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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thing keeps showing up on my Instagram feed. At first glance it looks pretty cool, (holds your knife at the proper angle and easy sharpening). I've tried using whet stones a couple of times and I'm not very good at it. I know that sharpening takes practice but the Tumbler seems like a quick and easy way to get the job done.

What do you guys think?

 

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Sharpening is not putting an edge at the end of a piece of steel. It's more about restoring a previous configuration in another place, where the steel is slightly thicker. If you remove 1 millimetre of the width, the thickness behind the edge is likely to have doubled. A good reason to thin behind the edge prior to reaching the very edge.
The best edges match with the blade's geometry. As I'm right-handed, I want the right bevel to continue the arc formed by the right face.
These kind of devices totally ignore any geometry. No back bevel, no convexity.
 

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"I've tried using whet stones a couple of times and I'm not very good at it. I know that sharpening takes practice"

If by "whet" stone you mean oil then you'll probably never get good results with a kitchen knife. Water is the way to go and yes it takes practice, but anyone can learn to free hand sharpen + every knife's geometry is different. A good set (1000/6000) of Japanese water stones and some practice with set you free. There are 100s of videos on hand sharpening and caring for your blades. John Broida and Murray Carter are two that really stand out as educational. You can't give control of your edge over to a jig, or machine because they don't know what a particular knife wants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK. I appreciate the responses, but I have no idea what either mike9 or benuser are talking about. How do you know "what a knife wants"? "Right bevel to continue the arc formed by the right face"? You guys are speaking Greek to me.

I bought a set of whet stones off of Amazon. It came with 2 stones that are double-sided, (800/1000 and 3000/6000 I think). I did indeed use water. I've watched a bunch of videos and used the "Sharpie" method when sharpening but I haven't been able to get the ones I tried to be as sharp as when they were new.

I'm just a home cook that likes his knives sharp.
 

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For basic utilitarian kitchen knife use, these sharpening aids are certainly useful. As the blade gets ground down by repeated/aggressive sharpening, then more advanced techniques like “thinning behind the edge” become more useful. But for BASIC COOKING, sharpening doesn’t need to be complex.

That specific system actually seems to have some merit but (if I recall correctly) was bogged down in hype to justify a high price. But it looks like it will certainly work for basic knife sharpening.
 

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Hi darien87,

The device pictured is a copy/ knockoff of the Horl sharpener. As a sharpening aid it performs adequately well.

There are about a zillion jigs out there to aid with knife sharpening, some motorized, some manual, with the majority of them providing an accurate method of maintaining a certain bevel angle. However, with enough repetition, muscle memory kicks in and the jig becomes superfluous. That said, jigs are great to establish that muscle memory

The “world” of sharpening is highly personal, with “ opinions” on the “ best” sharpening abrasive, the “ best” methods, jigs, etc. It’s almost as dangerous as discussing religion or politics.

the “ best” advice I can give you is to stick with one method and abrasive and use it until you are familiar with it— only then try another method or abrasive.
 

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OK. I appreciate the responses, but I have no idea what either mike9 or benuser are talking about. How do you know "what a knife wants"? "Right bevel to continue the arc formed by the right face"? You guys are speaking Greek to me.

I bought a set of whet stones off of Amazon. It came with 2 stones that are double-sided, (800/1000 and 3000/6000 I think). I did indeed use water. I've watched a bunch of videos and used the "Sharpie" method when sharpening but I haven't been able to get the ones I tried to be as sharp as when they were new.

I'm just a home cook that likes his knives sharp.
I appreciate where you're coming from. I'm a home cook that enjoys sharp knives too.

It's definitely a process. One of the best things I ever did years ago was to take two knife classes . . . the first one for how to use knives and the second one was for how to sharpen knives. Both classes were invaluable because the instructor could provide immediate feedback on my technique and how to improve it. He was also left-handed and I (a righty) could mirror his movements. One of the things he pointed out was my pressure was too delicate and helped me develop a feel for a more appropriate pressure when sharpening knives. Same thing for honing.

Knives were provided in both of these classes. We were also encouraged to bring knives of our own to the second class. One of my proudest moments in the second class was the instructor coming over and looking at an 8" chef's knife I had brought with me and telling me "I didn't think you could put a good edge on this knife, but you did." It was a mediocre knife I had purchased to celebrate finishing graduate school and I thought I didn't have anything to lose.

One thing that really helped me develop more confidence and better skills was to sharpen a lot of knives and see the difference. To do this, I would often stop by thrift stores, pick up a couple of knives, take them home, and have a go at sharpening them. I didn't worry about ruining them. Plus, I felt more comfortable trying things like changes in pressure, angle, motion, and more. Because the knives were largely no-name knives since the markings had worn off, I didn't have a preconception about them. I learned people will get rid of knives with a lot of potential because they're really dull. What a great opportunity to give them a new lease on life. Not all the knives were keepers, but I came across a couple of real gems that I still use today. Seeing and feeling the difference helped me understand how to assess "what a knife wants"
 
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