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outstanding sharpener!

Oct 6, 1998
I just received my Spyderco Sharpmaker 204MF from the Bladeforums Store. I've been using the old model Sharpmaker since May of '85, so I already know that the equipment performs. The new base and case designs are excellent. I like the fact that the ceramic rods and brass hand guards store right in the base and that the cover itself acts as a base extender when sharpening. I'm tempted to try the 30 degree back-beveling angle as the main edge on one of my knives. This unit looks like something James Bond would carry in his kit.

Glad to hear you like the Spyderco Sharpmaker. I too have the older one, what makes this new one different?

Also, can't seem to find the diamond speed sleeves anymore! Are they still made? I think I'll ask that one on the Spyderco Forum as well.

The base on the new model isn't as solidly built as the old one, albeit solid enough. The holes where you insert the ceramic rods have a different star pattern from the old one. The former makes for more precise insertion. Not to forget the new 30 degree back-beveling angles. Straight razor sharpening is now done by flipping the base over and placing two stones in slots. The cover itself is attached to the base to extend it during sharpening.


Do you think the improvements warrant buying the new one? I have the old version, and I've been happy with it so far.

Yes! The improvements are worth the cost, IMHO. The only reason why I repurchased the original model over the years was to replace the old one I gave to a friend or one I lost. I haven't used the 30 degree back-beveler yet, but I'm sure I will. The cover/base extender give one a more stable purchase on the unit when sharpening. The base also comes with holes that allow the user to secure it to a table, I think. The manual is pretty detailed. I think that new users would only need the video to see the actually sharpening stroke movements for themselves.

I've previously done "back bevels" -- I call them thinning bevels -- by hand on the 203. I just tip the spine of the knife towards the stone somewhat, instead of holding it straight up and down. Thinning bevels really increase performance a ton, and keep the edge easier to sharpen.

I've been using the 15-degree sticks on the 204 to do just that, and it works great! I like the system a lot. The fact that all the pieces fit together in a little compact package is great, too.

Unlike Spyderco's recommendations, I tend to do the thinning bevels first, the final bevel second. Spyderco suggestions doing the edge bevel first, the thinning bevels after you're all done.


I haven't "back bevelled" my edges before and am looking forwarded to getting my 204 to try it out. However I'm not sure how far to take the thinning bevels? Do you grind right back until a burr forms or stop short of the edge and form the burr with the secondary bevel. I am concerned that taking the 30 degree angle right to the edge might make the edge too weak. Obviously the Spyderco method would just remove the "shoulders" from the 40 degree bevels.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Take care,

Don't worry that the world might end tomorrow....in Australia it's tomorrow already.

I just ordered one myself. How long did yours take to arrive?

The Sharpmaker took just 4 days via UPS Ground to get here (Florida to New York City). You won't be disappointed.

You don't need a parachute to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. You need it only if you want to jump out twice.

Both methods of double grinding achieve the same end result. The advantage of doing the more obtuse bevel first is that you quickly obtain an edge that cuts decently well. You can thin thin it out at later your leisure. Its the thinning out that can take a long time. The grinding of the obtuse edge is really fast as you are not removing much metal at all.

What I do if I don't like the bevel that comes on a knife is I spend about 5 minutes thinning out shoulders as Clay noted. After a few weeks of doing this (I do it whenever I have to sharpen the actual cutting bevel), I have the correct profile. I could just do this in one setting but I don't have that much patience.


[This message has been edited by Cliff Stamp (edited 09 June 1999).]