HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

The Last Knife Sharpener You'll Ever Need

  • 30
  • Share

The Chantry Knife Sharpener

I've had mine for years and it's been a breeze to keep both my flat blade and serrated knives sharp. It's an actual sharpening device that delivers the perfect edge every time without damaging the blade like a grinding mechanism can. It's a simple design, compact and effortless, a few strokes through and you're ready to slice tomatoes paper thin. No motor, no cords, no special skills necessary and no excuse for dull knives.

Just Google and you can find a quick online source.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. looks interesting -and not too expensive -

    1. I had a Henkel's brand sharpener with the same mechanism, and after a year of use the blade of my Henkel's knife started just chipping away. When I look at the blade now, it has big chunks missing (almost like the top of a castle would be if you were 5 years old and drawing a castle wall). Not sure about Chantry, but would still be very careful about using this type of sharpener.

      1. This appears to be a replacement for a steel - it has an advantage in that it sets the angle for you. This is fine for honing and keeping the edge straight, but it's not actually sharpening - and you're right - it doesn't take away any steel, so there is little wear.

        It may seem that you can just use this forever - I can use a steel for a long time in between sharpening - but the problem is that you can't hone forever. As the edge goes back and forth over time, it weakens and eventually breaks off. If you keep honing without removing some steel to recreate the right angle down to the edge, you will be trying to hone thicker and thicker material - you will end up polishing the edge, but no longer maintaining its sharpness. Sooner or later, metal has to be ground off.

        If it's worked for you for years, great - by all means, you should continue to use it. But if you do eventually find that it's just not working on a particular knife as well as it used to, find a good local knife sharpener to build you a new edge.

        1. I've had my knives for twenty years. While I don't cook every night, they have had their share of use. I have reasonably high quality Henckel forged steel knives, their upper end line. So far, I don't find any undo wear and tear on the blades, no nicks or chips and they sharpen up beautifully every time.

          Here is a link to a more in-depth description of the sharpener in addition to its origin: http://www.kitchen-classics.com/knife...

          Here are some other Chantry user reviews I found online if this helps anyone: http://www.epinions.com/Other_Small_A...

          4 Replies
          1. re: yomissbee

            First, let me say that there is sharp, and then, there is sharp. Not casting aspersions on your definition of sharp, but the fact is that even within the blade-head custom knife community of people that spend thousands of dollars on hand-made knives (kitchen and otherwise) there is an understanding of the different needs that dictate different definitions of sharp. For example, you do not always want a smoothly polished edge - you want microscopic abrasions and even tiny tears in the steel in order to grab certain surfaces - whereas others require the smoothest, well-stropped edge. Tomatoes and maguro are very different!

            Your links are all adds, not references or expert testimonials. If this has been around for 20 years and is as functionally useful as you say, professional kitchens would use them. Instead, they use steels and knife services that rotate machine sharpened knives weekly or more often. They do advertise themselves as a steel replacement, not a sharpener.

            The biggest problem I would have is that I don't sharpen all my knives at the same angle, and don't expect to hone them at the same angle. Many well known chefs that have gotten into blades seriously, especially the Japanese steel, sharpen with separate angles for the leading and trailing sides of the same knife! Many Japanese blades are sharpened on one side only. Clearly, this is not a tool for serious knife users.

            For me, it would simply be another gadget requiring room in the drawer or counter - like the garlic crusher. Anybody can learn to do what this tool does with a steel, and be able to use it for multiple angles. But if one has problems controlling the angles with a steel, then certainly this would be a limited aid.

            Point is: This is not some sort of wonderful sharpening panacea, even if it has worked for your particular needs for 200 years. It is another knife gadget - there are many that work as well (or as badly) - there used to be a ceramic V set sold through this site that was quite functional. The only ultimate sharpening tools are a steel and a set of stones (and maybe a strop) and the acquisition of the skill set necessary to use them properly.

            1. re: applehome

              Clearly you are in the professional category. I am not. I am a home cook and while I enjoy the benefits of a quality knife and appreciate the marvel of a handmade/hand-forged/work-of-art knife from the island of Shikoku in Japan, I can't say that I'm going to spend more than a hundred dollars on a knife, even that's pushing it. If you are a chef, than by all means, the tools of the trade are specialized and as anyone familiar with the kitchen of a fine-dining establishment can attest, knives (and their care), to their owners, are everything. I was not in any way suggesting that this was to be found in professional and commercial kitchens.

              I do not pretend to be an expert in blade making, honing, grinding or throwing for that matter. I am just of the belief that the average home cook/chef would not be disappointed in the utility and simplicity of this "blade enhancer". Certainly not everyone is willing to spend the time and effort to learn how to properly use a strop, steel or a set of stones.

              1. re: yomissbee

                I've had both the regular and the mini chantry years ago. I am a home cook and don't know how to throw knives but am learning how to sharpen them. I like applehome have a different appreciation of knives in general and methods to keep them razor sharp. For a pull through sharpener the Chantry is better than some but after using a truely sharp knife you will never want to go back.

            2. re: yomissbee

              Wow, I feel smarter just having read this post. Informative, concise and mature. Thank you.

            3. I think applehome is suggesting that getting your blade sharpened at a good shop is needed every once in a while.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Neilo

                Neilo, yes, I agree w/ Applehome that blades should be professionally sharpened every once in a while. Most of the 'sharpeners' on the market are not sharpeners, do a poor job at it, or can actually ruin your knives. For example, anything where you pass a blade through some 2-sided grinder can cause uneven knife edge (resulting in the spots where the edge is not touching your cutting board) or if your blade has a thick bolster at the base, the grinder cannot sharpen that area and now that part will hit the board before the blade edge. If you have purchased a nice forged knife, spending the little money to get them sharpened is well worth it and your knives will last a very long time.

                Now how do you know which sharpener to go to? The instructor of a knife skills class I took said to ask if they can do serrated knives. If they can do them, they should be good. A sushi chef told me he checks the sharpness of his blade by pressing different parts of the knife on his thumbnail. if it sticks, it is sharp. If it slides, it needs to be sharpened. I have done it and it is not that dangerous, but please be careful if you decide to try this too.

                1. re: Hapa Dude

                  I found my knife sharpener by calling my local kitchen stores. he sharpens knives for local restaurants and hotels. he's pretty cheap too, 50 cents/inch.

                  also, if you don't want to spend the time to learn to sharpen your knives a good shop will be done with 5 good sized chef's knives in under 30 minutes.

              2. You can buy a stone for under $10 and keep your knives sharp enough to shave with.

                1. There's a good (recent) review of this here:

                  http://seriouslygood.kdweeks.com/2006...

                  One problem noted is that this sharpener creates "mini serrations" along the surface of a smooth knive, thus altering the knife's feel. It's probably a good choice for for honing an everyday knife, but I wouldn't run your deluxe sushi knife through it.

                  1. Here's a link to some good sharpening/honing information.

                    I have a steel that I use for honing and a Meyerco Sharpen-It. I send knives out for sharpening but am thinking of getting one of these:
                    http://www.deltamachinery.com/index.a...

                    or one of these:

                    http://www.tormek.com/

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Jack_

                      That's fine for German/Swiss Solingen steel or US cutlery. Most commercial sharpeners have something like these. But don't even think that these can be used for Japanese white or blue steel. Even putting a damascus finished folded steel knife like a Shun, even though it's primarily a western steel knife, would be a tragic shame. The best and sharpest knives need TLC - they need to be hand sharpened with a stone. I'd put my money into the knife (some Japanese knives cost thousands of dollars), and learn to hand sharpen.

                      Here's a site I've posted about before, with some expert guidance on knife sharpening:

                      http://www.knifeart.com/sharfaqbyjoe....

                    2. The Chantry is the one that the knife guy at Sur La Table recommended above the more expensive one I came in to buy.

                      I adore it and have turned many people on to it.

                      1. I found a Jiff V Sharp Knife & Scissor Sharpener for about $8 and have used it happily on all my knives. I had them sharpened first by a local store, Chefs Toys, and then use this when they get dull, and I use a couple of old "steels" before I use each of my knives. I have a Wustof, a Victorinox, an old Chinese cleaver, a Japanese stubby chrefs knife, a boning knife by (I think) Forestier, and a Brazilian 10" chefs knife, all of which can be pretty darn sharp when I finish with them. The Jeff V is so easy to use and so cheap it puts the others to shame; for years I had one of the Chefs Choice three wheeled electric units but now it's worn out.

                        1. my question is how do you know your knife needs more than a honing steel and actually needs to be sharpened? now that i live alone, i don't cook as often as before, so the whole "at least once a year" rule seems sketchy. my best friend's mom gave me a japanese water stone as a gift, but i just don't quite trust myself to know when to use it, or whether i'm using it correctly.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: augustiner

                            If, after you steel the knife, it no longer comes back to a point of sharpness you feel comfortable with, then it's time to get it sharpened. You can test for sharpness in many ways - shaving your armhair, cutting the back of your fingernail, cutting paper... but my favorite way to test is actually using it in a way I always do - like dicing an onion or slicing a tomato. When I feel myself having to apply too much pressure, which is when it becomes dangerous and leads to your losing control over the cutting process, I'll immediately try re-honing with a steel, but when that doesn't do it any more, it's time to get out the stones.

                            As far as using the stones, this page has a good summary, but the DVD it refers to (The Chef's Edge) is one of the best teaching tools I've found:

                            http://www.korin.com/knives/knife_sha...

                            Having one grit of Japanese (or any other) stone is pretty much useless - you need at least 2, even 3 to get going. Many stones have two grits, cemented back to back - if you have one of those, that should be good enough. Japanese stones to tend to dip in the middle, and need a stone fixer applied fairly often to keep them straight. Check out the stones on the Korin site - they have all types, including ones intended for German (western) steel.

                          2. On Alton Brown's Good Eats, he stated that a steel is used to "hone" or align the knife. Actually knife sharpening should only be done by a professional. Is he correct?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: rcheng

                              Not true at all. With practice, a nonpro can learn to sharpen using a stone. Someone's who's completely intimidated by the idea should take it to a pro.

                              1. re: rcheng

                                Alton states that "even professional chefs send out their knives so you should too" or something like that. I completely disagree. Professional chefs don't do their own dishes either but that doesn't mean you shouldn't either.

                                Not too long ago just about every man in the world knew how to sharpen his own straight razors. Were they somehow more dexterous than we are? No, it is just something they needed to do and they learned how to do it.

                                It really isn't hard to learn how to sharpen a knife. With very little practice anyone can learn.

                              2. I got this sharpener, I like it a lot:

                                http://www.amazon.com/Furi-TechEdge-K...

                                1. I prefer a whetstone to sharpen my favorite Wusthof knives. But sometimes I find an electric knife sharpener gives the better edge. Found more info:
                                  http://www.best-in-kitchen-knives.com...

                                  1. I've got a Calphalon Santuko I am really struggling with. I want to like the knife, I like the feel the weight, everything about it. But for some bizarre reason my Wusthof outperforms it every time. I just can't get the Cal sharp, so much so that I am planning on returning it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: andreas

                                      I've never used any Calphalon knives but it doesn't surprise me that Wusthof makes a better product. Wusthof has been making knives for nearly 100 years. Have you tried a Wusthof santuko?

                                    2. COOKS ILLUSTRATED just rated knife sharpeners, manual and electric. The Jiff V Sharp Knife & Scissor Sharpener for about $8, the cheapest, most basic sharpener, won first place in the non-electric category. It used to cost about $3. and now is in the $11. category. If you don't find one of these and try it at that price, I guess you just want to feel you've spent more. I thought I'd throw this opinion in because sometimes people like to feel they're really paying for an implement, when the cheaper and more basic version does just as well if not better.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: EclecticEater

                                        You can buy a cheap belt sander for $40 that will probably sharpen better and faster than anything else you can find in its price range. But you will have to order a 220, 600, and 1200 grit belt from some specialty online seller (search for abrasive belts), as your local hardware store or Lowes or Home Depot will only carry coarse belts. There are a lot of videos on the internet that show you how to sharpen using a belt sander,
                                        http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf...

                                      2. Would anyone in NYC (preferably Manhattan) care to list reliable pro knife sharpening shops? Thanks.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Ora

                                          Korin is at 57 Warren Street:
                                          http://www.korin.com/korinServices.ph...

                                          Not your average place - it's hand sharpening and expensive, but worth it if you have the knives that need it, and if you want to have the best maintenance possible.