Hack the knife

Sharpening a knife can seem like it should be incredibly easy. Get a coarse surface, scratch over the edge and voilà, a sharpened knife. However, despite the fact that this is the basic process, there’s a huge amount of nuance that goes into creating a good edge which is both sharp, and lasts.

The first basic problem is being consistent and accurate. A good edge consists of two flat surfaces meeting at a point. Creating this by hand requires very accurate hand movements. Typically, what you’ll end up with is two surfaces curving in towards a point that won’t get sharp because of this curvature.

This knife sharpening jig then, is simply a way of holding the stone at a particular angle to the blade, allowing you to sharpen with confidence. It’s a pretty simple idea. There’s a pivoting upright rod that you can lock the whetstone holding rod to. Put a blade in the adjustable blade holder and then, as you move the gritstone, it can move in two dimensions, but not the third. This means that, as you move the stone, you sharpen the knife at a precise angle.

The sharpening kit comes with four stones from 180 to 1200 grit, and you can move up through these various coarsenesses to get to a final, sharp blade. 180 is very coarse. We tested this system on very abused blades, so started with the 180 or 400, depending on the knife. If starting with a blade that’s only a little dull, you could skip straight to 1200.

The jig has a bit of wobble in it, and you have to be a bit careful to not rock it too much. However, you should sharpen slowly and carefully anyway, and it’s certainly possible to use this effectively.

sharpener2

The stones are a little softer than some top-quality stones we’ve used in the past, so they may not last forever, but definitely showed no problems during our test sharpenings.
The way the guide and stone are set up means this is only really suitable for knives or other long, straightish blades. We wouldn’t recommend this for chisels, drill bits, or other tools.

Fundamentally, the test of a knife sharpener is in the blade it creates, and the traditional test for this is shaving your arm. We were able to create a blade that did this, but only just. This tool struggles to get super-sharp blades because it doesn’t come with high-grit honing stones. That said, a blade capable of shaving is unnecessary for most uses, and this produces a blade which is easily sharp enough for general use. You can get smoother stones for this guide, or you could finish the blade by hand if you really need that sharpness.

This jig doesn’t take all the skill out of sharpening a knife, but it does make it much easier to get started. The kit felt a little flimsy, and we have some concerns about its durability if under heavy use, but for casual knife sharpening, at this price, it’s hard to beat.

KKMoon £18.99 kkmoon.com

Verdict

The best value knife sharpening system we know of.

9/10

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