- Knife Sharpeners
- December 20, 2021
Spyderco Sharpmaker - Is It Any Good?
No matter how good your knife is, no matter what steel it’s made from, or whether it is modern or traditional, at some point, you’ll need to spend some time sharpening it to bring the edge back to working order. There are a number of sharpening systems on the market today, and they run the gamut in price. From a few dollars to hundreds of dollars, and many of them will put a razor edge on the hardest of steels. Often, all you need is something simple and effective to bring life back to knives that have gotten their share of use. In our opinion, one of the best, more affordable options is the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker.
If you’ve got high quality blades to take care of, this is an excellent choice, and will last far longer than most of those other sharpeners, and take better care of your edge than many of them
Spyderco’s Sharpmaker is a self contained, expandable two-stage sharpening system. The Sharpmaker comes in a plastic base/storage unit, that holds two sets of ceramic sticks, aluminum handguards, and has several different preset angles, or other positions for the sharpening rods. Stage one of the sharpening process is a pair of medium grit ceramic rods. Inserting these into the preset angle guide, which for the vast majority of production knives will be the 40* preset, will give you the ability to easily put a working edge on your knife, before moving on to the next stage, which is using the fine grit ceramic rods. This will give your knife well polished edges that are exceptionally sharp. Using the built-in angle guides, which match the angle of your edge, makes sure you don’t remove too much steel, or get an incorrect angle, keeping your knife sharp and ready to use for. And, their sharpener is an oil-free system, so you can forget about buying honing oil. You simply wash it with some warm water, dish soap, and a gentle scrub brush or scrubber to remove the steel particles, and getting it ready for more sharpening.
Be aware that compared to many other sharpening systems on the market today, this is not a quick, pull it through once or twice type of sharpener. If you have several knives to sharpen, or need to put a lot of work in on your edges in a short period of time, you might want to look at other options. The Sharpmaker does require quite a bit of care and attention during use to avoid damaging the ceramic rods. If you’re not familiar with these devices or have been out of practice for some time, you might want to go over the basics before starting to sharpen.
The Sharpmaker comes with an instructional DVD featuring Sal Glesser, the founder of Spyderco, that is easy enough to follow along and the sharpening angles are marked on the base for ease of use, giving you the option of 40* or 30*, depending on how fine an edge your knife needs.
While the price is good for the quality of the sharpener you get, it’s still a little pricey compared to some of the other types of knife sharpeners, such as whetstones, and tungsten pull-through sharpeners, available in the marketplace. However, if you’ve got high-quality blades to take care of, this is an excellent choice and will last far longer than most of those other sharpeners, and take better care of your edge than many of them. It’s great for everything from taking out simple nicks and dings to putting a fine edge on your high-quality blade.
To get the best results with the Sharpmaker, you’ll need to invest a little time to take care of your edges. However, you’ll be getting a sharpener that can give you a honed edge on almost any steel. When you add the extra coarse diamond rods to the system, you’ll be incurring some additional costs, but you’ll have the ability to reprofile the edge of your knife in a shorter time, even on the toughest blades. You can also purchase rods in various other finishes, from extra fine, to coarse ceramic, to customize the work you want to do on your knife. In addition to the sharpening of knives, you can also use the Sharpmaker for sharpening fish hooks, straight razors, axes, and many other items, following the instructions included on the DVD, and using the appropriate angle and insertion point for the ceramic rods. You can even place the rods in the bottom of the base, and use them as a whetstone for freehand sharpening.
Another nice advantage of this sharpener is that it doesn’t take up much room in your kit, I keep mine in one of the pockets of my sling bag. Like we mentioned above, it is self-contained in a hard plastic case, but as also mentioned above, it is a system that you’ll need to be careful with so as not to break it. The ceramic sticks are fragile and not very flexible, like any ceramic item. It won’t necessarily be useful in a hard-core survival situation, but if you’re going to spend some time in the backcountry, this might be worth adding to your gear.
Another thing worth considering is the Sharpmaker’s versatility. It can be used equally well to care for the kitchen, everyday carry (EDC), outdoor, and work knives. It’s not for everyone and it does require more care than some other systems on the market today, but if you’re willing to spend a little time with your blades you’ll be rewarded with a set of edges that are second to none.
The basic process for sharpening involves 20 swipes along the flats of the medium sharpening rods. After that, you move on to the fine sharpening rods and do another 20 passes on the flats. If you need to do some fine, attention to detail sharpening, you can use the corners, and you should always use the corners if sharpening a serrated or partially serrated knife. While you’re sharpening, make sure that your blade is held vertical for each stroke as this is the key to an evenly sharpened knife edge. When you sit down to use it, block out about 10 minutes or so per knife. It’s recommended to stick to the 40-degree angle in most cases, as this is generally the industry standard.
In summary, the Sharpmaker is a quality sharpening system that should last you for years. My original model lasted more than 15+ years before needing replaced. I’m impressed with how well this thing actually works and it gets my full endorsement…especially when you consider the price compared to other similar systems on the market today. There may be faster models out there but in my opinion the results are worth the time spent.
There are many different types of knife sharpeners on the market today, but it can be difficult to find one that suits your needs. Whether you’re looking for something for use at home, in the workshop, on the go, or in the backwoods, there is a sharpener out there for you. The Spyderco Sharpmaker is definitely worthy of consideration.