on September 1, 2009
I purchased this mainly because of Kyocera's good reputation for producing innovative products with ceramics. Their ceramic knives are an outstanding innovation, even if somewhat expensive. They also make well manufactured grinders, including a manual coffee grinder that is superb and only available in Japan and from one vendor in the United States. Google Kyocera coffee grinder if you're interested in that.
This product is also ceramic based, with an inclined pair of dual ceramic wheels doing the sharpening. It's similar to other sharpeners of the same general design, but using ceramic sharpeners rather than steel. I received it today and this evening I took all the kitchen knives and my pocket knife to a table and worked on them with this sharpener, and for some knives I was having difficulty with, a Chicago Cutlery set of crock sticks.
The key to sharpening is precision. You want to have an accurate flat bevel on both sides, intersecting at a 25 - 35 degree angle (depends on what kind of use the blade will get, rougher uses need bigger angles). The more perfect the bevel at the edge (and I mean high powered microscope level), the 'sharper' the knife is. The whole thing depends on the 1/1000 of an inch at the very edge of the blade. Back from the edge, it doesn't matter.
I would say that this sharpener works pretty well on high carbon steel (the kind that rusts), and not quite as well on stainless steel, depending on what kind it is. For some stainless blades, I resorted to the crock stick for most of the work, then the Kyocera sharpener. Very high quality stainless blades may be too tough for this sharpener, cheap stainless won't really hold an edge for long, no matter what you do to it. Reasonably good stainless steel can be sharpened by this thing, but it takes some time. A damaged or very badly worn blade will have to be reprofiled with something more aggressive like a diamond hone or wheel. This sharpener works best on blades that are properly ground but dull at the edge. It also will not work on ceramic blades, which must be sent back to the factory to be sharpened with a diamond wheel, but only every 5 years or so.
I was unable to create a "razor edge" with any of the knives I sharpened. "Razor edge" means able to shave arm hair without trouble or any significant pulling. The edges I did achieve were just this side of razor sharp, but sharp enough for many uses. Given the price, this would not be a bad item to take on a camping trip or put in a kitchen drawer for touch ups -- it's certainly better that a sharpening steel. However if you are looking for something to sharpen very dull or damaged blades, or to sharpen at a razor sharp level, I don't think this is your item.
on July 12, 2012
I've had the same knives for almost 20 years and they were just awful and absolutely terrible at cutting. In fact, my knives were so bad I almost became averse to cooking because the prep was so horrible and time-consuming without properly sharpened knives. There I'd be, sawing away at a chicken breast or hacking up cilantro with a knife that might as well have been made from cardboard. I've owned three different electric, mechanical knife sharpeners, each one more expensive than the previous. I was incredibly skeptical about trying this inexpensive hand-held knife sharpener, but I enjoyed one of the previous reviews on the Kyocera and decided why not? After the Kyocera arrived, I sharpened all the knives I could within 20 minutes and -- surprise, surprise! -- they were actually sharp and using them was like cutting soft butter. So easy! So precise! Now the Kyocera is not for ceramic, serrated, or non double-sided steel blades, so I wasn't able to get all my knives sharpened (at this point I'm considering investing in a really good, solid knife set in general) but the Kyocera really did do a very impressive, efficient job on my double-sided blades, including my ancient pocket knife. My $60.00 Chef's Choice 310 (diamond hone electric sharpener) is going to the Goodwill at the end of the month. I like the Kyocera's red color as well, and it's small size which makes for easy storage. I recommend this great little knife sharpener. It's easy to use (it leads the blade of the knife instead of leaving you to figure out the angle the blade needs to be in to be sharpened), easy to wash, easy to store, and quite a nifty little gadget.