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on May 5, 2004
I have Chicago Cutlery knives. First I used the Steel that came with the knives. After about 3 years, the knives would not sharpen very well.
Then I got a "set" that used 4 ceramic rods to sharpen the knives. They did a very good job, but it was a LOT of work.
After using that set for about 5 years, I tried a real "cheapy" electric sharpener and returned it after one use. It just did not sharpen. -- Back to the rods.
I finally decided to give the 300W a try. It works just great. The knives get much sharper than any other method I have tried and they stay sharp much longer. For my purposes, this is an excellent sharpener.
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on June 24, 2005
I don't normally write reviews, but this time I will as I think it might help others who have been searching for a decent and reasonably-priced sharpener. Four months ago I had about 14 utility and steak knives sharpened by an upscale store in Santa Monica. The price? $35.00. Now, I got the 300W for $34.88 all in. I sharpened the knives according to the instructions, and they came out sharper than the "professional" store job!
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on January 21, 2006
Granted, this isn't the most expensive thing in the world, but I was looking for better results more quickly than I could achieve with a manual sharpener. As the company's website claims you can have sharper than new edges, I decided to put that boast to the test with my set of brand new Henckels. Not only was the process tedious and quite demanding of technique, but I never got edges as good as factory (which were, admittedly, near razor sharp to begin with.)

The magnetic guides work OK close to the bolster, but as the blade narrows and your hand is farther from the guide, it becomes very difficult to maintain alignment. On curved blades, you have to bring the handle up carefully during the stroke while unable to see the exact portion of the blade you are sharpening. It must be done by sound and not sight. Also, while inserting the blade into the sharpener, care must be taken for exact alignment or the diamonds will grab and kick out the blade somewhat. I never detected any damage, but it doesn't inspire confidence.

I imagine that while the more expensive models with wheel type sharpeners and a different style of guide might work much better, I'm just not going to pay $100 for a knife sharpener. I will stick with my manual diamond hone. I returned the 300W.
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on October 17, 2011
Before I bought this item I extensively researched it. After having used it for more than 6 months, now I know why it either got very good, or very bad reviews. It is both - very good, and very bad.

I have sharpened my knives with Arkansas and diamond whetstones for 40+ years. I first started putting razor edges on the knives I used 44 years ago. A year ago, finding my last diamond stone to be wearing out, I looked at new ones, and at electric sharpeners. My wife dulls our knives quickly, and I get bored with trying to keep them sharp for her. So I bought one of these machines. A little pricey, in my mind, but a compromise between price and function.

The machine is too simple. And, not as in "simple is good". It does work, and if you are lucky and a little mechanically talented, you can get extremely good edges with this sharpener. However, it only has two stages - rough, and very fine. The rough takes off plenty of metal and gets rid of defects, getting you very close to where you need to be to start. The fine is so mild it is like using a leather strop to finish a blade edge.

If you get a "tin edge" with the first stage, the 2nd stage finishes it for a properly sharp knife. That first stage, however, takes off a LOT of metal, and is "touchy" to get the each side of the knife in proper balance so you get a "tin edge".

In order to keep it sharp, and not use the 1st stage often, you need to use the 2nd stage side pretty much every time you use the knife. Sorry, but that is WAY more attention than I want to pay to my knives. I have 30+ year old Henckels in my chef's knife collection - so, although I don't want to spend time sharpening every time I use the knife, I do take care of them. With our kitchen knives in use by my wife and myself, I end up having to use the first stage every couple of weeks to keep a good edge on the knives.

So, you see, you CAN get a truly fantastic edge on a knife with this machine. BUT, you could also grind a knife clear to the backbone trying to get a good edge. AND, you could wear a knife out in a year or two trying to maintain a good edge. IF you are talented with a light and sensitive touch, or you are willing to use the stropping stage daily, this machine might work well for you.

As far as I am concerned, this machine is going into my give-away pile, and I will get a 3-stage machine. That is what this machine is missing - a good middle stage.
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on March 23, 2003
Unfortunately, I paid twice the price from a local store several years ago, and I must say it is one of the few kitchen appliances I have been disappointed with. It takes a long time to get all the knives honed to the angles of this sharpener. Then keeping them sharp seems to take a long time and they never seem to get as sharp as one would expect. The motor heats up quite easily after a few knives and begins to smell like it is overheating. I think the product has always been over-rated. I might buy it at this price but a simple non electric works just as well at less money.
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on July 31, 2002
After investigating knife steels, oil stones, water stones,
and various gadgets this sharpening device is truly a "Chef's Choice". It is easy to use, requiring only a light touch. It does a great job in sharpening your knives and does not take a long time. Another benefit is the price and better still the immediate savings when you buy the Chef's Choice 300W Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener from Amazon. This purchase will NOT CUT into your wallet !! My Henkels and Sabatiers have nice sharp honed edges. Now I think I need to buy a new cutting board.....
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on June 1, 2007
I just received it, read the instructions and then sharpened six knives in about 15 minutes. The first sharpening takes longer because the knife edge must be reground to match the sharpener. I have another Chef's Choice with three stage sharpening which adds a grinding wheel and makes the first sharpening go very fast. It is over 10 years old and is still going strong. I rarely use the grinding wheel so decided this version is more practical and much less expensive. I highly recommend this excellent sharpener.
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on December 28, 2004
I have been pleased so far with the sharpness of my knives after sharpening them with this sharpener. My only complaint is that sometimes it's hard to get the knife into the running grinder without nicking the blade on the vibrating sharpening plates. This is a good quality item.
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on May 29, 2010
I bought the model 300 a few months ago. I had been using a "draw through" hand sharpener and while it sort of worked, it never worked
really well.

When the sharpener arrived, (used, and without instructions) I decided to try it out on one of my crappy knives before using it
on my only slightly crappy knives. I chose an Old Hickory that I've had for ages. If I ruined it, I wouldn't feel too bad.

Without instructions, I had to use the force. Good thing there are numbers on the two stages. I passed Old Hick through the 1st stage
many times, alternating sides. The sharpener really tried to kick the knife out of the slot. I deduced that the sharpener was putting a
different angle on the blade from what the hand sharpener used. After those passes, things got smoother and I could feel that the edge
was getting better. I moved on to stage 2. This was much smoother and soon I found I could pull it through without any kickback. I had to alternate between the two stages a couple of times, but after I was finished, the knife had a hell of an edge on it! I proceeded to sharpen my only slightly crappy knives and had the same results. I find that they all stay sharp longer and if they get a little dull, a pass or two or three through stage 2 brings them right back.

As you can tell, I don't buy expensive knives. I just can't see spending upwards of $85 for a knife. I DO however, like a knife that's sharp and does what I want it to do. For those who would argue FOR buying expensive knives, let me say this. I work in a restaurant, and have for years. Our cooks use the knives that we buy from Sysco. Not real good and not real expensive. We have a good quality electric sharpener which keeps those commercial knives razor sharp. Our chef doesn't use high dollar knives either. When he does use his own, he points out that they are not gold plated. The most expensive chef's knife he owns cost him around $40. If you have a good, or even a decent sharpener, you can use inexpensive knives and have the same results as folks who will spend $175 for one chef's knife.

This little sharpener isn't the best on the block, but it works well for me. If you use your knives normally, I would expect that it will work well for you too.
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on January 18, 2006
Several reviewers have complained that it takes a long time to sharpen knives with this gadget. Perhaps, but compared to using a whetstone, the Chef's Choice 300W is blazingly fast. Properly done, sharpening knives does take time.

It is vital to break in knives exactly as described in the literature that accompanies the sharpener. Other reviewers have said that the sharpener does not perform well on hard knives, but I am using it on hard stainless steel knives and getting a good, sharp, long-lasting edge.

Bottom line: read and follow the instructions, don't expect miracles.
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