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There are several ways to go. The least expensive way is with a Lansky tool, about $25 on amazon:
Follow the instructions and do your learning on a knife you dan't care about. Expect to have it all figured out in an hour or two.
The bottom line is that it's simple, it's just unfamiliar at first. All you're really doing is just shaping the metal into a nice even V. Make sure everything is straight and perpendicular and firmly connected, and use a light pressure on the stones (a heavier pressure will not cut faster, it just chews the stones up). Blacken the edge with a sharpie marker so you can see what's happening and you'll be fine.
I've been sharpening all my knives for years. It's pretty easy, especially if they're still a little sharp. If you want to do it yourself, I'd recommend a Lansky kit. A basic one costs about $25 on amazon. Watch a few youtube videos to learn the technique, it's not too difficult.
As a general rule, once a knife is properly sharpened on a stone, honing and stropping will maintain the edge, and will lengthen the time before the next sharpening is necessary. But once it gets dulled to a certain point, resharpening is unavoidable.
If you are not comfortable sharpening freehand on a stone, get a basic lansky setup here for $25:
Just follow the instructions and you'll have a nice edge when you're done. As a bonus, most of what you learn using this tool will transfer to freehand sharpening if you decide to go that route later.
$23 for everything you need.
One nice thing about this system is that the skills and knowledge transfer to most other systems, and also to freehand sharpening.
Any knife sharpening method has a learning curve. Start on junky knives you don't care about, and make all your mistakes there. Once you have it figured out then you can keep your nice knives sharp forever.
Sharpening using only a stone is called 'freehand sharpening'. It's hard at first.
There are two ways to make it less painful.
The first is to start with your ordinary stone and a couple of cheap knives you don't care about. Go through the learning process there. Get a black marker and put plenty of ink on the blade, covering the cutting edge and everything a quarter-inch above it. This will show you what's actually going on.
The second (and better) way is to get a sharpener that is a little easier to start with, like this:
It's $25 and it will save you a lot of grief. What's better is that the things you learn by using this sharpener will carry over if you want to graduate to freehand sharpening later.
Of course, you'll want to practice on a cheap knife with any new system - every one of them has a learning curve - and once you've got it down pat, you can keep your nice knives razor sharp forever.
The Spyderco ZDP is very hard steel. It won't sharpen easily, and that's not the best way to start.
Whatever you choose as your new EDC, get yourself a Lansky kit for $25 and figure out how to make it work. Every knife needs to be sharpened and be you'll be happy once you are good at it. Once you have confidence there, no steel will be hard enough to stop you.
If you are new to sharpening and just want to get a nice edge on your knives, stay away from stones for now. The Lanski crock stick suggested below is one good method, and here's another:
$23 and it's everything you need.
I've just been using this one. It works great for my work knives because I don't need a straight razor for what I do, but I'm afraid to use it with any of my higher end stuff. I probably should be the guy that has one of those, but I always put sharpening on the back burner since I'm not the best with it, at least with my more expensive stuff. That's why I'm excited about the Sharpmaker, it seems like it's waayy more appropriate for touch up stuff. I feel like I'll be a little more comfortable gliding my Umnum over those triangle rods versus grinding away at it with the Lansky stones. That's funny that you mention that because I have thought about that, I have thousands invested in knives and I can't sharpen one of them to hair shaving to save my life, it's almost embarrassing! I'll get there, though, I just have to focus more on it.
I think the best way to start on a budget is a lansky tool:
$25 and everything you need to start. You can always buy more stones later if you want them.
There are two keys to success here. The first is to practice on knives you don't care about - cheap old kitchen knives, old broken pocket knives, make all your mistakes on those.
The second trick (which probably won't make much sense now, but it will once you have the tool in your hands) is to apply a little pressure with your finger to hold the rod against the bottom of the hole. If you let the rod wiggle within the hole it will ruin the consistency of the angle.
When I sharpen, I get a fat sharpie pen and put a generous amount of ink along the edge on each side. This shows exactly where the stone is touching (a magnifying glass helps). It's surprisingly easy to use too small an angle, and not touch the actual edge at all. It comes right off with a little rubbing alcohol when you are done.
The one linked would be fine, I'd say. Using a set of sticks angled differently from the Skeletool won't ruin the blade; it'll just change the angle. The 25 and 20 degree angles on the Lansky rod sharpener will actually give you a significantly "sharper" edge, albeit it'll be more delicate. If you'd rather keep it at 30 degrees for more of a hard-use edge, look into getting this.
No way does it work like it shows. Anything that is course enough to bevel the edge isn't fine enough to create a sharp edge. Think of it as sanding a rough piece of wood. Aggressive sandpaper will smooth an uneven surface, but it doesn't become smooth to the touch. Fine sandpaper will smooth an already rough-sanded surface, but would take forever to actually smooth a rough surface. Now, chances are you already have knives that just need a touchup. Something like this Lansky sharpening system would work well but might be more work than you want to put in. Something like this cheap knife sharpener would still be better than that piece of crap.
The product is garbage.Having it on springs makes no sense. You either add enough force to sharpen and it pushes the sides out against the wall giving a more obtuse angle, or you daintily pull it though 1000 times so the springs don't engage. It is stupid marketing bullshit and there is no way they don't know it. This product is a worse version than anything already on the market and they expect that they can sell it to enough people who don't know better. You don't need flex and contouring on a blade sharpener you need a consistent angle for the edge. Every sharpener tool takes material away to sharpen it except, supposedly, this piece of crap. if you aren't removing material at best you are bending the blade edge back (assuming it was curled over) or, more likely you are doing nothing.
The ad makes me so angry that I want to tie whoever made it to a pole in the desert and give them only a credit card and this piece of junk.
I've done freehand and with guides like this. Neither have given me the results I wanted.
Get a sharpie marker and darken the edge of the CV knife. Then run it through your hone and have a close look at it under good light.
I strongly suspect you will find a bright band where the hone has removed the ink, and a very thin dark band below it, indicating that the hone has not touched the actual cutting edge.
CV is pretty nice steel, and the chances are excellent that whatever is wrong can be fixed with a proper sharpening.
You can get everything you need for about $30:
Just follow the instructions, and practice on an old cheap knife you don't care about. Once you get the hang of it you can keep every knife in your house razor sharp forerver.
Beautiful knives; very functional, clean designs.
Sharpening is something you'll want to do all the time, and now is the perfect time to get set up to do it right. $30 will get you there:
Practice on cheap knives first - every system has a learning curve. When you have it down pat, sharpen these lovely knives yourself and keep them razor sharp forever.
This is hard to beat:
Buy a Lansky sharpening system on amazon, along with a super c clamp (also Lansky), and have sharp knives for life. [link]
Actually on Amazon, we're pretty much half that price ... well, minus shipping of course:
Oddly enough, this one's more expensive though I don't know what the difference is...
Personally, I've got a little pocket stone that I use in combination with a cheap standard Lansky sharpener and occasionally an old belt with some polish for a strop...but eventually I want to pick up one of these Lansky 4 rod Crock stick sharpeners.
FWIW though, I've gotten my Spyderco Endura back to shaving sharp (once, heh) with my current stone and strop combo. I usually don't have the patience to do that though, but with something more consistent than myself, I would think I could cut (heh) the time in half and get it back that sharp more often.
I'll second /u/super_octopus 's post! I've got the Sharpmaker and it works great for all my knives, from my Buck 505 with a 1.875" blade to my custom Bowie and Kukri both with over 6" blades. The system is pretty affordable (under $60).
Alternately I've heard really good things about the Lansky system, either the three stone or five stone sets, both of which are even more affordable (under $40).
I've also got a few diamond coated whetstones for freehand sharpening, which work great too, but you just have to be prepared to go slow at first and learn how to hold your blades at the proper angles and sharpen them evenly. DMT makes some good diamond coated whetstones.
So definitely watch a few youtube videos, read the sidebar guide /u/super_octopus pointed out to you, and if you're still unsure on technique, once you get something to sharpen your knives with, try to practice first with some old beater knife or cheap blade that you might not mind having to sharpen a little extra in case it takes you a while to get it right.
Nah, the Lansky Sharpening System is the best way for beginners to guarantee a nice edge.
It's like $25 on Amazon.
The Squid uses a "soft" steel so sharpening won't be hard. Dont worry too much about it.
> Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones
The Lansky costs 38 CAD and it should do just fine for a beginner. If you want to get a finer edge further down the line you can always use sandpaper. Tape (Double sided ) it to a flat surface or even the Lansky stones.
I think beginners should start with something like a Lansky. Freehand sharpening with a stone is a great skill to have but it's an advanced skill.
When you first use your Lansky you'll have a lot to learn, about angles and burrs and wire edges and microbevels and so on. You'll learn how to apply the right pressure and the right grits, and how to protect the tip. This is all stuff you should know before learning the additional skills of freehanding on a stone.
Basic Lanski kit, $22:
You can buy extra stones later if you want.
It works quite well but as with any other sharpening system, practice on a knife you don't care about first. There are always little tricks you learn along the way.