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Sharpener for all

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

I'm a rookie home chef with a 7pc Messermiester Meridian Elite, Zwilling Henckles 4 Star Santoku 2pc and Shun Classic Cleaver.

My question is: is there a sharpener that is capable to handling these blades? Where do you find the blade angle information?

From reading so far the

Messermiester is actually an angle of 15 (despite being German)
Zwilling Santoku 15 (as it's an Asian blade)
Shun ??? (Possibly 16?)

I was using a wushtof 2 grade sharpener and have since discovered that the Zwilling is in fact a blade with a different angle.

I was thinking of getting a Smith's 50264 Adjustable Manual Knife Sharpner. Anyone use these?

Many thanks,
post #2 of 3

The Messermeister is standard 4116 steel (which is in other brands called "X50CrMoV15") and the Zwilling Henckels 4-Star is the (european) stock standard Zwilling Henkels regular steel, which is not all that different from 4116 steel.  While the Zwilling Henkels 4-Star Santoku is a knife using a general Japanese design, it it definitely not made in Japan.  I know - because I have a Zwilling Henckels 5-Star Santoku, which differs only in the handle design from the 4-Star.  The thickness of the European steel Zwilling Henckels santoku blade is MUCH thicker than a comparable VG-10 blade.   


Zwilling Henckels does have some knives made in Japan, but they are of the Miyabi line and the Bob Kramer line,


The Shun is of course a different animal - it is definitely made in Japan, and uses a laminated construction ("san mai") of two (or more, for "damascus") outer layers of a softer stainless steel as protective cladding over an inner core of Japanese-made and much harder VG-10 steel.


The sharpener you mention, the "Smith's 50264 Adjustable Manual Knife Sharpener" (to save the other readers from having to go look it up) is a three-slot manual pull-through sharpener.  Save yourself the $20 plus dollars you would spend on it and much more importantly, save yourself the potential damage to your knives' edges!  Pull-through sharpeners have bad reputations on this forum, with unintended consequences.


Bottom LIne: there is no magic "one-size-fits-all" sharpener..  Instead, for the sharpest edges, you are going to have to tailor your sharpening processes to fit each knife.


First, go to your local public library and see if you can borrow and read An Edge In The Kitchen by Chad Ward.  Read it.  Keep in mind that it was published in 2008 and the prices are considerably out-of-date - but the basic information is still good.


Next, get a good honing rod to keep the microscopic edges of your knives properly aligned.  One which has a very good reputation at this point is the $30 12-inch Idahone ultra-fine ceramic rod.  Using a proper honing rod will not sharpen your knives, but it will distinctly lengthen the amount of time needed between sharpenings.


Then decide whether you want to get into freehand sharpening.  An Edge will bring you up to speed on what's involved.  And you can read through the threads and posts already on this website to get an idea of what works and what doesn't.


An alternative to freehand sharpening is the Edge Pro Apex.  It is initially pricey ($165 for the simplest kit), but stones are much less expensive in the long run, compared to full-sized sharpening stones.  And the learning curve is definitely MUCH shorter in time and effort.


Other than that, the best I can suggest is that you look at developing the skills to keep your knives sharp.



Galley Swiller

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Hi Galley,

Thanks so much for your detailed reply.

I will track down the book you mentioned. I had a feeling as though a one size fits all sharpener was too good to be true.

Time to learn new skills I guess!

Thanks again smile.gif
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