Not So Obscure Object of Desire: Wusthof Ceramic Sharpener


My brother’s a graduate of the CIA and I do a fair amount of cooking myself. In fact, all the men in my family can rattle them pots and pans with the best of ’em. So I’ve learned a little about good knives and keeping them sharp. Conventional wisdom was that you sharpen on a stone and bring an edge back with a steel. That used to be true if you were using a steel — one made of steel — that honed a blade, aligning the near-microscopic burrs on the edge after it had been used. But when Santa left a Wusthof ceramic sharpener under the tree a couple of years back, that all changed. With a few swipes at the right angle, it actually restores a sharp edge to a knife and gets you close to what you could do with some time on a proper stone. It’s about fifty bucks very well spent if, like me, you’re anal about keeping a good edge on your blades.


  1. Matt in FL says:

    My dad has always been really good at the steel, but I’ve never been able to master it. Maybe he’d like one of here on the next appropriate occasion.

  2. jwm says:

    I think, like most non experts, I’ve accumalated a drawer full of gadgets for sharpening blades. Some work decently and some are a lot of work. Recently I bought a simple ceramic rod and a fine grit diamond file. All of a sudden I look like I know what I’m doing.

  3. DrewN says:

    The whole point of a steel is you’re not removing much, if any metal. You need to be alot more careful with the ceramics, but most home cooks insist on stupid knives so no harm done.

    1. Dan Zimmerman says:

      True. Most people buy cheap knives that look nice — or are endorsed by some douche bag — but don’t sharpen easily or hold an edge. Buying a few quality knives is some of the best money you’ll ever spend.

      1. DrewN says:

        Actually, I think most folks are ill served by the big name brand, expensive knives pimped by Williams Sonoma etc. Sure they look nice and hold an edge, but most are too heavy, too stiff, and far, far too hard to sharpen. In 30+ years in pro kitchens I’ve rarely seen a forged Wusthof, Henckles, Shun, etc. The vast,vast majority of chefs (maybe excepting Sushi chefs) use something like Victorinox Forschner , Dexter Russell, MAC, or other stamped SS. I myself prefer the MAC “Original” stamped round tips.

        1. Lee Duran says:

          We need a Truth About Kitchen Knives series. Would be immensely helpful for a lot of us!

        2. DrewN says:

          It’s pretty easy. IMO, you really only need a few. 8″ or 10″ Chef’s, 6″ boning, off-set sandwich/bread, a couple paring (they usually come in a pack of three, a straight, a serrated and a hook). A steel. Maybe a 12″ slicer for the holidays. You can’t go wrong with Victorinox Forschner. You’ll spend well under $200 for everything. Find a restaurant supply store in your area or just google.

        3. Lee Duran says:

          Can’t reply directly to your post below, but thank you for the advice. Saw the Victorinox Forschners on amazon last night and very happy about the prices.

          Thanks again!

  4. Don says:

    Good stuff here. I use a ceramic sharpener before and after I use my kitchen knives and because of this rarely have to get the stones out.

  5. 2hotel9 says:

    I, too, have a plethora of sharpening gadgets. Always end up back with my RADA quick edge and the trusted Smith’s TriHone stone set. Keep a Smith’s ceramic/carbide combination pocket sharpener in tool bag, rucksack and my tacbag/gobag. I have several steels, one from a CutCo set my motherinlaw received as a wedding present back in the late ’50s, and I honestly never have got the hang of them. A friend I occasionally cut meat for has tried to show me, and finally said “give it up, Niner, ain’t gonna happen for ya” as I hung my head in shame.

    I think I will list this one on my b-day/Christmas list, give it a try.

  6. JAS says:

    As said above, “steels”, including ceramic ones take off too little material off a blade to do a good sharpening job. The best you can hope for is a reasonable edge on an already reasonably sharp knife, not very sharp, that has to be redone way too often. When knives are sharpened properly and used the right way they will hold their edge for quite a while.

    I’ve gone the whole sharpening route and finally gave up and ordered a set of Naniwa Japanese Super Stones in 220, 1000, 3000 and 10,000 grits. I’m biting the bullet and learning to do this stuff right.

    1. 2hotel9 says:

      JAS? Have you tried the RADA Mfg. Co. Quick Edge Knife Sharpener? $10-$12 and it works with every knife I have tried it on. Food for thought.

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Not So Obscure Object of Desire: Wusthof Ceramic Sharpener

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