Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Palette's Product Reviews: the Speedy Sharp

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I have been a fan of knives longer than I've been a gun-owner.

I have many, many sharp things, including a Cold Steel Kukri Machete and a Mora Clipper, as well as several spears (but, sadly, no swords. Yet.) and two things remain the same in my experience:
  1. They all need to be sharpened
  2. There is no such thing as a universal sharpening system
Pocket knives usually have a different grind than a fixed-blade knife, and certainly are different from the grinds of the heavy working edges of  axes and hatchets.  Combine that with the different types of steel used (440 stainless vs. 1055 high carbon vs. Sandvik 12C27, for instance) and I end up having to keep track of which sharpener works best with which knife.

Hollow Grind, Flat Grind, Sabre Grind,
Chisel Grind, Double Bevel, Convex Grind.
(At this point I fully expect someone with more blade experience will pipe up and prove me wrong. Oh well. All I can say is that what sharpens one of my knives will blunt another, and that any sharpener claiming to be "universal" categorically isn't.)

Therefore, when I find something that works along a broad spectrum of sharp objects, it thrills me. Doubly so when it's inexpensive. 

Enter the Speedy Sharp.($9.95, plus $2.00 shipping)

It's a chunk of Micro 100 Super Carbide mounted to what feels like a handle of aluminum and coated in a rubberized plastic grip. It's dead-simple to use, whether you are removing rust, aggressively sharpening a banged-up edge, or just honing a knife to greater sharpness.

How good is it? It was able to easily put a false edge on the back of my Kukri Machete when previous attempts (using both a diamond sharpener and an abrasive lawnmower sharpening puck) took lots of time and effort for minimal result. It truly does, as the package claims, "Peel the Steel."

HOWEVER -- and I want to make this absolutely clear -- this is NOT a tool for beginners. If you have not yet learned how much pressure to apply when sharpening, you will likely carve a chunk out of your knife. If you do not know at what angle to hold the sharpener, it may not work well, either sliding over the steel without sharpening or cutting an additional bevel into your blade. And if you do not understand the difference between positive and negative rake, you won't know which end to use when.

Have I scared you enough?  Fortunately, Speedy Sharp has instructions to help you along, both in print and in video formats.

With a little bit of practice (hopefully on a beater blade), you should have an idea of how best to use this handy tool.  While not a universal sharpening system (see Point #2 above), I have found that between this and the EZE-Lap Pen Sharpener ($6.37, Amazon), I have a nearly-perfect sharpening system that fits in my pocket and costs less than $20.

As a point of interest, carbide is also much more effective at creating sparks on a flint surface than a standard steel striker. Put one of these in your bug-out bag and you can make fire and sharpen your knives!

I give both of these products an A+ rating and carry them everywhere as part of my Every Day Carry kit.

Dear FCC:  I paid for both of these items. Kindly go away.


  1. So, the trick is... Use that sharpener in your car/bug out bag and only have knives/tools that it will easily sharpen. Which types of grind and steel did you find that it worked best with?

  2. It worked fantastically with my 1055 high carbon Kukri Machete, and It'swith my bog-standard 440 stainless pocket knife. I'm still figuring out the technique to the Mora, but that's more because of the Scandinavian grind angle than the metal. It seems to work best on bevel grinds, but that might just be my inexperience talking.

    I have a spear that I'm pretty sure is convex grind, and it doesn't play well with the Speedy Sharp (but again, that could be me). It likes the EZE-Lap, though, so it's all good.

    I need to test it on my Trench Hawk next. It's differentially hardened, which might be an issue. Then again, it might not.

    Given that the Speedy Sharp is "super carbide", I think blade design and grind angle is more of a factor than metallurgy. I've yet to find anything it won't cut easily -- TOO easily, in some cases.

  3. The filament is about 5" long and about 1/2" in diameter. Not sure what its made of but it's like a ceramic rod. I use it to clean up a rough edge or for a quick touch up. I saw a guy selling them at a gun show many years ago and thought he was nuts at first but he proved me wrong real quick

  4. Highly intrigued.
    I am usually very anit 'blade eater' as I've had too many people bring me knives that have been too far ground down (never evenly I might add). Usually this is from bad use of an electric grinder but some times it is from a hand doodad super sharpener someone has used wrongly for a protracted amount of time.

    It looks like one of those things that could be great in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, but horrible in the hands of someone monkeying around.

    I think when i buy new house knives for work I will save some of the beaters to experiment on.

  5. It looks like one of those things that could be great in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, but horrible in the hands of someone monkeying around.

    This. Exactly this. If you think it's a sharpening stone and you bear down with it, you're gonna damage the blade with it.

    At least, I'm pretty sure. I haven't had the guts to deliberately misuse it yet.

  6. The quality of your blogs and conjointly the articles and price
    appreciating. how
    to sharpen your knives


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