How many people do you know who are able to sharpen a knife to an edge that will shave hair from skin? Unless you live in a neighborhood of knife makers, probably not many—even meat cutters and chefs typically hire a specialist to sharpen their knives. America’s population distribution has reversed in the past century, from a nation of mostly farmers for whom a razor-edge knife was an everyday necessity, to a world where people who say they don’t have need to carry a knife keep asking to borrow mine.
There have been numerous attempts throughout recent decades to engineer a foolproof knife-sharpening tool that re-quires no honing skill, yet enables the greenest of greenhorns to stroke a blade to buck-skinning (or box-opening) sharpness with as little effort as possible. Based on actual results, that lofty goal has been hard
For The Masses
The new Chef’sChoice 4623 Diamond Hone manual sharpener accomplishes that objective in style. Just 7.7 inches long by 2.4 inches wide, this attractive 9-ounce manual knife-sharpening system is a nice compromise between the portability needed to make it a standard feature in every tackle box and hunting kit, and the performance to make it a favorite in every kitchen, or even a busy restaurant. Its stout injection-molded thermoplastic body makes it tolerant of hard knocks, four rubber feet help to keep it stable on a countertop or at an outdoor fish-cleaning station, and a hand-filling horizontal handle provides solid control on even or uneven surfaces.
The 4623 owes its sharpening efficiency to three notched sharpening guides with pre-set honing elements mounted at their bottoms. Numbered 1 through 3 on either side with numerals stamped into the sharpener’s handsome brushed-stainless cover, a full carat of crystalline diamond abrasive forms the honing surfaces. Slot number 1 is for Asian-style knives, and is set at 15 degrees to accommodate the edge bevel common to those blades. Slot number 2 is coarse enough to re-set the edge on really dull knives, but its abrading surfaces are angled at 20 degrees to accept American and European blades. And because both 15- and 20-degree bevels beg to be made razor sharp, the fine-grit polishing surfaces in slot number 3 use an ultra-fine diamond abrasive to polish the tips of these edges for a super sharp finish.
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by Anthony Lombardo / Jan 1, 2011