So I have a confession to make.. despite owning lots of knives I have always struggled to get them consistently sharp.. Sometimes I got lucky and other times they ended up blunter than they were before.. The struggle is real! It turns out I am not alone. A lot of guys I speak to have the same issue they just pretend to be sharpening masters!!!
In the past I have used an oil stone, a Japanese water stone, a rod, a diamond coated pocket sharpener.. None of them gave me consistency. If I got real lucky I would get the knife sharp enough to slice paper. I hardly ever got it to hair shaving sharp which is what I aspire to do.. until now!
WARNING: Do not attempt to handle or sharpen knives if you are not competant in doing so. Do not copy my hair shaving test!
Lansky Professional Sharpening System
There are several important aspects to producing razor sharp edges. A consistent sharpening angle is probably the most important variable and is likely to be the thing we often get wrong. When we use whetstones the angle of the blade against the stone is hard to keep consistent. Those clever people at Lansky have solved the problem.
The system features a clamp which screws down onto the spine of your blade. Bit of a tip with this – I fold a small piece of paper over the spine to prevent any scuff marks from metal on metal. Once the blade is securely clamped you will notice that two slotted arms protrude at 90 degree angles above and below the blade. The slots are marked 30, 25, 20 and 17. The numbers equate to angles. 30 degrees for heavy choppers, 25 degrees for standard EDC blades, 20 degrees for kitchen knives and 17 for razors and fine slicers.
Once you have your knife clamped in you need to select a metal rod (clipped into the lid) and a stone. The stone options are: Extra Coarse (70), Coarse (120), Medium (280), Fine (600) and Ultra Fine (1000). The rod and stone can then be fixed together so that the rod and surface of the stone are level. I usually use a table or flat surface to ensure they are sitting flush. Personally I would only use the Extra Coarse and Coarse stones for blades which have been badly damaged. If your blade has notches and burrs in it then you need to remove quite a lot of blade material. If your blade is just blunt but otherwise looks ok then start with the Medium stone.
As an example I dug out a CRKT Hammond Cruiser that was last used for box cutting at work. It was blunt as hell and could not cut paper without tearing it. The blade was a little dinged up from cutting a piece of wire so it seemed like a good knife to test on.
I started with the Coarse stone, placing the rod into the 25 degree angle slot. Then using firm pressure simply rub the stone up and along the blade. I usually do this in 3 motions, making sure each section of the blade gets equal treatment and pressure. After I have worked one side of the blade 10 times I flip it over and repeat the process. I will repeat this cycle about 3 times each side. During the cycle you will notice that the stones begin to look black/grey. This is blade material which prevents the stone from doing its job. I add a little honing oil (supplied in the kit) to the stone and work it in with an oily cloth. The oil removes the metal debris and the stone will be effective again.
The above process is then repeated with finer stones until you are left with a polished, smooth looking cutting edge. I check the sharpness of the knife and polish with the finest stone until I am happy with the peformance. If you wanted to you could then strop the blade on a leather belt. Personally I have not needed to. Every blade I have sharpened has been sharp enough to shave with.
As you can see the once useless Hammond Cruiser is hair shavingly sharp and it only took 15 minutes. I could spend triple that time with a Whetstone and still not get the end result I wanted.
The kit works very well indeed. For around £60 you can easily sharpen pretty much any type of EDC or kitchen knife. Lansky also sell a number of accessories such as a strop, spare stones, specialist stones and all replacenent parts. They even have stones for serrated knives. If you want consistently sharp knives then this is an affordable way to achieve that. There are more expensive options out there but I really can’t see how you could get your knives any sharper! 100% recommended by the team at GnZ.