At one time or the other, all knives and blades need to be resharpened; a knife is only as good as it is sharp. Maintaining that razor sharp edge on the blade calls for an appropriate sharpener; one that’s effective and simple to use even as a newbie. Spyderco Sharpmaker is one of the leading brands in the market today and if you’re a lover of knives, you probably have heard of it. If you’ve read our earlier review of foldable pocket knives, you’ll have noticed that we pay much attention to the sharpness of the blade and the need to constantly keep it well sharpened.
There are different stones and sharpening systems out there but not all are able to bring out the best in the different types of stainless steel used to make pocket knives. Thus, by picking this sharpmaker, you can rest assured that we considered all aspects including ease of use, durability, and ability to sharpen even the toughest types of stainless steel like S30V, VG-10, D2, and 154CM. Mind you, these types of stainless steel are notoriously difficult to sharpen with ordinary stones, which is why the Sharpmaker is a pacesetter. That the system has a special stone for all the heavy work, and a different one for fine sharpening as you finish the job; this tells you that Spyderco, the Colorado-based company, has the user in mind. It’s also one of the few sharpening systems made to sharpen serrated edges, thanks to the triangular stones in the set.
How safe is the Spyderco Sharpmaker?
Chances of accidentally cutting yourself when handling knives and their sharpeners cannot be ruled out. Spyderco has addressed this by installing brass rods that act as safety barriers. You have almost nil chances of cutting yourself as your hands are always protected by the rods. When not in use, you simply tuck away the system into its carrying case. The ABS plastic case and lid are very portable and easy to carry around. In instances you wish to attach the knife permanently in kitchens and shops, Spyderco allows you to do that effortlessly. The base is drilled so that you can automatically bolt it on the counter-top or table. The product comes with a free DVD from Spyderco’s founder, Sal Glesser, the disk contains everything that you’ll need to know as a newbie in the world of knife sharpening. It’s interesting to note that Spyderco takes you through the evolution of sharpening devices, before educating you on the reasons as to why they are a leading brand. As a newbie, you’ll be greatly guided by the video when it comes to using Sharpmaker for the first time.
Sharpening your knives using Spyderco Sharpmaker
- This resharpening system comes with two sets of ceramic stones. The first has medium brown stones that are used to sharpen aggressively, while the second consists of fine white stones used for what’s known as ‘grade-finishing’ (final sharpening).
- Usually, the rule in the world of knife sharpening is that you should make 20 strokes on the sharpening rod’s corner, another 20 on the rod’s flat side. The blade ought to be held strictly in a vertical position for every stroke; it’s the only way to achieve an edge that’s evenly distributed. The sharpmaker is quite gentle on the steel, doesn’t beat up the blade as with most stones. Usually, the rods are positioned at 30/40 degrees and as such, you’ll have to strive and hold the knife at a consistent vertical angle for maximum effect.
- Really, you do not need any prior experience in order to use this sharpening system. In fact, like a friend of mine suggested, don’t think about it; just stroke the knife along the rods, trying to maintain a vertical position as possible. It’s like knitting or playing golf; the more you think about it, the more mistakes you’re likely to make. Everyone will tell you to maintain the 40-degree angle but it doesn’t have to be exactly that, especially if you’re a beginner. 1-3 degrees off to the right or left of the vertical is acceptable; just be consistent in your strokes.
- A quick tip though; it’s easy to get tempted to get the edge too sharp. Doing so makes the blade highly prone to dings and chips. Desist from using this system as a means to restore a damaged or badly ground blade; get it to a professional and have it fixed prior to sharpening. Try and apply the same caution to the stones, they’re made of ceramic and thus quite fragile.
Some notable cons you can expect with Spyderco Sharpmaker
For all its goodness, the Sharpmaker isn’t the ideal system for a knife that has been neglected for long and needs brand new restoration. It’s more ideal for regular sharpening of blades that are regularly serviced. On average, you’ll take 15-20 minutes to sharpen your knife, although this greatly depends on the type of steel used to make the blade. If you’re looking to sharpen your blade to very sharp or to restore a blade that has been neglected for long, then you may want to consider trying EdgePro; it’s more expensive that Sharpmaker but does a great job in getting the edge to razor sharp levels. So sharp you can cut through a toilet tissue (not tearing, but cutting through.)
Unlike most stones used to make sharpeners, ceramic never wraps or shows signs of wear even after years of use. You’ll only need to scrub it with a powdered cleaner every now and then. With Spyderco Sharpmaker, you can sharpen any metal, literally all the metals known to man. The High Alumina Ceramic used in the stones is manufactured in the USA; it’s able to cut through any metal. Think of Stainless Steel, Vasco Wear, Stellite, Cobalt, Titanium, Tungsten Carbide, to mention but a few. Hardness is measured via the so-called Mohs Hardness Scale.
The ceramic used in Sharpmaker has recorded levels of up to 9 out of 10, on this scale. Like aforementioned, most medium grit stones tend to wear out after about 3 years of consistent use; this isn’t the case with Sharpmaker. Besides, you don’t need to use any oil or water for lubrication when using Sharpmaker.
What tools/weapons can you sharpen using Spyderco ?
The good news with Sharpmaker is that it can be used almost on every tool that requires sharpening! This includes pocket and kitchen knives, screwdrivers, scissors, chisels, Straight razor, pinking shears, thinning shears, tin snips, needles, dental tools, plane blades, nail clippers, wine cutters, wire cutters, you name it. As long as you’re familiar with using the sharpener, there’s no tool that you can’t sharpen with Sharpmaker.
How to sharpen your blades using Sharpmaker
Sharpening blades is an inherently risky task and your safety matters most. Whether you’re a novice or advanced user, there are things you must always look out for when sharpening. First, ensure that Sharpmaker is safely held on a flat surface in a stationary position, below your waist level. The safety rods are meant to protect you, always ensure that they are safely in place before using Sharpmaker. Hold the handle firmly and always ensure that your hands are safely behind or below the rods. Also, try and keep your strokes slow, rather than fast. Deliberate, slow strokes are safer than quick back and forth strokes. Start with the grey, medium grit stones for initial sharpening, before turning to the white grit which is finer; use this only for final finishing. Corners of the stones can be used for faster, more effective sharpening. Quick tip; ensure that the tool you’re sharpening is thoroughly cleaned and dried before sharpening.
- Option 1, shaped edge: you can start with the 40 Degree Angle slots, where the corners face each other. Each stroke you make should involve the entire blade, starting from the heel down to the tip. Apply a bit of pressure, just hard enough to remove metal from the edge you’re sharpening.
- Option 2, honed edge: the corners will still face each other, 40-degree slots on the base. Once the stone is loaded with steel, you simply rotate it at the base and use a clean area.
All tools and weapons will need to be sharpened and restored to their former conditions every now and then. This applies to knives and daggers more than anywhere else; a knife is only as good as it is sharp. Spyderco is a household name, a reputable brand in the world of blades. But they have gone ahead to design one of the best sharpening system ever developed, the Spyderco Sharpmaker.
Spyderco is bent on making you a proud owner of your favorite knife, by bringing unprecedented sharpening abilities right to you. The Sharpmaker can be easily folded and carried around when you’re on the go. Just take a moment to watch the DVD and YouTube tutorials on how to use Sharpmaker. It’s safe, it’s affordable, a reliable partner for all your sharpening needs both indoors and outdoors.