What knife sharpener should I get?

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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.
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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.
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.
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.
Best sharpening system I've found is 400 grit sandpaper on a telephone book, followed by a leather strop with jeweler's rouge.
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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