Razor Edge Systems: Do They Live up to Their Claims?

Dec 18, 1998
I am curious, Do the Razor Edge System sharpeneers produce a razor edge on all knives, guaranteed?

I have a DMT medium diamond stone and the Spyderco Sharpmaker and sometimes I use them together, but many of my knives are not shaving sharp! I just tried Sal's suggestion of lightly running the blade over the hair on the back of my head and almost none of my blades pass the test!

Since I can't sharpen knives free hand, I need a foolproof sharpening system. Will Razor Edge Systems be the redeemer?
Just about all the systems have some quirk or other. The Sharpmaker should provide a very sharp edge. Have you read the Sharpening FAQ?

The Razor Edge system works incredibly well. However, as with all systems, you'll need to develop some skill. If you don't know how to raise a burr and grind it off on the Sharpmaker, there's no reason to believe you'll be able to do it on the Razor Edge system! Maybe the most important thing you can do is just go get the Razor Edge video, so you can actually see how to sharpen. You can apply the principles you read from the video to your Sharpmaker -- that's what I do.

The Razor Edge system is generally awesome, but you'll have problems with knives that have a spine over 3/16". And the clamps eventually wear down, so you have to replace 'em from time to time. Nevertheless, I recommend the system very highly.

Ronnie (can I call you that

In my view there is a basic problem with systems like the Razor Edge or Buck's clamp. That is that depending on how wide your blade is and where it's clamped you can't maintain the same bevel angle for the entire cutting edge. What you get is indeed serviceable and no doubt in many cases "razor" sharp, but I certainly think there are better systems out there.

The Spyderco TriAngle SharpMaker is unquestionably the best of "V" standing systems. I've had mine for years and continue to use it.

And the undisputed king of the Lansky-Gatco type systems is the Edge Pro Apex-1 or Professional model. Yup, pricey but will give you a super edge with a repeatable angle every time. I own one and have been extremely satisfied.

Frankly I have a battery of sharpening tools and have found that different blades or blade steel seem to prefer different systems. I have big bench stones from Spyderco, Oregon Abrasives (like the Norton India stones but not oil impregnated at the factory), DMT diamond, and the classic Wa****a and Black Arkansas. The aforementioned Sharpmaker and Apex-1 systems, a variety of small pocket stones in all the varied materials, and some flat and round steels round out the battery. Some of these pieces, like the Buck clamp in the style of the Razor Edge unit, lie in a box unused and forgotten.

Those I use the most are the Sharpmaker, Apex-1, Spydie 8" 1200 grit ceramic, 4" DMT dual grit pocket stone, a Spydie pocket 600 grit fine stone, and a small Sheffield's steel.

Hope this helps!


Keep yer powder dry and cutters hair poppin' sharp!

Bob --

Provided you put the clamp in the right place, the angle will be extremely consistent along the entire length of the knife, including the curving belly. The directions included with the Razor Edge describe the correct clamping point. I've found I can get a good consistent angle, have you seen otherwise?

I had one for 30 days. I did not like it at all. I've been using a Lansky and wanted to try something better. It wasn't. It was hard to clamp on and scratched the finnish worse. Also I had a hard time with my mini-stryker. Between the Tanto edge and the serrations it was pretty much a nitemare. I also bought the Razor-edge book of sharpening with the $80 dollar set-up. I had to send it back for a bad stone and a bad case. Then I just sent it back. I think I will stick with Lansky for the future. PS if you whant to buy the book let me know.(it wasn't returnable)

I'll defer to you as I personally haven't handled the Razor Edge clamp. I'd been told and my views of the pictures indicate that the Razor Edge clamp's design is much like the old Buck unit.

With the Buck, to get the same bevel angle on upsweep portions of the blade requires a lot of finesse and the tilting of the clamp unit. Using the clamp it is virtually impossible to match the manufacturer's factory bevel angles if that is your desire (e.g. 18 degrees for a Reeve Sebenza). You're stuck with whatever angle results from clamping the blade to the knife. This is my biggest objection to the design.


Keep yer powder dry and cutters hair poppin' sharp!

I agree with Bob and droopy on this one. I just don't like the Razor's Edge system. I have had one of their kits for approximately five years now and feel that it takes just too much natural ability to use. I realize all the sharpening systems available need mastering somewhat, but to get good with the Razor Edge, you might as well go freehand. When I was in the Marine Corp I became quite adept at sharpening freehand but if you don't stay at it regularly, you'll lose the touch. it's not like riding a bicycle. Joe T. brought up some valid points, but I feel Joe is a natural and could sharpen all his blades on a rock. This is not to say avoid the Razor edge system, it just might work for you. I just feel that the Lansky and of course the Apex, (which you wouldn't believe how many makers use), will better serve the novice.
Bob: Ah, it sounded at first like you were saying it was difficult to get the same angle on the belly as it was on the flats. That's must a matter of mount point, of course. But if you're saying it's difficult to get the exact factory angle, there's some truth to that. You do have some control over the angle -- by moving the clamp towards the edge (and simultaneously towards the point to keep the angle uniform), you raise the angle up. Do the reverse to lower the angle. I could usually get a pretty good range of angles depending on the width of the blade, but certainly not as good as the Apex or even the Lansky.

Gene: Actually, I'm not a natural when it comes to anything mechanical. That's part of the reason I'm so partisan towards the Razor Edge system -- because it's the first system that actually delivered a frighteningly-sharp edge. Note that I never used the entire system, just the clamps. For stones, I used Spyderco 8"x2" ceramic stones in the past, and switched over to DMT stones a few years ago.

Still, it's interesting to know other people have tried the Razor Edge system and weren't as impressed. I'll definitely continue to recommend people buy the video before they try to use the system. I found the video helped me a lot.

I find it interesting that you say you're not mechanical because I am somewhat and I have picked up VERY mechanical tips from your sharpening FAQ's. I suspect your diligence has made you more mechanical than you think.

Maybe viewing the RE video is an asset to using clamps whether it's RE's or somebody elses. Speaking of using clamps and your reference to DMT, I have used one of DMT's plastic clamps, (around $5-$6), on bench stones with much greater success than RE's clamps.

Joe, I took your advice regarding the burrs and I read the FAQ I then attempted to sharpen a few of my knives with this new found knowledge...guess what? My knives are now shaving sharp!


[This message has been edited by Ronald Reagan (edited 18 January 1999).]