To use Al's method, take a black felt pen and shade in the bevel of the knife. Then take two strokes on the stone and examine the edge. If you have maintained the proper angle then all the black will be gone. If you see black on the top of the edge it means you are holding the back of the knife too far from the stone. If there is black on the bottom of the edge but the top is clean then you are laying the knife too flat on the stone and you need to raise it a bit. Repaint the edge and try it again. Once you discover what the right angle looks like then just maintain that.
This Messermeister rod is available in a 10-inch option and a 12-inch option, allowing you to select whichever suits you best. A general rule I like to follow in selecting a sharpening rod is to select one which is about the same size as my longest blade. As someone who’s longest blade is only 8 inches, I would select the 10-inch option. Most people will find themselves leaning toward that option, since bigger isn’t necessarily better. The rod needs only to be sufficiently long to allow you to sweep your knife down it without running out of rod before you reach the end of your knife. Anything too large will be difficult to control. Therefore, unless you are trying to sharpen a sword, I would advise against the longer option.
A single stone of 120 grit and a combination stone of 1000 and 3000 grits come along with a stone holder all for a price of less than many other individual stones. The stones are 6 7/8" long and 2 1/8" wide. A flattening stone of some kind would be needed, but with economical options available in those, the overall price of this kit would still be low. This entry level set is a good budget minded option.
So, why are there four slots? Unlike many other electric and manual sharpeners which sharpen both sides of the blade at one time, this sharpener sharpens one side at a time. Therefore, two slots are for the rough grit and two slots are for the fine grit. This is especially helpful for those people who prefer to only sharpen one side of certain blades.
4. Start sharpening the first side of the blade. With your blade set at the prefect angle, you’re ready to start sharpening. Imagine you’re carving off a slim piece of the stone’s surface. Personally, I bring the blade into the stone. Other people stroke the blade away from the stone. Both ways work, so just use whatever technique you prefer. If the knife blade is curved or if it’s longer than the stone, you’ll need to sweep the blade sideways as you work, so the entire edge is sharpened evenly. Apply moderate pressure as you sharpen. No need to bear down hard on the blade. After you make one stroke, start back at the beginning and repeat. Do this about 6-12 times.
I have this one and the axe/machete version as well. These are great sharpeners that make very short work of getting blades sharp. They take off quite a lot of material and are quite different than most other stone sharpeners I have used in the past, so I try to be conservative with my pressure as you see the chips fall when you pull the knife through. But, they absolutely work, and work very well. If you have a high use knife, this is a great way to keep it sharp and in service all the time. I use my large bushcraft knife a lot more now that I have this since I can sharpen it much faster and easier. I would not use this sharpener on precision instruments just because I prefer more control and try to preserve material on those types on knives. But, bottom line, I get more work done and much faster now that I have this.
I recommend keeping two stones in your kit. One with a medium grit (around 800 or so) to perform major sharpening jobs, and one with a fine grit (at least 2,000) to tune the edge to a razor-sharp finish. For real pros, a stone with an ultra-fine grit (8,000 and above) will leave a mirror-like finish on your blade, but most cooks won't notice the difference in terms of cutting ability.
Jigs, such as the industry-standard Edge Pro, are an extension of the stone method, as they use simple but cleverly designed armatures to maintain a consistent angle between the stone and the blade. They’re extremely effective—professional knife sharpeners are some of their biggest champions—but they’re also expensive, and really practical only with a dedicated workbench.
The Chef’sChoice ProntoPro 4643 is our overall pick among knife sharpeners. A manual model, it was the easiest of all our test models to use—almost intuitive, in fact: You insert the blade in one of the slots and run it back and forth, from heel to tip, until the tool grinds a new edge. The sharpening elements are wheels impregnated with diamond abrasive—a material that Cook’s Illustrated found to be superior (subscription required) to ceramics in both sharpening speed and lack of friction. In our test, about 30 strokes on the coarse wheels under light pressure cut a brand-new edge. Another 20 strokes on the fine, polishing wheels gave the edge a reasonably smooth finish.
Although the Trizor XV is easy to use, you have to use it correctly. That means sharpening one side of the blade at a time until a burr forms, whereas a back-and-forth, one-side-and-then-the-other approach might seem more intuitive. (Don’t worry—the Trizor XV’s manual explains the process plainly.) Maintenance is easy: Once a year or so, you open the bin on the machine’s underside and wipe out the metal shavings that it has conveniently captured there with a magnet.
With 100 percent diamond abrasives and proprietary Trizor Edge technology, this knife sharpener has been engineered to give your knives an incredibly sharp and professional edge. Although it’s designed to professional standards, it’s easy for anyone to use, with magnetic guides that properly position the knife in the sharpening slots and help increase control of the sharpening process.
TO USE: Soak stone in water for no more than 5-10 minutes. Place stone on a damp cloth with the courser 400 grit side (dark green) facing up. Hold the knife so that it’s flat and perpendicular to the block, with the blade facing left. Holding the knife at a 20-degree angle, slowly sweep the edge of the blade from left to right down the length of the stone and continue until sharp. If stone starts to feel too dry, add more water. Be patient and take your time. Flip knife over and repeat on the other side (now moving from right to left). Be sure to sharpen both sides evenly. To polish the blade further, flip stone over to the fine 1000 grit side (light green) and repeat the process. When blade is honed to desired sharpness, wash and dry your knife. To clean your stone, simply rinse with water, wipe away any remaining metal residue with a rag, rinse again, then dry.