Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Product Review: Kitchen Knife Sharpener

A few days ago my mysterious merchandise propaganda agent sent me a secret code that would give me $40 to spend on his website, It took me about 5 minutes to hone in on a promising product: A knife sharpener set for about $30 + $7 shipping, costing me not one penny (but harming the environment immeasurably in the production process, I'm sure). It so happens that I am highly qualified to review knife sharpeners, with perhaps a hundred hours of knife sharpening experience in my former life as a woodcarver, butcher, craftsmanboy, and outdoorsmanboy. The quick summary is that this sharpener cuts pretty fast. For more exciting details, read on.

The sharpening system includes three diamond-coated metal sharpening pieces, each about 1.25x6 inches and only about a millimeter thick. There is a rough piece a medium piece, and a fine piece. Each can be mounted on a magnetic handle:

Watch out! This magnet is so strong that you'll pinch your fingers if you're not careful as you put on the metal part of your choice. You could even use the handle as a refrigerator magnet:

For my analysis of the sharpening system, I tested it on three blades: My lawnmower, a machete made in Columbia; a pretty high-quality kitchen knife; and a pocket knife.

I found that the diamond surfaces cut pretty fast compared to other sharpeners I've used before. In just a few minutes with the roughest piece, I got my machete so sharp that it cut into cardboard without bashing it in. Come to think of it, maybe the machete could do this before I sharpened it, I forgot to check.

The rest of the knives sharpened nicely. I was so enthused that I decided to sharpen up one of my butter knives. I got the tip so sharp that I easily stuck it into my rock-hard bamboo cutting board:

Don't worry, as soon as I took the photos I dulled it again, using the roughest piece, so that my dinner guests don't impale themselves.

So, to get down to the technical details: I found this product to be surprisingly good. The main drawback is that even the finest sharpening piece is a bit too rough to make a razor edge. However, in my experience most kitchen knives are not capable of maintaining a razor edge for very long anyway. If you're a regular cook with moderately crappy knives that you don't bother sharpening more often than once every few months, I'm guessing this sharpening set would enable you to achieve all your sharpening aspirations for quite a few years.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want one!

10:45 AM  

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