Gone Outdoors

How to Use a Lansky Sharpening System

by Kyle McBride

Lansky sharpening systems provide precise angle control between the stone and the blade. A clamp with attached T-bars supports the stone guide rods and the blade, allowing for consistent shaping of the edge profile. The stone guide rods ride in slots cut into the T-bars to achieve this control. The slots are labeled according to the angle they will cut (17, 20, 22, 25 degrees). The desired angle, and therefore sharpness, is determined by the use of the blade.

Setup and Sharpening

1. Set up the stones. Screw a guide rod into each of the sharpening stones in the kit. Visually compare the assembled rod units to ensure that the rod-to-stone angle is consistent among all of the stones. The guide rods are mild steel and can require periodic adjustment. Gently bend any rods at the stone end to correct any severely divergent rods. The end result depends largely upon the rod/stone assemblies being consistent with one another.

2. Assemble the clamp. Mount the two T-bars onto the end of the clamp and tighten their screw. Clamp the blade into the jaws of the clamp, with the tips of the clamp as close to the longitudinal center of the blade as possible, and towards the back of the blade, away from the edge being sharpened. Tighten the clamp firmly. The accuracy of the operation is highly dependent on the clamp remaining in the same position through all of the steps.

3. Select the appropriate stone to start with. Choose the roughest stone if gross reshaping of the edge is necessary. However, if you are just touching up an edge that already has the correct shape, then starting at a finer grit will be acceptable. Oil the starting stone and insert the guide rod into the slot marked with the desired blade angle.

4. Cut the blade by using an in-and-out motion with the stone, starting at one end and working all the way down to the other end in one continuous motion. Count your strokes so you can apply the same number of strokes to the other side of the blade and help achieve an accurate edge. Observe the edge and be sure that the sides are symmetrical.

5. Switch to the next finer stone, then oil it and repeat the process. Each stone will give a patina of scratches to the edge, and each progressive stone must be worked until all of the scratches from the previous stone are removed. The final stone will remove all visible scratches and leave a polished finish to the edge.

Items you will need
  • Lansky sharpening kit