Friday, 30 September 2011

Unboxing: The Lansky Sharpening System

Dumpster Dived Kitchen Knife Of Unknown Stainless Steel

Sometimes there are benefits to this Blogging thing, if you post enough about a subject sooner or later you get offered stuff to review. Although contrary to popular belief I'm not sponsored by Patrick Smith of Kifaru, in fact when I look into the empty void in my pockets, it feels more like I sponsor him!

Every once in a while someone writes in and asks me to review a piece of kit. Sadly most of them are vendors of crap I wouldn't have in the house, let alone take afield or recommend to you. Every once in a while it's something I've been meaning to buy so when Scott from Lansky popped me an email I was thrilled. I've known lots of fans of the Lansky Sharpening System so I was very happy to have one of my own to play with.

Straight out of the box it's a pretty well thought out piece of kit with enough grades of abrasive to take a knife from used-and-abused to damn-that's-sharp. I know lots of you have struggled with freehand sharpening, and to be honest its taken me a lot of time and effort to get even reasonably remotely good reasonable at it. I'm still no where near as good at it as I want to be and it takes a lot of time to get a credible edge.

Most sharpening systems that actually make a durable edge are bloody expensive.  It's very easy to make a knife sharp for a few cuts, most of those little 'pull-through' sharpeners will give you an edge of sorts, but it won't stay sharp. What they create is a very very thing 'wire edge' which soon flattens or breaks off leaving a dull edge behind. What helps is a fixed sharpening angle. So as a first step to sharp and durable the Lansky seems like the logical choice.

So how does it work?
The Lansky is a blade clamp with a series of slots which guide the hones as they contact the cutting edge, every stroke is the same as the last one, meaning that you're avoiding the classic beginners mistakes of mis-estimating the angle and you're always taking material off the blade without the odd acidental 'off angle' strokes undoing of the work you've already done. Works well.

Stay tuned for the next part where I'll show you some tips I've compiled for getting the most out of the system as I take a truly used-and-abused Mora Clipper back to hair-popping sharp.

Your Pal