Knife Sharpening Made Easy

Knife Sharpening Information and Equipment

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S5 belt sander

  Viel S-5-M Sander-Grinder

  $249.95 plus shipping   Add to Cart

  $269.95 with optional 1/3 hp motor  Add to Cart

  This machine will sharpen almost anything - knives, chisels, planes irons, garden tools, scissors, etc.
  This is the only belt sander we have found that can be used vertically or horizontally without modification.
  Heavy Duty construction of steel and aluminum (no plastic). Includes 1/4 or 1/3 HP, 1750 rpm motor,
  power cord and switch.
  - 4" x 6-1/2" table
  - Takes standard 1" x 42" abrasive belts
  - Includes 3 BZ-120 Blue Zirconia abrasive belts
  - Automatic belt tension
  - Two year guarantee
  Allow 2 to 4 weeks for delivery.

BONUS: Sharpening Made Easy book $9.95 with purchase of a sander-grinder. Add to Cart


Belts - Pkg of 6 BZ-120 Blue Zirconia belts  Add to Cart

knife guide

S-9 Knife sharpening guide  $12.95  Add to Cart

scissor guide  

S-10 Scissor Sharpening Guide  $69.95   Add to Cart

Accessories are shipped free if ordered with the sander.  Your order may show additional shipping which we will refund when we receive your order. 


There are several good reasons for a knife sharpener to use a belt sander even if you do not it to sharpen knives.  This description is for a Viel Tools S-5 sander/grinder but can be adapted to any belt sander:

1. Reduce the bolster of a chefs knife that has been sharpened in a pull through sharpener and developed a swale or low spot.
Lay the sander down so the belt is horizontal and moving away from you. Hold the blade across the belt just as if you were sharpening, but only grind the bolster. You can improve the appearance by rocking the blade from about 20 to about 50 degrees, or by using the short slack belt section between the platen and the idler wheel. Grind until the bolster is no longer higher than the edge.

2. Reshape a chopping knife with a swale or low spot so it racks against the cutting board. (Santoku, unbolstered chefs knife or bolstered chefs knife after the above operation)

Lay sander horizontal as above. Hold the blade parallel to the belt, spine up, edge down. Rock the cutting edge on a belt until the swale is gone. This requires a platen as long as the blade. Of course you dull the edge in the process, but you CANNOT create negative curvature against a flat platen. If you hold the blade about 45 deg. to either side for the last two passes you start the resharpening process.

3. Grind a strong convex edge on a chopping tool. (Axe or camp knife)

Lay sander horizontal as above, edge across the belt. Sharpen the edge on the short slack section between the platen and the idler wheel. Angle will control how far up the side of the blade you sharpen. Position closer to the platen for stronger edges (axes) and a little further back for a sharper edge (knives)

4. Garden tools that do not open 90 degrees (anvil pruners and grass shears).

Set the sander up so the belt is vertical. Work on the long slack section on the back opposite the platen. Bring the belt between the blades (or blade and anvil) at the sharpening angle. Practice with the sander off to see how it fits and if you can move it the full length of the blade. Careful, the belt is moving UP.

This is a relatively safe operation if the blade and the anvil form a V with a flat bottom (pruner) and relatively dangerous if the blades form a V with a sharp bottom (grass shears). The sharp V will pinch the belt, shred it ($5 gone) and possibly throw the tool. If anyone asks, I do not recommend this.  Do as I say and not as I do. Be careful and WEAR YOUR SAFETY GLASSES!

The BZ120 belts we supply are perfect for sharpening scissors and garden tools and for knife repairs.
belts of different types and grits we recommend:,43072 or

If you need to save some money and are able to build your own belt sharpener, go to this page.

Updated February 2, 2015

e-mail steve at bottorff dot com

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