Cooking Louisiana - Warthog V-Sharp XE Knife Sharpener

A sharp knife is essential to me and knife sharpeners were always my greatest obstacle...until now.  The Warthog V-Sharp Knife Sharpener is the ultimate tool now in my kitchen arsenal and I'll explain why.

The Warthog V-Sharp XE  sharpener (shown here) solves all of the knife sharpening problems you'll ever have, and, anyone can use it without studying the science of knife sharpening.

At first glance you can see it's a virtual work of art and very complex, yet is very simple in theory. The V-Sharp sharpener maintains edge angle and sharpening pressure; the two important factors for developing and easily maintaining a very sharp knife. 

Before we go on I think you need to see how it works, so, watch this short video. This is the Classic model and the XE works the same way. 
Click here..  You will have a link to another YouTube video a little further down...

The V-Sharp Classic (not shown) is the granddaddy. I borrowed a Classic to try from a buddy. I picked one of my so called "sharp knives" and started working on it. Being a typical guy, I used the sharpener without reading the instructions because frankly it looked too simple to mess up. Wrong...!

After about 10 minutes without getting a really sharp blade I went to the website and watched the instructional videos. I then set it up like it was supposed to be, passed the knife where I was supposed to pass it and "bingo"... a very sharp knife!

I liked the Classic but I also liked the even simpler operational features of the XE, so, the XE  was the ticket for me. 

Here is my review on the V-Sharp XE. 

 --- Warthog V-Sharp XE ---

I'm not going to repeat all the instructions and how to use it so I'll just point out a few things that the instructions and/or videos may not make clear.

The Hones and Rods

The hone rods must be popped out from the top using a little force so don't be afraid to exert that force. When dealing with changing the rods, hold and pull back the rod frames against the frame body as I have done. You can then slide your hand upward (using a little force) and the top of the rod will pop out. You can also use your other hand to pull on the top to help pop them out. You can do this with the steels in place also... you won't distort them.

Blade Position

Keep your knife flat against the guide, and with the XE, it's simple because there is one handle and one guide. The handle is the bigger section to the right in this picture. 

The honing rods are removed for clarity.

Ignore my hand position; the picture is just to illustrate the blade against the guide. The knife MUST follow the guide.

The XE can be operated both left handed and right; just spin it around.

When inserting the steels put the bottom end in first, then pop in the top end. If you read the instructions you will know that the honing rod is made to accept steels and hones on both sides. The red sided (right) colored item is the slip in rod hone. The design is handy if you choose to get a set of finer hones since you can have one grit on one side and the other on the reverse side. The steels will also fit on the rods with honing stones installed on both sides so in effect you can store the steels right on the sharpener.

Don't try to remove the steels with the hone rods in place. Just pop the rods out and reverse the rods, or you can keep the steels separate from the sharpener and install them when you want to use them.

Construction

Let's go on... Don't get the illusion that because the XE is made of plastic that it's fragile. It's made of ABS plastic which is a "high-impact" plastic and the unit has been drop tested up to 12 feet. The only problem has been the spring adjustment screw and that would only be if it fell perfectly. My point is this... don't hesitate to purchase the XE because you think it's made of cheap plastic because it's not.

The XE is dishwasher safe (top shelf - keep it away from the washer heating elements) but I would pull the steels out if you choose to wash it. The tension springs are stainless steel (won't rust) so there's no problem there.

Using the V-Sharp

The time it takes to initially sharpen a knife will depend on the steel hardness and blade condition of the knife. The Warthog sharpener is not a "miracle machine" so understand up front that some knives will take longer work to get the edge in shape (the corrected "V" angle) and finally sharp. Once the "V" angle is re-formed; re-sharpening will be a breeze. If you have a "no-name" knife made in China don't expect the V-Sharp to do much with it. That's because of the hardness of the blade steel.

The V-Sharp's come with 325 grit hones made with natural diamonds. For those who don't know... the hone grit number grades the roughness of the sharpening surface. The larger the number the finer the surface which in turn delivers a sharper knife. I purchased the 600 grit hones and used them after I shaped the "V" on my knives using the 325 grit hones. It took about 6 swipes on the 600 grit hones and the edge was perfect. So, whichever sharpener you buy, go ahead and get the 600 grit hones in addition. Then you can shape your edges with the 325 grit and finish them with the 600 grit. I personally just use the 325's for kitchen work. The steels are addressed below.

Let's talk about angle a little since you have to choose the angle you want the "V" of your knife to have. In general, you want a narrow angle for kitchen knives and a wide angle for utility knives such as pocket knives. I have my XE set at 20 for the kitchen knives. You would reset the angle to 25 or 30 degrees for utility knives. A more narrow angle is better for slicing. You will also notice that the steels when mounted have a slightly different angle; this is to give the very edge of the knife a slightly wider angle which toughens and helps hold the edge. After getting your knife sharp you should maintain the edge with the steels. You can read more in the instructions on the V-Sharp web site. 

Go to the website (click here) and check out the products and watch the videos. 

Here is the YouTube video on the V-Sharp Xtream I mentioned above. Click here...

Watch the videos... please watch the videos and watch them more than once. 

These machines take a little getting used to so be patient and play with whichever one you choose. Once you become familiar with yours you'll love it.

I went to the internet looking for video reviews of the V-Sharp. The few I found certainly didn't convince me buy one. After I got mine I realized that a few of the people who did the reviews either didn't watch the videos or made assumptions without actually using the machines for a while.

The Warthog V-Sharp finally lets you "enjoy sharp knives" with minimal work. 

 

 

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