Sharpening knives is something that becomes a requirement no matter how sturdy the blade or durable the steel. Having the proper equipment makes the process faster, easier and much more enjoyable.
The Spyderco Sharpmaker is a complete sharpening kit, containing multiple sharpening implements for a number of different blades and tools. Unlike other sharpening kits, the Sharpmaker is designed to sharpen almost anything with a blade to it, it is not simply a “knife sharpener”.
For the quality and versatility we give the Spyderco Sharpmaker 5 out of 5 stars.
- Comes as a full kit with hard carry case
- Tri-angle stones for variety of blades
- 2 sets of stones for sharpening and finish
- Only two sharpening angles
- Diamond rods sold separately
- More expensive than Lansky system
What You Get With The Sharpmaker Kit
The system itself comes as a complete sharpening kit. The kit includes two sets of tri-angled ceramic stones. One set is coarse for heavy sharpening work and the other is fine for smooth finishing work.
The kit also includes brass rods for safety while sharpening and a hard carrying case for the entire kit. The base features two different angle slots for sharpening blades with different angles. This kit also requires no honing oil, unlike similar systems.
The kit itself is fairly affordable for a sharpening system, what sets it apart from other systems, however, is that you get multiple sharpening tools at once instead of a single sharpening stone.
The angled stones can be used to sharpen plain or even serrated edge blades on most knives, axes, and other tools. The different stones are good for heavy sharpening and then smooth finishing the blade once the bulk of the work has been done.
The kit comes with written instructions, illustrations, and an instructional DVD to ensure proper use.
Is it Beginner Friendly?
In a word, yes, the Spyderco Sharpmaker is easy to use. All the pieces snap securely into the base and sharpening your blade is as simple as running the edge of your knife along one of the provided stones on each side.
It comes with not only written instructions, but also illustrations showing how the kit is supposed to be set up, and a DVD that shows proper setup and sharpening technique.
Once the basic technique has been mastered, a user can move on to learning more refined techniques using the different stones and grinding angles.
The base and brass guide rods are sturdy and secure and help make sharpening a blade safer for a beginner, while providing options for more experienced users as well.
How To Use
The kit comes in its own hard case that houses the base, stones, and rods. Begin by setting the base flat down on a hard surface, such as a work table or bench. Then place the rods into either the 40 degree slot, which is recommended by Spyderco for normal sharpening, or the 30 degree “back bevel” slot for refined sharpening. The brass safety guide rods fit into slots in front of the stones to prevent injury.
To sharpen your blade simply hold it perpendicular to the floor and slide the blade along one of the stones. Alternate between stones on each side to sharpen both sides of the blade. The set of rough ceramic stones are for sharpening the blade and the smooth stones are for finishing the edge.
The triangular shape of the stones make them useful for sharpening straight blades on the smooth sides, as well as serrated or recurve blades using the corners.
There are a few things to consider when using the ceramic sharpening rods. Firstly, the rods themselves are brittle, as ceramic breaks easily if dropped. Second, the rods are porous and must be cleaned regularly using a mildly abrasive cleaner. As a blade is sharpened metal fragments begin to collect in the stones. To maintain effective sharpening, they require regular cleaning, however, the triangular shape allows for prolonged use between each cleaning. Professional users suggest upgrading to diamond rods for sharpening of harder steel blades.
Spyderco Sharpmaker vs Lansky 5 Stone System
In a number of tests comparing these two different products we looked at a variety of factors.
Ease – For ease of use, the win goes to the Sharpmaker. The Lansky system requires a lot more setup with clamps and multiple angles and rod types, whereas the Sharpmaker is much simpler with its two rods and snap in base.
Versatility – For overall versatility the win goes to Lansky. The multiple grit stones and sharpening angles provide for more versatility in sharpening tasks. The Sharpmaker only has two angles and two stone types, limiting the type of knives that can be sharpened.
Sharpness – For sharpness the win goes to the Sharpmaker. Although Lansky has more tools included for sharpening, the overall sharpness of dull blades is significantly lower than the Sharpmaker. The Sharpmaker takes a little longer to sharpen blades, but has proven through testing to provide sharper blades in the end.
Final Verdict – In this comparison the overall winner is the Sharpmaker. Its beginner friendly setup and ease of use make it a better option when compared to the complex design of the Lansky system.
While Lansky is more versatile, with more sharpening rods and a variety of different angles, the setup is more difficult. In the end the ease of use, and the outstanding results give the Sharpmaker the win in my book.
Spyderco Sharpmaker Review – Final Thoughts
The Spyderco Sharpmaker is a good choice for the beginner or expert knife owner. Not only is it easy to set up and use, the tools provided in the kit make it useful for sharpening not just knives, but a wide variety of tools with different edges.
The kit includes everything needed to get started and is convenient for routine maintenance or for sharpening even dull or damaged blades. The overall quality of the kit makes it a solid choice for anyone looking to maintain their knives.
- Easy-to-Use, Outstanding Results - This has everything necessary to sharpen any type of edged or pointed tool in just a few minutes' time. Simply keep the plane of your knife
- Durable Design - The Sharpmaker has an ABS plastic base/storage case and contains keyed holes that accurately set the stones
- Ready to Travel - The 204MF is designed to be handheld and portable. Simply snap all the components into the self-contained ABS Durable plastic base and lid. You are good to go!