I’m a home cook and have used Wusthof and Sabatier knives since the mid-nineties,
maintaining them on a Chef’s Choice 110 sharpener. The finger guards on these knives
prevent sharpening all the way to the end of the heel, so over time, a protruding bump
will develop that prevents the edge from fully contacting the cutting surface, and
grinding this bump off becomes necessary. I decided to replace the Wusthofs with knives
that did not have finger guards, and first tried a couple of Globals, a parer and a
vegetable knife, upgrading the Chef’s Choice to one that would handle the fifteen
degree edge bevel. An amazing improvement, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay with the
Globals and I began to look for something else. I thought I’d found an alternative in
Shun, and I was a hairsbreadth away from buying one, when I found a link to a knife
forum and ’discovered’ the world of Japanese knives and waterstones.
Why did I buy an Edge Pro? I found that though I had become moderately proficient at
freehand sharpening the existing edge bevel, I was not proficient enough to be able to
produce a really flat bevel that ran the whole way from tip to heel when thinning the
edge. I also wanted to experiment with microbevels, and for me, it was going to take a
long time to reach that level of proficiency. The Edge Pro system promised to provide
an easier way.
I purchased the Apex 2 from ’Chef Knives to Go’ with an additional 1K grit stone and a
Shapton Pro 2K for the EP on November 16th. It was delivered three days later, on the
19th. Thanks for the fast and free FedEx shipping, Mark!
I’ve since added Shapton Pro 220 and 5K stones, and a Naniwa Chocera 3K. Shortly after I
got these added stones, the supply of custom stones was interrupted, so my plans to get
additional stones had to be placed on hold.
Setup of the Apex is well documented in the included printed instructions, and takes
only a few minutes. Contrary to some opinions I have read, it is not a PITA to set up,
and after getting accustomed to setting it up, I found it somewhat quicker than setting
up for freehand sharpening with waterstones.
I was impressed by the quality of the custom plastic mouldings used in the assembly of
the Edge Pro Apex. It’s evident that there is no ’corner cutting’ in the materials or
design. When not in use, the Apex is compact, something to consider if you live in an apartment,
or have limited storage. The Apex, with all accessories, fits into the included Cordura
case and measures 18" x 6" x 2", or about the same size as a small 8-knife roll.
The included DVD was very helpful in describing the sharpening technique, even though it
used the Pro model and not the Apex model. There is enough difference between the Apex
and Pro models that it would be worthwhile if Ben Dale recorded another video sequence
using the Apex model, although the basic operation is the same.
The stock EP stones are more than capable of producing a razor sharp edge. The jump
from the 320 EP stone to the 1000 EP stone is not difficult to make. Personally, I
didn’t miss the 600 grit stone.The addition of Shapton Pro and Naniwa Chocera waterstones cut for the Edge Pro go a long way to improve its versatility.
Using the three Shapton Pro stones, I was able to easily thin a 24cm Kikuichi Ginox
gyuto to ten degrees and add a fifteen degree microbevel. The ten-degree bevel is
satisfyingly even and the 5K stone left an almost mirror finish. I did notice that the
Shapton Pro 220 was wearing down quickly, and needed to be flattened twice during the
process. The other two Shapton Pros did not show any wear.
Flattening of all of the stones, both stock EP and the custom stones, was done with a
DMT Dia-Sharp D8XX diamond plate, the same one I use for full size waterstones.
I felt that the Shapton 220 was wearing too quickly, so I followed a suggestion from Rob
Babcock on KnifeForums.com and mounted a 6" x 2" DMT D6X Dia-Sharp plate to an EP stone
blank to use as the coarse stone for profiling. I was able to thin a 24cm Kagayaki
VG-10 gyuto in the same way as the Kikuichi, but without incurring the excessive wear on
the Shapton Pro 220. Examination of the scratch patterns on the bevel under 15x
magnification, showed that the jump from the DMT to the Shapton Pro 2K appears to be the
same as the Shapton Pro 220 to 2K. My thanks to Ron, as this suggestion has worked
Since thinning and adding a microbevel, I’ve found that a once-a-week touchup of the
microbevel with the 5K Shapton Pro has been sufficient to maintain the edge.
- Excellent results can be obtained by an inexperienced sharpener the first time it is
- Because the sharpening angle can be accurately set, precise thinning behind the edge
and creating microbevels are within the grasp of anyone;
- Availability of upgraded waterstone choices through third-party sources.
- Unless care is taken to use a protective layer of tape or to keep the table on which
the side of the knife sits clear of grit, abrasions and scuffs may mar the side of the
- Third-party Shapton Pro and Naniwa Chocera stones are expensive compared to the stock
Edge Pro stones;
- Must be used on a flat, non-porous surface for the suction cups to adhere properly.
In my opinion, the Edge Pro Apex is preferable to freehand sharpening for a beginning
sharpener interested in producing a consistent bevel angle and consequently an extremely
Even if you are an accomplished freehand sharpener, you may find it useful for ensuring
the initial bevel is ground flat and at a constant angle during thinning.