Monday, June 15, 2015

Keeping an Edge- A Review of the Lansky 3- Stone System

DTG did a review of the  Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener Kit not so long ago.
It genuinely looks like a really cool system. Flash back to 18 months ago. I remember having a serious gear crush on this system after seeing a NUTNFANCY video on it. The downside is they are expensive starting at $165 for the Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener Kit and going up to almost 255 for the Edge Pro Apex 4 Knife Sharpener depending on the range of stone grit and other various accessories. I was saving up for one and actually had the cash to do it but was not quite ready to pull the trigger.

On one lazy Saturday my family was casually shopping/ looking around in a local outdoor store. This particular store is pretty cool because it has outdoor stuff for the guys (and girls who like that too) and type stuff for women, kind of country/ redneck lifestyle stuff and the pink shirts with a tiny bit of cammo women here like. Anyway we were just looking around and I saw a Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones in the store for (IIRC) $25. It looked like a pretty nice piece of kit. Lanksy is a good company and I have a couple of their diamond sharpening rods which, within the limitations of that system, are good pieces of kit. With a price point around a case of cheap beer I figured why not give it a shot. Now 18 months later it is the only sharpening system I use and our household knives are sharper than ever before. I did not see a need to shell out big money for an edge pro and am pretty darn happy with this little system and need to get a second to put in our camping/ heavy bug out stuff.

The Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones comes in a nice little compact box. Inside the box there is a big clamp on thing that ensures you sharpen at a consistent angle, which is very important. Here is the manufacturers description:
- Alumina Oxide & Ceramic

Key Features:

-Easy to Use, Precision-Engineered, Multi-Angle Clamp to hold the blade
securely

-Guide Rods are provided: One for every hone

-Coarse Red Hone (120 grit) for edge reconditioning

-Medium Green Hone (280 grit) for sharpening and less frequent touch-ups

-Fine Blue Hone (600 grit) for most frequent touch-ups to keep your blade
paper-slicing sharp

-Honing Oil Specially Formulated for Sharpening (not recommended for use
with diamond sharpeners, use water instead)

The Ultimate in Knife Sharpening Systems Technology! Safe, Easy and Convenient to Use; The Lansky Controlled Angle Sharpening System.  Designed to give your blade a professional, razor sharp edge, every time. All systems include:
•Color-coated, finger-grooved safety holders mounted to every stone
•One guide rod for each honing stone
•Extra long knife clamp screws for thicker blades
•Custom molded storage/carrying case to hold all system components

Onto the usual format:

The Good:
-Affordable. Everyone reading this can pay about $25 (the site says $35 but street price is more like $25) for a system to keep your knives sharp. It is also priced so you could have a backup or even a backup and one in your bug out location.
-It works. I use it to sharpen steak knives, butcher knives, my EDC knife, and camping/ field knives.
-It is easy to use. Took about a minute to figure it out. You might need to play with the angles on longer knives or ones with a pronounced sweep (like a butcher knife) the first time you sharpen it but after that it's easy to get to work.
-Compact. Small enough to keep in a drawer in the kitchen or slip into a tuff box you take car camping.
-Durable. I've been using mine for 18 months and aside from mild discoloration on the stones it looks brand new. I expect to get at least another year out of it, which is pretty good for what it is. I am still on the original little bottle of oil.
-The three stones really work and the grits are well thought out. The 120 grain is plenty to reprofile a blade or fix an edge and the 600 is good for finishing an edge. They make a 1k stone I keep meaning to get but haven't ever remembered to follow through with.
-Quick. Touching up an edge after normal use takes maybe 15 min of leisurely semi focused effort. I do this while watching tv or youtube videos.

The Bad:
-Fixed to 4 angle options. Company description:
17° Angle - A severe angle recommended for razor blades, scalpels or similar tools. Provides an extremely sharp but delicate edge.
20° Angle - A commonly used angle for higher quality blades and provides an excellent edge for kitchen cutlery and filet knives.
25° Angle - The recommended angle for most knives that need a durable, sharp edge. Ideal for hunting and outdoor knives.
30° Angle - An outstanding angle for knives that see the heavy use of cutting cardboard, wire or carpets. Recommended for heavy duty use.

Not that these angles are bad but it is kind of a hassle as many knives seem to have 19 or 22 degree angles. Instead of fighting that I've re profiled all my kitchen knives to 20 deg duty knives to 25. The one exception is, if just due to blade width, my big camp knife at 30 degrees. It takes 15-20 minutes to re profile the blade and get it sharpened up.
-The edge guide (big clamp thingie) attachment is a bit of an awkward affair with two bolts. It needs to be adjustable (I use it for thin steak knives all the way up to my camp knife with a 1/4 inch (or a touch more) thick blade. Generally it works OK but if for some reason one gets messed up it can throw the whole thing off and you could waste a couple minutes figuring it out. Not a deal maker, just occasionally annoying.

The Ugly:
-I struggled trying to make due with hand angling the knife on a stone, or overly relying on those little pull through sharpeners (great for what they ( a quick tuning up) are but not a full solution) for far too long.

Discussion:
Is this enough of a system for your needs? Maybe a professional butcher or someone else who uses lots of knives all the time and needs them very sharp might benefit from a more robust system such as the edge pro. If a dozen people needed to use a system this one might not be up to the task. However
for a normal family with the standard kitchen type knives and a person or two using EDC or field knives this system is plenty.

Recommendation: Buy a Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones then either use it as a primary or if you have a better system stash it as a back up.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That was a great review of the Lansky kit. Keeping and maintaining a sharp edge on your knives is a great safety feature. A sharp knife is a safe knife - much less effort needed to cut.

The Smith Pocket Pal is a pretty neat sharpening tool for your hunting bag, very compact and takes care of most of your blade configurations. The new X2 version looks very interesting indeed. Here is a link to that product.

http://www.smithsproducts.com/product/pocket-pal-x2/

Thanks again.

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