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#28350 - 06/16/04 11:30 PM Knife Sharpeners
joblot Offline

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 258
Loc: Scotland
I have read through a few past posts relating to knife sharpeners and have a few questions.
If I were to buy a "manual" (for want of a better word) sharpener such as this....


....could I damage the blade though incorrect use?
Would I as a relative novice to knife sharpening be better off with a "idiot proof" sharpener such as this:

In the past I have tried to sharpen large kitchen knives with the steel provided. I soon realised you could totally wreck a knife edge if the technique wasn't correct.
I also read the type of steel the knife is made of, dictates the sharpener you use. Is this correct? Is there a universal sharpener you can use on all blades without fear of damaging the edge.

#28351 - 06/17/04 12:40 AM Re: Knife Sharpeners
Hutch4545 Offline
dedicated member

Registered: 04/08/04
Posts: 104
For home use or if size doesn't matter in a pack, I use the Spyderco Sharpmaker.

I've tried most of them out there and really like it.

It comes with an instructional video too.

#28352 - 06/17/04 02:21 AM Re: Knife Sharpeners
AyersTG Offline

Registered: 12/10/01
Posts: 1272
Loc: Upper Mississippi River Valley...

I like that sharpener very much. My kids all carry that model in their kit. I carry two:

Extra Coarse/Coarse

and Fine/Extra Fine

But I would be as well-equipped with the Coarse/Fine model you asked about.

If a tool can sharpen a blade, it can probably blunt it as well, but I wouldn't be concerned about that. Practice sharpening with a kitchen knife. Follow the directions - not heavy pressure or you risk damaging the dianmond matrix slightly. Use dry or with water. I would prefer a solid backing for the matrix on the fine and extra fine, but that's just me - these are fantastic portable sharpening devices.



#28353 - 06/17/04 02:25 AM Re: Knife Sharpeners
Paul810 Offline

Registered: 03/02/03
Posts: 1428
Loc: NJ, USA
The DMT diamond sharpener you showed above is one of my favorites for sharpening knives in the field. As long as you can keep the angle you can put a razor sharp edge on most knives. I do however recommend you practice a lot on cheap knives before you work on expensive knives. Sharpening is an aquired skill that can serve you well in the field. I would get the DMT and practice with it, the Spyderco sharpmaker is great, but you can do a fine job with the much smaller DMT.

#28354 - 06/17/04 03:54 AM Re: Knife Sharpeners
Vinosaur Offline
dedicated member

Registered: 03/25/04
Posts: 128
Loc: North Central IL
Personally, like others here I am sure, picked up one of the Sterling Sharpeners for my EDC. I was recently on the Knife Forums, and read a slightly disturbing review about the sharpener. It made me think twice about it, and I have actually removed it from my EDC since I carry a large Sebenza, and the good folks at CRK don't like them. You can read the review and make your own judgements. As for me I like the compact size of the Sterling, but not if it may tear up my knife. Looking for an alternative. Probably will go with the DMT Diafold. Want the Spyderco, but too big for EDC.

If only closed minds came with closed mouths.

#28355 - 06/17/04 10:53 AM Re: Knife Sharpeners
Tjin Offline

Registered: 04/08/02
Posts: 1747
i use fine gritt waterproof sandpaper, a block of wood ( back of a mouse pad can be used on a convex edge ), cardboard and polish to sharpen my knife's. Still saving for a hard arkansas stone...

#28356 - 06/17/04 03:14 PM Re: Knife Sharpeners
M_a_x Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 1035
Loc: Germany
The DMT sharpeners are very unlikely to damage your blade. You may end up with a blunt edge but no real damage when you keep watching the results of your effort. I can recommend those sharpeners. As others pointed out you just need some practice and if possible a demonstration by a skilled person.
The second model has the disadvantage of a fixed angle which is not good for every use. They also donīt make a knife as sharp as the DMT in skilled hands. Ceramic sticks may break if you drop them. This is why I donīt like the sharpeners with those sticks.
Itīs a common misconception that the steel for kitchen knives is for sharpening. Usually kitchen knives are made of pretty soft steel. When the edge bends itīs straightened with the steel. This will only work if you do it frequently and it will not work if the edge is already worn. A high quality knife doesnīt get its edge bend so the steel wont do any good here. The sharpeners which scrape material from the edge (like the Sterling) should not be used for high quality kinfes either.
If it isnīt broken, it doesnīt have enough features yet.

#28357 - 06/17/04 04:22 PM Re: Knife Sharpeners
dchinell Offline

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 312
Loc: FL
I like the Spyderco Sharpmaker. But I've also had good luck with ceramic hones. For home use, I prefer a rod about 12 inches long and 1/2 inch in diameter.

For field use, I like the Spyderco ProFile which is an oddly but usefully shaped ceramic hone about six inches long. For my kits, I simply include a sheet of emery paper. (I plan to lay this on a flat surface or roll it around a pencil for use as a sharpener.)

It's important to maintain a consistent angle when sharpening. I find it easer to do this when I can move the knife against an angled rod, rather than a flat bench stone.

The Spyderco Sharpmaker helps you maintain a consistent angle by requiring that you keep the knife blade vertical, which is something that's easy to judge. Clamp systems like Lansky or Gatco actually hold the stone at the correct angle for you, but have the added hassle of attaching the clamp. The epitome of guided systems are the EdgePro models. These also hold the stone at the correct angle, but rely on you pressing the side of your knife against the sharpener's table. (Most clamp systems are large, and suitable for home use only.)

When I taught myself to sharpen using a rod, I forced myself to use my right hand for one side of the edge, then switch to my left hand for the other side. It seemed awkward at first, but it's also easier for me to maintain consistent, equal angles on both sides of the edge this way.

There's a GREAT sharpening FAQ assembled by Joe Talmadge. You should read it and ease into teaching yourself how to sharpen. Being able to maintain your knives is a great skill and very satisfying. The FAQ:


Good luck!

No fire, no steel.

#28358 - 06/17/04 06:02 PM Re: Knife Sharpeners
bountyhunter Offline

Registered: 11/14/03
Posts: 1224
Loc: Milwaukee, WI USA
To my way of thinking, pass thru sharpeners of any kind are quicky touch up use items only.

The one biggest mistake most people make (Yes, I did it myself in the begining and learned ever so slowly.) is to put too much pressure on the knife when passing it through in an attempt to get a sharp edge instantly. Think of it as a small butchers steel that you gently guide the blade through several times.

The angle presented by the sharpening edges will not work as well for all knives, but I believe the watchwords are "LIGHT OR NO PRESSURE, MULTIPLE PASSES for TOUCH UP ONLY. I like pass thrus for the ease of use and their compact size, but my portable sharpener is a small fine carbodum stone with personally supplied saliva. At home, I have an two-sided Arkansa stone with honing oil in a wood holder that my nephew bought me one Christmas long ago when he was a sales manager for REI.

Unless I am planning on cutting my way thru massive undergrowth where I am going to put a machete thru a lot of use, the pass thru and a fine grit stone are all I need as I will always be going home in a few days where the big stones, and if necessary electric grinder are.


#28359 - 06/17/04 11:22 PM Re: Knife Sharpeners
joblot Offline

Registered: 02/21/03
Posts: 258
Loc: Scotland
Thanks for the input <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
I'll probably end up buying both, but will use the DMT only when I've practiced some more.
Just one question on the replies:
Max wrote:
"The sharpeners which scrape material from the edge (like the Sterling) should not be used for high quality knives either."
Surely all sharpners remove material from the edge to a certain degree? Could you name one that doesn't? And why only high quality knives? Thanks

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