If there is one carved-in-stone truth held by all makers of knife sharpening products it is that that free-hand edge honing remains a mystical art to the vast majority of their potential customers. This, in turn, creates a market for a never-ending array of “foolproof, no skills” required blade sharpeners. While I’ve been working with benchstones since I was in grade school, I have to admit I often go to the no-skill-required products when I’m in a hurry and want something I can just give my knife a few quick passes over before going back to work. There are also a lot of knives around our homestead, especially in the greenhouse, that don’t require the carefully polished edges I would put on, say, a hunting blade. So when Smith’s new “Adjustable Angle Pull-Thru Knife Sharpener” arrived just in time for the summer stocking-up-for-next-winter season on the farm, it was obvious I had the perfect field test for the tool.
The Adjustable Angle Pull-Thru offers an easily turned dial that sets the sharpening angle at either 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, or 24 degrees. There are three slots: one coarse for dull, abused blades; one in the middle for serrated edges and one fine finishing stage. It just so happened I had a serrated Spyderco kitchen knife that had been used to cut plastic down spout pipe below ground (hey, you use what you have to get the job done) and was relatively dull because of it. The Smith’s instructions suggested 8 to 10 passes over the serrated slot. If that isn’t adequate you repeat the process. Not too surprisingly, the Spyderco required 20 passes, but it was soon back to fresh bread slicing keenness.
Next came a group of greenhouse work knives that I probably should have touched up a little sooner. As any experienced knife user will tell you, it is a lot easier to sharpen a blade you have never let get super dull in the first place. Unfortunately, these were super dull. Rather than the prescribed 10 pulls through the Adjustable Angle sharpener, it took me something like 40 or 50 on the coarse slot. Once that was accomplished, the normal 10 on the fine side was adequate to finish the blade. Still, 50 pulls on the coarse slot only took 2 or 3 minutes so it wasn’t a major investment in time. All of these were sharpened on the 24-degree slot because of the everyday abuse they tend to see around the homestead. The end result was a sharp but not shaving keen edge, but that was pretty much intentional on my part.