I have the same problem. Sharpening a 6" or less knife is no problem for me. Sharpening a bigger knife has been a problem. I so deformed a Gerber Bowie (about a 10" blade) that I had to send it too Bob Dozier to regrind. I explained my problem and he recommended a large Nicholson, smooth, single cut file. I got one but Mr Dozier's regrind is still very sharp so I don't know for sure if a file is goint to help me sharpen big knives.
For longer blades, I like longer bench stones. One of my favorite stones is the longer grey Spyderco ceramic stone, when working on kitchen blades.
For periodic edge maintenance, I use a 15" leather hone system with abrasive-powdered surfaces.
For rapid edge-formation on longer blades, where serious metal-removal is involved, I use a crude system of sandpaper clipped to a board. Using sandpaper or emory paper and a 2-hand stropping motion, you can re-form an edge rather quickly. Primitive - but fast.
[This message has been edited by bad4u (edited 02-08-2001).]
I have a chef's tri hone. It is set up on a triangle so when you are using one stone the other two are soaking in the oil. 12x3in. I can sharpen any size blade I want. These run about $75.00 and will last a lifetime. Dave
Give the skarb a close look at. They have an optional clamp which will hold extra thick blades( like the larger Cold Steel series). Also any knife up to about 13" can be sharpened with out having to move the blade once it is clamped.