Question of the Day: How Do You Sharpen Your Knives?


I recently attended a local Friends of the NRA dinner. If you’ve ever been to one, they’re less a dinner than they are an auction and raffle. You’re basically there to drop some coin on chances at guns and other gear. Anyway, one of the items I came away with in the silent auction was a Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker set. I’ve heard good things about it, but haven’t had a chance yet to watch the instructional DVD and get down to honing yet. I’ve only used a ceramic steel to regain my edges up until now and for a bid of only $45, it wasn’t a bad buy. How do you keep your blades it tip top shape?


  1. sean says:

    at first i tried those crappy little pull through things that you can buy at walmart, then i made the leap to a lansky rod and stone setup, and it definitely had a learning curve and after about an hour i could get a really shiny, shaving edge on my knives but it was still a pain in the ass, so i sold it, and bought a darex work sharpener, which is basically a mini version of a bench grinder with three different grit belts you attach, and it comes with a guide that you guide the blade through while the sharper is on, and it give you an almost perfect convex grind edge which is really nice once you get the hang of not rounding the tip. They even have the ken onion version now, which has wider belts, better powered motor, more guide angles, etc. Anyway, the work sharpener is awesome because i can take a blade from super dull to shaving paper in 5-10 minutes. a little while on the strop and you get that shiny finish as well.

  2. Don Gammill, Jr. says:

    I love my Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker. The learning curve was quick, and the results are excellent, even with my relatively-unsteady hand and even when sharpening my one knife that’s made out of CMP-S30V steel. Yes, a sticky/rubber/suction cup base would probably be better than the hard plastic, the instructional video could use some updating, and you do have to concentrate to keep the knife completely vertical while making each down and back-to-front stroke, but overall, I love the thing and can easily understand its longevity in the market. It’s too bad that the optional re-profiling diamond-coated stones are $50.

  3. Jerrick says:

    Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker user here. I’ve tried free-hand with DMT diamond stone, but always end up scratching the crap out of the blades.

    The Ultra-fine stones for the Sharpmaker are a worthy addition and run about $18 each.

  4. Sam L. says:

    Diamond stones and ceramic rods. I bought one of the the CKRT rod sets with the sliding angle-holder some years back–didn’t work for me.

  5. knightofbob says:

    I’m a fan of natural stones, since it’s what I grew up with. I primarily use three, medium, fine, and surgical grit (the last I primarily use for kitchen cutlery). Anything that needs more help, diamond works well to start the edge.

  6. Jeff says:

    I use a Lansky when I need to reset an edge, but I use a whetstone for most sharpening. I’ve found that the Lansky blue sapphire stone works really well freehand for basic edge maintenance. In the field I carry a small Arkansas stone.

  7. VaqueroJustice says:

    I use a lansky system almost exclusively. I find it works great on most blades, but is hard to use on recurved blades, such as khukris.

  8. GC says:

    I’ve taken a liking to Japanese water stones. They’re messy and slow but they do an excellent job – plus I find using them to be very relaxing. For my gardening machete I use a Lansky puck.

  9. Tom in Oregon says:

    I’ve got an older Lansky’s system. Works great. The setup is a bit slow though.
    For speed and filet ‘o fish work, I use the warthog.
    This thing is fantastic.

  10. Chas says:

    Ken Onion Work Sharp

  11. chuck k says:

    Sharpmaker and Lansky system

  12. NavyRetGold says:

    I use a 4-sided diamond hone that I got at Harbor Freight Tools for about $15. It has 200, 300, 400, and 600 grit sides. I sharpen freehand, and rarely use anything other than the 400 and 600 grit sides. It works fairly well on the S30V blades.

  13. aircooledTOM says:

    Wicked Edge Pro…. I don’t have any ceramics for it yet. That’ll be my next sharpening purchase. It’s money. Repeatable results, stupid sharp every time. Awesome. Pricey, but awesome. Mirror edges… Even S30V is pretty easy to neaten-up.

  14. JoshuaS says:

    Spyderco. Used to use a wet stone.

    The base of the spyderco has four holes. I can screw it down into my workbench, which helps doing it one handed

  15. Dogman says:

    I use an old Smith’s Tri-Hone Arkansas stone set occasionally but mostly DMT stones and Spyderco Sharpmakers. I have two Sharpmakers, both old models–the first model came with a book, the second with a VHS tape–both preceding DVD instructions. The Sharpmakers get the most use, the DMT stones for beat up edges and faster work. With patience and time, the Sharpmaker can reset blade angles and get a shaving edge on any old carbon or high tech stainless I’ve tried. It’s also a good system for a quick touch-up of blades to keep them sharp.

  16. Insipid Moniker says:

    Modified belt sander. Makes sharpening very fast and easy, but you can seriously screw up a blade very fast as well. Looking into supplementing it with a paper wheel set up.

  17. I_Like_Pie says:

    1st) Diamond hone to do serious re-profiling
    2nd) AK stones to made the edge fine
    3rd) Series of 4 strops with 3 compounds and final untouched leather
    also) I use a henckels steel every couple of swipes to keep foil pointing up

    I only use the diamond if dire need of new, dull knife. Only for the profile
    AK stone after some serious cutting actually wears the edge
    The strops are usually all I need for a long while (maybe 6 months)

    I have enough practice over the decades that I know the knives and angles to get them -Terrifyingly- sharp. Then again I usually stick with 2 or 3 knives for decades. The trick is simple angle consistency. The sharpmaker would also work from what I can see, but I don’t see much need because I get so much joy with my tried and true method. YMMV

  18. Jeff says:

    I have carried pocket knives for over 50 years but have never sharpened them with anything other than any kind of flat sandstone/gravel I find in my backyard or any walks I take through the woods. It’s become kind of fun over the years to “find” appropriately shaped and textured stones to sharpen my knife with. I usually spend a few minutes sharpening it every day. I often carry a small flat stone in my pocket in case I have a few minutes to kill – so I sharpen my knife. My knife is not “sharp enough to shave with” but is pretty darn sharp. Like most users, I use it a bazillion times a day and never leave home without it. You guys are light years out of my league!

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Question of the Day: How Do You Sharpen Your Knives?

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