A few months ago, with the noble goal of getting into a locked junkyard Grand Am through the trunk, I used my pocket knife to slice through the upholstery from the rear. The steel grate supporting the seat put one hell of a nick in the blade, and it took a good three hours to massage away the nick with a coarse diamond whetstone and a bottle of Tap Magic. The process left me wondering if there’s a better way which produces an edge as good as hand-grinding. Ceramics are excellent finishers, carbide removes burrs with ease, and whetstones produce the best edge, but which is best?
My father’s pretty well-versed in this topic, owning an electric diamond-wheel sharpener and several ceramic devices for his impressive array of cutlery, but a work knife’s thick steel doesn’t fit in most devices aimed at nimbler kitchen knives. The question is this: where’s the best balance for knife sharpening? Is a quick sharpener worth the imperfect edges they tend to produce? Are slower methods which produce surgeon’s edges better? Is mixing and matching a good idea? What’s your answer?