The Ultimate Knife Sharpening System: Tutorial

This is the system for knife sharpening I have come to rely on after years of trial and error. I have sharpened well over 100 knives using this method. I have also used the same equipment to make over 50 custom knives.


The two main pieces of equipment I use are the Kalamazoo 1SM 1″x42″ belt sander and a variable speed 6″ Porter-Cable bench grinder with 8″ paper sharpening wheels. I start off on the belt sander with a 120 grit belt. I then move up in grit to 220, then 400, and finally 600. A tip I picked up reading Wayne Goddard’s $50 Knife Shop is to apply a marker to the edge of the blade to be sure material is actually being removed where it needs to be.


After I am satisfied with the results on the belt sander  I move over to the bench grinder to polish the edge and remove any burr that still remains.

With a little bit of practice it is quick and easy to achieve razor sharp results on almost any knife or edge tool.


What methods have you found that work best for sharpening knives?


Editor’s note: We want to officially welcome Jeremy to the blog. He is a man of many vocations including horse farmer and knifemaker. We look forward to his sharing his knowledge, experience, and excellent photography with us. Visit his personal blog or YouTube channel to see his knives and other interests. Welcome aboard.


  1. jlottmc says:

    I hand hone my blades with varying grits on a diamond stone, then move over to a ceramic crock stick, then finally finish by stropping if I feel really froggy. It usually doesn’t take me long to take a factory edge to something well beyond decent. If I have a really recalcitrant edge, I will hand file it, or break out the Dremel on slow speeds with finer sanding drums. I seldom have to do that though. I have tried many guided and unguided sharpeners over the years and my method works well for me. I may get a small belt sander like the Ken Onion edition work sharp at some point, but right now it is not a priority.

  2. stuartb says:

    Lansky stones to set the blade angle, a sharpmaker (thanks TTAK) to set the edge and a strop to tune it up.

    My biggest gripe is a new blade with asymetric angles. I had thought this was just with my budget range knives, but it seems from David’s nessmuk review that this can be at any price point and the more you pay the harder that is to correct.

  3. sean says:

    that’s a great setup, I hope to get a small belt sander soon, but I have tried many things over the years…the Lansky stones worked well but took wayyyy too long, then i got the Darex Work Sharp and used the guides for a long time but over time I realized that I am much better at it without the guides and just using the sharpie method and free handing it.

    I have also began using diamond stones of varying abrasive level if i am just touching up a factory edge,

    and to finish i normally use a 4 sided strop. I try to maintain my blades with the strop if possible.

  4. cmeat says:

    schrade- walden “old timer hone steel” for the working edge. three bucks at a flea market in mikana/ birchwood thirty years ago. then the old car window deal, then chase the burr with my last leather belt.

  5. sagebrushracer says:

    Got a lansky turnbox for the little stuff, and a lansky lawnmower blade sharpener for axes, machetes and other large blades. I use cardboard to strop with.

    Someday I will upgrade to a triangle sharpmaker with extra stones.

  6. Dan l says:

    For under 100 bucks I got a bench grinder from harbor freight that has a large slow turning stone wheel with a water resavoir to keep it cool. I have found it to be great for sharpening a good blade, and will prob get the Ken onion work sharp at some point…..

    How much does the big belt sander from the article cost?

    1. Hello Dan, Thanks for commenting. The Kalamazoo 1SM belt sander shown in the article cost me $250. I have made and sharpened a lot of knives with it. It is a solid machine.

  7. Jack Moore says:

    Wow nice tutorial, really helpful 🙂

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The Ultimate Knife Sharpening System: Tutorial

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