Since I first reviewed the Warthog sharpeners in 2003 they have made a lot of improvements. The Warthog V-Sharp and Multi-Edge series sharpeners are from South Africa, a country that many of us knife enthusiasts think about only as a source of bone and ivory for knife handles.
two Warthog sharpeners are totally different in design and use. Let's
start with the V-Sharp. It is now available in two versions, the
Classic and the Xtreme Edge or XE. Both models come with 325 grit
diamond hones and a set of rods for steeling.
The V-Sharp Classic The V-Sharp XE
|V-Sharp Xtreme Edge, Black
|V-Sharp Xtreme Edge, Chrome
|Multi-Edge, 150 grit
Multi-Edge, 150 and 220 grit
The V-Sharp Classic has an all metal frame
save for plastic inserts which act as bearing surfaces for the guide
rods. The Classic is well made but it is hard to adjust the angles,
requiring a screwdriver. Available angles are 17, 20 and 25
degrees. The Classic is being marketed to hunters, chefs and
butchers because of its durability. Selling price is about $100
The V-Sharp XE is similar but all plastic and
therefore lighter. It is being marketed to backpackers, boats, RVs
and home cooks. Plastic raises concerns about durability, but the XE
is practically indestructible. Warthog has hit a home run with the
XE. It is light and strong, and best of all it works! The
hones snap in and in the plastic frame for fast angle changes. The
XE has also added a 30 degree position. I received several
prototypes of the XE before they worked out the bugs and continued to
recommend the Classic. Production models have all the bugs worked
out and I now recommend the XE. Selling price is about $75.
Both V-Sharps have two slanted diamond sharpening hones, which gives them their name. They are used somewhat like crock sticks, but the hones start out overlapped and they are spring loaded so that they slide apart as a knife is slid between them. Unlike crock sticks, the pressure is controlled by the springs, and the frame of the sharpener acts as a guide that helps keep the blade vertical. Accuracy of bevel angle and equal metal removal from side to side is greatly improved over using crock sticks. An accidental benefit of this design is that as you pull the knife toward its tip, the spring pressure increases. This removes more metal nearer the tip where it is more likely to be dull. The ease with which a knife slides through is a reminder just how little pressure is needed when using diamond hones.
The V-Sharp is not
a new idea. The Blankner sharpener below was invented in 1927, but
has not been on the market since 1933.
The Blankner Sharpener circa 1930
The 325 grit hones that came with my V-Sharp created a reasonable sharp edge - one that cuts paper - in a reasonable amount of time. There is a compromise that one has to make when using only one abrasive grit and Warthog has done a good job picking the grit. A faster cutting grit would not produce as sharp an edge, and a finer abrasive would take forever to sharpen a really dull knife. Warthog has 600 and 1000 grit hones available.
The V-Sharp Classic is
adjustable for three discrete angles - 17, 20 and 25 - degrees, which
covers most needs. The hones are changed by removing a screw at one end,
moving the hone and replacing the screw. It just takes a couple of minutes
to change both hones. The XE adds a 30 degree setting for heavy
The steeling rods automatically raises the angle about 10 degrees, and produces a shaving edge. There are several similar steeling devices on the market - The Razor Edge Mouse Trap, the F. Dick Rapid Steel Polish and the TruHone Crossteel to name a few - but none is combined with an effective sharpener. Good job, Warthog.
If you want to use other
hones and/or the steel, you will quickly see that it is most efficient to
sharpen knives in batches, doing one operation on all the knives before
changing the sharpener.
The Warthog V-Sharp is
an excellent, no skills required sharpener suitable for most sports men
(and women) and homeowners. Set it at 20 degrees and forget it. The edge
from the medium hones will meet most needs.
For an easy to use
sharpener for only knives you should consider the V-Sharp. If you
need to sharpen serrated knives, scissors or fishhooks consider the
slightly more versatile Spyderco
Multi-Edge is a rod
guided systems that uses 6" bench stones. Although the picture shows a
knife being sharpened, the importer suggests that it is better suited
for chisels, planes and broadheads, etc. Multi-Edges retail for
The Multi-Edge comes
with a 600 grit diamond hone. 325 and 1000 grits are also available.
Standard hone length is 150 mm (6 ") and 220 mm (9") hones are available.
Having a longer hone makes the rough grinding go faster.
A nice touch is a leather strop that fits over the stone, allowing stropping at a controlled angle. The strop is included in all models. Nothing, not even the steeling action of the above V-Sharp model, beats a strop for producing a razor edge.
In operation these sharpeners look somewhat like the Skarb, but with an important difference - the motion of sharpening is perpendicular to the edge, resulting in a strong edge with strong teeth. The Warthog design also makes use of all the stone, and controls the bevel angle even on long and curved blades.
The unique blade holder, which reminds me of the Starship Enterprise, can accommodate knives, scissors, chisels and plane blades. It is continuously adjustable, with angles marked at 0, 17, 20, 25, 30 & 35 degrees and from 60 to 90 degrees in 5-degree increments.
The latter group of angles is for scissors, although there is some guesswork when sharpening so-called knife-edge scissors with angles in the 45-degree range. My advice is to match the original angle, using a black marker on the bevel to see just where you are sharpening.
The blade holder can even be set over 90 degrees to give what is called a negative angle to scissors. (Scissor angles are measured at 90 degrees from how knife angles are measured.) A negative angle is never desirable, but it is sometimes necessary if someone has already committed this offense to a pair of pinking shears, and you do not have the time or equipment to bring them back to a positive angle.
The woodwork on these models is furniture quality, but, like furniture, the usually hidden surfaces are roughly finished.
Overall, this is one of
the most versatile sharpening systems I have seen, superior to the Skarb
and a worthy alternative to the EdgePro Apex, although it does not hold a
candle to the Edge-Pro Professional.
July 11, 2016
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