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Best sharpening equipment

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by noob93, Dec 10, 2018.

  1. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    Maybe because mine is from at least 10 years ago, but when I tighten it down to clamp it to the back of the blade, its usually not even; the knife is leaned to one side.

    Looking at the cross section of the clamp halves, it seems designed to clamp onto a flat blade.

    I used mine once to put a compound bevel on my old Gerber skinner; it worked great. But it never did a great job on full flat grinds for me.
  2. Smaug

    Smaug Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 30, 2003
    ...and good muscle memory!
  3. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    The word “should” is relative to a goal.

    If a person’s goal is to learn to sharpen well, they can pick any decent system and work toward perfecting that system. There’s no need to learn to free hand sharpen if the person has a guided system. Similarly, if they’re getting great results free hand, there’s no reason they “should” go get a guided system.

    Pick something.

    Master it.

  4. pinnah


    Jul 28, 2011
    That makes perfect sense. Thanks.
  5. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Might be useful to know how to put an edge back on if you find yourself without your equipment and all you have is a river rock. Just sayin'...:rolleyes:

    People are free to do whatever they want of course, but freehand sharpening might come in handy if you don't intend on lugging your sharpening system around everywhere. Plus, it teaches you the mechanics of how sharpening works. Once the mechanics are understood, it makes learning and finessing the systems easier.
    pjsjr likes this.
  6. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    It isn’t necessary to master free hand first in order to learn the mechanics of sharpening. Guided systems don’t remove concepts from the equation. All they do is remove the necessity of manual edge guidance. You can easily offset that by finishing your edges with a strop on a table.

    I did it that way, and I’ve since been able to apply what I learned to free hand. Rather easily, in fact. It’s not rocket science. It’s really just scraping, when it comes down to it.
    marchone and Chris "Anagarika" like this.
  7. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Just some helpful advice. Take it or leave it. It's not necessary to do anything, but knowing how to freehand is still a worthwhile skill.
    lex2006 likes this.
  8. 91bravo

    91bravo Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Hand sharpening is indeed a skill that you can take with you anywhere in the world on any old stone. If you only learn on a guided system, you can't lug it everywhere you go. Nothing better than sitting by the campfire and bringing the razor sharp edge of your knife back!
  9. Eli Chaps

    Eli Chaps Basic Member Basic Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Any person's desire to sharpen their knives is the only right answer. Far too few knife owners are knife sharpeners and that is a shame so when anyone wants to actually work at keeping their knives sharp, then that is awesome! With the exception of terrible devices and gimmicks, whatever path a person chooses to get their edges sharp then I say good for them!

    Yes, free hand sharpening is a great skill and I love doing it and whenever possible, I encourage people to get an inexpensive stone (depending on their steels) and give it a try. But way too many have done that, hit roadblocks, and gave up. And probably even more folks have just been too afraid to even try based on things they've read and heard.

    As @pinnah said earlier in this thread, and I've read many times, a lot of folks actually transition away from their guided systems and into free handing because they learn fundamentals and build confidence. That's fantastic!

    I say if a person is new to sharpening, help them pick a path that is right for them and will get them hooked. I have a friend at work who always had dull knives, pocket and kitchen. I sharpened his pocket knife for him and after a while he started asking me about an easy way to keep all his knives sharp. I know he won't manually sharpen, so I recommended a Ken Onion Work Sharp. He finally got one and he loves it. He even comes in on Mondays and tells me about sharpening his dad's pocket knife and his neighbors sheers and how much his wife loves having sharp knives in the kitchen. And, what do you know? Now he's asking me about other, nicer, knives. Last week he was picking my brain about a good knife for his young son.

    Just sharpen. Don't use them pull through deals or those horrible electric grinders, but choose a path and give it a go.

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
    Tar18, Chris "Anagarika" and RBid like this.
  10. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014
    I learned on an Edge Pro Apex, and can sit down with a stone and get an edge with no problems. It’s not hard. The concepts are the same.
  11. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    I learned to drive in an F-16. I used auto-pilot to steer for me, going 200 mph down runways. Now I like to take my Prius on nice jaunts to church on Sundays. It's not hard. The concepts are the same.

    I'm sorry man, I had a pretty good laugh typing that. :D I don't believe I've ever heard of anyone learning to sharpen on an Edge Pro, then learning to sharpen freehand. It used to be completely opposite. I guess these days it's probably typical.​

    Whatever floats your boat. I'm glad you eventually learned to sharpen freehand. Can't really slip an Edge Pro into your pocket.
  12. RBid


    Apr 6, 2014

    The ribbing doesn’t phase me. When you’re told that you can’t do something that you’ve done years before, all you can do is smile and shrug.

    Also, a better vehicular analogy would be learning to drive an automatic, then transitioning to a stick. Concepts are the same. You get to learn the process without worrying about one trick of coordination. Then, you switch to the stick, and it takes five minutes, because the only new element is the stick.

    In my case, I learned to sharpen the Edge Pro, but concurrently learned to hold an angle by finishing free hand on the Bark River strop. That allowed me to get that piece of the equation down without doing it in a way that ground off a lot of material.

    It was actually very intuitive.

    Probably didn’t hurt that I was going into the free hand part with the visual of an X degree angle fresh in my mind.
  13. Sonnydaze

    Sonnydaze Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 6, 2009
    When I want a really nice edge, I use my EdgePro Apex. It is great for reprofiling or sharpening.
  14. Ryan Clark

    Ryan Clark Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 10, 2018
    I have had good luck with the wicked edge system.
  15. John Blazy

    John Blazy KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 3, 2017
    I learned on white arkansas stones 40 years ago, then bought waterstones when they first came out in the early 80's, and actually wore one out (mostly used it for woodworking chisels and plane irons), and am on my third (2nd one froze in the water, and cracked) now. All hand, so I agree with all that one needs to learn by hand first - not hard at all. What's most important is having good eyesight to see the actual edge in direct light, so you can see that little white line of unsharpened edge. Once you can't see it, and it shaves, you nailed it. Angle is muscle memory / visual check.

    Now I keep an Ultrasharp diamond hone in my pocket at all times - more EDC than my knives. Handsharpening skillset allows one to sharpen anything, anywhere, because you can always find a brick, a riverstone (Great mention by Antdog), or a slab of concrete. You can even flatten a riverstone on another larger stone first, if you really wanted to, then with the right skills (and right rock), you can shave with the results.

    Guided systems are awesome though. I have friends that get into the zen of sharpening, take forever to sharpen an edge, then I take them to my shop and in less than one minute I manually hollow grind one of my chisels, hit it on my waterstone, then mirror the edge with white rouge, and shave with it. Last time I did it under 30 seconds. Freaked him out.
    AntDog likes this.
  16. Dr Rez

    Dr Rez

    Jun 7, 2012
    If I could add, while a sharpmaker or another system admittedly works great learning to free hand on a stone (whatever medium you prefer or need) is so useful. Especially when it comes to your options for sharpening in the field or traveling. A tiny pocketstone (something like a DMT Diasharp or DC4) is so easy to bring with you anywhere.

    Hell with softer steels you can sharpen on tons of things like plates, and various surfaces found in every home.
  17. Edgeoflife

    Edgeoflife Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 11, 2018
    I am new to sharpening and just bought a lansky deluxe guided system with the 5 ceramic hones and also added the stand and a strop hone for now. I haven't used it yet but plan on starting with a junk knife to get acquainted with any learning curves. I chose it after watching several video reviews where they were reprofiling or doing mirror edges. The hones progress from 70 to 1000 grit with others available. (It was also pretty affordable at about $60 to my door). I have been using a lansky turn box (poor mans sharpmaker essentially) using the 20 degree set angle and medium or fine ceramic rods which will touch up or sharpen my folders but I don't get the prettiest edges and have issues with consistancy when trying to maintain the angle especially when honing the right side with my right hand. It seemed like the best value and a good upgrade for my decent sized collection. I have steels ranging from budget to m390/20cv and all in between. Any advice is welcome.
  18. robgmn


    Oct 30, 2015
    Whatever works for ya', go for it.

    That said, I chuckle at how many threads I've read here that include at least one post regarding the absolute necessity of being able to freehand for those times when you're in the "wilderness" and you've dulled your blade so much that you need to do a full freehand sharpening.
    On a river stone. Or a coffee cup.

    Because you'd be prepared enough to spend that much time in the "wilderness", but not have more than one knife, or the capability to touch up an edge on a blade...
  19. Chris "Anagarika"

    Chris "Anagarika"

    Mar 7, 2001
    Although I always free hand, I think using guided setup helps the learning as long as one look for it. What it means to remove metal consistently until burr is formed and removed. Guided system helps removing the angle setup that frustrates many (have I reached it? When do I flip over?).

    The principle is the same. Combination of stone, steel, angle, and pressure can vary the result. The system removed angle consistency to aid learning. If it helps why not using it :rolleyes:. I never used one (didn’t get one because when I learnt years ago, those are too costly for me, and when I started able to afford them, I have also progressed well with free hand) but can see the value.

    Next similar but less precise is using SharpMaker. The variable is only how vertical can one keep the blade.

    As Sal used to say, all is good, just different.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
    Eli Chaps and Tar18 like this.
  20. Bill3152


    Nov 27, 2018
    Belt sanders and paper wheels are a definite option as well. Start on a cheap knife first. Having said that I do free hand, I own an onion worksharp that I never use. And I hand strop my knives by hand often.

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