I’m not sure who actually invented diamond surfaced sharpening products, but it was EZE-LAP in the early 1970’s that first made a big splash in the outdoor industry. Their reversible, brass handled, Model M gave many of us our initial taste of a sharpener that was the master of any steel alloy we could throw at it. Since then I’ve used a wide range of the company’s products. There has been a Model G 8-inch “butcher’s steel” in one of our kitchen cutlery blocks for 20 plus years and a second one is a permanent part of our camping gear. I almost always carry a Model 520 double-sided (250/600 grit) flat EZE-FOLD when hunting or backpacking and there is still a Model M handy in my office. Look around the pockets and pouches of my other outdoor gear and you will find even more EZE-LAP sharpeners. I’m never far from a diamond hone.
The EZE Way
While all diamond hones will easily sharpen the hardest steel, each company has its own method of bonding the abrasives to their chosen base. EZE-LAP’s patented process features high-quality industrial diamond particles imbedded on a stainless steel plate that is in turn fixed to a sharpener base. Why their process makes such a difference I do not know. What I can tell you is that it certainly makes honing a blade to a very fine edge easier than many of their competitors.
Recently, EZE-LAP sent TK a trio of new models for evaluation, the Model 510 EZE-FOLD ($29.95) with a combination medium and super fine grit (400/1200) surface, an angle guide/clamp Diamond Knife Sharpening Kit, and a D5F 5-inch 600 grit oval rod. Given my extensive experience with the course/fine (250/600) grit Model 520 ($32.95), the medium/super fine 510 version seemed an ideal place to start. While it would require a pretty dull knife to really need it, by combining the two folding hones, you can work your way in even steps from coarse to super-fine grit. You can also pick the grit to fit what you are sharpening at the time. In the past, I’ve used the coarse pad for machetes and axes while reserving the fine for normal knife honing.
Along with the fact EZE-LAP’s diamonds are extremely efficient at removing metal, I have several other reasons for favoring the EZE-FOLD sharpeners in particular for my own field chores. They are light (3 ounces), the plastic wings protect the sharpener when not in use, they are safer than a small hand-held stone of the same size, and, with enough patience, you can sharpen even the most severe blade dings.
The Model D5F rod ($13.95) would probably be more suited to having handy next to your work bench or tackle box. EZE-LAP makes the statement they feel a 600 grit hone, or what they consider “fine,” is the ideal general purpose sharpening surface for most cutting edges. While 600 might seem a little coarse compared to the various ceramic and Japanese waterstone hones, I’ve never had a problem putting an efficient hide and meat cutting edge on my hunting knives with one. There is something to be said for an edge that retains a little “bite.”
For The Sharpening Challenged
For those that are challenged by free-hand knife sharpening the EZE-LAP Sharpening Kit does a good job of taking the skill out of the task. The kit sent to the magazine contained a set of medium, fine and super fine abrasive pads, along with the now industry standard knife clamp and angle guide. According to the EZE-LAP catalog, coarse and extra coarse (150 grit) pads are also available. Entire kit comes packed in a handy nylon pouch so none of the individual pieces are likely to be lost. Just the thing for your hunting cabin or kitchen drawer. At $34.95, the Sharpening Kit is a bargain as far as diamond sharpening systems go.
Once more EZE-LAP has proven diamonds are a sharp cutting edge’s best friend. For more information please contact them www.eze-lap.com; 800-843-4815.
I’m not sure who actually invented diamond surfaced sharpening products, but it was EZE-LAP…
by Myles Mellor / Mar 20, 2009