Everybody knows a dull blade cuts less efficiently, but not everybody is aware of how treacherous a dull blade can be. Dull blades–because they don’t have as sharp an edge as they need to—can slip and cut things you don’t want cut—fingers, toes, oranges—unintentionally. Let us put it this way: dull doesn’t mean not dangerous.
When a reader pointed us to Rhineland’s Angle Pro Sharpener, we thought it was similar to something we already had in-house and was going to pass on reviewing it. However, after taking a closer look we realized it was something a lot more innovative!
To get the best out of a knife, its edge needs to be periodically honed, sharpened, or re-edged , depending on its condition and how often it’s used. To do it properly, it is critical that those tasks be done at the proper angle for that blade. As an angle gets bigger the edge grows stronger, but the trade off is sharpness.
Those who know their blades know that:
- Pocket knives typically between 17º to 25º as they need to be sturdy and holding up to a variety of tasks.
- Kitchen knives span between 17º to 20º. Japanese makers favors 17º while most western knives are roughly 20º. Those angles cut well without sacrificing durability, but do require more honing.
- Outdoor camping and bush crafting blades usually range from 25º to 35º as edge strength and durability is more important than superior sharpness.
The Angle Pro Sharpener is designed for pocket and kitchen knives, but not shop tools, heavy blades, or specialty items. Its edgers, sharpeners, and honing wheels each have three different angles, to cover angles from 13º to 21º.
We know what you are thinking…if the Angle Pro sharpener is really like buying three different units, what’s so “innovative” about that? Anyone can go and buy sharpeners with different angles. Actually, not really, as none of the sharpeners indicate what angle they are set at, but let’s just say you can. How will you know which one to use with what knife?
Therein lies the Angle Pro’s innovative part!
The Angle Pro sharpener is designed by people who make knives for a living. They know that different knives have different cutting edge angles. To effectively sharpen a knife requires an understanding of the angle of the original edge, good technique, and the proper tools. Right out of the box the Angle Pro is a tool that helps anyone sharpen their knives the way they are supposed to be sharpened.
Angle gauges are not new, but one designed to work easily with a sharpening system? As far as we are aware, the Angle Pro is the first!
The challenge has always been to come up with a simple, convenient, and fool-proof method for everyday users to determine any blade’s cutting angle. Once that problem was solved, the rest fell into place logically.
Angle Pro’s blade angle gauge is made of stainless steel, has slots ranging from 13º to 21º, and is color-keyed to the appropriate edger, sharpener, and honer on the unit. These details may seem small, but are genius in their simplicity. They make clear the process and reduce the chances of mistakes. We’ll show how to use the Angle Pro properly in the upcoming FirstUse article.
Creating a new edge is necessary when the blade edge is damaged in some way. To re-edge a blade, the Angle Pro uses tungsten carbide rods to scrape metal off the blade at the proper angle. Tungsten carbide is harder than steel and has great wear-resistance. Since material will be removed in the process, re-edging is not something done unnecessarily.
We will talk more about when it is appropriate to re-edge a knife— and when it is not needed—in the FirstUse article.
The Angle Pro has three diamond-coated wheels at the various angles for properly sharpening a blade. Like re-edging, the sharpening process does remove some metal from the blade, just not as much as re-edging, and in a more precise manner.
Everyone knows that diamonds are the hardest natural substance on Earth and is the reason why it is an excellent material for fine grinding. Crushed diamonds bonded to a metal surface both wears well and maintains it flatness.
Sharpening is probably what a knife needs when cutting becomes more difficult, but honing may do the trick. How will you know? You guessed it…we’ll show readers how to tell in the FirstUse article 🙂
Honing an edge is different than sharpening in that honing is more like a realignment. The visualization we like is honing is like preventing the edge of a piece of paper from curling. The goal is to “push” the very outermost…edge…of the edge of the blade back to center so that the geometry is symmetrical. Very little to no material is removed in this step.
Ideally, one should hone a blade before every use. Failure to hone will eventually cause the edge to soften, fold, or burr in a way that a hone cannot restore, which is when the blade will need to be resharpened. The Angle Pro has made the honing step practically fool-proof, so there is no excuse not to do it.
For honing, or putting a final clean aligned edge on a blade, the diamond sharpening plates are not good enough because they cannot be made in the finer grit grades. Ceramic is the way to go.
When readers first asked about the Angle Pro Sharpener, we didn’t see why we would need one. After looking at it in detail, we don’t see why we would use anything else.
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