It has been a while since I have published a review. I am testing several knives at the moment, and am really just waiting on the fishing season to get into full swing so I can finish testing the Cold Steel Canadian Belt Knife and Wilmont Knives Wharny. I need to log some river time and a few trout with each to be able to say I fully tested them.
I purchased the Lansky Diamond SharpStick ($14.99)and Ceramic SharpStick a couple of months back and have been playing around with them some. Tonight, I decided to put them to a series of objective tests. I took 3 of the dullest mystery-metal paring knives from the box o’ knives that I mentioned in a previous post and got to work.
I started my testing by making sure the knives were well and truly dull. I cut several strips of cardboard with each, yielding some pretty horrible results. Not content to stop there, I used each as a scraper across the oak board you can see in the above photo. I confidently sawed away at my hand with each one without leaving so much as a scratch.
I started with the Diamond SharpStick. After about 4 minutes of persistent work, I tested it on the cardboard. It was not a perfect result, but the rod most certainly put a functional edge on the knife.
I was even able to slice strips of phonebook with minimal tearing.
I next tried the Ceramic SharpStick. This is a slightly finer grit than the diamond rod, and it showed. It definitely put an edge on the knife, but the results were still pretty rough.
Finally, I used just the coarse rods on my Spyderco SharpMaker. I know that this is not an apples to apples comparison. The SharpMaker is a system that is meant to put and set (with the fine rods) a razor edge on a knife. Lansky makes a sharpening system which while I have never used it, is very highly regarded and a more comparable system to the SharpMaker. That being said, many of you own a Sharpmaker, and can relate to my use of this control test.
As expected, the Spyderco put a very nice edge on the third paring knife. I didn’t even need the fine rods to know that the new edge on this knife was miles ahead of the Lansky rods.
As I said, not a fair comparison to the Lansky rods, but the SharpMaker really is the proper tool to actually put a good edge on an extremely dull knife. With the coarse rods alone, I was able to put an edge on a knife that was as sharp as many factory edges.
A more applicable test is what the Lansky rods will do with a moderately dull knife, such as the Wusthof’s in my knife block. I do not baby these knives, and while their edges were solid, they have seen many dishwasher cycles since the last time they were sharpened (with the fine rods on the SharpMaker).
Here, both Lansky rods showed their usefulness. First, I tried all three paring knives on cherry tomatoes. The diamond-sharpened one performed significantly better than the ceramic-sharpened knife. But neither held a candle to the Spyderco-sharpened one.
I then took my two Wusthof paring knives and put them to the test. I forgot to do a “before” test, on the one for ceramic-rod testing, but I can honestly say it was in the same condition as the other, and would have performed similarly.
Both Lansky rods honed the existing, sub-optimal edge to a greater efficiency, in less than 30 seconds of work on each of the Wusthof knives. The resulting tomato slices speak for themselves.
I like both of the Lansky SharpStick rods. While they are not able to put a truly great edge on a very dull knife on their own, they hone a functionally dull knife to a very good edge. Both enabled me to make much more precise slices with my Wustof blades.
Objectively, the diamond rod puts a slightly rougher edge on a knife. However, these micro-serrations aid in penetrating vegetable skins and the resulting slices were virtually indistinguishable. However, the ceramic rod honed an edge that was smoother to the touch than the diamond rod. Both were better than the “sharpening steel” that came with my set.
If I could only recommend one I would chose the diamond rod. The deciding factor was durability. This thing feels virtually indestructible. The ceramic rod is thinner and feels more fragile. If dropped, it would certainly break,.My only knock on the Diamond SharpStick is that it might be slightly thick for some knife blocks. I can put mine in the existing hole in my block, it is a snug fit. Your mileage may very.
While I have not done an endurance test, I cannot imagine the diamonds wearing out. If they end up wearing off in the future, I will publish an update. In the mean time I am giving this product the highest endorsement I can – I have swapped it into my sharpening block, and will use it whenever I want to touch up a knife before getting down to food prep.