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A quick comparison of the most popular methods of sharpening

One of the questions that gets asked often around here: "which sharpener is the best?" It's a very reasonable question, because reading about sharpeners is confusing. Most manufacturers talk up their sharpener as the ideal solution for everybody, admitting to no downsides. People who have picked one method or another tend to do the same. The knife nuts (myself included) tend to push high end methods that not everyone is willing to consider due to difficulty or expense - that stuff is all well and good for a dedicated forum about knives, but not for a more general food forum like this one. The reviews online are almost always glowing for any sharpener that works at all, since people are actually reflecting on how nice it is to have usably sharp knives.

What people don't realize is that all of the popular methods of sharpening involve a trade-off. There is no one best way to sharpen, nothing that is simultaneously easy, cheap, fast, and produces top-notch results. If there was, everybody would be using it.

I've decided that what people need is a way to quickly compare the most popular methods of sharpening (we'll leave maintenance in between sharpenings for another day). So I've listed here the most common types of sharpening, and scored them ('very low' to 'very high') on several categories. These categories are:
Fast - self explanatory
Easy - considers not just ease of use, but also learning curve
Effective - how sharp an edge it produces, how it affects edge retention, whether it allows you to thin behind the edge for improved cutting and continued performance
Cheap - low = expensive, high = cheap. Sorry for any confusion
Versatile - a combination of two things. One is whether a sharpener works well on different types of knives, and different edge angles, and different types of steel. The other is whether the sharpener quickly changes the geometry of the edge, usually by removing metal very aggressively, thus damaging performance or shortening the lifespan of the knife.

Without further ado:

Carbide shearing sharpener (Accusharp type)
Tungsten carbide blades set in a V which shave bits of metal off the edge
Example: http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Pr...
Fast.......... Very High
Easy......... Very high
Effective.. Low-Medium*
Cheap...... Very high
Versatile.. Very low**
*Depends greatly on the knife being sharpened
**Not only do carbide shearing sharpeners remove metal quickly and typically not adjust their angle to the knife - they seem not to work on harder, more brittle steels, causing chips and splinters rather than sharpening smoothly. I tried one recently on a hitachi white steel 'fruit' knife (hrc 63) - the result wasn't pretty.

Whetstones
Self-explanatory
Fast.......... Very Low-Medium*
Easy......... Very low
Effective.. Very high
Cheap...... Very Low-High**
Versatile.. Very high
*Early on, sharpening takes a looong time. With practice, most people get much faster
**You can get the stones to do good work for under $10 (a hardware store oilstone) and great work for under $70 (a combo medium and fine grit waterstone, a cheap coarse stone, and a homemade strop). BUT many people who use whetstones wind up spending more than that, either because they view it as a hobby they want to enjoy or because they are chasing the 'perfect edge' or because they become convinced early on that their mediocre results are the fault of their equipment rather than their still-underdeveloped skill.

Electric sharpener (Chef's Choice powered sharpeners)
Example: http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Pr...
Fast.......... Very high
Easy......... High
Effective.. Medium
Cheap...... Low
Versatile.. Low

Abrasive rods in an X shape (handheld Wusthof sharpener
)Rods are at a fixed angle, and sharpen both sides at the same time. Often found as one part of a two part sharpening system - usually along with a carbide sharpener.
Example: Whustof's 2 stage sharpener http://www.amazon.com/W%C3%BCsthof-29...
Fast.......... Low*
Easy......... High*
Effective.. Very Low*
Cheap...... Very High*
Versatile.. Low*
*These ratings are just for the abrasive rods part of the sharpener, not for the combined 2 stage system using a carbide sharpener. Many people buying the 2 stage system seldom use the rods or else find that the rods are mainly useful in maintaining a mostly-sharp edge, but not in sharpening a dull one.

Variable-Angle rods (Spyderco Sharpmaker
)Rods set at an angle, but only one side is sharpened at a time. Rods can sometimes be laid flat and used without an angle guide like very narrow whetstones.
Example: http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Tri-An...
Fast.......... Low*
Easy......... Medium
Effective.. High
Cheap...... Medium
Versatile.. Medium
*Sharpening a fully dull knife with one of these takes a LOOONG time. But maintaining a sharp edge is reasonably quick.

Wheel sharpeners (cheap, handheld Chefs Choice sharpeners
)Wheels hold the knife against stationary v-shaped abrasives (sometimes, just springed walls are used instead of wheels). Both sides are typically sharpened at once.
Example: http://www.amazon.com/Choice-Diamond-...
Fast.......... Medium
Easy......... High
Effective.. Very low
Cheap...... High
Versatile.. Low

Angle controlled system (EdgePro, Wicked Edge System
)Un-powered mechanical device boasting varied abrasives, very controlled customizable sharpening angles
Example: http://edgeproinc204.corecommerce.com...
Fast.......... Low
Easy......... Medium
Effective.. Very High
Cheap...... Very Low
Versatile.. High

Professional sharpening.
Speaks for itself.
Fast.......... High*
Easy......... Very High
Effective.. High*
Cheap...... Low*
Versatile.. High**
*These factors are heavily dependent upon the pro sharpener in question. Figures provided are guesses/averages, assuming that your professional sharpener at least is minimally competent.
**This factor especially

Honing steel
A grooved honing steel used as the knife's only form of sharpening.
Example: http://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-4461-23...
Fast.......... Low-High*
Easy......... Medium
Effective.. Very Low-Low**
Cheap...... High
Versatile..Very Low
*A honing steel is fast assuming you use it every time you use the knife.
** Many say that a steel only trues an edge, and for most people that is true. However, I've come across people who use their grooved steel like a file (applying more pressure), and actually scrape off enough metal that the steel is effectively sharpening the knife, albeit not especially well. This type of use is dependent on technique and also what knives you're using.

Ceramic/diamond honing steel
A ceramic or diamond abrasive honing steel used as a knife's only form of sharpening
Example: http://www.amazon.com/Henckels-10-Inc...
Fast.......... Very Low-High*
Easy......... Medium
Effective.. Medium
Cheap...... Medium
Versatile.. Medium
*A ceramic steel is fast assuming you use it every time you use the knife. It is very slow to sharpen a fully dull knife with one.

These figures are the best I could come up with. I have first hand experience with all of the above types of sharpener except for the Variable Angle rods/Sharpmaker style - for that, I've extrapolated from reviews and what I know of sharpening.

I'd like to ask my fellow knife fiends on this forum to suggest any changes to these ratings that they see fit. These figures are admittedly rough, and I'm sure I've overlooked a thing or two. So if you find yourself thinking 'How the hell does he figure X is faster than Y?' please speak up. I'll take recommendations and make up a revised and finalized list later. After that, it can be used as a reference for anyone just looking into how sharpen their knives for the first time.

So, suggestions?

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  1. Wow! This should be made into a permanent "sticky"(not sure if that's the right word) topic/thread.Nice job cowboy!

    6 Replies
    1. re: petek

      Thanks Pete. Eventually I'll make a color-coded graph to make this information a little easier to process at a glance. I know we don't do stickies here, but I figured it would be nice to have something to link to that gets around the basic information song-and-dance we have to do every time someone starts a sharpening thread so we could jump right into more specific and personalized advice.

      1. re: cowboyardee

        I now bestow upon you the title "Doctore Maximus" :-D

        1. re: petek

          Thank you, thank you. But I fear I am unworthy, as I don't have nearly the depth of knowledge in terms of non-knife-related cookware.

          Also, I worry that Chem may show up at my house and beat me senseless with a tube sock full of batteries ;P

          1. re: cowboyardee

            Ha! No need to worry,I don't think Chem is the vindictive type..is he??

            1. re: petek

              Doesn't seem like it, but you can never be too sure.

              Isn't there a saying that applies here? 'It's always the pleasant, helpful, friendly ones...' Or something like that.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                "Doesn't seem like it, but you can never be too sure"

                Considered my previous avatar icon is a shaman orc and my current icon is Darth Revan, you should fear mine. The Darth side of the force is strong in me.... For the Horde (you probably have no idea what I am talking about. :)

                http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Might...

                "'It's always the pleasant, helpful, friendly ones...'"

                I thought that has to do with making certain type of XXX films...

    2. Impressive! Thank you so much.

      1. No sh*t. I wanted to make a post like this.... A post which compares the advantages and disadvantages of different sharpening methods.... or have I done it? I am pretty sure I wrote one in Microsoft Word, but maybe I didn't post it... This is good stuff. I will read this in details.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          "No sh*t. I wanted to make a post like this.... "

          um yea but you didn't.. :P

          1. re: petek

            In my mind, I did. :P

            Seriously, I think my list agree with cowboy's list somewhat. I ranked waterstone very high in versatile and electric knife sharpening very high in speed.

          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I've been kicking the idea around for a while, but finally got the free time and inclination. It seems that if one reads enough of the 'help me pick a sharpener' posts around here (as you and I both certainly do) that some ideas come naturally.

            If you still have the word doc with your ratings, I'd love to see it to compare.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              Also, that may be the first time I've ever seen you swear on CH. At least that I can remember. I'm honored.

            2. Why would professional sharpener be fast? I think that depends how you see it. It takes very little effort to take a knife and drive to your local sharpener, but it is actually the longest in absolute time. It takes at least 2 days for a professional knife sharpener to get the knife back to you, sometime more than a week. I will read some more.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                That's a good point. I was thinking that it takes him very little time to actually sharpen the knives (usually on power equipment) but from the consumer's perspective, it takes anywhere between a very short amount of time (mobile sharpening services that show up at your door and do all of your knives quickly while you wait - even that involves waiting for the dude to schedule an appointment and show up) to veerrrrry very long (mail your knives away, wait a few weeks, hopefully they show back up in the mail sharper than when you sent em).

                Will probably eventually edit speed to 'very low' with a double asterisk.

                1. re: cowboyardee

                  "mobile sharpening services that show up at your door and do all of your knives quickly while you wait - even that involves waiting for the dude to schedule an appointment and show up"

                  Oh I didn't know that. That is kinda of cool. I am wonder if you can edit your post anymore

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    I cannot edit my post anymore. I was thinking that once we were all done discussing these things, I might submit a list of corrections and ask the mods to do me a solid. Failing that, new post or maybe new thread.

                    I might post over at kitchenknifeforums too to see if they have any input. I suspect I will get at least the occasional scoff over there that I don't reject some of these methods outright, but some people will probably be pretty helpful. Either that or it will be completely ignored.

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      I would do a new post and then ask the mod delete this one. We can think of this one as an intermediate thread.

              2. Hi, coyboy:

                Gee, that's impressive. Thanks a lot!

                What categories do the paper-wheel and abrasive belt machines fall into?

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1 Reply
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I'm glad you asked. I deliberately omitted those devices because:
                  A) Few home cooks consider them. And more importantly...
                  B) the major downside of these devices falls outside the information provided in my evaluations. Namely - the learning curve almost certainly entails messing up a few knives. That's acceptable for a professional sharpener, a knifemaker, or a serious hobbyist, but is seldom a good deal for a home cook. My ratings couldn't really reflect that.

                2. Very thorough list cowboy , having only used a few of these but with the ep, it can be very fast to very very very slow depending on the steel , the one unknown!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Dave5440

                    My thinking re:Speed & the EdgePro -

                    Any method is fast for a touch up. But I tried to keep in mind how each of these devices are commonly used*. Which is why a ceramic honing rod might score as faster than the EP even though the EP is far more efficient at removing metal and creating a new edge. Since there is a little extra set up involved with the EP, people tend not to use it for touch ups as much as they might another method. For bigger jobs, the angle consistency seems to help speed things up, but the narrow abrasives (especially the basic set that comes with the EP) seem to slow things down. Also, while there's nothing stopping someone from sharpening a knife just with a 1k grit abrasive on an EdgePro and calling it a day, almost no one actually seems to do this.

                    Even at its fastest, it can't compete with an electric sharpener or an Accusharp.

                    *This is one of the most problematic things about my list, but I feel it may be the best compromise - any other way of rating speed may well have been worse. Opinions?

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      Yes there's no way to compare it to an electric, I did fail remember it's a comparison not a stand alone reveiw. I'm going to blame in on the heat, working 8hrs in 115f kind of fried my brain.

                  2. I have a suggestion when you finalize the post. Due to CHOWHOUND format, I think it would be nice to either have a summary page or push all the important information up top and keep the footnote and details all the way at the bottom. The reason is to allow the reader to have "summary" page or a "take home message" page which are easy for reader to compare different sharpening technique within minail screen scrolling.

                    For example, let's just say Carbide Sharpener , Whetstones and Electric sharpening..Try this:

                    ******

                    Carbide shearing sharpener (Accusharp type)
                    Fast.......... Very High
                    Easy......... Very high
                    Effective.. Low-Medium[1]
                    Cheap...... Very high
                    Versatile.. Very low[2]

                    Whetstones
                    Fast.......... Very Low-Medium[3]
                    Easy......... Very low
                    Effective.. Very high
                    Cheap...... Very Low-High[4]
                    Versatile.. Very high

                    Electric sharpener (Chef's Choice powered sharpeners)
                    Fast.......... Very high
                    Easy......... High
                    Effective.. Medium
                    Cheap...... Low
                    Versatile.. Low

                    ....

                    Carbide shearing sharpener (Accusharp type)
                    Tungsten carbide blades set in a V which shave bits of metal off the edge
                    Example: http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Pr...

                    Whetstone
                    Free hand sharpening based on grinding the knives against a stone
                    Example: http://www.amazon.com/Woodstock-Steel...

                    Electric sharpener (Chef's Choice powered sharpeners)
                    Example: http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Pr...

                    .....

                    [1] Depends greatly on the knife being sharpened
                    [2] Not only do carbide shearing sharpeners remove metal quickly and typically not adjust their angle to the knife - they seem not to work on harder, more brittle steels, causing chips and splinters rather than sharpening smoothly. I tried one recently on a hitachi white steel 'fruit' knife (hrc 63) - the result wasn't pretty.
                    [3]Early on, sharpening takes a looong time. With practice, most people get much faster
                    [4]You can get the stones to do good work for under $10 (a hardware store oilstone) and great work for under $70 (a combo medium and fine grit waterstone, a cheap coarse stone, and a homemade strop). BUT many people who use whetstones wind up spending more than that, either because they view it as a hobby they want to enjoy or because they are chasing the 'perfect edge' or because they become convinced early on that their mediocre results are the fault of their equipment rather than their still-underdeveloped skill.

                    Alternatively, using a point system also work too, like:

                    Carbide shearing sharpener (Accusharp type
                    )Fast.......... 5
                    Easy......... 5
                    Effective.. 2-3[a]
                    Cheap...... 5
                    Versatile.. 2[b]

                    Whetstones
                    Fast.......... 1-3[c]
                    Easy......... 1
                    Effective.. 5
                    Cheap...... 1-4[d]
                    Versatile.. 5

                    Electric sharpener (Chef's Choice powered sharpeners)
                    Fast.......... 5
                    Easy......... 4
                    Effective.. 3
                    Cheap...... 1
                    Versatile.. 1

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                      Thanks for the suggestion Chem. I believe I will probably take it. I might just go with a point system. I had considered it before, but was worried that it would get too confusing. Looking at that, it seems perfectly understandable and clear.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        Below is the post completely reformatted. Let me know if you think it is an improvement:

                        Below is a comparison of different methods of sharpening. All numerical scores are relative. Scores are on a 1-5 scale. 1 is the lowest or least desirable score and 5 is the highest.

                        Carbide shearing sharpener (Accusharp type)
                        Speed............. 5
                        Ease............... 5
                        Performance.. 2-3 [a]
                        Affordability... 5
                        Versatility....... 1 [b]

                        Whetstones
                        Speed............. 1-3 [c]
                        Ease............... 1
                        Performance.. 5
                        Affordability... 1-4 [d]
                        Versatility....... 5

                        Electric sharpener (Chef's Choice powered sharpeners)
                        Speed............. 5
                        Ease............... 4
                        Performance.. 3
                        Affordability... 2
                        Versatility....... 2

                        Abrasive rods in an X shape (handheld Wusthof sharpener)
                        Speed............. 2 [e]
                        Ease............... 4 [e]
                        Performance.. 1 [e]
                        Affordability... 5 [e]
                        Versatility....... 2 [e]

                        Variable-Angle rods (Spyderco Sharpmaker)
                        Speed............. 2 [f]
                        Ease............... 3
                        Performance.. 4
                        Affordability... 3
                        Versatility....... 3

                        Wheel sharpener (cheap, handheld Chefs Choice sharpeners)
                        Speed............. 3
                        Ease............... 4
                        Performance.. 1
                        Affordability... 5
                        Versatility....... 2

                        Jig (EdgePro, Wicked Edge System)
                        Speed............. 2
                        Ease............... 3
                        Performance.. 5
                        Affordability... 1
                        Versatility....... 4

                        Professional sharpening
                        Speed............. 1 [g, h]
                        Ease............... 5
                        Performance.. 4 [g]
                        Affordability... 2 [g]
                        Versatility....... 4 [g, h]

                        Honing steel
                        Speed............. 3-4 [i]
                        Ease............... 3
                        Performance.. 1-2 [j]
                        Affordability... 4
                        Versatility.......1

                        Ceramic/diamond honing steel
                        Speed............. 1-4 [k]
                        Ease............... 3
                        Performance.. 3
                        Affordability... 3
                        Versatility....... 3

                        EXPLANATION OF SCORING

                        Speed - how fast these methods are as they are actually used by most people. In other words, this is not just a measurement of grinding power

                        Ease - considers not just ease of use, but also learning curve

                        Performance - how sharp an edge it produces, how it affects edge retention, whether it allows you to thin behind the edge for improved cutting and continued performance

                        Affordability - 1=expensive and 5=cheap. Sorry for any confusion

                        Versatility - a combination of two things. One is whether a sharpener works well on different types of knives, and different edge angles, and different types of steel. The other is whether the sharpener quickly changes the geometry of the edge, usually by removing metal very aggressively, thus damaging performance or shortening the lifespan of the knife.

                        EXPLANATIONS OF TYPES OF SHARPENERS

                        Carbide shearing sharpener (Accusharp type):
                        Tungsten carbide blades set in a V which shave bits of metal off the edge
                        Example: http://www.amazon.com/Chefs-Choice-Pr...

                        Abrasive rods in an X shape (handheld Wusthof sharpener):
                        Rods are at a fixed angle, and sharpen both sides at the same time. Often found as one part of a two part sharpening system - usually along with a carbide sharpener.
                        Example: Whustof's 2 stage sharpener http://www.amazon.com/W%C3%BCsthof-29...

                        Variable-Angle rods (Spyderco Sharpmaker):
                        Rods set at an angle, but only one side is sharpened at a time. Rods can sometimes be laid flat and used without an angle guide like very narrow whetstones.
                        Example: http://www.amazon.com/Spyderco-Tri-An...

                        Wheel sharpener (cheap, handheld Chefs Choice sharpeners):
                        Wheels hold the knife against stationary v-shaped abrasives (sometimes, just springed walls are used instead of wheels). Both sides are typically sharpened at once.
                        Example: http://www.amazon.com/Choice-Diamond-...

                        Jig (EdgePro, Wicked Edge System):
                        Un-powered mechanical device boasting varied abrasives, very controlled customizable sharpening angles
                        Example: http://edgeproinc204.corecommerce.com...

                        Honing steel
                        A handheld grooved steel rod used as the knife's only form of sharpening.
                        Example: http://www.amazon.com/Wusthof-4461-23...

                        Ceramic/diamond honing steel
                        A handheld ceramic or diamond abrasive-coated rod used as a knife's only form of sharpening
                        Example: http://www.amazon.com/Henckels-10-Inc...

                        Notes:
                        [a] Depends greatly on the knife being sharpened
                        [b] Not only do carbide shearing sharpeners remove metal quickly and typically not adjust their angle to the knife - they seem not to work on harder, more brittle steels, causing chips and splinters rather than sharpening smoothly. I tried one recently on a hitachi white steel 'fruit' knife (hrc 63) - the result wasn't pretty.
                        [c] Early on, sharpening takes a looong time. With practice, most people get much faster
                        [d] You can get the stones to do good work for under $10 (a hardware store oilstone) and great work for under $70 (a combo medium and fine grit waterstone, a cheap coarse stone, and a homemade strop). BUT many people who use whetstones wind up spending more than that, either because they view it as a hobby they want to enjoy or because they are chasing the 'perfect edge' or because they become convinced early on that their mediocre results are the fault of their equipment rather than their still-underdeveloped skill.
                        [e] These ratings are just for the abrasive rods part of the sharpener, not for the combined 2 stage system using a carbide sharpener. Many people buying the 2 stage system seldom use the rods or else find that the rods are mainly useful in maintaining a mostly-sharp edge, but not in sharpening a dull one.
                        [f]Sharpening a fully dull knife with one of these takes a LOOONG time. But maintaining a sharp edge is reasonably quick.
                        [g] These factors are heavily dependent upon the pro sharpener in question. Figures provided are guesses/averages, assuming that your professional sharpener at least is minimally competent.
                        [h] These factors especially
                        [i] A honing steel is fast assuming you use it every time you use the knife.
                        [j] Many say that a steel only trues an edge, and for most people that is true. However, I've come across people who use their grooved steel like a file (applying more pressure), and actually scrape off enough metal that the steel is effectively sharpening the knife, albeit not especially well. This type of use is dependent on technique and also what knives you're using.
                        [k] A ceramic steel is fast assuming you use it every time you use the knife. It is very slow to sharpen a fully dull knife with one.

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          I like the new format because it gears toward what most posters seek for. The format is oriented for people who are interested in comparing various sharpening methods/systems. It is also easy for people who are specifically interested in a certain attribute. For example, people are interested in the most versatile sharpening system can immediately look for those with a 4 or 5 score and rule out the rest.

                          What do you think?

                          Dave, Pete and others, what you do guys think?

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            Again,great work guys.This format is easy to read and understand(even for a Neanderthal like myself :D)

                            I noticed you left out whetstones from the "Explanations of types of sharpeners"

                            Maybe a link to a picture of some stones might be useful to those who have never seen or used them before.

                            1. re: petek

                              Thanks.

                              I also left electric sharpeners out of the explanations section. My thinking was that both of these types really don't need any explanation, and I was trying to keep this thing from spilling over any more than it has to. Do you think the lack of explanation for these types is too glaring or confusing?

                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                "Do you think the lack of explanation for these types is too glaring or confusing?"

                                Not at all,I was just curious as to why,and your explanation on the lack of explanation explains it to me perfectly... :D

                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                  Purchased a Dexter 45A12R with you in mind as you had mentioned you could never find an inexpensive one. No obligation but if you are interested, contact me at my listed info.

                            2. re: cowboyardee

                              Wow, you've been busy Cowboyardee. Good reference material for those looking for sharpening advice. Good job!

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                Thanks, Scubadoo

                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                Cowboy,

                                I am re-reading the list. I saw that you rank a classic honing steel faster than a ceramic/diamond honing rod. I would think they can both push back and realign a rolled edge. For a knife which started to lose its edge, the ceramic/diamond honing rod would be more effective at sharpening the knife than a traditional honing rod would. Yes, I have used a grooved honing steel to sharpen a knife when I was in college, and it can work as a file when I push the knife against the grooved steel very hard. Is that why you rated a grooved honing steel as a faster tool than a ceramic/diamond rod?

                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                  Yeah, I was rating their speed as a sharpener rather than as a light hone/tool for truing the edge. And if you're using a grooved steel as a sharpener, you're applying a bit of pressure and filing metal away from the knife edge. This kind of use is why you meet people who claim their knives are super sharp even though they've seen no sharpener besides a steel for years (that, and the subjectivity of the word 'sharp').

                                  Used this way a grooved steel is pretty fast, but very knife-dependent as to how well it works, best I can tell. Also keep in mind - I did rate the ceramic rod more effective than the grooved steel.

                                  Used as truing rods and/or light maintenance [some might say "used properly" ;) ], a grooved steel and ceramic hone are pretty much equally fast I'd say.

                                2. re: cowboyardee

                                  This is an excellent resources, and certainly by far the best comparative information I have found.

                                  In what category would you put the MinoSharp ceramic water sharpeners (MinoSharp Plus and MinoSharp Plus 3)? Do you have any experience with these and how well they do or do not work?

                                  Link: http://www.minosharp.jp/products/

                                  1. re: YossiD

                                    First off, thank you for the kind words.

                                    Second: unfortunately I have no first hand experience with the minosharp. I can still tell you a few things about it.

                                    The MinoSharp is, in a technical sense, a wheel sharpener. It aligns the knife in a slot and uses un-powered abrasives to sharpen both sides at once. Their innovation is to set the abrasives at an oblique angle to the slot where you insert the knife - this conceivably fixes a problem common to wheel sharpeners where a fine edge is mashed down or dulled right as you create it. I believe that the abrasive wheels can also be rotated, which would effectively extend the life of the abrasive surface.

                                    The Minosharp would most likely score the same as other wheel sharpeners for speed, ease of use, and versatility. They are more expensive than most wheel sharpeners, as you surely know, though I suspect they last longer as well.

                                    The big question is whether they more effectively create a sharp edge. Unfortunately, with no first-hand experience, this is the one question that I can't answer with any confidence. Sorry not to be of more help.

                              3. Thanks, very useful post. Figure I'll stick with my whetstone.