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Spyderco Sharpmaker Review

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Having the right tools for any job makes all the difference. With a wide array of sharpening methods and options for sharpening systems available, it can be difficult to decide what to get and why. Here at Blade HQ we have the privilege of using many of the different sharpening systems, and, as with anything, have developed preferences for what systems we like to use and when.

While each sharpening system has its own unique benefits and features, one that stands out is the Spyderco Sharpmaker because it is easy to use and made to last. Read on to learn more about the Spyderco Sharpmaker and why we love it.

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Spyderco Sharpmaker 4

Believe it or not, the Spyderco Sharpmaker is the oldest product from our friends at Spyderco. They got their start making and selling the Sharpmaker as a fool-proof method for maintaining and repairing a knife’s edge. Its success helped to grow the company to what it is today. The Spyderco Sharpmaker sharpening system consists of two sets of high-alumina ceramic stones: two medium-grit (brown) stones for aggressive sharpening and a set of fine-grit (white) stones for professional-grade finishing. Sharpmaker’s unique triangle stones give users the ability to sharpen many kinds of knives and tools. Each stone has flat sides great for sharpening plain edge knives, corners for sharpening serrated knives and a furrow for sharpening pointed items. A set of aluminum safety rods is included to provide added safety while using the Sharpmaker.

Spyderco Sharpmaker Parts 1
Spyderco Sharpmaker Parts 2
Spyderco Sharpmaker Parts 3

All components snap into the self-contained ABS plastic base and lid — ready to travel with you. Die-cut into the base are keyed slots and holes fitted for the stones. They accurately set the stone’s sharpening angle at a 30° (15° each side) or 40° (20° each side) for knives and a 12.5° scissor setting. Turn the base over, a channel lets you lay two stones side-by-side (flat-side up) for use as a bench stone. The lid snaps halfway over the base creating a handhold for stability while you’re sharpening.

Using the Spyderco Sharpmaker

Spyderco Sharpmaker Coarse Stones

In this section, we won’t dive too deep into the minutia of using the Spyderco Sharpmaker, but we wanted to demonstrate how easy it is to setup and use it.

Starting with the sharpener in its case, we were impressed with how nicely everything fits together. Both sets of sharpening rods and the guard rods snap securely into the base for easy storage and transportation. Two sets of holes in the base give the user the ability to position the sharpening rods at either a 15° or 20° angle. Use a tool like the Richard Kell Brass Bevel Gauge to determine your knife’s grind angle then set your stones in the corresponding holes.

Spyderco Sharpmaker Sharpening 1
Spyderco Sharpmaker Sharpening 2

Using the Sharpmaker is as simple as running the edge of your knife along the stones while holding the knife perpendicular to the floor. Alternate passes on either side of the blade by switching between right and left stones until your knife has a consistent edge and you’re done. Whether you’re sharpening a plain, serrated, combination or recurve edge knife, the Sharpmaker can get it done. Check out our How to Sharpen a Serrated Knife guide to see it in action.

The Spyderco Sharpmaker is one of the most versatile knife sharpeners on the market today. We’ve been able to sharpen pocket, camp, and kitchen knives, scissors, straight razors, fishing hooks, axes and machetes with the system. It’s perfect for guided or freehand sharpening and takes very little practice to get good at using.

Spyderco Sharpmaker Flat Sharpening

Final Thoughts

If we had to use one word to describe the Spyderco Sharpmaker it would be incredible. It’s one of the most versatile sharpening systems we have used. We were impressed with the ability it gave us to sharpen every blade shape and edge type we could get our hands on. It performed well for sharpening plain edge knives and made it easy to sharpen serrated knives without the need for any other tools. When set up with the stones flat in the base, we were able to sharpen axes, machetes, kitchen knives and other tools with ease.

Spyderco Sharpmaker Review Header 2

One thing about the Sharpmaker that could be improved is its preset sharpening angles. When sharpening knives on the Sharpmaker, you are limited to a 15° or 20° edge angle. For most production knives this is great, but we found that some of our knives had edge angles that didn’t match those of the Sharpmaker. This wasn’t a major problem for us, and most knives could be “re-ground” using the Sharpmaker (We don’t recommend doing this, but it is possible. You are the master of your own destiny. We aren’t responsible for any unwanted outcomes if you try to do this).

Overall, the Spyderco Sharpmaker is our go-to sharpening system for everyday knife maintenance. Its easy to use, packs up nicely, and has everything you need to safely sharpen your knives. This isn’t a professional grade sharpening system like the ViperSharp or KME Sharpening System, but it is amazing for the price. If you’re looking for a great way to keep your knives sharp, consider buying a Spyderco Sharpmaker.

Learn more

If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably hoping to see the Spyderco Sharpmaker in action. I this episode of Knife Banter, our friend Steven breaks down how to use this revolutionary sharpening system. This basic tutorial shows how to use the Spyderco Sharpmaker, what the different sharpening stones are for, and how to put an insane edge on your knife. Then if you need a new knife to go with your sharpener, the next video will show you the latest new Spyderco Knives for 2021!


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*Customer reviews may be condensed for clarity and edited for grammatical errors. You know we have to make our high school English teacher proud. Check product listings for current pricing.