Introduction In the knife making the steel represents the soul of the knife, which is determined by such factors as edge retention of sharpness, corrosion resistance, ductility (strength) and ease of sharpening. Among all the parameters, the cornerstone in creating...
Best knife sharpening system
To name the best knife sharpener is both a technological and a purely theoretical challenge. In the marketing aspect, the manufacturer can certainly call their knife sharpener whatever they want, but you must agree that if the product name includes the word "System" it increases its appeal in the eyes of the customer. The issue is that the definition of the word itself carries some complexity, and not everyone will be able to define it right away. Which means that the device or product is complex and well thought out. But is it true?
From a technical point of view, a knife sharpening system or a knife sharpener can be described as a set of interacting components designed to solve a given work. In other words, we can also say that the device must possess a number of technical characteristics that ensure the flow of the process and lead to the expected result.
To make it easier to understand, here is an example of a system that has nothing to do with sharpening, but illustrates the approach: a HIFI stereo sound system. Although it may seem somewhat old school, it has such input and output components as a radio receiver, a record player, a stereo cassette player, laser discs, and an amplifier with an equalizer for the sound output to the speakers. It is all built on several modules connected together to provide high-quality sound. Hopefully, it is now clear that an ordinary iron can in no way be called a system for ironing laundry, the same is true for a whetstone or a pull-through diamond sharpener, which in no way can be called a knife sharpener.
1. Main types and distinctive features of knife sharpeners
The next question, after defining the concept of a knife sharpener, is what sharpening devices are called systems and what their distinguishing features are. In the usual sense, the market often distinguishes between three basic types of sharpening systems:
- Mechanical manual sharpeners with guides, also called the Apex type in the sharpening community, although many brands have already created much more advanced technical solutions than the original invention.
- Electric sharpeners, which include water-cooled devices and electric kitchen sharpeners, endless belt devices, and some others.
- Mechanical three stone diamond sharpening devices with a quick change of three abrasives for three stage sharpening work.
It cannot be denied that without exception all devices and units bearing the word «system» in their name produce certain knife sharpening results and all operate with a certain abrasive and include certain parts for adjusting the sharpening angle during work.
1.1. Mechanical manual turning knife sharpener
We will begin with the tested basics, with a group of so-called quick-change, full-size abrasive bars. These products offer a three stage sharpening but basically represent abrasive support with a stone holder and a handle that you have to pull to get the bar from the support and flip it over to the other abrasive during work.
This does not give any significant speed advantage in sharpening, besides, you can only install an abrasive of a small thickness in the holder. Only a few manufacturers sell this type of device, and it can be found on the market in large online stores along with other accessories and sharpening supplies. Therefore, it is very difficult to call this device a knife sharpener.
1.2. Electric knife sharpener
Among all electric knife sharpeners, it is possible to point out several main devices:
- Devices that use an endless belt: various belt sanding machines and all kinds of grinders. There are also some devices that strongly resemble manual belt grinders, transformed into a kind of sharpening devices and proudly positioned by their manufacturers as knife sharpeners.
- Electric bench top knife sharpeners are well tested and famous due to one well-known manufacturer. At least many users already have a certain stereotype that each of these sharpeners can or at least should provide multi stage sharpening of kitchen knives.
- Electric water-cooled and non-water-cooled knife sharpeners remind one of the well-known common rotating disc sharpeners, but with a special design feature that helps to sharpen knives with precision and speed.
Devices with an endless belt in their best designs and equipment - are the most effective and progressive, but to achieve good results, you need a significant financial investment, as well as a lot of experience.
Electric bench top grinders are the best machines in terms of speed, financial cost, and lack of experience requirements for the user. They are one of the best tested choices for kitchen knives.
Electric sharpeners are just as fast as electric bench sharpeners and are more expensive with superior processing quality, but still significantly cheaper than professional devices with an endless belt.
1.3. Mechanical manual sharpener with a guide rod
Among mechanical manual sharpeners with a guide rod of all existing sizes in the professional range, there are three main characteristic parts in their design that allow you to determine the class and capabilities of the individual unit:
- guide rod with an abrasive holder, which may have some design variations and additional functions
- Sharpening angle adjustment unit, where you actually mount the guide with the abrasive holder, presented in the form of an axis, a toothed rack, or a more complex height adjuster
- semi-automatic turning mechanism with a clamping frame for setting and clamping the knife blade
The design of such devices consists of a base on which the mechanism is fixed, which adjusts the position of the abrasive guide with the abrasive holder at a certain angle in relation to the fixed blade edge in the device clamps, as well as the turning mechanism. Often the bases of modular systems work as a universal table. Some knife sharpeners are equipped with additional parts that allow additional adjustments and can handle with a non standard work.
2. Distinguishing features of some of TSPROF's best sharpening systems
TSPROF has three different types of manual sharpeners in its catalog with their own features and advantages.
The Blitz Pro, the smallest but professional knife sharpener designed for household use, which has no direct equivalents at all, stands out for the following features:
- A very compact and lightweight device;
- Equipped with a Flip-n-Sharp turning mechanism;
- Virtual center angle setting;
- The clamps move along the entire length of the turning frame and are perfect for sharpening thin and short knives;
- The hinge unit makes it possible to sharpen the blade edge to a 70° inclusive angle with a fine angle adjustment.
The Kadet Pro is still a fairly compact but powerful device with a combination of features that very few can beat. The features of this device are:
- Relatively small size and weight;
- Large enough clamping frame with the ability to use the clamps of the superior model;
- Rack and pinion lift with a digital angle finder reference platform
- Can sharpen all types of knives from pocket knives to large kitchen knives with the exception of some particularly large ones
The K03 Pro – is the manufacturer's most advanced device capable of solving almost any work for knife makers and professionals. The main features of the K03 Pro are:
- abrasive holder with a built-in electronic angle finder and the ability to clamp abrasives in almost all existing types of abrasive formats
- Rack and pinion lift with stepless angle adjustment and a maximum range of angles up to 39° degrees (78° inclusive angle)
- unique turning mechanism with a secure locking mechanism
- a wide range of different clamps and accessories
In general, we can say that the range of the company's products covers all possible needs of the market in the matter of professional sharpening in terms of price, quality, and sharpening efficiency in this product range. Choosing to buy one of these products would definitely be the right decision.
It should be emphasized that not everything called a system is really a system. A correct and fair approach would be to name the best knife sharpener from each type among mechanical and electrical devices, but this is not that easy.
TSPROF manual sharpening systems with an apex-type guide rod are the most sophisticated sharpeners aimed at very high cutting edge quality with maximum time consumption and high precision level and they are suitable for beginners.
The most advanced knife sharpener of the mentioned company is really the best of its kind, but not without some technical nuances. Of course, the major part in your choice will be the availability of the product, the warranty service and, of course, compliance with your needs.
The cost of purchasing the sharpener itself is not crucial, as it is only part of the price, and the cost of the sharpening kit includes the price of the knife sharpener and all the diamond and abrasive stones that you may need. And the cost of accessories and consumables can go much higher than that of the sharpener itself.
There is no doubt that each sharpener will get you a sharp cutting edge, but you have to realise that the surface quality and overall expenses will be different from system to system.
The best knife sharpener for you will be the one that best suits your needs and your budget.
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