Does the saying “old is gold” apply in this case? If we look at the last 50 years, a lot has and hasn’t changed with how we sharpen knives. The vast knowledge of electronics has paved the way for electric sharpeners and grinders, and even though these are a huge hit with home cooks who couldn’t care less about the art of sharpening, people are still favoring old school ways. Water stones are incredibly popular, even today. I guess the point I am trying to make is that newer, fancier technology doesn’t necessarily trump the older ways, and vice versa when taking about sharpening a knife. It’s more complicated than that.
Pros – First The Positives!
- As Easy As Slicing Bread! – It’s easy to see why the Chantry knife sharpener was such a hit in the 70’s. Back then people were probably dealing with dull knives in one of two ways: one, they would have their knives sent to a professional service to get resharpened, and two they would learn to use a traditional stone and do it themselves. Keep in mind, there were no electric sharpeners during this time. Probably my favorite thing about this device is how easy it is to use. It has these spring loaded steels which adjust and rotate as you draw your blade through. This makes the whole process feel more fluid and less forced, which is definitely not the case for all pull throughs.
- Beautifully Designed, So It Makes For A Great Kitchen Display – This doesn’t affect functionality, but it’s definitely worthwhile mentioning, even still. The Chantry knife sharpener is available in 3 finishes: black, silver, and white. Robert Welch, the person who designed this, is world renowned for his work. His brand provides cutlery to the 7 star Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai (click here to read more). For those of you who care about how your kitchen tools and appliances look and feel, then this will be important to you. For the rest, this makes no difference.
- Less Aggressive Steel Abrasives – It is advertised as the “Chantry knife sharpener”, but given the fact that it uses two butcher steels, really makes it more of a honing device more than anything else. Important to note the distinction between honing and sharpening: honing re-aligns a cutting edge and does not remove steel, whereas sharpening removes steel. I do tend to prefer less aggressive abrasives (like hardened steel) over harder ones like diamond or carbide. This does not disappoint in that sense.
Cons – Now For The Negatives!
- Why Is This Priced The Way It Is!? – The Chantry knife sharpener is overly priced in my opinion (click here to see latest pricing on amazon). It seems the price is based more on the design and look, rather than actual functionality. While I do admire the build and design of this classic, for me the most important requirement is that it functions well and meets my budget. Having said that, you can find an equivalent device that will give you the same or better results for less than half the price of this! (see final recommendation below).
Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Can I use this on all blade styles?
Answer: No, this is not suitable for thinner Asian style blades. It’s better suited for thicker Western styles.
Question: Do the steels require to be replaced? And If they do, how often before they need to be replaced?
Answer: Replacement steels are available should you require them. However, you shouldn’t need to replace the steels frequently. This is similar to a honing rod, which usually lasts a long time before requiring replacement.
Question: Can I get this in only a black, silver, or white finish? Or are there more choices available?
Answer: There are quite a few other finishes available: chrome, pink, blue, green, cream and red to name a few. However, they are not priced the same unfortunately.
To answer the question I asked at the start of this review…old is not gold, at least not in this case. While I do think the Chantry knife sharpener is a decent product, I absolutely don’t think it’s worth how much it is. For a tenth of the price you could buy a honing rod, and learn the right way to hone, and eventually you’d get the same results as this. My final recommendation is to pass on this device, and consider other options. One other option which I do like that is similar to this and costs only a fraction is the Rada Quick Edge. It also uses steel abrasives and is easy to use. Click here to check out its review. That’s it from me, please let me know if you have any questions or comments!