A great many of our reviews focus on electric or manual type guided sharpeners. The reason for this is simple. Most folks don’t want to bother with learning how to use a manual sharpening system. But there are true knife enthusiasts out there that prefer the hands on approach and accuracy that only a sharpening stone system can provide.
If you’re one that enjoys the satisfaction of maintaining and repairing your knives using more traditional methods then the KME knife sharpener could be just the tool for you.
KME is a relatively new company with a great story. Their knife sharpening system was originally developed to sharpen arrowheads. It turned out that the system worked extremely well for all sorts of blades and the KME sharpener was born. And it is now considered one of the best knife sharpening kits out there.
Although the KME is based on a traditional rod and stone design, it has several advantages over other products in this category. Let’s take a look at a few of the features.
First and foremost, this sharpener is infinitely adjustable. It allows you to sharpen a blade anywhere between 17 and 30 degrees. And I do mean anywhere. If you’re blade is 22 1/2 degrees all you have to do is adjust the angle selector to the correct position and lock it in by twisting the tightening knob.
The second and most important feature is the spherical ball joint that controls the motion of the rod and stone. This unique design insures that the stone stays at the EXACT same angle over the course of the entire blade. It also provides for extremely smooth operation and is flexible enough for both long and short blades.
The clamp or jaws that holds the knife blade in place is coated in neoprene to avoid any damage or marring of your blade. You simply slide the blade in, pinch down on the jaws, and tighten the set screw to secure the blade in place. A HUGE advantage to this piece is that the blade can now be rotated 180 degrees allowing you to sharpen both sides of the knife without removing it from the clamp.
The rod uses standard 4″ pocket stones. This allows you to use the stone material of your choice. Changing stones couldn’t be any easier. One set screw is used to clamp the stone in place. To change stones you simply loosen the screw and replace the stone.
The sharpener comes with a pistol grip, but most opt for the additional stand. This allows for a solid base from which to work. You can find the base here.
Operation of the KME
Sharpening with the KME is simple.
1. Start by screwing the rod into the stone carrier/clamp.
2. Loosen the jaws to insert the knife blade. There are two lines on the jaws. Align smaller blades with the line closest to the opening of the jaws and larger blades with the line in the back.
3. Pinch the jaws on the blade and tighten the knob on the back of the jaws.
4. Then select the angle at which you wish to sharpen. Then tighten the angle selector knob.
5. Insert the rod into the ball joint. And you’re ready to go.
Like other rod and stone sharpeners on the market, the KME operates with a back and forth motion perpendicular to the length of the blade. You can start at the base and work your way out, or vice-versa.
The beauty of the piece is that once it is locked in the angle WILL NOT change. This allows you to work quickly and efficiently to sharpen any knife in your collection.
6. To remove the blade, simply pinch the jaws and loosen the thumb screw.
Though it is expensive, this sharpener is a great value for those that want to maintain an exact angle on their blades. With sharpening angles anywhere between 17 and 30 degrees there isn’t a product that offers more flexibility.
It also makes a great tool for those that prefer working with sharpening stones, but haven’t quite perfected the technique required to work quickly and efficiently. This is truly one of the top sharpening systems on the market as it removes all the guesswork from restoring a perfect edge to your blades.
Options and Accessories
There is also a tapered diamond rod available for sharpening serrated blades.
All in all the KME is a terrific value for the price, and while it doesn’t have the same finished look as products like the Edge Pro Apex System or the Wicked Edge from a functionality standpoint it is spot on.
Here’s a video from KME demonstrating how easy this system is to use.
You can also find more information on their website.