needed to reprofile my new folder to 15 d.p.s. and it took all day on my Sharpmaker." Still love my Sharpmaker but they haven't updated or improved either the design or the available sharpening media. I've posted here earlier about some 3rd party silicon carbide rods that let you profile faster, etc., but they don't overcome the other shortcomings. Why not IMPROVE the design a bit, extend it to form more like a simplified jig system with bases to which one could easily/securely attach other sharpening media (like EP stones). Or add a range of SiC, diamond or CBN grits for doing fast profiling, and dealing with super steels. And offer packages so that the user could buy an all-diamond or cbn sharpening package vs a bunch of ceramics you don't want. Spyderco seems to be kind of resting on its laurels with the Sharpmaker.
So yeah, the market was 'ready' for an innovative, budget guided sharpener that had some of the things that Sharpmaker is missing, without being a pricy system like W.E. which most people are never going to buy. This looks like it could be it. I have one inbound to test.
Initial reaction: positive, with some reservations. Can't honestly recommend something until I've tried a bit more, will add details and a couple pics when I can.
Short version: didn't even read directions (I hate directions and enjoy seeing how something fits together for myself). Assembled it in about 60 seconds, was intuitive, clamped my folder, started sharpening. It was very quick to reprofile my Spyderco Domino with CTX XHP blade. Like about 15 mins of work, even with the learning curve. Without that it would've been 10 mins. I had to learn the hard way that there are some pitfalls that are easy to fall into. The sharpening arm is EXTREMELY easy to rock accidentally while making your stroke. If you do this, even a little, you end up with a...shall we say...multi-facted edge that looks pretty bad! If you practice a little and get the feel of how to make the strokes, you kind of find the right balance between sliding the sharpening arm downward while also rotating it laterally. Similar to how I've heard people describe things like EdgePro: it's a learned skill. In just a few minutes of experimenting, I got better at it. Got a reasonably good edge, it would push-cut an 8-inch length of receipt paper all the way thru, fillet up curls on the surface of the receipt paper without going thru, and easily shave arm hair.
If you get the stroke down pat--I generally went heavier on the coarser grits diamonds, got lighter as I changed grits, and used only about 5 extremely light strokes when I got to the ceramic--I think this could potentially be a very useful little sharpener if one wants an inexpensive guided sharpener. It is not as robust or well designed as something like a Wicked Edge, obviously. And it definitely doesn't give you the control of freehand sharpening. All that should go without saying, anybody who thinks a device like this is "better than" or "as good as" something like a Wicked Edge, needs to get a grip on reality. There's a lot of plastic in it, and I've no idea yet how robust this thing is, or how long it'll take for things to start falling off or whatever. But initially, with the caveat you have to learn how to do the sharpening stroke consistently, I'm pretty impressed with the edge you can get and how easy it is to use.
Some pics, sorry kinda' large, got lazy and didn't take time to resize. Spent more time with it this evening, my initial assessment of how long it takes to TRULY reprofile was a little optimistic. This blade was a bit uneven due to past sharpening and it took a while to get it truly apexed, kept running into uneven edges or burrs, had to go back and sharpen so more. But that's not the sharpener's fault.
In the end it did a brilliant job for a $49 sharpener. Extremely easy to use, really no issues with it on this knife. 100% of the battle is learning to get the appropriate sharpening stroke, not too much pressure nor too little, lighter pressure on the ceramic at the end, and also not letting the sharpening arm "wobble" during your stroke (which will grind uneven spots into your edge which then take a long time to fix--ask me how I know).
Initial reaction still very positive, and I'm impressed with the sharpening results. As you'll see below. For a non-pro sharpener, it's not super easy to do a sharpening job that shaves hair the full length of the blade, both sides, will push cut receipt paper, and will cut a fillet on the surface of a receipt. And doing that with a cheap sharpener which cost less than many of my individual sharpening stones. So yeah, initial reaction very positive. If a newb sharpener is starting today, I think I'd lean toward recommending this over Sharpmaker.
The end result: 15 dps edge Spyderco Domino CTS XHP
I have many traditionals and I sharpen them to 15 degrees per side. The problem with many clamp type sharpeners is that, at 15 degrees and with the typical narrow blades of a trad, the stones don't make contact with the blade. Rather, they'll hit the clamp instead. If you have any small narrow blades, can you kindly check to see if 15 degrees is possible?
Thanks for the offer and if you have time, I'd be curious to know if the stone will reach the edge of either at 15 degrees without bumping into the clamp.
But I've also gotten an update from a nice gent at Work Sharp who was kind enough to do a little checking. He tells me that on a small Old Timer (I'm guessing a stockman from his description) he could manage 17 degrees on the larger blade and 19 degrees on the smaller ones. At 15 degrees, the stone would hit the clamp, even if you moved the blade farther out from the back of the jaws like they recommend for smaller blades.
20 d.p.s was the lowest angle this sharpener could manage on the above skinny-bladed Kershaw. Possibly could have gone as low as 18 or so, but wasn't much daylight between stone and clamp, and didn't want to grind my clamp. Good news is, was able to get it just as sharp as the Spyderco tests that I did above.
I think a smaller knife like this is seriously better just freehanding it on a small stone, or use Sharpmaker if you don't like freehand, can at least get 15 d.p.s. It's really not that hard to freehand such a small blade though, and if you get those angle guide things, you can rubber band them on the end of a small stone, say 12 d.p.s. angle, and really put a razor thin edge on it.
Scandinavian traditional edges have around 20 degrees total = 10 dps.
Few sharpening tools can use that sharpening angle, they are constructed for the US market = for edges above 15 dps.
When I construct a sharpening tool I must construct it for the scandinavian market in first hand = with as low sharpening angle as possible. So, for example, my sharpenig tool Chef can go down to 4 degrees angle and upp to 22 degrees on the built in protractor - and up to 50 degrees above the protractor reach using a Angle Cube or similar.
The most used knife in Sweden are Mora Knifes. There main edge angle are 11 degrees + a narrow secondary bevel.(honing edge) on 13-14 degrees.
My tools must be able to sharpen those knifes in the correct angles.
This is definitely intriguing. Most of my knives tend to be narrower blades so not sure this would be a good option for me. But. maybe they will release an adapter or a longer clamp? Similar to the adapter on Wicked Edge. Might need a longer rod for the stones though.