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Please Help Choosing Sharpening System

Joined
Dec 7, 2006
Messages
2,806
I'm not much of a knife sharpener. I'm naive. As a woodworker, I keep my chisels sharp enough to shave hair (using the "scary sharp" system), but I'm a wimp when it comes to touching one of my knife edges. With that said.....

Which system do you all like between the Spyderco Sharpmaker and the Lansky systems? Which one do you think would be more "foolproof" (if that's possible) for a rookie like me?

The lady at the knife shop I visited said the Lansky's were her biggest seller and she was sold out of Sharpmakers. Interesting. She might have been just trying to sell what's in stock, I don;t know. I did get a chance to study the Lansky in its plastic package and get an idea for the theory, but I've only seen internet pictures of the Spyderco Sharpmaker. I do not understand the mechanics behind the Spyderco.

Thanks for any advice....
 
I would like the Spyderco Sharpmaker, I recently purchased one hand have been exremely pleased with it. Growing up I used Lansky Crock Sticks and they worked well. But the Sharpmaker is alot more versatile and I think works better.
 
I 2nd that Spyderco Sharpmaker. It is the easiest way to sharpen your EDC's. Sometimes after a few days of use, just a dozen swipes on the corner of the brown rods and its right back to hair shaving sharp. I love it!!!!
 
Welcome to Bladeforums!

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I just recently bought a Sharpmaker and have had very good results with it, even as a rookie. Haven't tried the Lansky.
 
Well, with the Lanskys, it looks as if you clamp a jig to the blade, then index the stone into the jig, and rotate it along the blade's edge. Very little room for error if I understand Lansky's theory.

With the Sharpmaker, as best as I can tell, you hold your knife as vertical as you can, and slide it down the angled stones. Is that right? It doesn;t seem as "accurate" as the Lansky to me. I'm not knocking it, I'm just trying to figure this out and see if I have the theory right. ALso, it seems there are two brass rods to protect your "free" hand. By looking at the picture, I'm guessing your left hand would hold the jig to the table, and it would be protected by the brass rods.
 
Sharpmaker. I used to like the lansky system or smiths to totally reprofile, but now I'll just use a coarse diamond block and place it on the angled rods of the sharpmaker for reprofileing then go to the medeium rods,then fine. I say sharpmaker.
 
The one limitation you have with the Sharpmaker is that you have only the preset 30 and 40 degrees edge angles to deal with. You could use it up as a flat stone sharpener if you wanted to. But if you can get beyond that limitation, you can sharpen knives fairly quickly and easily. I've owned one for a few months and I like it. I've sharpen a few knives with them from my cheap kitchen knives to my Chris Reeve Sebenza and I like how it will give me a quick and shaving sharp edge. If I really want to stay close to the factory edge angle on my more expensive and custom knives, I use my EdgePro.
 
StreachNM, since your blade isn't locked in it's 10 times faster and you can get it the exact angle of your knife.
 
you can change angles by placeing a rod under the base. someone goes into it in detail in a post on here. just do a search.
 
I've used the smith set for the last 3 years. Its been pretty decent but I decided that it was finally time to try somthing new. For x-mas I bought myself the Lansky Delux set with the extra coase to the extra fine stones. Overall betwen the two, I had better luck with the smith. I ended up returning the Lansky the next day.

Today, I just bought the Sharpmaker, and I can say first hand that it is much faster to use than the lansky. It also made my knife MOD CQD MarkII (154 CM) much sharper than the Smith or the Lansky every did.
 
I have both, and the Sharpmaker takes care of 95% of all sharpening tasks. The only time I use the Lansky is when a blade needs to be re-profiled- the coarse diamond stone does a decent job of that. The Sharpmaker is much quicker and easier to use for most sharpening tasks, and as has been stated it is relatively simple to sharpen at angles other than 20 and 30 degrees; by using rods or dowels of various diameters, the range of possible sharpening angles is infinite. I don't have the $$$ for an edgepro and have tried a lot of other stuff, the sharpmaker is easily capable of putting a great edge on just about any type of blade or steel.
 
I second what tenman said. As a knifemaker I use a GATCO (same principle as the Lansky) and a Sharpmaker. I use the GATCO to get to where I'm going, then finish off with the Sharpmaker. For resharpening (esp. serrated edges) I use the Sharpmaker exclusively.

If you can swing it, I'd get both, with the Sharpmaker coming first. With both, you have all the bases covered-like when you get that new knife with a horrible, uneven, wide angled edge.
Good Luck,
Scott
 
I think the Sharpmaker is a great system to start, for me it works much better than my Lansky (I haven't used it since I bought my Sharpmaker, but others have had much better results). Get a cheap X coarse stone to reprofile your thicker blades thin enough that the Sharpmaker will easily touch up the edges. You are going down a slippery slope, as now I have Spyderco benchstones in medium, fine, and ultrafine, and 4 different grits of DMT benchstones. Next on my list are waterstones and a belt sander. All this only months after getting my Sharpmaker and learning the ropes of sharpening. Sharpening can become an obsession and a passion, for me it is actually very relaxing.
 
Thanks again fellows. But I'm now curious about this:

When you're using the Sharpmaker, are you sharpening the angle "freehand"? Or is there some type of index that guides the blade so you're staying true to the angle?

For example: for years I sharpened my woodworking chisels freehand on waterstones. Both hands would lock together, my arms locked to my sides, very little rotation in my shoulders, and I would sharpen in *small* circles. Even so, there was minute rocking that would **slightly** round over the edge. Still sharp, mind you, but not as "scary" as I wanted. NOW, I use a jig that holds the edge true to the angle and sharpen on successively finer grades of sandpaper (scary sharp system). No more micro-bevels and my chisels are sharper than ever.

Ok. I'm getting a little windy here. Basically, will I be "freehanding" with the Sharpmaker or will I have some type of guide.

Thanks again.....
 
You'll be "freehanding" with the sharpmaker.

The sticks are at a set angle. But it is up to you to hold the knife perfectly vertical. Most folks can make a fairly vertical pass, but there will be some minor variations in that vertical position. So, you will actually be "freehanding".
 
I have Lansky, Sharpmaker, Edge-pro, and bench stones. Here are some comments (including the "mess" factor) for each system. If you want to spend the afternoon sharpening knives for the fun of it then you won't mind a little cleanup time. However, if you need to quickly sharpen a knife and be done with it, the assembly and cleanup time is important.

Lansky- It has slots for several angles which helps to match the bevel on each knife to be sharpened. Drawbacks are it is messy if used with honing oil as is presrcibed, the clamp can scratch the knife, and it is a little tedious to assemble and use.

Sharpmaker- The Sharpmaker is the simplest and most practical in my opinion. It requires the least effort and makes the least mess. It really shines for quick, touch-up sharpening as opposed to brute-force metal grinding. The lack of a clamp for rigid angle control is not a problem in my opinion. Drawback is the stone angle can't be adjusted to match the existing bevel of your knives. (So you'll need a separate, coarse bench stone on occasions for adjusting bevels.)

Edge-pro- A serious sharpening tool. Can closely match your existing knife bevels. (That is important if you just want to sharpen without having to waste time re-profiling.) Great personal customer attention and support from Edge-pro. Drawbacks are it is more expensive, somewhat messy (water drip and splash), and "show-knives" must be taped to avoid fine scratching.

Bench stone method- The most versatile. Drawbacks are it takes more skill and can be messy. I tend to scratch up knives when I use bench stones. If you go after the best, fastest cutting bench stones in a wide range of grits, you'll spend as much or more than for the other systems. The Lansky, Sharpmaker, and Edge-pro give you a range of stone grits in an economical form since the stones are very small compared to a full-sized bench stone.
 
Thanks again fellows. But I'm now curious about this:

When you're using the Sharpmaker, are you sharpening the angle "freehand"? Or is there some type of index that guides the blade so you're staying true to the angle?

For example: for years I sharpened my woodworking chisels freehand on waterstones. Both hands would lock together, my arms locked to my sides, very little rotation in my shoulders, and I would sharpen in *small* circles. Even so, there was minute rocking that would **slightly** round over the edge. Still sharp, mind you, but not as "scary" as I wanted. NOW, I use a jig that holds the edge true to the angle and sharpen on successively finer grades of sandpaper (scary sharp system). No more micro-bevels and my chisels are sharper than ever.

Ok. I'm getting a little windy here. Basically, will I be "freehanding" with the Sharpmaker or will I have some type of guide.

Thanks again.....


If you are now using waterstones and the scary sharp system for you chisels, it seems that you would be taking a step backwards by going to the Lansky or Sharpmaker for your knives.

I dunno, perhaps something like Murray Carters sharpening video to refine your freehand techniques?

Freehanding is the ultimate goal, not being dependant on this or that set-up.

Just a thought.

Rob
 
Wetdog1911
Rob you may have misread my post.
I used to use freehand sharpening techniques on a waterstone for my chisels. I now use a guide and sandpaper.
I'm afraid to take one of my $130 knives and try to sharpen it freehand. I'm terrifed.... scared....trembling......about to pee in my pants. I can;t do it. I just can't. (See the abundance of pessimism here?)

Seriously: Maybe I'm making too big a deal of this, but I'm pretty sure I need a system to get my blades sharp without mucking up the face of the blade, or altering the angle, etc.
 
I have a sharpmaker, but haven't had the good luck everyone else has had. I have a Smith's 3-in-1 that works great. It has 2 ceramic rods with round, flat and angle edge, a flat diamond surface and 2 carbide blades. Its hard to beat. I also like wet/dry sandpaper on the metal strips you can by from Lee Valley Tools.

My favorite is a Harbor Freight 1"x30" belt sander with silicone carbide and Aluminum oxide belts from Lee Valley Tools.
 
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