Looking for Good, Entry Level Knife Sharpening Kit Recommendations

nwoods

Expedition Leader
Hello everyone, for years I've been taking my cheap Gerber and Kershaw pocket knives to a guy in a van at the local farmers market to sharpen them. No more farmers markets these days, and my taste in knives is getting better over time. It high time I learn to sharpen my own steel. I know very little about this process, other than a tiny bit about the metallurgy between types of steel used in the blades, and how receptive they are to sharpening, or how often they need sharpening.

Collective wisdom seems to be that "softer" alloys that are frequently sharpened is preferable to harder steel blades left unserviced. There, that is the sum total of my knowledge on sharpening. Without breaking the bank, what do you recommend for a novice like me?

Blades:
I still use a small Kershaw on occasion, but my favorite blade is my Deejo. None of my knives exceed 4", and I don't use them for survival in the forest or hacking down trees. I do however, cut open a lot of cardboard, cut and trim hoses and other bits in my car, and odd jobs around the house. I did have a really nice and fairly expensive (for me) Benchmade assisted opening blade that I bought in Texas and promptly had taken from me by the TSA, despite it being unopened in the original packaging, in my suitcase, as checked baggage and not in my carry-on. Yes, I am still bitter about that!

Ammo Reloading Analogy: I am looking for a a Rock Chucker Single Stage Press instead of a Dillon XL750
Deejo makes a simple sharpener, but I have no idea if its any good. Link:Deejo-knife-sharpener

Here is my Deejo blade:
Screen Shot 2020-05-03 at 5.50.04 PM.png
 

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38snubby

Member
The best way is to get whetstones and teach yourself how to sharpen properly. Japanese whetstones are the best. Those sharpening contraptions are not going to be as good as a knife sharpened by hand on a quality whetstone. You will also be smart to invest in a strop with compounds to touch up the blade between sharpenings.
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
Every blade will have a unique angle to its secondary bevel. Therefore, the nonadjustable cheapie sharpeners are the Devil to a knife.
Devil.

I've got a Wicked Edge with a few extra stones. You find your angle and make a perfect edge every time with very little learning curve.
Or you can change your angle if you want ---- I did for most of my knives, made them all a bit more intense.
Mirror sharp every time if you want or just SHARP.

EDIT video added:

This is the best bargain in that arena: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06WVL25DF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Plenty of youtube videos for technique. WE also has instructional videos on their site.

A second place sharpener if you've got some cheapie knives to practice on first to overcome the learning curve is the Work Sharp Onion Edition. Very fast, very sharp. Just have to be very careful to do it right. And it's not friendly to knives with thumb-studs (unless they're removeable).

Good tutorial on the Onion:
 
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scanny

Observer
Pull through sharpeners normally are not recommended for knives you care about. I found that Edge Pro type sharpeners give you consistent edge and relatively easy to use. Or cheaper clones will do, they might require some fixing time from time, but they sharpen the same way: https://www.amazon.ca/Preamer-Professional-Sharpener-Fix-Angle-Sharpening/dp/B072X9Y1QH/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=edge+pro+knife+sharpener&qid=1588590965&sr=8-4

But lately I use mostly Work Sharp mentioned in previous post. Need some learning and getting used to, but in the end it worth it. I still use my Edge Pro for knives I want to sharpen manually
 

workerdrone

Fulltimer
If you learn to sharpen freehand, you'll never need any fancy equipment - when I travel lightweight and long term, I've often gone to the local hardware store, picked up a few sheets of different grit sandpaper, and brought them back to the Airbnb to turn the useless kitchen knives into razors - just need something flat like a piece of glass to back the paper. I'll use a newspaper or piece of cardboard for a final strop.

I'm not sure why there is such a mystique to it - it's just learning to approximate your bevel and keep it steady.

At home in the kitchen I have an old set of flat diamond stones, a steel, and a leather strop.

You can touch up an edge nicely on the top edge of a car window too during heavy use ;-)
 

Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
I have some fine whetstones and a double-sided strop too. But it's so much more time consuming, makes me concentrate, and the Wicked Edge is more fun to use....
 

workerdrone

Fulltimer
The diamond stones cut very fast so unless I'm changing bevel on a new blade it doesn't seem to take up any time at all, touch things up on them maybe once a month and steel/strop in between.

Guess it's just one of those skills I feel I need to have for my man card, freehand sharpening - like changing a tire
 
I’ve been on this journey myself and I think the key factor is your motivation. Are you interested in maintaining your tools for maximum effectiveness with minimal effort? Or are you interested in learning a new craft (knife sharpening) and willing to spend the time to learn at depth? There is no right answer here, just what honestly works for you.

I got enamored with the idea of being really good at hand sharpening, but quickly realized what I really wanted was to be able to quickly tune up my knives because I have a low tolerance for dull tools.

So if you are into the craft, the King japanese stones and a bunch of YouTube videos are a good place to start.

If you want something quick, compact, and reasonably priced, consider the Spyderco Sharpmaker. I got good results very quickly. Also takes up very little space. I eventually stepped up to a WickedEdge system. It is super fast and highly repeatable. Also, quite a bit more expensive.

What ever you do, don’t skip stropping. I really underestimate the value of polishing an edge with a few passes on a leather strap. It’s amazing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

workerdrone

Fulltimer
So.....not something like this?
A steel is just good for extending the useful life of an edge between sharpenings - I use one a few times a week in the kitchen but it doesn't really sharpen, it just realigns little imperfections and damage with the sharp edge you want.

I could get by without a steel just fine.

The leather or paper strop (or wheel) puts a fine polish on an already sharp blade with an abrasive action (usually helped by some rouge or something wiped on the strop). The more aggressive the abrasive you used, the more it becomes more like a sharpening device than a polishing one.

I gotta have a strop but if I don't paper works pretty well in a pinch - BTW you use it in the opposite direction of sharpening or steeling
 

waveslider

Outdoorsman
I use knives a lot. Like....A LOT....several thousand critters skinned per year on avg.

For a lot of that I’ve moved over to disposable blades but for my good knives, I pretty much use a steel to touch up and the Lansky system (see the review by project farm posted above) for actual sharpening.

The lansky system is a good mix of speed and precision especially considering having blades with different contours/angles.

My $.02
 

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Hilldweller

SE Expedition Society
Wow, I've started to dig into this a bit online, and what a rabbit hole I've dived into. And I suddenly need to significantly increase my knife budget :)
Dude, enjoy it.
Knives are a basic tool. And/or a work of art. There are so many quality knives out there, some with personalities, some completely utilitarian. Some funky, some outrageous, some too pretty to use.
But a dull knife is dangerous. And a really nice knife sharpened badly is a cryin shame.
 
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