Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby cptdean » Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:17 pm

Thanks, everyone. I haven't bought anything yet, but I'll report back here when I do.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby ChrisinHove » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:32 pm

I’ve only used the SM since I bought it, 3 or 4 years ago. The diamond rods are the key, I think. I’ve repaired some pretty major edge damage on my old kitchen knives with it, as well.

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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Evil D » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:46 pm

cptdean wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:17 pm
Thanks, everyone. I haven't bought anything yet, but I'll report back here when I do.

I'll tell ya this much....I love my Edge Pro, I really sincerely do, but it collects dust unless I get a new knife and need to reprofile the bevel, or if I badly chip an edge and need to repair the bevel. Otherwise my Sharpmaker does the other like 98% of my sharpening. I was very late to the party but now I don't know how I got by without it. It felt unnecessary because I had the Edge Pro, and I guess technically it is but for shear ease of use and convenience the Sharpmaker is unmatched. It isn't even that the Edge Pro is difficult to use, I even have some very good stones for it (some of which cost more than the Sharpmaker did for one single stone) but setting it up is just more tedious. It's invaluable when it comes time to remove lots of steel, but for routine edge maintenance the Sharpmaker is king. I originally got mine strictly to use with serrations but I've been so impressed with the results I use it to keep everything sharp.


My advice, buy the cheapest Edge Pro they make (or a Hapstone if you can afford it), and buy the whole set of Congress Moldmaster stones (about $40 for them all) and you'll be able to reprofile pretty much any steel out there. Then get a Sharpmaker for touch ups. Skip your next knife purchase and invest in some good sharpening gear.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby blues » Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:38 pm

^^^^ Hard to go wrong with that advice.

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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Bloke » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:36 pm

blues wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 3:38 pm
^^^^ Hard to go wrong with that advice.
100%

I use a Hapstone Pro to set bevels and then maintain all edges with the SharpMaker.

Prior to the SharpMaker I used to maintain edges with a strop but I've found the SharpMaker gives me best results. :)
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby JD Spydo » Tue Sep 04, 2018 3:35 am

Well Brother VIVI kind of stole my thunder which is a good thing because I too think that by using coarse and extra-coarse diamond benchstones can save you a ton of time on the reprofiing of a dinged up or badly beat up blade. And this is coming from a guy who is borderline fanatical about the Spyderco 204 Sharpmaker. I own and use two of them and I've had my first 204 Sharpmaker since it's inception in 1999. But really the designation of the word "Sharpmaker" on that unit is kind of a misnomer because it really should be called "The Sharp Maintainer". I dearly love all of my Spyderco sharpening tools just to set the record straight but there is truly room for improvement on that 204 Sharpmaker.

Vivi is absolutely right because you can remove a lot of stock much quicker with diamond benchstones. That's been my biggest complaint about the 204 Sharpmaker for years now is that they don't provide a really coarse stone for rapid stock removal of really dinged up and beat up blades. I have a 3M extra-coarse diamond benchstone and I also have a Norton coarse grade diamond benchstone and between the two of them I can get a blade set up for a final finished edge pretty quickly.

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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Vivi » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:19 am

One idea I had for the sharpmaker was to make extra wide stones for it. Stones with a base the same size as a regular sharpmaker stone so they fit in the base, but after the first inch or so, they become as wide as a normal bench stone.

Seems like a no-brainer. You get the benefits of the sharpmaker and the stock removal speed of a bench stone.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby ChrisinHove » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:34 am

Vivi wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:19 am
One idea I had for the sharpmaker was to make extra wide stones for it. Stones with a base the same size as a regular sharpmaker stone so they fit in the base, but after the first inch or so, they become as wide as a normal bench stone.

Seems like a no-brainer. You get the benefits of the sharpmaker and the stock removal speed of a bench stone.
That sounds like a great idea to me.

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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Evil D » Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:49 am

I've secured my Edge Pro stones onto my Sharpmaker before. It does work pretty well and it's really easy. It's also really simple to wrap a rod in whatever sandpaper you'd like and have lower grits for heavier stock removal, but ultimately none of those methods is as efficient as my Edge Pro.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby MichaelScott » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:13 am

If I didn’t have my ancient Lansky guided system, which I seldom use, I think I’d have my Sharpmaker and if a knife ever needed profiling or was beyond my skill with it, I’d send it to Spyderco for sharpening. Lot’s cheaper than buying a new guided system.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby cptdean » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:16 pm

Update (long):

After more than a month of reading reviews and watching videos on just about every sharpening system under the Sun, I ended up ordering a Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System with the Upgrade Kit. It may not be where I eventually end up, but it's where I'm going to start. I've somehow gotten it into my thick head that I want to learn freehand sharpening, and this system makes sense to me at the moment.

Throughout this process I've been a bit surprised to learn that EVERY method will sharpen a knife. Even a common brick can produce a serviceable edge, given enough time and technique. So the question was really more about what aspect of sharpening mattered to me most...speed, precision, frequency, edge type, cost...and what would yield the greatest satisfaction. Weighing all the possibilities has been tremendously fun.

These were the systems I considered, my thoughts on each, and my rationale behind choosing the WSGSS:

Lansky 3-stone Sharpening System (already own)
The limited choice of angles means I'd have to reprofile every one of my Shun kitchen knives (VG-Max and VG-10), which is pretty tedious with the basic stones. It took me an hour to do my 4" paring knife. I considered buying diamond stones for it, but decided the money would be better spent on a different system.

Spyderco Sharpmaker
This was a STRONG contendor for me, and I almost went with it along with the diamond and EF stones. It will be the next one I buy, probably to use for adding micro bevels and/or touching up the knives I sharpen on the WSGSS. Maybe it'll be my main system if I'm no good at freehand?

KME, EdgePro, tsProf, Hapstone, etc.
These systems are amazing. If the accuracy monster grabs my toe and pulls me into the sharpening waters I'm testing, I'm sure I'll end up with one. For now, though, it's just too big a commitment until I know what I want.

Bench Stones
I spent more time researching these than all the other systems combined. I finally narrowed my list to DMT Dia- and Duo-sharp, Atoma diamond, and Naniwa Chosera/Professional stones, but my biggest problem was I just didn't know how many stones I would really need. Two grits plus a strop? A diamond plate for reprofiling, and a few Japanese stones for honing? Do I buy some Arkansas stones, as well? Which grits would give me an optimal progression? Oil, water, or splash-and-go? It's too overwhelming right now, so I'm stepping back until I get some experience on less expensive equipment.

Tormek T4, Work Sharp Ken Onion, etc.
Until I know what I'm doing, the cost of the T4 is just crazy. The Ken Onion is affordable, but I'm too worried I'll burn or damage my blades. Plus, I don't think a powered system would give me the satisfaction I'm looking for right now. (That T4 is nice, though.)

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System with Upgrade Kit
As mentioned, this is what I've settled on to start. It gives me literally everything I could possibly need...four diamond grits, ceramic hone, serrations sharpeners, leather strop, and angle guides...to learn to put a nice edge on any knife, and all for just under $90. I do wish it came in an 8"x3" format, but that's my only real complaint and it's not a very compelling one.

So that's it. If I catch the sharpening bug I can give the WSGSS to my brother and spend more $$ on something cooler. If not, I'll still have an inexpensive system that will sharpen just about anything. Seems like a safe approach to me.

I'll be in Denver in October and hope to pick up a Sharpmaker from the SFO, if time permits. Maybe they'll have new Spyderco systems to choose from by then? I've read rumors in other threads, so we'll see.

Thanks to everyone for your excellent feedback. All the advice was great, even if I didn't follow it.
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Vivi
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Vivi » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:02 pm

fwiw, here's my approach to stones:

diamonds for reprofiling / forming the bevel, ceramics for honing the edge apex.

I use two grits of DMT continuous surface diamond plates. Extra coarse and fine. If I were doing it over I'd go with XX coarse and fine. It is a big jump between grits, but the fine DMT works fast enough that you really don't need anything in between. I've even reprofiled knives with the DMT fine before I owned lower grits, it cuts that fast. I like the edge the fine leaves on my knives but it removes steel too fast for every day sharpening. This combo is all you need to do fast stock removal, then clean up the bevel with a nice polish.

After grinding on a bevel with the Extra Coarse, then refining it on the Fine, the knife is hair popping sharp. That could be the last step if you aren't concerned about blade longevity.

From there I have two options, sharpmaker or free hand.

The sharpmaker makes obvious sense for anything recurved, hawkbill or serrated. But for everything else, like chef knives and Millies and Swiss Army Knives, I prefer ceramic bench stones.

Spyderco makes them in medium fine and ultra fine, just like sharpmaker rods.

For my EDC and most knives I use frequently, I prefer medium. It offers better edge holding and slicing action compared to more polished edges given my EDC knives and uses.

Fine is a pretty polished finish, not much teeth left on the apex. Admittely I don't use this finish anymore these days. I use medium or ultrafine. The only thing my fine stones get used for are a few strokes between the medium and ultrafine to tighten up the scratch pattern on my edge. I use the sharpmaker stones flat in the base for this as I have not bothered investing in the bench stone version.

The ultrafine stone is what I like to finish my chef knife with, tiny knives like my Micra, and any knife that I plan to do more push cutting with than slicing, like my scandi ground bushcraft knife. It leaves an incredibly polished edge that will have serious bite when fresh.

Regardless of which grit I finish with, medium or ultrafine, and whether it's PE or SE, I am not happy with the edge unless it whittles an individual hair, push cuts receipts and catches hair above the skin in any direction. Anything less tells me I did not properly align the edge and there's a bur.

I do not strop. I used do for edges I finished off the medium stone, only once or twice per side, but never for knives I finish off the UF. No need in my opinion. It's polished enough. Knives finished off the medium, well I want them to keep their teeth, so extra polish makes little sense to me.

I never use any lubricants when I sharpen. I keep a towel wet with plain old water to wipe off the XC DMT stone when I'm reprofiling a knife. It clogs up quick with how fast it removes steel, wiping it off keeps it worling fast.

When a different stone gets dirty, I clean it with barkeepers friend. It works great on the ceramics. I soak the stones in hot water for a few minutes, then rub in some BKF and scrub with a scouring pad. Keeping your stones clean is essential to getting the best edge - but you don't have to be OCD about it. You can go at least 10 sharpenings or so before worrying about it.

After I use DMT's to set the bevel, I tend to work with microbevels. I think one of the dumbest things currently popular in the knife world is a polished bevel. Polish the apex if you want, but doing it to the entire bevel is a waste of time. The edge is the only part that matters.

In fact you could skip the DMT fine and roll with an XX Coarse and a sharpmaker with no extra rods and have everything you need to maintain thin, hair whittling sharp edges on any plain edged knife.

Most people sharpen entire bevels when they sharpen a knife. This wastes steel and time. Sharpen a knife at about 12 degrees per side with a bench stone. Then when it gets dull, use the sharpmaker at 15 degrees (or free hand it). You will go from "won't slice thick paper" dull to hair popping sharp in less then thirty seconds. Sharpening does not need to be time consuming and laborous. Keep your finish grit stone of choice on your dresser. If your knife isn't perfectly sharp in the morning, give it a few passes across on the microbevel and you're set. No joke, this takes me about two strokes per side and it's shaving, using a thin H1 knife and medium rods.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby cptdean » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:48 pm

Vivi wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:02 pm
fwiw, here's my approach to stones:

diamonds for reprofiling / forming the bevel, ceramics for honing the edge apex.
.
.
.
In fact you could skip the DMT fine and roll with an XX Coarse and a sharpmaker with no extra rods and have everything you need to maintain thin, hair whittling sharp edges on any plain edged knife.

Thank you IMMENSELY for describing your process and distilling it down to a manageable set of tools. Everything you said makes sense, and I already agree with your take on edges. I want sturdy sharp edges that cut when I need them to, and are easy to touch up. I also like the idea of micro bevels, and I especially like the idea of having only 3-4 stones to get everything done.

I had been giving a lot of thought to buying a couple of 8” DMT or Atoma diamond plates, plus 800 and 3000 Naniwa Chosera/Pro stones and a strop. I just didn’t know what grits of diamond to use before switching to stone, and whether I really needed anything above 3000. I’m not too keen on experimenting at $80-100 per shot.

I know there are infinite formulas for achieving sharp edges, but now you’ve got me thinking about one DMT coarse diamond and maybe all three of the 302 Spyderco bench stones, skipping the Sharpmaker for now, and no strop. Add a Spyderco pocket stone or Golden stone for morning and travel touch-ups and I might be set? What would you tweak?
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Vivi » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:56 pm

I think that sounds like a really good idea as long as you're able to get proficient with free hand sharpening. You may even skip the ultrafine at first and use the medium and fine. The fine leaves a pretty polished edge.

Really the sharpmaker itself is a nice travel kit. Everything in the base set folds up into a comoact unit you can toss in a bag. Simething to consider, since you'd spend close to that much on some of the pocket stone options out there.

I can't comment on Atoma VS DMT, I only have experience with the latter. I have tried japanese waterstones and arkansas stones, and to me they are obsolete options because they require flattening after prolonged use. That's not something I have to think about with my equipment.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby cptdean » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:02 pm

Vivi wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:56 pm
I think that sounds like a really good idea as long as you're able to get proficient with free hand sharpening. You may even skip the ultrafine at first and use the medium and fine. The fine leaves a pretty polished edge.

Really the sharpmaker itself is a nice travel kit. Everything in the base set folds up into a comoact unit you can toss in a bag. Simething to consider, since you'd spend close to that much on some of the pocket stone options out there.

Thanks. One more idea for feedback...6” DMT double-sided Dia-Sharp in Extra-Coarse/Fine, plus just the Golden Stone. That would get me from profiling all the way through to easy micro bevels and touch-ups?
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby Vivi » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:12 pm

Theoretically it should. I have not used the goldenstone though, but I'd imagine it's well made.

The issue you'd run into would be size. 6" is short for a reprofiling stone, especially working with something like a machete or chef knife.

Same thing with the goldenstone. It's an ingenious looking piece, but it is a little shorter than a sharp maker rod, much less the bench stones.

8" is about the minimum I'd suggest for any bench stone outside of dedicated travel sharpeners.

When it comes to travel sharpening, I find there's little need if I leave the house with my knives at peak sharpness. In the rare event I do need to, I have my bases covered with a sheet of 600 grit sandpaper folded up in my wallet. I can sharpen plain edge or serrated knives with it by laying it on the corner of a desk or something else to give it that V shape. I aim to only touch the microbevel in those cases. But like I said, it's rare. I'm not a hunter, so even on a multiday camping trip there's only so much food and rope to cut :)
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:55 am

Vivi wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:19 am
One idea I had for the sharpmaker was to make extra wide stones for it. Stones with a base the same size as a regular sharpmaker stone so they fit in the base, but after the first inch or so, they become as wide as a normal bench stone.

Seems like a no-brainer. You get the benefits of the sharpmaker and the stock removal speed of a bench stone.
Hey VIVI!!! That's a fabulous idea!!! I've kind of wondered about that in the back burner of my brain for some time now. It would make perfect sense for Spyderco to make either what you could call an "Advanced" version of the 204 Sharpmaker or they could call it a "Professional" version.

To have stones/rods for the 204 Sharpmaker that would be two or maybe even three times as wide as the stones/rods in the original 204 Sharpmaker just intrigues me to no end the more I think about it. It would be almost like having a bigger scale 204 Sharpmaker with regular sized benchstones to fit in the angle set slots. I think you could have significantly more control especially when sharpening larger fixed blades especially.

But even with big folders a system like that could give you so many advantages. They could count me in immediately!

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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby cptdean » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:04 am

Vivi wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:12 pm

8" is about the minimum I'd suggest for any bench stone outside of dedicated travel sharpeners.

Agreed. So a coarse 8" DMT diamond, and a medium and fine Spyderco 302. Anything else is gravy.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby cptdean » Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:07 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 6:55 am
Vivi wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:19 am
One idea I had for the sharpmaker was to make extra wide stones for it. Stones with a base the same size as a regular sharpmaker stone so they fit in the base, but after the first inch or so, they become as wide as a normal bench stone.

Seems like a no-brainer. You get the benefits of the sharpmaker and the stock removal speed of a bench stone.
Hey VIVI!!! That's a fabulous idea!!! I've kind of wondered about that in the back burner of my brain for some time now. It would make perfect sense for Spyderco to make either what you could call an "Advanced" version of the 204 Sharpmaker or they could call it a "Professional" version.

To have stones/rods for the 204 Sharpmaker that would be two or maybe even three times as wide as the stones/rods in the original 204 Sharpmaker just intrigues me to no end the more I think about it. It would be almost like having a bigger scale 204 Sharpmaker with regular sized benchstones to fit in the angle set slots. I think you could have significantly more control especially when sharpening larger fixed blades especially.

But even with big folders a system like that could give you so many advantages. They could count me in immediately!

Or how about a holder for the 302s? That way they wouldn't have to engineer new stones and could sell more of what they have.
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Re: Who uses Sharpmaker exclusively?

Postby GarageBoy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:31 pm

Do you guys use the sharpmaker seated or standing up? Also, at what height?


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