Good Knife Sharpener suggestions

I recently added a Spyderco Spyderhawk (hubby fears me with this one!!), Emerson LaGriffe and a KaBar TDI plain edged knives to my collection for paddling/carry and also have the Spyderco Atlantic Salt serrated. It looks like i need a good sharpener now.

I read good info on the Spyderco Sharpmaker but wondered if there are other choices that may work as well for better that any of you use and like?

With all those knives your husband should fear you!


He can share them with me ! I bought the Atlantic salts for him,my son and now my daughter for in their pfds. I will use the spyderhawk for my pfd - just precautionary!not predatory!

For Non-serrated knives
The best way I know of to put the original edge on a knife is with the Lansky Deluxe Sharpening system. After that you only need a sharpening steel and leather strop. A well sharpened knife will go quite a long time without having to be resharpened. Actually the best thing to do is take the knives to a pro for the original sharpening and then do the periodic touch up yourself. Avoid things like crossed ceramic rods, interlocking metal disks, electric sharpeners, and the like.

is all I have used for many years. I am one of those people that hates a dull knife. I do use a Wusthof steel on my kitchen knives between sharpenings. When I sharpen my carry knives, after using the Sharpmaker, I strop them on an old piece of leather with jewlers rouge on it. They will shave after that treatment.

If one is an edge abuser they might want a diamond stone instead, or heck, just grind it down on the nearest rock. Then again, if someone is an edge abuser they don’t deserve having a nice knife anyway.

Sharpmaker! Yes!
The Sharpmaker is one of the easiest to use and effective sharpeners available. Get one.

Another vote for the Lansky.
I’ve had one for over 15 years…very easy to use.

I use sandpaper
the black wet-or-dry stuff. I use 320 grit with water, and just hone till sharp. Pretend the paper (or hone) is a piece of cheese and you are trying to slice a very thin layer off the top, it will give you a good angle. My prefered is a belt grinder with a 600 grit belt, followed by a buffing wheel, but it’s kinda hard to carry that with you. Honing is a skill, and it takes some practice, but once you get it down it’s pretty easy to achieve literally razor sharp edges. I shave with my pocket knife when I am on the trail.

For non-serrated blades…
… it’s hard to be a good ole’ hard Arkansas stone for putting on a shaving-sharp edge. I prefer an 8" or larger stone, as the longer surface gives you more room to work.

You’re so old school, Brian.
So am I. I’ve yet to see a “sharpening system” worth the storage space, never mind the price.

If one takes a little time to study and understand blade sharpening and practice the hand skills necessary, a couple of old-fashion stones are all you’ll need.

Oh, and Brian, if you don’t already have a translucent novaculite stone, try and find a nice old one.

how about an excellent sharpener?

I highly recommend these DMT sharpeners - they work realy well on stainless blades, which I find are hard to sharpen on natural/arkansas stones.

I’ve been using the same red sharpener (it stays in my hunting fanny pack)for maybe 10 or 15 years.

They are light, compact, cheap and very effective. I normally just use the red, which is a medium; the blue is course and I rarely need that one. Since they are small, they are easy to keep handy, and using a sharpener frequently to touch up a blade is more effective than letting a blade get really dull and having to resharpen it completely.

the only drawback is that there is no guard on the sharpener, so you have to be careful while using, but of course, you should be careful whenever using a knife, so I don’t find that to be a problem.

The Spyderco Sharpmaker works very well for their serrated edge models. IMHO the biggest drawback of the Sharpmaker (besides their price) is the cleaning.

Because you sharpen the serrated knives only on the narrow edge of the triangular stones you have to clean the stones regularly or they will clog and not sharpen properly. We used to use Ajax or other powdered cleanser and it worked a charm. However once they went “non scratching” or “fiberglass safe” or whatever it was they lost much of the abrasive and stopped working as well.

I do not use the “V” sharpeners for sharpening near the tip or on non serrated edges as it is too easy to round the tip due to the way the knife tends to rotate as you come off the end.

On the non serrated blades I prefer DMT diamond because they are easy to clean, last virtually forever, and stay flat and you can get the green 1000 grit for finishing up. (being lazy I use the conical model for serrations but it isn’t as good as my needing to be cleaned Spyderco triangular stones)

If I still had a selection of good quality hard oil stones I would use them on my flat knives, but alas they went missing 20 years ago.

Dressing an edge on
power tools is not a good practice for the casual tool user. Its dangerous enough for someone with experience. Personally, I have time to sharpen by hand and keep all of my fingers. (35+ yrs experience using shop tools in my career.)

More like “wicked old” school!

– Last Updated: Jan-21-10 3:28 PM EST –

In the interest of full disclosure, I only use Arkansas stones for knives, as they're easy to sharpen freehand. For all my edged tools (planes, spokeshaves, chisels, etc.), I use combinations of grinders, sandpaper, diamond hones and waterstones, with sharpening jigs.

I don't have a translucent stone, but I do have a small "black hard" Arkansas stone that I used for fine polishing on pistol parts.

Nobody uses Chef’s Choice 120 or 130?
The guy at Sports Authority recommended them for the Bench Made and other knives that they sell.

uh, no
At least not me. You listen to a guy at a Sports Authority about sharpening knives the same way you listen to his advice on firearms: grain of salt.

Water stones for me when I want a great edge, Norton Fine India for utility. I use properly maintained straight blades. Serrations, IMHO, are a generally a crutch [with certain exceptions (like Navy units underwater cutting through many very thick aramid lines)]. The sawing action of a serrated blade works even when the blade is relatively dull, this is true. But to my mind, if you are carrying a knife it should be sharp and you should know how to use it (that includes caring for it).

I do have serrated
edges so whether they are good or not, i need to maintain the edges. I was told in H1 the serrated edges have a harder strength on the scale than the straight edge. I like the spyderco sharpmaker but the Lansky is interesting as you clamp the knife down which might work best as i may not be so accurate with keeping the knife straight up and down. I cannot use just a flat stone because of my serrated knives so i am trying to get something that will work with both! Thanks for all the suggestions.

Are Chef’s Choice bad for blades, or
just not your preference, because you prefer to hand hone?

Yes, they’re bad for blades
Most powered sharpeners do a better job of burning the steel than sharpening it. You can do a lot of damage in a hurry with one of those.

There’s no good way to sharpen
serrated edges without specialized files, grinding stones, and/or jigs. In use, the points don’t really do much except, perhaps, help to protect the cutting edges in the valleys. Every maker uses different geometry for the shape and pattern of serrations. I got lucky with my favorite bread knife when I found that the round files I have for my chainsaw and the round ceramic “stones” I have for sharpening carving gouges are a good fit. Still, it takes a good half-hour for me to hand-hone that baby to better than factory sharp, something I do less than once a year.

In practice, sharpening even a plain-edged knife leaves a serrated edge, albeit microscopic. For a utility or river knife, I wouldn’t bother honing beyond anything finer than a medium “India” stone.