During the "Surviving Inside the Kill Zone" class, Ed Calderon told...
As the saying goes, a sharp knife is a safe knife. Struggling to cut with a dull blade leads to mistakes and injuries, while a razor-sharp edge slices effortlessly. This is why you should always take the time to maintain your knives, whether they're being used for cooking, camping, every-day utility, or emergency survival. We've previously written about pocket-sized knife sharpeners that can serve this purpose, but a recent video from Project Farm focused on comparing six larger knife sharpeners. As with previous videos from this YouTube channel, a scientific and objective approach is taken to determine which tools might be worth your time and money.
Each of the six sharpeners was tested on a typical stainless steel kitchen knife that was intentionally dulled by repeatedly rubbing against aluminum pipe in a specially-designed jig. After the knives had been dulled and re-sharpened, they were tested using a BESS-certified sharpness tester — a device that uses a precise scale to measure the amount of force required to cut through a thin wire. Surprisingly, most of the sharpeners didn't even get close to returning the knives to factory sharpness on the first attempt. However, a second more careful pass with the sharpeners produced better results, indicating that proper technique and patience are critical with any of these tools.
The knives were also placed under a microscope to analyze the edge's smoothness, and the results were horrifying in several cases. Any knife aficionado can tell you that pull-through carbide sharpeners are hard on a blade, but these images show that clearly. Still, some look much better than others. To simulate how the newly-sharpened edges would hold up to real-world use, the knives were rubbed against a wood block and re-measured to gauge sharpness loss. Finally, the knives were severely dulled on an abrasive grinding wheel to see how well each sharpener could restore a severely damaged edge.
Check out the video below to see how these six knife sharpeners fared during the Project Farm comparison test: