Sharpening help please

Jul 2, 1999
I,too, have been reading some of the posts on sharpening. I am looking for opinions/advice on sharpening some Henkel kitchen knifes that my dad managed to get VERY dull. At this time the only sharpener I have is a ceramic rod V setup. It works OK if the kinfe is already in decent shape. I do not have the skill yet to do any free hand sharpening. What would be the best choices for sharpening these blades? I have read some on stone size vs blade size. My knifes range from a paring knife to a 10" chefs knife.
You need at least one more sharpening implement. One thing that is relatively inexpensive and compatible with your skill is to get a pair of medium grit ceramic rods to go into your current sharpening setup. I found some at my local knife shop. If the knives are just too dull for that I would suggest buying the Spyderco Sharpmaker 204 (on sale through Blade Forum for $59.95). It will take care of your needs for a long time. If you need to cut more metal you might want a kit with a pair of diamond coated rods. AG Russell makes a compact "Field Sharpening" kit (AG3750) which has both diamond and ceramic rods for $39.95. See:

[This message has been edited by Jeff Clark (edited 07 July 1999).]
To bad your not good at freehand. A good file will work on those really dull knives and get you sharp enough to use your ceramic setup.

If they are as bad as you say I would take them to a knife sharpening shop.
I think these knives would be a little too hard for most files. Using a file is also a good way to wreck a knife and/or cut yourself (I've done it many times while sharpening bayonets and machetes). If you want to try free hand, get a diamond coated bench hone. If you have a Woodworks store near home they have them on sale. A medium grit diamond hone cuts pretty fast.

You could have the knives professionally sharpened, but you won't learn much that way. If you want to experiment by sharpening some cheaper knives, stop by your local Goodwill store. The early summer crop of kitchen knives are in. This week alone I got a Henckels and a couple MAC's which are made out of AUS-8. The prices ran me between $0.18 and $1.55 each. They are all guaranteed to be dull when you buy them.
Both a knife shop and a fine woodworking store is apt to have the "sharpening steels" made by Ultimate Edge. They are really diamond coated ovoid rods. Come in coarse and fine, short and long and don't run much over $15 each.

One (and only one -- the fine one in short or long) will do the job, and after that if you just flick them across this "steel" or a more conventional sharpening steel after you are have dried them and before you put them in the drawer you will never have a dull knife.

It is very difficult to louse up a knife with any kind of device shaped like a sharpening steel. Easy to use also, but I sure don't recommend them for anything but kitchen cutlery and machetes.

Desert Rat

I've been using both a Spyderco Sharpmaker and a kit from Razor Edge on my Henckels and they work great. If they are really dull, I go to the Razor Edge stuff.

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
We're talking about kitchen knives here! Henckel's kitchen knives are nice soft metal, not 62 Rc D-2 stone-eating monsters.

There's a few good systems you can use.

- The Razor Edge clamps will work just fine. You'll need to buy the small clamp for your <4" knives, and the large clamp for the large knives. You'll want some large benchstones to sharpen on. You can get them right from Razor Edge, but I'll suggest instead getting benchstones from either DMT (get the blue and red 6"x2" hones), or the big 8"x2" ceramic stones from Spyderco. Both the DMT and Spyderco stones are used dry (like the Razor Edge stones), but neither scoops out.

- Get the Spyderco Sharpmaker, it'll work great. The coarser stones will probably still work reasonably quickly on soft Henckel's knives. However, if you find that too slow, do this. Buy a DMT 6"x2" x-coarse (black) stone. Lean the big DMT stone against one of the V-sticks, and sharpen until the new bevel you're creating is within 1/32" of the tip. Then move the stone to the other side and repeat. This will only take a VERY few strokes. After than, the Spyderco sticks will make quick work of the rest.