What If You Never Had To Sharpen A Knife Again?

Posted On January 29, 2017 at 5:25 pm by / No Comments


That’s exactly what I thought when I first stumbled upon the term “self sharpening knives”. For a minute or two I’ll admit I was a little dumbstruck! Sometimes it’s nice to pause for a moment and really appreciate how far we’ve come as a species in literally everything. Over the last couple decades, we’ve made huge advancements in technology, medicine, and even business for that matter. What’s the result? I’d say more innovative products that either simplify a current issue, or solve problems that were previously unsolvable. But are the new ways always better than the old ones? I want you to ponder this for the rest of this post.


A Quick History Lesson On Knife Sharpening – Old School Vs. New School

I feel it is important to remind you about the history of how blades were sharpened way back when, versus now. Why is it important? Simply because as a consumer you need to be educated, so you don’t end up buying the next new gimmick or gizmo that does nothing to help solve your problem! So when you come across new products such as self sharpening knives (more on this later), you’ll be better able to make an informed decision that serves you best.

Sharpening Using A Stone Is A Traditional, Old School Method
Sharpening Using A Stone Is A Traditional, Old School Method

Using a stone to put an edge on a blade is one of the oldest, reliable, and most proven methods. If you go way back in history, you find some very interesting stories about how people back then used to get their blades sharpened. Cometh the hour, cometh the Moleta! Moleta’s were basically individuals who understood the art of developing a wicked edge. They originated in Italy, and eventually quite a few made the move to America. If your blade ever needed to be sharpened, you’d pay a Moleta to do it for you on his grinding stone. Click here to read more about them. Okay, what about now? How do people go about putting an edge on a blade in the 21st century?

The Modern "New School" Electric Sharpener
The Modern “New School” Electric Sharpener

In today’s day and age, we are of the mindset that the less work we have to do, the better. Step forward the electric knife sharpener! This invention makes use of automation and leaves the operator with hardly any guesswork. I’d even go to the extent of saying it is foolproof. The other device which we also use today are the pull through, non-electric variations. Also just as easy to use, these manual styles are cheap, versatile, and portable.

Pull Through: Pull The Blade Through From Heel To Tip
Pull Through: Pull The Blade Through From Heel To Tip

Is old school better than new school? That’s a loaded question and the answer is it really varies from person to person. I have a blog post written to address this question. Check it out by clicking here. Okay, so now that you have a quick and dirty understanding about the history of sharpeners, you will be able to better understand the concept of self sharpening knives which I will address in the next section.


Self Sharpening Knives – What’s All The Fuss About!?

Finally, we get into the crux of this post! Very soon you’ll see why everything I mention above is relevant and important. When I first heard the term “self sharpening knives”, I immediately thought of a blade whose cutting edge never dulls. I know, how silly of me right!? It’s only when I read more about these types of blades, and watched videos, did I realize how wrong I was. Self sharpening knives are basically knives which come with a built in sharpener of some sort, usually in the block set or sheath. Let’s take a look at the popular Calphalon block set with SharpIN technology.

Calphalon Knife Block With A Built In Ceramic Sharpener
Calphalon Knife Block With A Built In Ceramic Sharpener


Aha! Does this not look incredibly similar to something we already talked about earlier in the post? It’s a PULL THROUGH style! So every time you draw and place knives into the blocks, a little bit of metal is removed and your blade sharpened. It now makes sense why Calphalon calls it “SharpIN technology” (sharpeners are built right into the block). What do you think of the idea of having sharpener inserts built into block sets? Genius and brilliant, or lazy and ineffective? Keep reading to see what I think!


Here’s Why I Am Not Exactly Impressed

I am not entirely convinced by these self sharpening knives, and here’s a couple reasons why:

  1. Sharpening Frequency – Every time you draw a blade, you remove metal. It’s as simple as that. Here’s a question I’d like you to consider: Do you think it is necessary to be sharpening your blade before every use? The answer is no, absolutely not! Why not? Because the goal isn’t to simply remove as much steel as you can! You see most of the time your blade doesn’t even require sharpening, but only realignment of the edge. You can realign your edge by frequently honing using a steel. Honing your blade is something you should do before every use. Not sure what honing is? I wrote an entire post discussing why it is so important. Click here to read it.
  2. What About All The Metal Shavings/Dust? – Metal powder/residue tends to collect on the edge of a blade as it is being sharpened (remember, metal is being removed). Next time you sharpen your blade, run your finger carefully along the edge and notice how your finger collects steel shavings. Now, imagine this happening each time you draw your blade from the block….It’s not ideal because you have to remember to thoroughly rinse a blade each time before using for food prep. I am not saying this is a big deal, but its worth mentioning.


Final Words & Thoughts

I want to end this post by reminding you to think and research before you splash the cash for the next “best thing”. I strive to provide you with unbiased reviews here at myelectricknifesharpener and you’ll notice that almost every product I review has some shortcomings or disadvantages to it. I don’t hide the truth. It’s especially easy to become misguided when you have products that are so well marketed. And if it’s one thing manufacturers have become incredibly adept at, it’s marketing. Having said that, I still do think there are some cool innovative products that continue to surprise me. Self sharpening knives so far have failed to pique my interest, but the design deserves some credit for at least attempting to do things differently. If there’s one thing you should take away from this post, it should be this: Take the time to understand the pros and cons of whatever it is you’re thinking about purchasing. Are you willing to accept whatever cons there may be? Does the product suit your needs, and will it solve your specific problem?



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