How to sharpen a knife?

Land Cruiser

Well-known member
Well, I am not sure I agree:) "I use Lansky for pocket knives, Razor Edge guide for my hunting knives, and compressed paper wheels on my bench grinder for my butcher and kitchen knives." This sounds like an unreasonable amount of equipment for everything Sharpmaker can handle:) Cheaper too:) With that sort of investment you could get APEX sharpening system and be there with the best of them:)

"The edge will be sharper and last longer" Pardon me but this is rather preposterous:) The sharpness of your age depends on many factors but has absolutely nothing to do with your sharpener:) Based on your statement one can conclude that 440A sharpened on RazorEdge will hold an edge longer than say D2 hardened at 61Rc and sharpened on Sharpmaker.

Of course, you do have a right to have an opinion and preference, let's just not mingle the facts and confuse people:)

All the best.


Well-known member
Ya, I've bought a bunch of of sharpening stuff. Electric. Diamond. Ceramic. Carbide. You name it. Always looking for an easier way to put the best edge on my cutt'in things. And, I bet I am not the only one in this forum do so. I read somewhere once that if you invent a gadget, and it does not sell well, call it a knife sharpener and your sales will definitley take off!

The 3 systems I mention in this forum are only a small example of knifesharpening devices I have puchased in the last 30 or so years of sharpening. What I am saying that these 3 systems are the best I have found so far in terms of being effective in time it takes and ability required to use them. Possibly others reading this can save some money from my experiences.

What I meant by the edge-guide type sharpeners resulting in a better edge is that if you sharpen IDENTICAL (use dictionary if you are not sure of this word) knives, 1 with an edge guide, and the other 1 free hand on a stone or angled rods, (and the sharpening media is of similar particle size and type) the one sharpened with a guide will be sharper, and will stay sharper longer. I'm sure anyone that has used both types of systems can attest to this. This has been proven in meat packing plants, where the butchers put more their knife through more in one day than the average sportsman does in several seasons.

By all means, if angled rods work best for you and you totally satisfied with the results, use them! I just know from experience that better results are available for a reasonable cost.

And yes, I have been considering the Apex for awhile. By all definitions, it should give the ultimate results! (Note that is utilizes an edge guide) 20 bucks here and there over several years is easy. That one is just a little tougher to sneak into the budget. Afterall, it is equal in value to couple of tanks of gas in my Hemi!

Land Cruiser

Well-known member
Hey GoodRanger,

Thanks for vocabulary word of the day! It sounds like you have your favorite dictionary along with your favorite sharpening system! I am extremely happy for you:)

Now to the point, I am happy with my Sharpmaker. I cannot surmise the precise meaning of your ambiguous (time to check with your favorite dictionary) statements merely because I am not interested enough. I can only reply on what I think you're saying and if something doesn't seem right you can tell me that I've misconstructed what you were trying to convey.

I have used Apex but didn't keep it. Why? Because sharpmaker is less messy and gives me the same (or should I say identical?) results.

All of it is a matter of preference. I can only tell you that Sharpmaker is more popular among knife enthusiasts in U.S., Asia and Europe than RazorEdge. There must be a reason, right? I can tell you what that reason is, but you won't listen, because you have made your choice already. Besides, I am not associated with Spyderco in any way other than being their customer, so screw it altogether.

Happy Trails,

BTW, watch that apex-to-gas ratio because it will grow:)


Well-known member
Point taken. Thanks for the feedback on Apex. I notice they use "waterstones", and I can see where that would be a mess! I do all of my knife sharpening dry......both me and the hones :)

And the Sharpmaker does a great job...... I have sharpened a pocket knife on one at an outdoor show......I've just been cursed ( or is it blessed?) as a perfectionist in this persuit.....always seeking out the best edge.


Well-known member
Well, It's time to put my .02 cents in.

My dad is a man who is ALWAYS trying to find a "better gimmick" (no offense) for sharpening knives. And I'll admit, I've purchased a Lanskey from Cabelas, I've purchased 3 or 4 walmart specials before then, I've got at least 7 or 8 different types of stones/hones in my garage. I check out the newest sharpener on the market at every gun show. I watch the infomercials.

But what it all comes down to, is finding a method that you personally are ABLE and equally important WILLING to use. The most dangerous knife is a dull knife.

What does that mean to ME? I bought a $30 butchers steel from Grizzly. It hangs over the sink. Before, during, and after food prep, myself or my wife (yes I trained her how to use it) take a couple of swipes on the steel. Our knives are always sharp enough to slice a tomato so thin you can see through it! When we try to cut something we shouldn't and the edge gets a flat spot or two, I'll give it some TLC with the steel: 4 on each side, 3 on each side x2, 2 on each side x3, 1 on each side x4. If that can't recondition the edge, out comes the crock sticks and medium diamond stone. I can shave with ANY of my kitchen knives, and ALL of my hunting knives.

A word on Knife selection: I learned this from a Crane Operator who had to cut and splice rope the size of my face multiple times each and every day. The hardest knives in the world get dull. The softest knives in the world do too. He could cut through 2.5 cords with a 420 buck before he had to sharpen it. He could cut through only 1 cord with a high carbon, "soft" knife (rust easy). It took him 15 to 20 minutes to re-sharpen that buck to a razor's edge because it was such hard steel. But that soft knife would be razor sharp in 3 or 4 minutes. That means less time sharpening, more time working. He gave away all of his Bucks... His loss, my gain.

Now for me, I use both knives. I don't want to re-sharpen a softer carbon knife out in the field during the middle of dressing a Hog or deer. So I carry hard-steel knives in the field, and usually a small Arkansas or steel just in case I hit bone and need a touch up. Back at camp I use the higher carbon knives to skin, quarter, and butcher the animal. The Buck would get dull 1/2 of the way through and then I'd need 10 to 20 minutes to re-sharpen. With the higher carbon knives I just touch them up as I go... 2 or 3 minutes on the steel and I'm back to work. I have to do it 4 or 5 times, but that's all right with me. I don't have the patience to spend 20 minutes sharpening a hard steel knife in the middle of butchering my game.

Bottom line: I have practiced with a butcher's steel and can re-sharpen to a shaving razor's edge quickly. I don't need it sharper. Practice what you are going to use, and use what you practice.



Wild Turk

Well-known member
This is a great thread. I have had a very difficult time keeping my knives sharp. I have tried stones, round sharpeners, butcher's steels and anything else I can think of. I am sure it is user error, but I can get a good edge, but not a great edge.

I just bought a new knife (Ka-Bar Warthog) that isnt an expensive knife, but has high quality enough steel (1095 high carbon steel) to hold an edge, and I am hoping to perfect my technique.

I havent ever heard of the Lansky system described above, but I will check it out.



Well-known member
Orso, here is a link to Grizzly Industries Knife Sharpener It's about $17 after shipping. Works very well. Takes a little to get used to one. This one has a very fine grain, but still enough to take a bite. I find that of the 5 or 6 I've tried (including my parents, friends, grandparents, etc) this one was the best quality.

Theres also one on Cabelas that's actually oval in shap instead of round, it's a great idea, but I don't know if it works any better. The Idea being it allows for more surface contact, removes more steel so it's faster, and easier to tell if you're holding the knife straight.

The way I do it is I start off VERY slow, and VERY light pressure. Not enough to really have any impact on the existing edge/angle. I'm not sharpening, I'm finding the right angle TO sharpen.

I start with the knife almost parallel to the rod, and try to slice off a super thin piece of metal from the rod (as has been said about using stones). As I'm making the smooth stroke I gently raise my angle of attack until I feel, and hear, a minute but discernable difference in pitch/tone and grit of the steel against blade. This is the first point when the steel actually "bites" the edge of the knife. Up to this point, it's just rounding the softer angle of the blade, with the edge fractionally in the air, so to speak, and not sharpening at all. Once I've found the correct "angle of attack" for this particular knife, I begin counting my strokes. 4 on away, 4 towards me. 3 away, 3 towards me x2. 2 away 2 towards me x3. 1 away, 1 towards me until it's razor sharp.

If I'm consistently keeping my strokes in that small window of 1-3 degrees, where I can feel that steel "Bite" my edge, both going away and coming back (that's the hard one), and as long as the blade still has a work-able edge and doesn't need a bunch of metal removed to have a strong angle, you'll be able to shave with it.

I assume the same procedure works for using stones, but I've never been good with them. I have a real hard time keeping that consistency from edge to stone. I don't "hear it" like I hear it with steel on steel. And I just can't feel it either.

Like I said, find something you can use and use it often.



Well-known member
This may have been covered already, but I'll just put it in because I hear alot of people wondering about the proper angle to sharpen at. The trick I use is to take a sharpie(felt tip marker) and color over the existing edge on both sides. Now when you work the blade over with a stone or a rod you will remove the color where the blade touches the sharpening surface. You have the right angle when you remove all the color in one shot, if not adjust the angle till you have it right.


Well-known member
I use water stones. That's what I see around the house as kids and I continue to use that today. If I recall, I use to sharp our convex kitchen knives using water stones, as early as 12. Been using it since, only this time I've got my hands on some Chosera. Takes some practicing but this method works best for all my convex knives.


Well-known member
i just bought some waterstones.

i am practicing. i may never ever take my kitchen knives to a pro again..i can get them as sharp as he can.

i like watching the old school guys sharpen a blade. almost an art. heck..even that grainy noise is poetic. i love it.

i just got new flat files for my other blades. i think this is all a good skill to have.

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