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Another knife sharpener question

l
lrealml May 30, 2011 01:12 AM

I know that knife sharpening has been brought up a lot, but after a lot of reading I still am not sure what to buy.
I have cheap knives... I hope to get better ones someday, but I am not there yet...
I am mainly using a Victorinox 6 inch chef's knife and a Victorinox 7-Inch Granton Edge Santoku Knife, and I would like to find a knife sharpener that will sharpen both (and hopefully some of the really cheap Chicago cutlery steak knifes I have). I am looking the chef's choice and the AccuSharp that CI recommends, but I am not sure if they will do the Santoku... I am also not sure it is worth the extra money for the chef's choice... I just want something that will work to keep them fairly sharp (the edge doesn't have to be perfect) until I am ready to buy a good set (which should be a a few years).
Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Robin

  1. b
    Belsize Jun 4, 2011 08:09 PM

    Hey, don't stress. Yes knives are really important, too important to wait for. Eat vegetarian for a week, don't drink and you will have the money.

    Then buy IKEA best chef knives.

    A Mino Sharp 3 wheel sharpenerl, about $55.

    It will deal with your mother's knives. She will need warning to be careful.

    Then stop dreaming and enjoy cooking and eating.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Belsize
      Chemicalkinetics Jun 4, 2011 09:05 PM

      It is my understanding that those "wheel sharpeners" are fairly slow.

      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
        b
        Belsize Jun 5, 2011 01:50 PM

        Slow is relative. First time with a worn out but fundamentally sound knife,(Gustav Emil Ern) took 30 gentle strokes on each of the three wheels.

        Thereafter just refresh on the fine wheel.

        1. re: Belsize
          cowboyardee Jun 5, 2011 06:11 PM

          It also doesn't produce a particularly sharp edge as compared to many of the methods we're discussing. Though for some people, that's no huge deal, and it's certainly better than never sharpening.

    2. Eiron Jun 4, 2011 05:10 PM

      Hi Robin,

      Lots of excellent suggestions here, & I applaude your decision to go the water stone route. HOWEVER....

      Let me say that I COMPLETELY understand what you're facing with regards to your mother's knife collection. My dad's got the same kind of collection! He feels the same way as your mother when it comes to getting him new knives, for whatever reason(s) that may be.

      When I last visited him, I brought him a Victorinox paring knife, as a, "Hey, I'm getting into nice knives & I bought one of these for myself & wanted to give you one too!" kind of gift. I then spent the good part of a morning "sharpening" most of his collection on a grooved steel. What a total PITA!

      If I had KNOWN what I'd be facing I would've bought one of these for the visit:
      http://www.amazon.com/W%C3%BCsthof-29...

      It's a decent way to bring edges back to your mother's collection (or just a couple of knives you'll use while there) without spending a lot. Especially since you've decided to get into water stones for yourself.

      Just a thought....

      27 Replies
      1. re: Eiron
        l
        lrealml Jun 4, 2011 06:13 PM

        I managed to give my mother a Victorinox 6 inch knife by telling her that it was getting too dull for me and bought a new one for myself. The one I gave her is still 3 times sharper than anything she had, but unusably dull compared to a new one

        So yes, I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I know it!

        Thanks to all of you that have helped me.

        This is what I decided:

        Edit: I tried to post the links by chowhound won't let me... it deletes part of it. It also won't let me post numbers with zeros., so I am writing them out.

        I ordered a diamond sharpening stone for $7.25 .A stone holder:

        I am going to go to the woodcraft store tomorrow and getting a eight hundred/four thousand water stone

        I also ordered an Accusharp in case it is taking too long to get the really dull knives started and because it was only $9.

        1. re: lrealml
          l
          lrealml Jun 4, 2011 06:31 PM

          Here are the links. They will appear correct if I do not edit this post, so no typos allowed.
          The diamond stone I ordered:
          http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000TY15AQ
          The stone holder:
          http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000DD21Y
          And the water stone I am buying tomorrow:
          http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2000...

          1. re: lrealml
            petek Jun 4, 2011 07:13 PM

            Nice score Irealml! The diamond stone can be used to flatten your stone and to repair and sharpen the dullest of your knives and repair damaged tips...double duty!

            Now get out there and start sharpening!! :D

            1. re: lrealml
              cowboyardee Jun 4, 2011 07:52 PM

              I can't open the link due to firewall, but is that waterstone the 800/4000 King stone? The web address makes it look like it might be.

              If so, here's what I can tell you about it before pulling the trigger on a purchase. The 800 side is a great stone for the money. Heck, even not for the money, I like it. Short soak time, reasonably fast grinding, moderately slow dishing. Aggressive enough to remove scratches from most super coarse stones, but fine and even enough to transition right to medium grit stones without difficulty. It's my most common starting stone when sharpening other people's knives. The edge it produces is sharp enough to use on it's own, though you have to have good technique and a good knife to get it to shave off the 800 stone. That said, I never really finish a knife on the 800 stone. Still, a great coarse stone for the money.

              The 4000 side, on the other hand... that thing glazes over and stops abrading with, like, 2 passes. The feedback is great, maybe the most crisp feeling stone I have, but that doesn't help because the stone isn't productive. However, after much dicking around with that stone, I did figure out how to use it. You need to build up a lot of mud with your diamond stone before sharpening. Then it's a precarious balance of keeping it wet enough not to grab the knife edges without washing away the mud and having the stone glaze over. If you get it right, the stone produces nice results though it's still not very fast. In the end, it's usable but not user-friendly.

              Sorry if the stone you're buying isn't the 800/4000 king stone. I just didn't know any other makers using that combo.

              1. re: cowboyardee
                Eiron Jun 4, 2011 09:19 PM

                Hey CBAD, do you use a nagura with any of your grits? Both my 1000 grit Splex & 6000 grit Suehiro glazed over pretty quickly, so I was going to try using something like nagura to see if it helped prevent glazing. I can easily break the glaze with my flattener, but I'm hoping to prevent (or slow?) its formation.

                1. re: Eiron
                  cowboyardee Jun 4, 2011 09:30 PM

                  I don't, but I suspect it would help just the same, at least with the 4k stone. That's the only stone I use that I feel really needs a lot of mud to work well (though the 8k naniwa superstone works well with a little mud too, but it's less necessary). I build up a bit with a small, cheap fine diamond stone. I figured that achieves pretty much the same function, though I guess I can't say for certain.

                  I don't remember the suehiro 6000 grit stone glazing over too badly (certainly not in the realm of the king 4000), but it's been a good while now since I used that stone. I bet a nagura would be pretty good for it.

                  1. re: cowboyardee
                    l
                    lrealml Jun 4, 2011 11:28 PM

                    It is probably is a King stone (the website doesn't say).

                    I can pick up a nagura stone for only $13 tomorrow... Do you all think that would help?

                    I want something to finish on, but all the other higher grit stones are quite pricey.

                    1. re: lrealml
                      petek Jun 5, 2011 05:13 AM

                      I think the med-coarse side of the diamond plate should be good enough for deglazing the stone.No need to spend any more money,yet.I hardly use my nagura now that I have an XXC DMT plate.

                      1. re: lrealml
                        Eiron Jun 5, 2011 06:00 AM

                        Robin, I agree with petek, no need to spend extra money right now. The items you're getting now are all well-priced & the nagura is more of an assistance than a necessity. You may not get much/any glazing anyway. Use the "medium" side of your diamond plate & you should be fine. Just use it lightly so you don't wear your combo stone faster than necessary.

                        1. re: lrealml
                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 5, 2011 06:11 AM

                          " can pick up a nagura stone for only $13 tomorrow"

                          I think your diamond stone will do that job just fine, so my suggestion is "not necessary". It does not hurt. It just isn't necessary. Because all you have are German slightly softer steel knives, I won't go all crazy about high grit finishing stones.

                          Remember. You don't want to spend a whole lot. I would stick with just your diamond stone and a 1K stone. It looks like you are getting a combination waterstone. That is ok too.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                            l
                            lrealml Jun 5, 2011 11:48 AM

                            The three of you have convinced me. :)
                            I will just use the diamond stone. Thanks!

                          2. re: lrealml
                            cowboyardee Jun 5, 2011 01:37 PM

                            Sorry for the late reply.

                            Like the other guys, I think you'll be fine just using the diamond stone to deglaze. That's what I use, more or less, and it works fine.

                            I finally saw your link. And though I'm not positive, I believe that is likely the same stone I have - the black line of rubber in between the two sides is the same, even though my 4k side appears a bit lighter in color (probably just the picture).

                            I guess I was mostly trying to give you an idea of what you're buying. The 4k grit is useable, but so problematic as to give me pause about recommending the stone. Unfortunately, I don't have any great recommendations for an alternate combination stone. I know that woodstock makes an affordable 1k/6k stone, but I haven't used it to compare it to the 8

                            2F4k you're considering. I know it's less wide and will probably not last as long or work as fast as the 8

                            2F4k stone. I believe that the fine side (6k) is probably easier to use than the 4k you're considering.

                            http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-D1130-1

                            -Japanese-Waterstone/dp/B

                            2C9/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1307305721&sr=1-1

                            I believe a poster on this thread may have experience with this stone, so maybe he'll chime in. On the other hand, the 800 side of the stone you're considering is so nice for the money that it alone could justify the purchase. Unfortunately, I just don't have any straightforward ideal recommendation for you in terms of affordable combo stones - just pros and cons to weigh.

                            1. re: cowboyardee
                              cowboyardee Jun 5, 2011 01:45 PM

                              Man this site is getting obnoxiously buggy. I can't seem to fix my post and every edit I make seems to make the problem worse. Anyway
                              "8
                              2F4k" = 800 / 4k

                              And here is another attempt at the link. It's on amazon.
                              http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-D1130...

                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                Chemicalkinetics Jun 5, 2011 02:45 PM

                                That 1K/6K woodstock stone (probably King?) is the first waterstone I bought.

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  l
                                  lrealml Jun 5, 2011 11:54 PM

                                  So I actually didn't make it to the store today. Definitely going tomorrow....
                                  I could get this stone:
                                  http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2000...
                                  At the same store instead for just a few $s more.
                                  But if it is the same brand, won't I have the same problem?
                                  Will jumping from the diamond stone to the 1000 be to big of a jump?
                                  If not, then maybe I should get the 1000/6000 stone instead of the 800/4000..

                                  1. re: lrealml
                                    cowboyardee Jun 6, 2011 12:15 AM

                                    I'm not sure of the exact grit on the diamond stone - but that said, even if the fine side is pretty coarse, a 1k stone should be able to remove the scratches. The only diamond stone I've seen where you REALLY need something aggressive to remove the scratches is a DMT XXC, and I have no doubt your diamond stone is finer than that. Worst case scenario, you might have to spend a little extra time on the 1k stone coming off the diamond stone, which isn't so bad really.

                                    On top of that, you'll likely find that once your knives are well sharpened for the first time, you start off at around 1k for subsequent sharpenings and use the diamond stone primarily for flattening, and maybe the occasional reprofiling job.

                                    That said, I can't vouch for the 1k/6k stone you're considering, and it may have problems I don't know about.

                                    1. re: lrealml
                                      m
                                      malkazanie Jun 6, 2011 08:03 AM

                                      I'm in your same boat, new to sharpening with stones. After doing a bunch of shopping around, I recently picked up this set:

                                      http://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Nan...

                                      It contains a 120 Grit, and a combination 1000/3000 grit plus a base for $58 shipped. One of the best deals I found when looking for similar items.

                                      1. re: malkazanie
                                        petek Jun 6, 2011 11:15 AM

                                        That's a great deal. Is that the same Naniwa that produces the high end chosera and super brand of stones?

                                        1. re: petek
                                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2011 05:57 PM

                                          Same Naniwa brand, different grade. I think. I saw that kit too. While the 1K/8K looks good. It is unfortunate that the 120 grit stone is the thickest... When are we ever going to grind away a 120 grit stone?

                                          1. re: petek
                                            Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2011 11:03 PM

                                            Pete,

                                            By the way, Suehiro alone produces many waterstones. It appears the one which we know the most are really a very small subset of their stones.

                                            http://www.suehiro-toishi.com/box2010...

                                            Suehiro even launched this dual stone (water and oil?!) with a knife guide for sharpening. I don't find that useful, but it is interesting.

                                        2. re: lrealml
                                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2011 06:02 PM

                                          I take it back. I think mine 1K/6K maybe is a Suehiro. Suehiro tends to have that "V" mark on the stone, and the one I bought is this one:

                                          http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...

                                          By th e way, I am not say it is better. I am just saying they are different stones.

                                          "Will jumping from the diamond stone to the 1000 be to big of a jump"

                                          I don't think so. Like cowboyardee said, you have a so called fine/medium diamond stone, right? A 1000 grit waterstone can handle it

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            l
                                            lrealml Jun 6, 2011 07:16 PM

                                            So I am now in possession of a 1000/6000 King stone.
                                            Hopefully it will work for me...
                                            I had the diamond stone and the other things shipped to my parents house. Hopefully they will arrive shortly after me, and I will start on my Mom's knives.
                                            Thanks everyone for all the help!

                                            1. re: lrealml
                                              Chemicalkinetics Jun 6, 2011 11:03 PM

                                              Good luck. Practice on a knife first.

                                          2. re: lrealml
                                            scubadoo97 Jun 7, 2011 06:27 AM

                                            The 1k/6k is a good combo. As has been mentioned, if your knives are really dull then dropping back to a 250 or a 500 will remove a lot of metal in a short time to reprofile and allow you to get down to business. You can still do it with a 1k but it will just take longer. At Woodcraft I also picked up the leather and chromium oxide stick to make my homemade strop. I personally am not a fan of using diamond plates for sharpening. I do use them for flattening.

                                            ll this talk about stones is good but technique is more important. Don't toss too much money at it at first and just learn the techniques. Once you get where you are happy with your results then move up to better stones if you want.

                                            The set posted by malkazanie looks like a good buy.

                          3. re: lrealml
                            Chemicalkinetics Jun 4, 2011 06:37 PM

                            "It also won't let me post numbers with zeros"

                            I ran into trouble. I had trouble posting zeros with the MS Internet Explorer, but I didn't have trouble with Firefox

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              l
                              lrealml Jun 4, 2011 11:24 PM

                              I am using firefox. A lot of people are having trouble:
                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/788049

                              I hope they fix it soon. We will probably have to wait until Monday I guess.

                              1. re: lrealml
                                Chemicalkinetics Jun 5, 2011 06:09 AM

                                I think you are correct. I just tried Firefox yestersday and it didn't help. So I rewrote my post above with 1K as in one thousand... etc. Otherwise my whole post read nonsense.

                        2. s
                          sedimental May 30, 2011 08:07 PM

                          I have fairly expensive knives. I use a Chefs choice sharpener. I am on my second CC sharpener now. My knives are razor sharp and all cut a tomato with little pressure. I have no idea what all the fuss is about on knife sharpening. I have had all 7 of my Henckels twins on a magnetic strip above my chopping block for over 20 years without a problem. I sharpen them whenever I feel like it.
                          I send my special Japanese knives out to sharpen. They are different.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sedimental
                            cowboyardee May 30, 2011 10:20 PM

                            "I have no idea what all the fuss is about on knife sharpening."
                            _______

                            It all depends on how demanding you are and how you use your knives. There's sharp and then there's sharp. 'Razor sharp' is an expression to some people, and to others, it literally means that the knife can comfortably shave a man's face. "Sharp" is really just what's sharp enough for you, and that varies for different people.

                            Likewise, for some people the little step the chefs choice leaves near the heel of the knife (if it has a bolster) isn't something they notice or worry about. For other people, it completely changes the techniques they must use to cut things and essentially ruins the knife.

                            1. re: sedimental
                              Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 11:05 PM

                              "I have no idea what all the fuss is about on knife sharpening"

                              Considered this is CHOWHOUND, people talk about best foods, best wine, best cookware, best cookbooks, best knife sharpening devices... etc. To paraphrase cowboyardee, there are hamburgers and there are hamburgers. Are most hamburger filling? Yes. Are all hamburgers the same? Definitely not.

                              Razor sharp is a non-standardized term. To me, razor sharp should mean what it sounds like. It should mean the knife is as sharp as a razor -- sharp enough to shave hair and push-cut paper (not slice paper, push cut -- as in cutting with a pure straight up and down motion).

                              Very recently, I wrote a review on my new CarboNext Santoku knife. What you will notice is that I (and others) have claimed the Santoku knife was getting dull despite it was still sharp enough to shave my arm hair and push cut paper. Our definition of "dull" is probably sharper than what others considered as "sharp".

                              For example, I wrote: "I sliced off some more pork shoulder meat. It appeared the edge was duller after the light task, but could still shave my arm hair and push cut paper – it just felt less smooth..."

                              Dave5440 wrote: "I know what you mean that it doesn't "feel" as sharp even though it shaves and push cuts the same..."

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/785892

                              You may ask. Is it necessary to have a knife this sharp? While it is definitely much nicer to have a very sharp knife because it gives the user much better control, it is not necessary. That being said, CHOWHOUND is not about necessity. Is going to Napa Valley wine tour necessary? No. Is watching the next Top Chef episode necessary? No. Is having Henckel or Shun knives necessary? No. So on and so forth.

                            2. applehome May 30, 2011 08:32 AM

                              If your Chicago Cutlery Steak knives are serrated, you really can't sharpen them with a home sharpener - at least in terms of keeping the serrations. If you run serrated knives through a normal sharpener (AccuSharp and Chef's Choice included) you will be flattening the serrations.

                              If you aren't already doing this, I would highly recommend that you get a steel and that you hone your knives regularly - both when you put them into the knife block (or whatever) and when you pull them out. You will be surprised how long your edge will last if you hone them regularly. You can even hone the serrated knives quite easily, although it does take a little more effort to make sure that your are properly hitting each of the wells. This makes a significant difference. I've made otherwise useless serrated steak knives quite useful by just honing them. There are several videos out there that show you how to steel knives.

                              If you hone with a steel regularly, you may find that you don't really need to sharpen very often. Taking your knives to a good, reliable knife sharpener twice a year or so could be all you need to do.

                              BTW, especially with the knives you have, stay away from the diamond and ceramic "steels". These are useful for really hard steel knives, but they aren't necessary for the Victorinox or Chicago Cutlery. You can find good steels on line or at virtually any kitchen gadget store. I would recommend something like this:
                              http://www.amazon.com/Henckels-9-Inch...

                              Also, the Santoku with Grantons is not an issue. Grantons are not the same as a serrated blade. The edge is essentially the same flat edge as a normal knife. It will work with any of the sharpeners you spoke about.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: applehome
                                l
                                lrealml May 30, 2011 12:46 PM

                                My Chicago cutlery knives are not serrated, but they are very dull at this point, so I hardly use them (they are still ok for slicing strawberries or avocado). They were part of a kit that happened to come with a honing steel (which I need to remember to use more often), but I don't know if it is any good. Is there a way I can tell if the honing steel is "good steel"? Thanks!

                              2. Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 06:25 AM

                                "I have cheap knives"

                                Fortunately or unfortunately, cheap knives do not mean bad knives, and expensive knives do not mean good knives. Victortinox knives are inexpensive, but are considered good knives. As far as I know, the Victorinox Santoku does not have the traditional Japanese 15-16° edge angle. It has the same typical ~20° edge angle like most Western knife. Consequently, any typical knife sharpener can handle the Victorinox Santoku. As for choosing a knife sharpening approach, there are many. I am a big believer of free-hand waterstone sharpening due to its freedom and great results. However, it does have a learning curve to it. As for Chef’s Choice, I assume you mean the electrical sharpeners of Chef’s Choice and not the manual pull through ones:
                                http://www.edgecraft.com/page2a.html
                                http://www.edgecraft.com/page2b.html

                                Chef’s Choice electrical sharpeners will be faster and more consistent. The AccuSharp is very inexpensive and it works for sure, but it may be a bit too aggressive and does not yield the finest edge. The opinions for AccuSharp are very much divided on CHOWHOUND. You can read them here:
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/360186
                                In hindsight, the conversation got overheated. Still, the opinions expressed are very informative between those who like AccuSharp and those who caution against it.

                                If you only want to maintain your knife edge as opposed to sharpen a very dull knife, then the Spyderco Sharpmaker is also something to consider. It is much slower than the two devices you mentioned, but it put on a finer edge at the end. Here are two videos of Spyderco Sharpmaker:

                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSG_W5BSwcw
                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE-woRbenKQ&feature=related

                                http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Tri-An...

                                20 Replies
                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  l
                                  lrealml May 30, 2011 12:42 PM

                                  Thanks. This is very helpful.
                                  I think I will stay away from the AccuSharp...
                                  Yes, I was referring to the chef choice 130, but at $149, it is more than I really want to spend.

                                  The Spyderco's price is right, but looks complex. Also, how long does it take to sharpen a very dull knife with it?
                                  Whatever I buy I hope to take with me when I visit my Mom next month... she has about 20 old dull knifes. It takes some muscle to even chop a bell pepper with the best of her knifes (she thinks this is normal), and she won't let me buy her any new knives. Anyway, I will have a lot of sharpening to do.

                                  1. re: lrealml
                                    l
                                    lrealml May 30, 2011 01:23 PM

                                    So I've been doing more research, and I think that if I get the Spyderco that I would need to get the diamond rods (which are another $37) to go with it for my very dull knives.

                                    I also see this other very similar product on Amazon: Smiths-CCD4-Field-Sharpening-System
                                    http://www.amazon.com/Smiths-CCD4-Fie...

                                    It is only $17 and says it has 3 different grades of stones already, but only does a 40 degree edge... Anyone have any opinions or experience with this product? $17 vs $90 is tempting.

                                    Also, would I need honing oil?

                                    Too many choices/decisions is why I have been procrastinating this...

                                    1. re: lrealml
                                      Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 02:54 PM

                                      Sounds like you have a lot of knife to sharpen. Yes, you are correct. To sharpen a very dull knife with Spyderco Sharpmaker, you will need the diamond stones/rods but that will cost you extra as you have stated. Even with the diamond rods, it will not be as fast as an electric sharpener. I don't know much about the Smith Sharpening System. I do know that the Lansky one has average to poor reputation:

                                      http://www.amazon.com/Lansky-Gourmet-Crock-Stick-Sharpener/dp/B001KN3OLI/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1306791821&sr=8-11

                                      This Lansky one looks like Spyderco Sharpmaker, but are made of poor quality: rods are not held tightly and wiggles...etc.

                                      Chef's Choice M130 is not a bad choice if you have a lot of knives to sharpen. M130 is an upper-end sharpener. What about the lower tier if you don't want to spend the money? Like the M320. Here is a comparison chart if you have not already seen it:

                                      http://www.edgecraft.com/tips_qrfelec.html

                                      I notice the very inexpensive Presto Pro electric knife sharpener has crazy good reviews on Amazon. I have absolutely no experience with the Presto, but I guess it is something to ask around.

                                      http://www.amazon.com/Presto-EverShar...

                                      No, you shouldn't need honing oil for Chef's Choice or for Spyderco Sharpmaker.

                                      1. re: lrealml
                                        alanbarnes May 30, 2011 03:56 PM

                                        Here's a thought that will probably make everybody cringe: What about using the Accusharp to aggressively reprofile your really dull knives, then maintaining them with the Spyderco?

                                        I'd hesitate to pay $150 for a Chef's Choice sharpener. For that you can get an EdgePro Apex, which does the job right with far less of a learning curve than freehand sharpening.

                                        1. re: alanbarnes
                                          Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 03:59 PM

                                          That actually sounds like a good idea. Though if Irealml has 20+ knives to sharpen, I think the Chef's Choice probably is still the fastest choice.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            alanbarnes May 30, 2011 05:19 PM

                                            For 20+ knives the fastest choice is a belt sander and a steady hand, but the learning curve is steep, and then there's the downside potential... Speed's all well and good, but it isn't the only consideration.

                                            I used a Chef's Choice for several years, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                              l
                                              lrealml May 30, 2011 05:55 PM

                                              I do have a lot of knives to sharpen, but I should have plenty of time to sharpen them (and I don't have to do them all). If I could get my mom to have one or 2 sharp knives, it would allow me to cook a few dinners there without frustration.

                                              Alan, I like your idea of getting the Spyderco and the Accusharp... Will one use on the accusharp damage the blade or will it just get it started enough so that I can maintain it on the Spyderco? If it will damage it, then maybe I should just pay the extra $30 and get the Spyderco diamond rods. After I get the knives sharp, will I ever need the diamond rods again?

                                              I am trying to find a good combination of "doing it right" and affordable. Thank you both for all the advise.

                                              1. re: lrealml
                                                Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 06:20 PM

                                                "Will one use on the accusharp damage the blade"

                                                Probably not. The Accusharp's main problem, as you may be aware, is that it can take off too much metal. This will shorten the lifespan of a knife and can also make the area behind the edge too thick which effectively makes the edge feels dull:

                                                http://www.egullet.com/imgs/egci/sharpen/sharpen4.jpg

                                                Using Accusharp once or twice should not be a big problem.

                                                As for the diamond rods, it will become less useful after you have gotten the knives sharp. As long as you sharpen your knives frequent, you may never need to use the diamond rods again. That said, you may slip and let the knives go dull and the diamond rods will be useful to speed up the sharpening process. Moreover, you may accidentally chip and nick your knife edges and diamond rods (placed on the back side) can be used to fix minor chips and nicks. Again, I can only see them use to fix chips if they are placed on the back side, not in the V-shape mode.

                                                In full disclosure, I have a few diamond stones, but I don't have diamond rods.

                                                "I am trying to find a good combination of "doing it right" and affordable."

                                                Actually, if you want to do the right thing and inexpensive, I would say use a coarse and a medium water stones.... that is assuming you want to sharpen by hands. Here are some combination stones with 250 grit (very coarse) and 1000 grit (medium or medium fine).

                                                http://www.amazon.com/Kotobuki-King-1000-K-80-Combo/dp/B00200L90I/ref=sr_1_45?ie=UTF8&qid=1306804637&sr=8-45

                                                http://www.amazon.com/250-1000-Combination-Grit-Waterstone/dp/B001DT2ZVE/ref=sr_1_38?ie=UTF8&qid=1306804637&sr=8-38

                                                http://www.amazon.com/King-Combinatio...

                                                Individual stones are more expensive to buy, but they last longer, so they are cheaper in the long run if you sharpen often. If not, a combination stone will do just fine.

                                                Many many options.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  l
                                                  lrealml May 31, 2011 01:39 AM

                                                  Hmm, so I watched a bunch of videos...
                                                  And having to hold the knife at 20 degrees looks easy in the videos, but I bet it isn't.
                                                  How hard is it to get the hang of it? I am not very precise with angles and measuring (which is why I don't bake) and can't draw a straight line, so I am hesitant to go this route. I think the Spyderco may be challenging enough for me.
                                                  I want to "do it right", but within my limits...

                                                  Also, to comment on the discussion below: "sharp enough" is definitely subjective. Sharp enough for me is probably not super sharp being that my knife skills aren't great; however, I do like to do my own butchering/filleting, so having sharper knives would surely make that easier..

                                                  1. re: lrealml
                                                    Chemicalkinetics May 31, 2011 05:48 AM

                                                    "And having to hold the knife at 20 degrees looks easy in the videos, but I bet it isn't.

                                                    How hard is it to get the hang of it?"

                                                    It does take practice, but nothing more difficult than learning to cook or learning to ride a bicycle. Of course, some are going to be better than others just like cooking, but all are able to achieve sufficient success just like cooking as well. The advice I give to people is to practice on a inexpensive knife. Nothing works better than practice.

                                                    "Also, to comment on the discussion below: "sharp enough" is definitely subjective. "

                                                    Yes, sharpe is a very subjective term and most people don't need to get extremely sharp knives, but they do help. I wasn't really advocating that people need extremely sharp knives. If I did, I won't have suggested Spyderco Sharpmaker and Chef Choice like I did. I was really trying to give perspectives as to why some people spend $200-400 for a sharpening tools like an EdgePro.

                                                    I don't have expensive copper cookware and probably will never need one, but I do understand why people spend >$300 for a copper pan. So I was really trying to make a parallel point. Same for many other things. Expensive iPhone, cars, houses....etc.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      l
                                                      lrealml Jun 3, 2011 12:10 AM

                                                      I've been thinking about it for a few days and doing some research, and I think I will buy a real whetstone (I am the kind of person who plans to spend a lot of money on copper pots someday).
                                                      One last set of question:
                                                      Will the 250/1000 be sufficient or will I need a finer stone for finishing (like a 4000 or 6000)?
                                                      The affordable stones out their seem to be 250/1000, 800/4000, or 1000/6000. Do I need two or can I get away with just 1? If I get the 800/4000 or the 1000/6000, should I get the accusharp to start off the really dull knives?
                                                      Also , is stropping necessary? Such a complex subject!
                                                      Once again, thank you so much for all your help!

                                                      1. re: lrealml
                                                        petek Jun 3, 2011 05:21 AM

                                                        Irealml:

                                                        If you knives are "really" dull then a 250/1000

                                                        combo would be a good place to start.Besides the combo stone,you're going to have to get a truing or flattening stone($10-$25) and I would suggest some kind of stone holder.($15-$35).

                                                        "is stropping necessary?" I say yes,but that doesn't mean you have to run out a buy yourself a stropping kit or spend a lot of time doing it.Stropping can be done on leather,news paper even an old telephone book.

                                                        1. re: petek
                                                          petek Jun 3, 2011 05:56 AM

                                                          Sorry I can seem to get that link to work :(

                                                          Try googling Bob Kramer Sur La Table youtube video

                                                          (Seems that the magical Chow-team elves removed my dead link.Thanks Chow-team!! :D)

                                                        2. re: lrealml
                                                          Chemicalkinetics Jun 4, 2011 07:24 PM

                                                          Irealml,

                                                          I agree with Petek.

                                                          For most people, a waterstone with a grit size between 800-1200 is the most useful and basic stone. One can do pretty good jobs with just one stone at this range. The 3K or above grit stones really put on a much finer edge and can make the edge that much nicer, but they are not "must"

                                                          If your knives are not really dull, then I actually would suggest to get just a 1K grit or a 1200 grit stone. However, it appears that you and your mom have some really dull knives so you will need some lower grit stones at least 500 grit or much lower. The lower grit stones will speed up the sharpening process by a huge margin.

                                                          Pete is very correct to point out that you will need something to flatten the waterstone when it starts to dish or to get uneven. You can get a flattening stone between $10-25. Or if you want to do it very cheap, you can probably flatten it on any flat surface like....

                                                          If you don't mind sharpening by hands, then I will suggest you go for something like a 250/1K combination stone for now. If you end up liking your sharpening results and really want to bring them to the next level, then you can purchase a higher grit stone. Keep in mind that even the infamous Shun Classic knives are only finished on a 1K grit stone.

                                                          _Aother suggestion I have is to get an ~1K grit water stone and then an extra coarse DMT diamond stone. This way you have a coarse stone (DMT diamond) and a medium fine stone (1K grit waterstone), and the DMT extra coarse stone can be used as a flattening stone for the waterstone.

                                                          _Alanb's Accusharp suggestion is very good. Just like he said, don't over use that Accusharp thing.

                                                          Stropping is not super necessary, but it does not have to cost a lot. Yes, you can strop on very specialized and expensive setup, but you can strop on an old leather belt, you can strop on newspaper...

                                                  2. re: lrealml
                                                    alanbarnes May 30, 2011 06:42 PM

                                                    The problem with the Accusharp isn't that it damages the blade, but that it removes too much metal. Use it on a regular basis and your knife will become an icepick before too long. OTOH, when you've got a really dull knife and need to put a new edge on it, removing metal is the name of the game. So the Accusharp may be the tool of choice under those circumstances.

                                                    Use it once, throw it in the back of the drawer, and keep the Spyderco handy for periodic sharpening. If you neglect your knives for way too long and the edges become completely thrashed again, make an act of penance, pull out the Accusharp, and promise you won't ever abuse your blades again. No need for the Spyderco diamond rods.

                                                    It may not be the ideal setup, but for something that's economical and relatively simple it ain't bad. Of course, freehand sharpening is the ultimate in affordability and "doing it right." But there's a steep learning curve there. The EdgePro does it right, but can cost a couple hundred bucks if you want all the stones. Seems like the Accusharp / Spyderco combo might be pretty good without breaking the bank.

                                                  3. re: alanbarnes
                                                    Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 05:59 PM

                                                    "I used a Chef's Choice for several years, and wouldn't recommend it to anyone."

                                                    That bad uh? May I ask why? (you don't have to list all the reasons, just the main one will do.) Thanks.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                      alanbarnes May 30, 2011 06:36 PM

                                                      My main reason for switching was that the sharpener can't get anywhere near the bolster on a forged knife or the handle on a knife without much heel. This was a huge problem with shorter blades (eg paring knives). And it removes so much metal that the swale gets really noticeable in pretty short order.

                                                      Then there's the fact that the edge it produced just wasn't that great. It creates a compound bevel, and the cutting edge is on an angle that IMO is too obtuse. That adds to durability, but keeps it from getting as sharp as I'd like.

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                                        Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 06:47 PM

                                                        Got it. Thanks, Alan.

                                            2. re: lrealml
                                              m
                                              mikie May 30, 2011 07:37 PM

                                              I've got the Chef's Choice electric and the guy in the office next to me has the Spyderco. He used my Chef's Choice to get the really dull knives sharp enough to have something to work with. I used his Spyderco to sharpen a relatively sharp knife that I had tried to sharpen on a water stone and didn't seem to have much luck. If you have really dull knives you will need something more agressive than the Spyderco, regardless of what the promotional video says. For knives that just need a touch up the Spyderco should work fine. It's really not that difficult to use.

                                              1. re: mikie
                                                Chemicalkinetics May 30, 2011 08:52 PM

                                                "If you have really dull knives you will need something more agressive than the Spyderco"

                                                Agree.

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