Something I have always struggled with in the past is sharpening knives or sharpening anything for that matter.
Of course someone needs to take the blame so I put this solely on my parents for not teaching me as a youngster. (along with any other skill I currently struggle at)
In the past I have tried a few different methods to sharpen my kitchen knives with varying amounts of success. When I do get it right I feel it is more an accident than good skills on my part.
In the past I bought some reasonably expensive diamond sharpeners (kit of 3) but as I said, never really mastered it. I think it all comes down to being able to keep that ideal consistent angle, whatever it may be.
So through simple frustration I did a bit of research and came across a system made by Spyderco that has been around for a long time. Its called the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker. I didn't really read a bad thing about the system/tool so after a bit more thought I laid down the dollars (around $85 on eBay) and have now the be-all and end-all of sharpening systems.
It works by setting the stones at the right angle (40 or 30 deg) and you simply keep the knife blade vertical as you sharpen. That's the basic theory and seeing we are naturally akin to using a knife if a vertical plane it makes sense that our muscle memory is already programmed somewhat to jump straight in and use it.
After watching the accompanying DVD I have sharpened 3 knives so far, and they say it takes around 5 knives to get your mojo happening, so I don't have a lot of experience yet but what I can say is that it did exactly what it said it would and I now have 3 pretty sharp knives. They aren't perfect yet but I can tell I will get better with a bit of practice and the consistency I have now is so much better than where I have been in the past.
The other thing the manufacturer talks about, and demonstrates, is its versatility. It can sharpen scissors (special 12.5 deg angle stand) as well as just about anything with an edge. It has several nicely designed aspects which allow you to place the stones horizontal side by side to make a more traditional bed to sharpen on as well as a groove in each stone to do the more intricate sharps like fish hooks etc.
There are numerous videos online (Youtube etc) so it's easier if you just check it out there to get an idea of how it all works. It really is pretty simple but I think its a good system that should keep my knives sharp and the chef happy.
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