Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Great knife sharpener
on August 26, 2013
I just received my Presto knife sharpener, and immediately tried it out, as I happened to have some free time. I admit that our knives are not well cared for. In their 5 or 6 years of use, I think we've had them sharpened twice - both times at a knife shop that charges a couple bucks per blade. Obviously, our knives don't stay sharp very long! I finally decided I was sick of dull knives and figured it would be safer and make us more efficient in the kitchen if I would get a sharpener. I didn't want the hassle of hand sharpening, and clearly, given my past history with using dull knives, I'm not going to be caught up about a razor edge the way a purist might be.
The package arrived in great shape, packaged by Amazon along with several other items in the same box. The sharpener was well padded and wrapped in plastic. The directions are easy to understand. The unit feels like it is solidly built. Mine doesn't rattle, for instance. But, the plastic they chose to use has a rough feel to it, almost like they wanted the top to mimic the feel of a grinding stone - who knows, maybe that's exactly what they were going for. Either way, I wouldn't want to drop it, but it appears and feels like it will hold up to regular use just fine. The on/off switch and whatever it connects to make for a solid feel when turning the unit on and off. The cord is somewhat short (~30 inches), but not short enough to take off a star. Assuming you're using it on a kitchen counter (as I did), it's plenty long. But, if you wanted to sit at a table and sharpen your knives you'd probably need an extension cord.
I sharpened a number of knives, from paring knives all the way up to chef's knives, and in each case this sharpener made a noticeable difference. I will probably sharpen them again using the whole proscribed method since they were so dull. But, after just one sharpening, three times through both sides, I am impressed.
I tried cutting the edge of a piece of cardboard and a piece of paper with each knife before and after sharpening, and each case it made a huge difference. I also tested some of the edges on a carrot. In every case, the dull knives required much more force on the carrot. Afterwards, the cutting action on the carrot was smooth and more of a cut than a "chop" - I could draw the knife across the carrot instead of relying on downforce to split the carrot. The paper and cardboard cut was night and day. A few knives did nothing to the paper or cardboard before sharpening and all cut at least something afterwards. I say something because none of the knives cut like a razor blade does, but again, my knives were in bad shape to start with, so all in all I am calling it a success.
I did use the suction cups on the bottom, and they stayed in place for the duration of the time I used the machine. It does make a vibrating/whirring sound when it is turned on, and naturally, it makes a grinding noise when using it. I did notice that some knives hop and skip a bit when pulling them through the sharpener, but I think that has more to do with my technique than the sharpener itself. You can't (and shouldn't) use too much downforce when pulling the knives through, as it will slow or even stop the grinding wheel. I did that on my first test knife...fortunately I was smart enough to use one of my lesser quality knives in case I made a mistake. This works best with just a tiny amount pressure - just enough to keep the knife against the edge.
I did sharpen two serrated steak knives with the sharpener, and I was impressed by the results there too. The instructions for serrated sharpening were a little confusing until I had the knife in my hand, looking at it. My steak knives are only serrated on one side, which is the type that the Presto can sharpen. If they had edges on both sides, this sharpener apparently doesn't work. But, with the one sided edge variety of serrated knives, you pass the blade through so that the sharpened edge makes contact with the stone, and it sharpens it nicely. The angle of the wheel in the Presto is "steeper" than the factory edge was, so that after sharpening, the shiny part where the wheel made contact made it appear that I dramatically shortened the "teeth" of the serrated knife. But, upon closer inspection and comparison with an unsharpened identical knife I realized it is mainly an optical illusion. I'm sure there is a small amount of loss, but not nearly what I thought there was just looking at it with a quick glance.
Again, I'm not a purist, but I am very pleased with the job the Presto has done right out of the box. Now it's time to go watch my wife cook dinner and see how long it takes her to notice that her knives are sharp again!