What knife sharpener should I get?


October 28, 2013, 07:43 PM
I have numerous knives of various manufacture. Some are half serrated and some not. Presently I'm using flat stones to sharpen, but it seems like I'm just wasting my time. I just can't seem to get them sharp. Is there a system out there that will help a novice put a real edge on these blades, including the serrations?

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October 28, 2013, 08:00 PM
The Spyderco Sharpmaker is fantastic. It helps you maintain the proper angle and works on serrated or straight blades.

October 28, 2013, 08:06 PM

October 28, 2013, 08:10 PM
Here is a good thread on the topic.


October 28, 2013, 08:21 PM
Jvaughn, I see Walmart has the Spyderco for $57 while Cabelas has the same thing for $80! I can see where I may be going.
Thanks for the reply.

October 28, 2013, 10:06 PM
I have a Wicked Edge system for my good knives, but use the Sharpmaker for general kitchen knives and touch ups.

October 28, 2013, 10:34 PM
Wicked Edge if you can afford it, I used to use a Sharpmaker but the WE is way better.

October 29, 2013, 07:27 AM
I like the Spyderco and I've had one for several years. I also use my bench stones on occassion.

October 29, 2013, 09:26 AM
The Worksharp is impressive for folks that have trouble keep the angle straight.

BTW, you haven't told us what knives you're trying to sharpen and what stones you've been using.

October 29, 2013, 09:28 AM
I recently pick up a Spyderco Sharpmaker too, and have been very pleased with the results. I never quite got the flat stones technique down pat. Love the Sharpmaker!

The Bushmaster
October 29, 2013, 10:29 AM
Two flat stones. The Arkansas and the W a s h i t a. Buy both and learn how to properly sharpen a knife as it should be done.

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October 29, 2013, 02:27 PM
I use 800 grit emery paper on a flat surface to touch up the edges of my knives, and an Edgepro every now and again when they need to be redone.

October 29, 2013, 04:22 PM
The Spyderco Sharpmaker is fantastic. It helps you maintain the proper angle and works on serrated or straight blades.

Another vote for the Sharpmaker. A very easy way to put a good edge on almost any knife.

October 29, 2013, 04:33 PM
I have mostly Gerber knives, including the Mark II I carried with me in Vietnam Nam. I also have a Greber Fairbain which says First Production on the blade. The blade is flat, not beveled. It's useful for nothing as there is no stiffness to it being flat, but it must be worth something if it says First Production knife etched on the blade.

Most of my knives have serrations, consequently I think I need the rods included in the Spyderco sharpener as opposed to the flat stones on other models.

I am looking to pick up either a Benchmade or maybe a Kershaw in the near future. I have carried a knife all my life, longer than a pistol. Wouldn't ever bee without one.

Thanks for the suggestions, and keep 'me coming.

October 30, 2013, 11:11 PM
I have a sharp maker and a worksharp. Like them both, but I like the worksharp better.

October 31, 2013, 04:42 AM
i liked my worksharp - till it broke!

I had like 3hrs of use in it.

Lets see, how the Customer department
works - and wether they will replace it.

October 31, 2013, 10:58 AM
DMT Aligner is fairly cheap and does a good job of getting the angles back to where they should be. They have a package that comes with 3 stone from 325 to 1200 grit. I ordered it the other week to get some kitchen knives shaped back up. I also bought a 8000 stone for it and slightly increase the angle and finished one of the larger knives with it. It's crazy sharp for a kitchen knife. :)

Edit: Almost forgot, it came with a tapered round stone for serrations.

November 1, 2013, 04:55 AM
I used to think there was something magical about ultra high grit sharpening stones and precise angles. Nowadays, I freehand with a ceramic rod, a sanding block, or a soft Arkansas stone. Doesn't much matter, so long as I remove the wire burr, after, by stropping. It takes all of 20 seconds to sharpen my convex blades, using any of the above.

For knives with a flat secondary bevel, a ceramic rod is my favorite method. I sharpen these like a sword. By holding the knife still and moving the rod over it (in little circles, almost no pressure), I can keep my eyes on the bevel. I sharpen a small section of blade at a time. I start a little acute, until I can see the back edge of the bevel start to shine up. Then I increase the angle until the edge shines up. Then I move on down the blade until the whole edge is touched up. Go to other side and repeat. If I can feel a wire burr on the entire edge, it's ready for the strop. If there are sections that need more work, the ceramic rod will pinpoint the target areas like no other system, when done this way. This beats the heck out of moving the knife over a rod/stone, checking the bevel, then trying to put the knife back at the same angle, again. It's also very easy to sharpen the curves, tips, or other uneven areas of bevel, without removing any excess material.

For Scandi, I stick with the Arkansas stone.

November 1, 2013, 06:53 AM
I have a sharp maker and a worksharp. Like them both, but I like the worksharp better.

Very happy with my Worksharp!

November 2, 2013, 03:48 PM
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the EdgePro fixture. I have very good luck getting knives shaving sharp on this fixture.

November 2, 2013, 08:58 PM
Where can I purchase the ceramic rods?

I took my time, used a few different grit stones and experimented. Seems to work well if I am careful and do my part.

November 2, 2013, 09:36 PM
The ceramic rods I thought were to hone the blade after it was sharpened. For a quick fool proof sharpening on mine I use the "West Virginia Sharpening Sticks" They are ceramic. The other thing I did because I can't hold the blade at the proper angle, was go to Lowes or equivalent, and get some wooden dowel rod the size as the holes in the base of the rod holder. I then use 800 and 12000 grit wet or dry paper that I wrap around the dowels and tape the back side and stick them in the base like you do the ceramic rods. No time at all and your knife will be dangerously sharp.

November 2, 2013, 11:06 PM
Work sharp made easy work for all my beaters and kitchen knives. I'll likely never use anything else.

November 5, 2013, 03:09 AM
I took my time, used a few different grit stones and experimented. Seems to work well if I am careful and do my part.

It's probably worth mentioning that mass produced factory knives rarely come with a perfectly straight or flat secondary bevel. So sharpening on a flat stone can take a long while, the first time. Don't be afraid to use low grit sandpaper to start off with. Talking 120-200 grit. Don't worry about dulling the edge. Sometimes you have to make things worse before they get better. The visible scratch marks are actually helpful for seeing what you're doing. And with carbon steels, you can jump straight from 120 grit sandpaper to a soft Arkansas stone and still get a razor edge in no time.

I found this information useful for profiling and sharpening the tips of convex knives. I have only used flat sanders, sanding blocks, and stones. No slack belts, and no problem. This info is also what inspired me to sharpen knives that have a flat secondary bevel like a sword, to preserve the edge angle. You can always mess with the angles, too. There's no need to make all your knives exactly 30 degrees because of a knife sharpening system you purchased. Instead, the angle will evolve over time, as you find what suits your needs for that particular knife. There's also no need to keep the edge angle the same throughout the whole blade - some like to make the belly/tip a different angle from the straight part of the blade.

Good light and a jewelers loupe will do more for you than any sharpening system. Those systems are nice if you need to frequently sharpen knives for your work or your shop, but once you get the secondary bevel polished up, your knives will be pretty fast to sharpen.

November 8, 2013, 09:08 AM
I've been pretty pleased with the $30 lansky system. It's no wicked edge, but it's fine for my purposes and the cost is reasonable.


November 8, 2013, 05:53 PM
I ordered a Lansky system when I was a teenager. It was some of the worst money I ever spent.

Aside from the fiddliness, the futzfactoring, and the cheap, bendy guide rod and clamp, even when it works the Lansky will put a shallower angle on the tip/belly and the ricasso, and blunter edge right in the middle of the blade.

Most people use sharpening systems cuz they're fast. They use them to sharpen kitchen and working knives. The Lansky system is a novelty, because it screws up knives slowly, in a cumbersome and deliberate way. And the Lansky is pretty hopeless for any knife bigger than 4", so forget kitchen knives, altogether.

If you want a hair-splitting edge, you only need one thing besides a basic stone/sandpaper. That's a strop, and the Lansky doesn't even include that.

Take a couple of smooth, flat pieces of soft face-grain wood. Balsa is favored, but any common wood works. Heat the blocks with a hair dryer. Draw a couple streaks of green (chromium oxide) buffing crayon over one surface, then rub the blocks together, hard, until the buffing compound all but disappears and the surface of the wood is completely smoothed and burnished. You now have a super fine grit sharpening stone for a few cents. Use like a strop. You should see faint black streaks starting to appear after a few dozen strokes. This will take your knife from paper-slicing and arm hair-shaving sharp to face-shaving and hair-whittling sharp.

November 8, 2013, 06:02 PM
Worksharp for me. Don't force it and don't get cheap on the belts.

November 8, 2013, 09:58 PM
The Wicked Edge is pretty idiot proof when it comes to getting your knives sharp, but you have to be careful with the edge facing your down strokes. I made the mistake of sharpening a long Chef's knife while watching TV. One of the stone things bobbled in my hand and my finger tip went down the length of the front part of the blade. I nearly cut my finger tip off.

Thankfully the upgrades have reduced this risk somewhat, but one still has to pay attention while sharpening longer blades. I won't be watching TV while sharpening ever again...maybe I'll listen to it though.

The other problem with the WE is that it is time consuming when sharpening a blade to a new angle. Setting it up is a pain for me as I don't have it ready to go at a moment's notice. The last problem is that you never learn the skill of how to sharpen knives manually with standard stones -- a valuable skill, especially considering how much faster it is to sharpen this way...and to have bevel continuity at the tip, where the WE can be less successful if one is not paying attention.

With all that said, a WE is still a valuable tool for a sharpener that should be in one's sharpening arsenal if one can afford it.

November 8, 2013, 10:20 PM
I made the mistake of sharpening a long Chef's knife while watching TV.

Yea you have to be careful that's for sure. I've never cut myself while sharpening on the WE but am pretty careful - I only do one side at a time and not both like the owner does on his videos. Way too much room for error there for me anyway.

Setting a new angle can be real time consuming, I did a knife that I put the edge on with the knife grinder and it took me forever to get it "fixed". I would get the 50/80 stones if you have to do much of that because 100/200 takes a long time to wear away steel.

That said, I can't imagine a better sharpener then the Wicked Edge.

November 15, 2013, 02:55 AM
Love my Worksharp, it does a good job of sharpening all my knives. For field use or for touch up I like the diamond sharpeners. I have the DMT dual sided sharpener fine/extra fine and it a does a nice job.
My son is a Boy Scout and comes to me to sharpen his knives, he wants to use the Worksharp, but I told him he needs to learn how to sharpen freehand on stone first, that way he Knows how to sharpen a knife properly. Its frustrating at first, I dulled more knives when I first started. But, I finally learned how to sharpen a knife.

As a footnote, Worksharp sharpeners are made in Ashland, Oregon, as an encouragement to register your product, they send you a couple of belts for free.

For my serrated edge knives, I use a half round/oval file from a set of miniature files. Works fine for me.

December 15, 2013, 10:40 PM
For general use on everyday knives the Work Sharp is pretty good. Edge Pro for the good stuff.

December 16, 2013, 04:42 PM
Best sharpening system I've found is 400 grit sandpaper on a telephone book, followed by a leather strop with jeweler's rouge.

December 18, 2013, 01:10 AM
Ha, so true. It doesn't take anything special to put an edge on a knife. Most recently, I sharpened a knife with just an 80 grit belt sander and a ceramic rod.

I am recently favoring thin grinds with a microbevel on my smaller knives. I decided to put this kind of edge to the test on a $5.00 kukri style knife I have had lying around since impulsively tacking it onto a CTD order, a couple years ago.

The knife is an Mtech, and it is stamped "440," only. No "C." The blade is 0.180" thick and 9" long, kukri-shaped with a big recurve. Out the box, the edge was pretty close to butter knife dull, with a thick grind.

Ten to twenty minutes on an 80 grit belt sander, and I got the bevel thinned out. The knife looks like a scandi, now. The flat bevel is 0.64" wide and ends at full spine thickness. If my math is correct, this puts the bevel angle at just over 16 degrees inclusive? It's just slightly convexed, so suffice to say it is at least close to 20 degrees at the edge, if not less. It sure looks fragile, but my previous testing was promising, so what the heck, right? The belt was worn and slow, so I gave up before actually reaching the very edge. When ur sanding a 0.64" wide swath of 440 on a big knife, things really start to slow down. So I didn't work up a burr. I figured I would just as well spend a little more time honing on a decent edge, rather than trying to get this bevel down to a zero edge and getting the blade scary sharp.

A few minutes with a ceramic rod at somewhere between maybe 37-42 degrees, and I was able to put on a reasonable edge that will slice paper. (So for those that think ceramic rods only realign, um no. They are pretty aggressive!) Now, this edge is thicker than what I would call a microbevel, but not by much.

I have a dead and thoroughly dried orange tree in my backyard. For testing, I hacked on a ~1" branch. Some 30-40 swings later, the branch was defeated. I couldn't find any rolling or chipping, and it still easily sliced paper over the whole edge. I made a few hard swings right into the trunk. The wood was so dry and hard, chips were shooting out the side of the trunk at high velocity. Edge still intact and sharp.

I'm coming to the conclusion that edge geometry is maybe the biggest factor for edge performance. I put a thin zero convex grind and 30 degree microbevel on a Svord Peasant, finished with nothing more than 180 grit sandpaper on the primary and a soft Arkansas for the microbevel. It's sharp enough to shave. I used it to slice an orange and the seeds were cut in half. I wish I had one of those flea market Paki lockbacks from my youth to see how it would do with a regrind.

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