Sharpening Made Easy

Knife Sharpening Information and Equipment

WARTHOG SHARPENERS           V-SHARP          Multi-Edge series

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. 

The 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. 

UPDATED 2011: 

V-Sharp       V Sharp XE
                           The V-Sharp Classic                                               The V-Sharp XE                                    

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V-Sharp Xtreme Edge, Black
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V-Sharp Xtreme Edge, Chrome
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multi edge
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Multi-Edge, 150 grit
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Multi-Edge, 150 and 220 grit
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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.

Blankner Sharpener circa 1930 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 choppers

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 Triangle SharpMaker.

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 about $80.

Warthog Hunter

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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Copyright 1996 - 2016 by Steve Bottorff