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What's the best knife sharpener?

Discussion in 'General EDC Discussion' started by Timothy Sutton, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. VT-aroo

    VT-aroo Loaded Pockets

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    What I normally use is a Sharp Maker, they every once in a while I get a dmt diamond stone and try to make sure that the edge is all that it can be, and this causes the knife to get duller so I take out a ceramic rod from a lansky set which is nice but set at different angles than the sharpmaker, so I just use them free hand. This is pretty good and so far had not resulted in cut fingers.
    But then I go read the gun nuts blogs and Dave Peitzel says to use a motorized belt grinder from work sharp which seems to be very expensive and require power and new belts, and also he recommends 2600.00 binocs so I have to wonder. And then I read the reviews in cooks illustrated and they say to use the ChiefMate 110. but in truth the vibrating abrasive makes it hard to keep the knife on the guide ( also the magnetically charged steel dust is a bit of a mess ) so they I go and try the hunter honor which seems to have no effect on blades, but helps axes be sharper.

    Then I get a cup of tea and put a 30 edge on my knives with the sharpmaker and then back bevel the blade with the fine stone to 40 degrees and quit fiddling.

    The big problems are it does not work on big kitchen knives, and if you need to really re-profile stuff you might need a super course stone.
     
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  2. cyphersuit

    cyphersuit Loaded Pockets

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    Tried different systems, best results: Spyderco Sharpmaker + Leather strop.
     
  3. jerit

    jerit Loaded Pockets

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    After spending more money on knife sharping "systems" than what I would pay for a high end Benchmade, and never really getting the edge my knife deserved, I've decided it"s not so much "What" system, but "Who" does the sharpening. I take my blades to a professional sharpener and for 4 or 5 bucks get an edge I could never hope to achieve myself.
     
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  4. Tallboyjim

    Tallboyjim Loaded Pockets

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    This. I'm going to have a bash with something like the sharpmaker but I fear for my squeak if I do - I made a right old mess of my minichamp which is sharper but looks awful. I may practice on something else first!
     
  5. Tallboyjim

    Tallboyjim Loaded Pockets

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  6. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    The best sharpening system is the one you know and are willing to use and are able to get a good edge with. Sounds a bit harsh but youll have to find out what tickles your fancy, i myself am a die-hard sharpmaker user but i have friends that are somehow completely unable to keep any blade in half a decent vertical position so that system would never work for them. A belt sander can work great if you know how to feather a powertool, my neighbour for example 'sharpens' his knives with one and sure they get a nice working edge but after about 20 'touch-ups' he will be running out of blade. And guided systems are great too for many but in my case i usually sharpen one or two knives and cant be arsed to screw together a rig and oil me some stones....

    Ask around if any of your friends or colleagues have a sharpener and ask if you can try it out. If they say they have a electronic 'magic' kitchen sharpener one just politely make up some excuse ;)
     
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  7. Puinsai
    • In Omnia Paratus

    Puinsai Loaded Pockets

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    Spyderco Sharpmaker for me + the rough diamond rods + super fine rods.
    Also, I screwed mine to a board so that I can use two hands for maximum control.
     
  8. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    He's doing it wrong.

    Touch ups start with a 2000 grit belt at the very least.

    You do have to have a really light touch, but I really like it. Ten minutes from dull to shaving is hard to beat.
     
  9. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Yah duh ;) Like i said, can be good if you feather it and know what you are doing but most people i know that use powertools do so because they are impatient and rather break something then spend time on anything. Ive never used a beltsander on knives myself because, well my belt sander is in the garage and my knives are not.
     
  10. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    Westerdutch, yeah....I bought the belt sander specifically to sharpen knives. Honestly, the hard part was finding all the belts. Most of the local hardware stores I asked (including one pretty high end one specializing in woodworking) didn't know they made belts over 400...which is the equivalent of very rough when it's moving that fast.
     
  11. Doraemon

    Doraemon Loaded Pockets

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    I haven't found a sharpening system that does all the following:
    •Sharpens at multiple angles
    •Sharpens serrated/concave blades
    •Tip sharpening
    •Maintains a consistent angle throughout the length of the blade

    The Sharpmaker seems the best compromise - its angles are good enough for most knives and it's fast to set up. Plus, it's not that expensive - some stones alone cost more.

    I just wonder if you still need a steel or can you just use an extra fine stone?

    The Wicked Edge looks like the Lansky system - they actually sharpen in arcs, so the angles far from the pivots are wrong. Where you clamp the knife is important. The best system I've seen is the Edge Pro, because the knife isn't clamped down so the angle is consistent. But it's troublesome and the Sharpmaker may be "good enough ".
     
  12. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    Based on my limited experience with them, steels suck. I'll never use one again unless it's the only thing available and I just plain can't do what I need to do (and what I need to do is important enough).

    You do need to strop after using a sharpmaker. Or, at least, it makes a big difference.

    That being said, a belt sander meets all those requirements except that you have to maintain/adjust the angle, it's easy to screw up, and I'm not 100% sure how effective it would be on serrations....I feel like it would work, but I don't have a serrated knife to try on.
     
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  13. Doraemon

    Doraemon Loaded Pockets

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    Ah thanks, they said you need to steel to bring out the full sharpness and steel often. I was wondering if an extra fine stone would work.
     
  14. farnorthdan
    • GITD Manix 2XL Owner

    farnorthdan Loaded Pockets

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    A fixed angle system like the edge pro is best for re-profiling and repairing bevels, personally I prefer the edge pro system, I like the variety of after market plated stones that are available. Once I have my primary bevels set the Sharpmaker is perfect for maintaining edges and micro beveling. Also it's not hard to adjust the fixed 30°/40° angle on the SM by shimming the base. The SM also works great on serated blades by using the point of the triangle stones, you just have to take it slow.
     
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  15. Doraemon

    Doraemon Loaded Pockets

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    Aren't belt sanders REALLY bad for your knife, though? People already avoid pull-through sharpeners.
     
  16. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    The biggest problem with pull through sharpeners imho is that they grind parallel to the edge only creating an edge on the blade as good as the profile on the sharpener. They usually do a bad job but once they wear a bit they will do a bad job guaranteed. Those electric pull through sharpeners work differently but they generally take away too much metal too fast.

    You want to sharpen nice and close to perpendicularly to your edge. The sharpmaker doesnt do this but the result is more than close enough. A belt sander can get a perfect 90degree angle to the edge but you need to know what you are working with and how to. To course a belt, to fast a belt, to slow a belt, too loose a belt, too worn down a belt, too much pressure while working, holding the blade at an incorrect or inconsistent angle when using a belt sander to sharpen your knife all will result in a ruined blade. Get it right tho and there's really no better and faster way to sharpen any knife at any angle.
     
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  17. Doraemon

    Doraemon Loaded Pockets

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    Ooh it's the direction, more than the material removal. I'm starting to think sharpening is more an art than a science.
     
  18. moostapha

    moostapha Loaded Pockets

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    Gotta mostly agree. But, it's not a ruined blade. It becomes a blade that needs a lot more work and will become a lot smaller by the time you're done.

    For reference...what's a normal grit for a rough stone? 100-200? Rough on a belt sander for me is 600 grit (400 if the blade needs 'repair' work).

    Fine/ultra-fine can easily go up to 8000 or 10,000, well beyond where belt makers stop using grit numbers and switch to particle size in microns.

    If you don't go fine enough (say 4000-6000), your strop (I use leather with green compound) will still be working the burr.

    The advantage is really time. It takes FOREVER to create a consistent burr with a 4000-grit stone. A belt sander does it in seconds because, for example, my cheap harbor freight 1x30 belt sander moved at like 3200fpm. That's the equivalent of 9600 passes on a 4" long stone per minute.

    So, you have to learn to not take material off too fast, or to let things get too hot...you will watch a knife tip turn red and drop off while you're learning, so learn with knives you're willing to repair and have be smaller than when you started. You still have to be consistent with your angle.

    But, I think it works great.

    I'll try to remember to take a picture the next time I have to sharpen something. But, I generally only use the strop for maintenance, and I trend to touch up an edge when they don't cleanly shave off arm hair with very little pressure. Touch ups take about 2 minutes. It generally takes about 5 to get a factory edge from somebody like spyderco or microtech to where I want it.

    Once you start using and feeling really polished edges, you'll hate the toothy edges just about every knife ships with.

    And one of the benefits is that cutting yourself hurts a lot less. After I got the confidence to sharpen one of my kitchen knives, the next time I used it I screwed up and cut my thumb...and the blood was the first indication.
    It's both. People often approach it as an art because repeated trials and repeatable testing is really hard.
     
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  19. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Oh it doesn't have to be ruined... but its certainly a possibility with powertools in case for example you are working on tempered steel and get it to the point where your knife edge starts to glow like a little ember ;) . Once you mess that up its pretty much impossible to recover.
     
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  20. PBJS II

    PBJS II Loaded Pockets

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    I gave a cheap China knife to a buddy at SDV. He uses the crap out of it. The roughly 3/4 to 1" out by the tip wouldn't cut butter last time. I have a diamond stick, a rather abrasive ceramic stick and a quartz light bulb.
    Didn't take too long for the diamond stick to get a working edge. Then the ceramic gets it better. The Quartz is a finisher. If any of my knives don't do right for some reason the quartz and stropping on my jeans gets paper whisper. I'm not getting any specific angles or anything. But that stuff works for me.
     
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