Knife Sharpening & Care

Stu Farish

Director / Webmaster
Staff member
What are your faves?

In recent years I've become a fan of Work Sharp tools for sharpening, I have a few & they work great. Nested one is a Ken Onion Elite, really like it.

Have a Lansky that I've used since back in the early 90's or maybe 80's. It works well but is slow.

I think Wicked Edge might be the cats [beeep] for sharpeners but do not have & have not used one yet. I think it may be able to put the best edge possible on a blade, or everything out there. A bit expensive but could be worth it depending on your needs.

I just picked up some food grade mineral oil for general rust & finish protection & some Gunny Glide to use on my folders for lubing the pivots. It just came in, I used it on a couple of Cold Steel folders, seems like good stuff.

So watcha got? What should I take a look at?
For folders and medium hunters, I use Lansky with premium diamond stones and a sapphire stone for finishing.
Yes its slow at reprofiling an edge, but ok for edge touch up and refinement.

For larger stuff, I use 4x36 belt grinder with grits up to 1000 and an DIY edge guide.
Spyderco Sharpmaker for quick touch ups and the Edge Pro Apex for more involved sharpening. I have used the Lanskey and Gatco systems in the past with good results. I can sharpen on a whetstone but I haven't used one in years.
I keep a few of these scattered around, truck, desk etc, for quick touch ups

I have a couple Work Sharp, Ken Onion models, that work great for me. One stays out in the shop the other stays in the house. I have the arm attachment, don't think they make it anymore, for the one that's out in my shop and I use it on everything from lawnmower blades and axe heads to knives.

The one that stays in the house I have the blade grinding attachment and it works great for all kinds of different things from sharpening kitchen knives to polishing trigger sears. I bought their diamond belts that work on ceramic knives and much to my surprise they work really well on our ceramic kitchen knives. The regular belts, on ceramic knives, won't do anything to sharpen them but those diamond belts will put a razors edge back on them in a jiffy.
For WS I stared with a WS Guided Sharpening System. My first efforts were less than impressive, then I found some instructional videos on youtube & learned how to use it. Much better. Work Sharp has a couple of channels with tons of videos plus lots of independent videos out there.

Later I bought a Precision Adjust (when they first came out, before the upgrade). Liked that a lot, it's basically a better implementation in some ways of the Lansky system. But I concluded that I just had too many knives to keep sharp & it was time to go powered, so I bought a Ken Onion Elite / blade grinder attachment & gave the Precision Adjust to my son. He likes it a lot.

Between the Lansky system, Lansky pocket gizmo & Ken Onion I pretty much has all my bases covered for sharpening things now. Bit of a learning curve to all of them.
The Worksharp KO with grinding attachment has pretty much left all my other sharpening stuff on the shelf for awhile now.

I use the Work Sharp Ken Onion design. It took a little practice learning what each belt will do but now nearly all my using knives will shave the hair off my half bald arm.
I used to be concerned about my practice of finishing off my (Custom) knives with gentle pressure on a super fine slack belt. (Tight, but un-platened 600+ grinder belt.) It put a very mild convex surface on the cutting edge. Razor sharp, and dressable with a steel for a long time before re-orienting the molecules to the convex shape again...

But that's what the work sharp basically does, and so many people use them, so it's kind hand-in-glove now.
This powered belt way is still new to me. I like it but can get better at it.

I did buy a leather strop belt for the KO, not sure about that. I've tried it a bit. The WS Guided Sharpening System upgrade includes a stropping plate & I've found that to work quite well. I think I just have more control with the hard surface than with the moving belt.
I've tried 5-6 of the more popular methods including the Ken Onion. The Work Sharp was fast and easy to use but I found that it took off too much metal and took it off in an uneven way and with good/expensive knives I didn't want to damage the blade. There's just too much room for error using belts. With a Lansky it's almost impossible to damage the steel. I know people will say there's a learning curve but why take a chance?
Originally Posted By: desertdog1.. There's just too much room for error using belts. With a Lansky it's almost impossible to damage the steel. I know people will say there's a learning curve but why take a chance?
+ 2
Originally Posted By: Bob_AtlOriginally Posted By: desertdog1.. There's just too much room for error using belts. With a Lansky it's almost impossible to damage the steel. I know people will say there's a learning curve but why take a chance?
+ 2

+3 I'm not using any power tools on my blades. And I've felt a need for that.
Not trying to talk anyone into anything.

But the Worksharp tool, it's such a small belt, and you can run it so slow. I just don't see the hazard. To me, it's just a way faster version of the Lansky. I run mine kind of fast, because I've had a lot of practice with it. But if you run it as slow as it will go, honestly, I just don't see how you could hurt a blade unless your like Ray Charles using his elbows.

I've used the heck out of the Lansky and similar for decades. I don't expect to ever touch that stuff again.

Got three garden variety kitchen knives (Costco grade Henckels) hair popping sharp in 10 minutes on the Worksharp KO blade grinding attachment today. Those knives are almost too big to even work with on the Lansky. Few minutes of enjoyment on the Worksharp and they are all three carving thin slices of paper and making the scant hair on my arm jump off. Gonna carve Thanksgiving goodness real, real good.

Don't be afraid of the power, lol!

I get the concern, I had it myself. I also watched a helluva lot of videos on using the thing before deciding to buy it.

FWIW they do advise that new users start out with a cheap knife while learning & not start with their high end ones.

Basically, it came down to me having to many knives -mostly kitchen types- to keep doing them all with the Lansky. I just don't have the time & I have pain issues with my hands that makes this a problem.

Unless I'm touching up lawnmower blades I tend to mostly only use the finer belts and they don't seem to hardly remove any material from the blade.
The worksharp always seemed to take a crap ton of metal off for me. My son likes it for hatchet sharpening. The edge pro apex works great but isn’t very fast. And will put a mirror edge on a knife. I use an F dick sharpener for my mora knives and kitchen knives. Pocket knives I just have the knife shop sharpen them for free while I look at other knives. The hunting knives have been retired by a havalon
Okay, I gotta know. What is an F dick sharpener. I think I know? But I want to make sure

Have me sharpen your pocket knives. I do a better job than the knife shop.

Link to F dick Amazon link

Only for kitchen knives and moras. It will get a mora hair popping in like a minute. Knife sharpening is like case trimming for me. It’s just not that much fun. I do really like sharp knives though. Best edge is on the edge pro apex. It will do a mirror edge. But it’s more than I care to dink with.
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