When I opened the package, I was initially a bit overwhelmed by the Spyderco Tri-Angle sharpening system – particularly by the detailed instructions – but I quickly learned it is really very simple to use. I think electric sharpeners and grinders are a great option but they can be a bit messy, while I found the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker to be a cleaner and very efficient sharpener. In addition to the “Sharpmaker” instruction book, the system also comes with a step by step DVD to guide you through the sharpening process for all blade types.
The lid and base are made of polymer and seem very sturdy. The total system weighs in at 14.25 ounces. The base contains holes that firmly set the triangular stones at 30° (15° each side) or 40° (20° each side). It is designed to keep the plane of your blade vertical as you draw each stroke, and I feel it definitely accomplishes this.
The two included sharpening stones are made of high alumina ceramic (medium and fine grit) and are completely American made and do not require any sort of lubricant. The medium grit stones will last 3-5 years of consistent use, while the fine grit stones will virtually last a lifetime. Additional stone grits are available separately.
Stones can sharpen any metal, including:
- Stainless steel
- Tool steel
- Vasco wear
- Tools made of (or tipped with) tungsten carbide, cobalt, or titanium
When sharpening, Spyderco recommends that the system be held on a stationary surface below waist level. This allows you to ensure you are using effective strokes at the correct angle. The brass safety rods are there for a reason, so use them! If I hadn’t, I probably would be missing a finger because the blade slipped off a time or two as I was testing on my first blade. The safety rods do their job well.
I practiced first on a cheaper knife that I own, and on the first try, I was able to follow the instructions resulting in an incredibly sharp edge. I was so impressed with how quick and easy it was that I broke out several of my favorite knives to give them a little tune-up as well.
This system may look a little intimidating when setting up, but it is incredibly effective and easy to use. When stored, it can be easily slipped into a backpack or kit for field use should the need arise. There are certainly cheaper options on the market, but in my experience, they generally don’t work as well and I’ve come to find that some things are worth paying more for. This is one of them. MSRP is $104.95 on the Spyderco site, and I recommend you check out the link along with the instructional video below.