The Spyderco 204MF Tri-Angle Sharpmaker System is a manual V-type crock-stick knife sharpening kit that is designed to accommodate both European and Asian knives, as well as a wide variety of personal and sporting knives, serrated knives, scissors and pointed objects (ex. fishhooks and darts). The Tri-Angle Sharpmaker System works by securing triangular high alumina ceramic rods into specially designed slots in the base of its plastic storage case. The slots hold the abrasive stones at pre-set angles and help you easily guide a blade along them for foolproof sharpening. A four-stage system, the kit comes with two different sets of the ceramic stones including two with a medium grit for sharpening very dull edges and two with a finer grit for finishing/polishing. All four stones are also designed with a groove along the length of one side, which makes it easy to sharpen pointed objects. For additional versatility, the stones can also fit tightly alongside each other in the base of the storage case if you prefer to use them as a benchstone. To keep your hands protected, the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker System also comes with two brass safety rods and the lid of its storage case folds up over the base, so you can hold it for additional stability during use.
The Spyderco 204MF Tri-Angle Sharpmaker System can be bought online for about $50 - $95.
We give the Spyderco 204MF Tri-Angle Sharpmaker System an A- because it is top of the line in the manual knife sharpener class. It is far gentler on your expensive kitchen knives and removes less material than electric sharpeners, hence extending the useful life of your knives. Although there is a learning curve associated with the Sharpmaker System, experienced users are overwhelmingly happy with results. We had to deduct a few points due to the fragility of the abrasive ceramic stones that can easily break if dropped on a hard surface. However, we recommend the Sharpmaker System for anyone who is willing to invest the time it takes to sharpen your knives manually and to master the technique.
The Spyderco 204MF Tri-Angle Sharpmaker System has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers online including a 4.7/5 on Amazon.com (387 reviews). In a 2003 eGullet.org article, Chad Ward endorsed the Spyderco 204MF as the best of the manual V-type sharpening systems, as did Pete Thibodeau in a 2004 Los Angeles Times review of knife sharpeners. Cook's Illustrated recommended it with reservations. Reasons for Cook's Illustrated's reservations include the length and complexity of the instruction guide and the time and control required to produce a sharp edge. Minimal negative feedback online was centered around the fragility of the ceramic stone if dropped, inconsistent quality control and the learning curve associated with the sharpener. The Spyderco 204MF does take a little time and patience to master, but, ultimately, it is an excellent, cost-effective way to keep any type of blade in your home as sharp as the day you bought it.
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