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The worst part about buying a high priced knife is that half the time they don’t come sharp out of the box. Now, I’m a man of particular tastes. I like my soup boiling hot, my steak bleeding, and my knives sharp enough to shave the tiny hairs on the back of my knuckles. So, when I order a $200 knife I don’t want to be using it to spread butter, call me crazy.
Imagine your wallet a lot lighter and that you have a hunk of dull steel in your hand, what to do? For the imaginative amongst us, the first step is to grind that piece of steel against some kind of rock like our cave-dwelling ancestors did before us. This is where sharpening stones come in, and they come in all varieties. So you go out and buy a $10 water stone, take it back home and hack it at it with your newly-bought bowie. Congratulations, you just ruined your blade and that part of your self-esteem which thinks instructions are for losers.
Of course, there’s an easier solution than actually learning how to properly sharpen a knife, this is the twenty-first century after all. So in come the “idiot proof” sharpeners, among them the Warthog V-Sharp. The specific model I’m reviewing today is the XE, “Xtreme Edge”.
It is about the size of a personal pizza, made of an ABS plastic frame, some nails and springs. It is extremely light, and (if you have the space for it) could be carried easily in a pack for field use. The XE model comes with two 325-grit diamond sharpening rods crisscrossing for the titular V shape. To sharpen, the operator draws the blade down and out against the sharpening rods.
The process itself is fairly painless and easy to master. The angle of the sharpening rods can be changed from 17°, 20°, 25° and 30° by simply popping them out of place and adjusting to the position you desire.
I used my V-sharp to hone a few kitchen knives, two folders, a machete, and the dullest fixed blade you’ve ever seen.
Here are the results of my tests.
Images courtesy Daniel Xu