Guided sharpening systems - user feedback? Likes, Dislikes?

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Do you like guided sharpening systems?

  • Yes - I own one and like it

    Votes: 13 56.5%
  • Yes - I don't own one, but I would like to

    Votes: 4 17.4%
  • No - I own one and wish I didn't

    Votes: 1 4.3%
  • No - I don't own one and wouldn't want one

    Votes: 5 21.7%

  • Total voters
    23

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,051
1,072
Bedfordshire
We recently had a new member representing a sharpening tool supplier use their first post (on a 3 year old thread) to try to do some market research while promoting their product. Now forum rules means that such a post was not going to get approved, but that was more to do with how they phrased their post, rather than what they were asking, so, I thought I would start this thread with a slightly broader premise.

Note: If you are a business representative, please read the forum rules about advertising, and talk to Tony, the forum owner, before you post anything promoting your product, steering people towards your product, asking them what they think of your product. Thank you.

What are your thoughts on guided sharpening systems? Does anyone have one of these? Does it do all you want? What do you like, what would you improve? What limitations have you found?

I am talking here about the systems that clamp the blade and use a rod slide system to move a small sharpening stone over the edge at a precise angle.
Something like this:


There are versions (some more complex than others) by:
  1. Wicked Edge
  2. Edge Pro
  3. Hapstone
  4. EZE-LAP
  5. Lansky
  6. KME
  7. DMT
Prices vary, Lansky and EZE-Lap starts around £35 to £45 range for a kit while the first three on the list start at £150 to £300 and run all the way to £1000.
Just for an example of some of the range:



Cheers
 

Duggie Bravo

Nomad
Jul 27, 2013
454
86
Dewsbury
I have the Lansky system and use it to sharpen most of my knives, it isn’t brilliant for the larger knives but for pocket knives and my 4 inch fixed blades it’s great.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,650
McBride, BC
I won a Lansky system in a Sporting Clays shooting event.
Try as I might, I've never got a satisfactory knife edge with it.
My pre-existing option was/is freehand as I was taught. It's satisfactory.
The Lansky stuff is still in the box, can't tell you exactly where it might be.
 

bobnewboy

Settler
Jul 2, 2014
981
406
North West Somerset
Lansky here too. It’s great when used with a suitable blade size and thickness but is a bit limiting with big blades, and needs some care in use to get the best out of it. I use it for damaged blades or bigger jobs like changing the edge angle or profile.
 
Last edited:

Paulm

Full Member
May 27, 2008
1,068
127
Hants
Freehand on stones or diamond mediums, strops etc is easy to learn and all you need, it's really not rocket science !

There's a lot of sales folk and companies out there trying to convince folk it's not easy and they need assorted gadgets, that they of course will be happy to sell you, but you really don't need them !
 
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0000

Full Member
Sep 25, 2013
245
113
Scotland
www.instagram.com
I use the a wicked edge on every knife I make now. It holds the blade edge up and you have a stone either side. I used to use Japanese waterstones but as business picked up I needed something faster. Also as much skill as I feel I have with the stones, there is no way I'm as precise as a system on rods. Also the diamond stones don't dish out and so don't need to be lapped. I'm using this system to put the very first edge on every knife so these have absolutely no edge before hand. They're really fast. I've probably done about 150ish knives with it so far and there are no signs of the stones needing to be replaced. The angle increments on the system are garbage and mean nothing but I use a digital angle block to set mine and it works flawlessly. As for upkeep on a knife that already has an edge, I can think of nothing better. Saying that, it wouldn't be my choice for a scandi.

Sent from my SM-A705FN using Tapatalk
 
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zornt

Forager
Apr 6, 2014
205
61
Ohio, USA
I have a Lansky and a DMT set up.
I prefer the Lansky clamp ( easier angle set up).
But I prefer the DMT diamond stones as they cut better also strop too.
My sharpening skills sick but I can get a semidecent edge with this set up.
My main problem is lack of patience.
Jon
 

C_Claycomb

Mod
Mod
Oct 6, 2003
6,051
1,072
Bedfordshire
Having started this thread I might as well put in my 2p.

I don't have such a system. I have seen them in use and they look great for putting a perfect secondary bevel on a blade of a certain size. However, it is perfection at a price, in the case of the EdgePro, Hapstone and Wicked Edge. I can most certainly see the benefits for a maker but for me personally, having learned how to sharpen free hand, and not feeling the need to create perfect bevels, they appear overly complicated, cumbersome and costly. I also really like convex edges, which make an angle guide pretty pointless.

I kind of think of guide systems like training wheels on a bicycle, only using such a system doesn't train your muscles to sharpen without it.

I have a LOT of sharpening gear, acquired over the space of 25 years; Arkansas oil stones, Hard India oil stones, Japanese waterstones (seven different grits), ceramic bench stones, slip stones, and pocket stones, diamond bench stones, slip stones and pocket stones and paper/cloth/film abrasives on both soft and rigid backings. I even have a Sharpmaker, but invariably I prefer a bench stone, or pocket stone. With them I sharpen knives, chisels, planes, axes, parangs and scissors. While I have often lusted after a new stone, different grit or media, I have never felt any pull towards a guided system.

I am curious about how these systems handle the wider bevels of Scandi ground knives? Can you use them on things other than knives?

How do folk here feel about the price? Something in the order of £250-£300 for a sharpening system? Usually when we have people posting that they struggle with sharpening, or are just starting out, we try to steer them towards something that will work but will cost as little as possible. Wet and dry paper, or a DC4 / CC4.

Cheers

Chris
 
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gra_farmer

Settler
Mar 29, 2016
548
304
Kent
Having started this thread I might as well put in my 2p.

I don't have such a system. I have seen them in use and they look great for putting a perfect secondary bevel on a blade of a certain size. However, it is perfection at a price, in the case of the EdgePro, Hapstone and Wicked Edge. I can most certainly see the benefits for a maker but for me personally, having learned how to sharpen free hand, and not feeling the need to create perfect bevels, they appear overly complicated, cumbersome and costly. I also really like convex edges, which make an angle guide pretty pointless.

I kind of think of guide systems like training wheels on a bicycle, only using such a system doesn't train your muscles to sharpen without it.

I have a LOT of sharpening gear, acquired over the space of 25 years; Arkansas oil stones, Hard India oil stones, Japanese waterstones (seven different grits), ceramic bench stones, slip stones, and pocket stones, diamond bench stones, slip stones and pocket stones and paper/cloth/film abrasives on both soft and rigid backings. I even have a Sharpmaker, but invariably I prefer a bench stone, or pocket stone. With them I sharpen knives, chisels, planes, axes, parangs and scissors. While I have often lusted after a new stone, different grit or media, I have never felt any pull towards a guided system.

I am curious about how these systems handle the wider bevels of Scandi ground knives? Can you use them on things other than knives?

How do folk here feel about the price? Something in the order of £250-£300 for a sharpening system? Usually when we have people posting that they struggle with sharpening, or are just starting out, we try to steer them towards something that will work but will cost as little as possible. Wet and dry paper, or a DC4 / CC4.

Cheers

Chris
I am similar to you Chris, I can put a good edge on most steels, and do use the sharp maker on the folders and Serrated blades, it is simple and quick on softer steels.

If a complete regrind is needed, I get the linisher out and work my way up the belts and then water stones.

Can get edges so sharp, that people have cut themselves and only realised after when away from the knife and task at hand.
 

Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,985
1,540
W.Sussex
To correct or realign a bevel, evenly, I confess to having a £20 Edgepro clone. It gets used very rarely to be honest, a chipped Benchmade Griptilian was the last job it did. It works ok as a filing jig, though the grit sludge gets onto the blade when the blade is moved about and causes scratches if not careful to wipe. It does make a very good job of sharpening if you work through the grits and put the effort in.

I have a Spyderco Sharpmaker but haven’t really learned how to do it properly, another muscle memory thing that would come with more practice, I know a lot of people swear by them so I think the problem is lack of effort on my part.

I learnt to put an edge on tools, from mower blades, billhooks, kitchen knives, working knives, with stones and oil. My every day sharpening is DMT Diafolds used in a filing motion rather than pushing a blade across a stone. I like a sharp but toothy finish on kitchen stuff and smooth shiny on my EDC type knives. To get scary shaving sharp, I finish with a strop and compound, but in honesty I don’t need shaving sharp.

It‘s worth pointing out the leather/wet& dry paper method has some problems. On a fine secondary bevel like that on most pocket knives, 3mm leather has quite a lot of give in it and can result in blunting the blade by convexing it too far. Same for wet and dry on cardboard. Thin leather or cornlake packet cardboard doesn’t give and will help keep the bevel flat.
 
Last edited:

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,650
McBride, BC
Must be half a dozen basically different sharpening methods, all of which aim for the same result.
The mechanical aids have their place even as some people don't want to reveal that freehand is too much of a physical challenge. So be it.

I still believe that the key thing is to pick any of the methods and learn it, practice it.

I was taught freehand by an accomplished, full-time professional wood carver.
The level of my stupidity was astronomical at that time.
I decided that I would practice so much that I was damn good at it. I am.

If I wanted or needed a mechanical kit, it would have to do several things:
1. measure the total included bevel angle for that edge in service.
2. Make the result a repeat, over and over.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,336
565
Vantaa, Finland
As almost all of my knives have a slightly convex edge I find that free hand sharpening tends to keep them that way. The only help that i sometimes use is a marker pen to see if I am doing what I think I am doing. I have reflattened some of them every few years.

I have a few very thin bladed knives that I try to keep full flat but those are not used for general work.
 

Murat_Cyp

Member
Sep 16, 2020
35
14
38
East Midlands
I have one of the expensive ones with a full range of state-of-the-art sharpening stones including a full range of Japanese Chosera, CBN resin bonded stones, and CBN loaded strops.

I do not think I would be able to sharpen (at least with such precision) if I did not have the system. The less significant downside is the time required to set it up and tidy the mess after finishing. The major significant disadvantage is the price you are paying for them. Especially, when you do not know what to do with the system after sharpening your few knives and realise that you will not need as much sharpening in the future as you thought when your few knives are properly sharpened!
 

Hammock_man

Full Member
May 15, 2008
1,264
272
kent
I have both a "lansky" and a "Ruixin" , again both chinese copies. I like the idea of a constant angle during sharpening and both give me that with a low skill set. Kim is big into her waterstones so part of my thinking is to be different.

The lansky is great for knives around the size of a Mora and the ruixin will take something bigger if needed.
The ruixin comes with a table clamp built in and I fit the lansky into a little (separate) clamp on table vise. Both allow you to work on each side down through the grits while keeping a constant angle. The Ruixin has a spring loaded rotating jaw which you can turn through 180 to work on the other blade edge. Returning the jaw back through 180 means the blade is back where it started so the angle of sharpening is retained. With the lansky you have 2 "L" shaped metal pieces, the upper edge has preset holes for 17, 20, 25 and 30 ; the lower edge is used to clamp the blade. A guide rod attached to the stone runs through the hole and maintains the fixed angle. I clamp the "underneath" piece in the table vise and this keeps it steady while I sharpen. Take the knife and clamp out of the vise turn it over and work on the other side. When it is then turned yet again the knife has never moved in the clamp so the angle is maintained.
May seem like a lot of messing about but both are very low skill systems and they do maintain the angle over many passes and many grits.

If I have a complaint it is in the quality of the stones. {bear in mind mine are cheap imports}
Watching Kim work with her waterstones is a thing of beauty but she has worked to get her skill level up. ME, I need a sharp edge which I then ruin by batoning but am able to restore in 10 mins or less.
 
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Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,706
1,650
McBride, BC
I gave up on the stones and leather strop when I switched
to the crooked knives and adzes of the Pacific Northwest coast.

What I use instead are grit grades of fine automotive wet/dry finishing sandpapers.
I wrap those around mandrels of several sizes. 600, 800, 1000, 1200 and 1500 is enough.
The final honing step is done with chrome green, scribbled on some sort of card stock,
even the side of a crisp box will do. For the adze blades, I use a tennis ball for a strop.

It took a while to learn this. The abrasive moves, the tool is stationary.
Some things are never written down. The results are a pleasure to carve with.
 
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Chainsaw

Native
Jul 23, 2007
1,336
104
53
Central Scotland
I've an edgepro I picked up in Oregon some years ago which I drag out maybe once or twice a year to do the kitchen knives and the odd pair of scissors. I have used it on other knives that have secondary bevels, mainly folders, . That's pretty much all it is good for but it does it very, very well. Shaving sharp, mirror finish. It is also excellent for reprofiling an damaged edge (assuming you want a secondary or smallish bevel) doing a bigger bevel would eat the heavy grit stones up pretty quickly

That's all the kitchen knives need other than a little tickle with a ceramic rod every so often. For my outdoor knives I've not touched them with it since I put the bevels on and just maintain the edge with the 'patent pending BR £5 sharpening kit' and a leather strop. For the other Scandi, full flat and convex grinds then it's the £5 sharpening kit.

It's just a jig to get you a consistent angle you can replicate it with some bits of wood.

Is it worth the money? That's just a question of how much money you have and are prepared to spend the same as knives, cars, boots, waterproofs, bows, canoes.... etc etc. It certainly does it's job very well but what it does is limited. I would buy it again, I've not bought new kitchen knives for about 30 years (other than some aldi ones that I liked the look of) and tbh I don't think I will need to. A set of knives can easily set you back 50 - 100 quid, not sure how much the systems sell for now. Horses for courses.
 

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