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The state of fancy sharpening gizmos in 2011?


Shalmanese
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I freestone sharpen all my knives so I have my sharpening needs met but my #1 hesitation in recommending a really good knife to friends is because I don't know how to set up an adequate sharpening system. Once it's a few months out of the factory, a knife can only be as good as it's last sharpening and there's no point in recommending a $100+ knife over a $25 Victorionox if both are going to be sharpened to the same sharpness.

I've heard mixed things about the dead simple, pull through sharpeners. Cook's Illustrated seems to like some of them but notably does not compare them against whetstones. Many knife people I know say their inherent design means they can never bring a knife fully back into sharpness. I was wondering what everyone's opinions were?

PS: I am a guy.

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What exactly is the appeal of the pull-through things? Is it the price, the intuitive nature of their operation, or something else?

What do these things cost, $20-30? I'd take $20-30 from the knife budget and use to to upgrade to a Spyderco sharpener. Unlike freehand sharpening on a whetstone, it's very easy to use, even without any experience.

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I'm interested in seeing this as well. I've never found any small pull-through gadgets that are even in the same league as a full-size whetstone or similar sharpener. I use a 10" DuoSharp diamond bench stone that's fine on one side, extra-fine on the other, that I rigged to sit in place of a pull-out cutting board in my kitchen. For anything but nicks (which I take out using an older Lansky set of honing stones, starting with the coarse one), I can have any knife of mine sharpened enough to shave with in under a minute.

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My feeling is that people who are not totally "invested" in their knives don't want to sharpen - even with a Spyderco.

So yes, recommend whatever Cook's Illustrated's "best" sharpener is, along with a $25 Victorinox (not a bad knife, by the way).

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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"fancy sharpening gizmos in 2011? Are there any that don't suck?"

Is the EdgePro Apex a "fancy sharpening gizmo"?

It certainly does NOT suck.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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What about a device to help novices keep their sharp knives honed? We just sharpened up a whole co-housing community's worth of knives, but since no one there knows how to hone, we fear they'll be back to dull in no time.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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"fancy sharpening gizmos in 2011? Are there any that don't suck?"

Is the EdgePro Apex a "fancy sharpening gizmo"?

It certainly does NOT suck.

I think it's more along the lines of a sharpening device that people who care about their knives use.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Its quite simple:

how much do those who have 'knives' understand that its the edge that makes the knives worth-wile

if they cant understand this

well leave them alone.

when and if you understand that its the edge, and you understand how to keep the properly in your kitchen

then

you will go through various sharpening system

if you can understand the whats involved after this period of time

and are minimally technical then

its the EdgePro

there are systems that you can play with before this that are quite fine:

http://www.jewelstik.com/

Ive used these and they are Mighty Fine!

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Rotuts,

I bought the 3 sided jewel stick a bit ago after a recommendation here (that was you probably?), it's all I use now, very happy with it. I think it's mostly that it's so easy and convenient with the 3 grades on one stick to give whichever of my el-cheapo knives I'm about to use whatever it needs quickly. Thanks.

Larry

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eyp. Im very fond of the Jewelstix 3 sided item. they dont last forever but work very well.

i got the 12" and through and ordering problem they sent me the 10" as well as a gift.

when yours wears out, after a few years the 10 " is all you need.

if you ever get a large collection of knives that are more tempremental, the edge-pro would be the next step up.

glad you like the Jewel!

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I love this one. http://www.amazon.com/AccuSharp-1-001-Knife-Sharpener/dp/B00004VWKQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1317907637&sr=1-1

Its cheap, quick and effective and doesn't take up a lot of room. CI gave it a good review IIRC.

* What knives do you own?

* Do you know the angle on them?

* have you ever professionally sharpened or sharpened them with a stone?

The problem is people who know how to sharpen with a stone wouldn't dream of using a pull through sharpener and people who use pull through sharpeners don't know what a sharp knife feels like so it's very hard to get comparative data.

PS: I am a guy.

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Various brands...Henckels, Forschner, there's a Cuisineart knife too; who knows who made that one.

I do know what a sharp knife feels like. And I do know how to use a stone. This gizmo won't give you the same edge as a session with a whetstone, but it is plenty good enough for me and much faster.

I think that there are two levels of knife user; those who love knives and those who use knives.

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Some guys in another forum I participate in liked this:

http://www.v-sharp.com/

and the Spyderco sharpener also had good mentions.

I started with small Arkansas stones. Not very good for larger knives. Got a few cheap pull thru models, one maybe was Wusthof brand. They were O.K., but didn't seem to make the edges very keen. I had a 3-sided DMT stick sharpener, and it helped, but I had trouble keeping the bevel the same all along the edge.

I decided that I needed a mechanical aid, and when I started buying better knives, I got the Edge Pro Apex. I guess it is somewhat more expensive and harder to use than what you need. However, with a little practice I've been able to keep my knives paper slicing sharp.

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We gave honing lessons to those in the group who were interested - but it takes time and practice to learn to hone, and there will be some trial and error for our friends. In the meantime, I'd like to be able to recommend a more fool-proof alternative for them, if anyone thinks that any of the gadgets out there are worth it. The Spyderco looks like it may be too intimidating for this group.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I would not even think about this:

Spyderco

after the Jewelstix, the next would be stones. Ive used them for a long time

the genius of the Edge-Pro is that it uses stones, but provides a stable platform so that the angle that the stones cut at is constant. its very easy to use once you underand the priciples.

its a few $$ so not for those who do not have a (....) collection of knives.

thats it. not more complicatred that that.

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The Spyderco looks like it may be too intimidating for this group.

As mentioned up thread, Cooks Illustrated thought one of the inexpensive pull thru models was good. I was a little unhappy with the "Magic Fingers" that I had because some of the edges of the blades were scuffed, but it did improve the sharpness. I gave it to a friend, and he was delighted. It was very easy to use, even on serrated blades.

I'm somewhat concerned that people who would be intimidated by the Spyderco would have a truly sharp knife. I've told my family members to NOT put the good knives into the sink, especially under soapy cloudy water. At least one cut a finger after doing just that.

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  • 4 weeks later...

For Japanese knives, Minosharp 3. Essentially designed for use on Global knives, but works on anything Japanese.

http://www.amazon.com/Minosharp-3-Sharpener-Grey-Black/dp/B000WZFBOS/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1320204365&sr=1-1

The pull-through-wheel mechanics operate a lot like a stone, but none of the hassle. The wheels are made to create lower angled edge that most Japanese knives are designed for. The only downside is the fine grit wheel isn't like taking your knife to a 6000 waterstone, so you wont get that insane mirror-finish edge. But for the average user....

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I haven't yet found a "gizmo" that works better than a series of sharpening stones. Gizmos are invariably too aggressive -- they remove too much metal, thus reducing the life of your pricey knives.

Learn to use stones, and then you won't ever be tempted by another gizmo.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Generally speaking folks who use water stones either freehand (IMO the best way to sharpen) or on an expensive adjustable system, like EdgePro, loath pull-through gadgets, electric or otherwise.

The pull-through people usually find water stone based sharpening burdensome and reason their knives are sharp enough even though they may eventually ruin good knives.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Generally speaking folks who use water stones either freehand (IMO the best way to sharpen) or on an expensive adjustable system, like EdgePro, loath pull-through gadgets, electric or otherwise.

The pull-through people usually find water stone based sharpening burdensome and reason their knives are sharp enough even though they may eventually ruin good knives.

I think pull-throughs have their place, and the line is much grayer.

I can put a really nice edge on my Globals with some time and waterstones. However, if I get to work and find that my edge needs a touch-up, I can't drop everything to break out the stone, even though I prefer it.

So long as your pull-through doesn't remove a lot of metal, and doesn't reform the edge at the wrong angle, I don't see the harm, it just wont be everything it could be.

Which my 2 cents is that as a matter of practicality, home use knives don't need to be razors, whereas it makes a big difference in my day if my work knives aren't keen. That being said, hobbyists will be hobbyists and I'm sure we all have unreasonably sharp knives in our home kitchen :)

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Generally speaking folks who use water stones either freehand (IMO the best way to sharpen) or on an expensive adjustable system, like EdgePro, loath pull-through gadgets, electric or otherwise.

The pull-through people usually find water stone based sharpening burdensome and reason their knives are sharp enough even though they may eventually ruin good knives.

It is my experience that many people have never used a sharp knife in their lives. "Not dull" does not equal "sharp." I've been to people's houses, where all they have are serrated knives -- and even those were dull. Hand them a sharp knife and a tomato and it is a revelation to these people.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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