Spyderco are an American company founded in 1976 that produce both knives and knife sharpeners. They have been known to have somewhat peculiar looking knives with an unconventional design. Spyderco claims that their “recognizable knife appearance” is as a result of focus on ergonomics and functionality more than anything else. Interestingly enough, the Spyderco Sharpmaker was their first ever product to be manufactured and sold. Did you know that if you own a Spyderco knife, you may be entitled to free sharpening? That’s right, free sharpening on plain, spyder, and combination edges (you have to pay shipping and handling though). To learn more about these guys, click here!
Pros – First The Positives!
- Easy To Pack & Carry While On The Go! – One of the things I love about the Spyderco Sharpmaker is the self-contained storage box design. The fact that everything you require can be tossed in the base and sealed with the plastic lid, makes it very travel friendly. I’d have no second thoughts carrying this with me on a camping trip, or even to a friend’s house for dinner.
- You Don’t Have To Be An Experienced Sharpener To Use This! – The Spyderco Sharpmaker is perfect for both newbies and experienced sharpeners alike. When setup properly, your work really is cut out for you! All you need to remember is to draw your knife vertically from heel to tip, that’s it! You don’t have to worry about angles, or none of that! Although it’s very easy, you should go slowly and take your time to nail down the technique. Spyderco have also included an instructional leaflet and even a DVD in the package, should you have any questions. It’s really cool that they take pride in their product and are willing to go the extra mile by demonstrating how to get the best out of it! Below is a video from Cr0cket20 demonstrating the product in action.
- Stone Quality Is Top Notch! – Abrasives are a very important consideration in knife sharpening. Abrasive as the name suggests, has the job of stripping/abrading steel from your blade, which if done correctly will serve to restore the edge. If you have a poor, low quality abrasive then you will likely see poor sharpening results and a dull knife. The opposite is true if you have good quality abrasives. In this case, the Spyderco Sharpmaker includes 2 sets of high alumina ceramic stones (medium and fine grits), that not only work really well in restoring a dull knife, but also last a long time before needing to be replaced.
- A Lot More Than Just Knives! – Being able to sharpen not only knives, but everything from scissors, to straight edge blades, and even chisels and hatchets make this a great overall sharpening system. Sal, the founder of Spyderco explains how to sharpen some of these tools in great detail in the instructional DVD.
- It’s Reasonably Priced – It’s definitely not the cheapest option out there (click here to check latest pricing on amazon), but hey the cheapest option won’t produce half the results! For a device that’s capable of working on various knife types and tools, and doing so incredibly well without much effort, I’d say it’s actually reasonably priced all things considered.
Cons – Now For The Negatives!
- Knife Edges With An Angle Greater Than 40 Degrees – The Spyderco Sharpmaker is able to sharpen at an angle of 40 and/or 30 degrees. The 40 and 30 degrees in this case is the inclusive angle; edge angle, which is the angle from the center of the blade to one edge, is simply half of this. Makes sense? Having said that, the only drawback with this device is that it’s not the best choice to sharpen knives with an inclusive angle greater than 40. Thick hunting blades would be one such example.
Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Can this work on chisel edges?
Answer: Yes. Unlike your typical pull through sharpener, the Spyderco Sharpmaker allows you to work on chisel edges (knives that are ground on one side only, with the other being completely flat) by simply sharpening one side.
Question: Are replacement stones readily available, and how often would I need to replace them?
Answer: Yes. You can find the different grits online. In fact, I’d suggest you purchase the ultra fine stones, so you can go a step further and put a mirror finish on your edge! How long the stones will last depends entirely on how frequently you use them, and also the nature in which you use them. Remember, you don’t need to apply too much pressure. Let the weight of your knife guide you.
Question: What angle should I sharpen to, 30 or 40? And, more importantly how do I determine this?
Answer: This is a great question! The angle you sharpen to is something that depends entirely on your knife edge. Western/European blades are typically 40 degrees (20 degree edge angle), whereas Asian blades are 30 degrees (15 degree edge angle). As a rule of thumb, anything that is NOT Asian, I would sharpen at 40 degrees. I would suggest you do the same!
Simplicity trumps complexity all day long! This is exactly what makes the Spyderco Sharpmaker superior to it’s competition. There’s nothing extraordinary or cool about it, but it does follow fundamental sharpening principles, such as maintaining a consistent angle throughout the sharpening process. If you think about it, this device is basically akin to using a traditional stone, except oriented differently. All you have to do is ensure your knife is vertical every time you draw. If you do this correctly, you will see results! I will conclude this review by saying the following: the Spyderco Sharpmaker is a phenomenal product that can be used by anyone; also, it’s not limited to sharpening knives, and has the ability to work on a plethora of tools. A big thumbs up from me! If this review was helpful to you, a share would be appreciated. Please let me know if you have any questions!