Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Knife Sharpener

Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone Knife Sharpener

I bought the Lansky Deluxe 5-stone knife sharpening kit. The best thing about it? Hearing these words when I enter the kitchen: “Babes, these new* knives cut so much better than the old ones.”

The knives aren’t new, but they cut like new—even better—after a session with the Lansky.

*My wife knows they’re not new, but that’s her way of speaking.


I didn’t use the Lansky; I abused it.

I spent more than 10 hours sharpening steak knives, chef’s knives, an axe, a pair of scissors, mini multi tools and a woodworking chisel. In this post I show you how to use the Lansky and how a sharp blade makes a world of difference.

If you’re not convinced by the end of this post that a Lansky is a great tool, I’ll abstain from eating for 60 minutes.


I’m an Average Joe. I don’t have a love affair with knives. They’re tools. As long as the knife in my hand cuts well, I couldn’t care less about what type of knife it is, or the brand.

But a blunt knife is a pain in the nether regions. It drags out the task and wastes your energy.

And don’t think a new knife comes with a sharp edge. You’ll not find a new mass produced knife with a razor’s edge. Some people don’t know this. They buy a knife and start hacking and chopping and slicing away. They think that the blade is sharp because it’s new.

Not necessarily.

Most knives are made on production lines. Manufacturers aren’t concerned with giving you a sharp tool. They’ll give you a working product, but you must make it better.

There’s a remarkable difference between a dull blade and a sharp blade.

A knife with a dull edge multiplies your pain. It drains your energy and wastes time. A sharp blade makes your cutting task painless and quick. You’ll experience it firsthand when you start sharpening your knives.

That’s where the Lansky comes in.

The Lansky is amazing for these reasons.

Saves time

It’s a truism that a sharp knife works faster than a dull knife. I don’t need to prove this. It’s a vanilla fact.

How much time do you waste on cutting with a sub-par cutting edge?

Run a test using a blunt knife and a sharpened knife. Cut various items with both and note the time difference. You’d be surprised at how much time a dull blade costs you.

Saves energy

My wife’s the chef in our home. She’s good at cooking. Her food’s my favourite.

We’re meat and veggie eaters. We eat plenty of pumpkin. They’re difficult to cut. My wife often calls me into the kitchen for cutting duty. It’s an exhausting task for her, even with a sharp knife. Throw in a dull blade and it becomes a drag. A sharp blade makes the task easier.

Handles a beating

I didn’t expect the honing stones to last long. As mentioned earlier, I didn’t use the Lansky, I abused it. I read the manual, snorted at their directions and did my own thing.

The Lansky took it.

After more than ten hours of assault, the honing stones are fine. They’re like Rocky Balboa. A few scratches here and there, but ready for another round.

Dislikes

The Lansky isn’t perfect. Here are my main issues with it.

Screws don’t tighten well

The Lansky doesn’t grip a blade well IF you don’t tighten the main screw with a pair of pliers. I didn’t use a pair of pliers the first time I sharpened a knife, so the knife shifted while I worked on it. This caused me to lose the sharpening angle.

After this experience I started tightening the locking screw with pliers. It works fine, despite my initial doubts.

I would have preferred the Lansky with hex button-head cap screws, though.

Tighten the red-headed screw with a pair of pliers to prevent a blade from moving while clamped in the Lansky
Tighten the red-headed screw with a pair of pliers to prevent a blade from moving while clamped in the Lansky.

A file extension would work well

While sharpening the axe, I couldn’t help but wonder why Lansky doesn’t make a file extension for working down rough edges. Lansky makes a heavy duty tool sharpener, but it doesn’t work in the same way their honing stones work. They could design a tool sharpener with a guide rod extension.

It won’t work well on all metals. A file has no effect on hard metal. But there are cases where a file would work well.

Price

You can buy the Lansky online for ~$32. That excludes shipping costs.

Compare this to knife sharpening services in the USA. You’ll pay from $1.75 to $3 per inch. Add shipping—$5 per order—and your bill for sending in knives soon surpasses a Lansky’s price.

Let’s do some calculations.

I sharpened 16 blades with a combined length of 1,784mm (70.24 inches).

I sharpened 16 edges with the Lansky, with a combined length of 1,784mm
I sharpened 16 edges with the Lansky, with a combined length of 1,784mm.

Let’s cut the sharpening price to $1.50 per inch AND exclude shipping costs.

70.24 inches x $1.50 per inch = $105.36.

It would cost you $105 to have your knives sharpened by someone else. Remember, that doesn’t include shipping.

The Lansky lets you do the job at less than a third of the price.

Yes, it takes time to sharpen blades, but it saves you plenty of money.

Besides, what if you want to try a different angle on one of your knives? With the Lansky you can experiment. If you don’t like your new angle, hone it back to the old one.

Warranty

I emailed Lansky for warranty info. They responded with a PDF document outlining their Limited Lifetime Product Warranty.

Here it is, verbatim:

Warranty: Lansky warranties this item to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of this tool. Damages caused by alteration, misuse, or abuse are not covered by this guarantee. Lansky disclaims any responsibility for incidental or consequential damages.

European Union Warranty: Lansky warranties this item to be free from defects in material and workmanship for the life of this tool. Damages caused by alteration, misuse or abuse are not covered by this guarantee.

Lansky disclaims any responsibility for incidental or consequential damages. This guarantee is in addition to and does not affect your statutory rights with respect to faulty goods.

If your product has a manufacturer’s defect which is covered by this guarantee, we will repair or replace it (at our option). Return the item directly to us at:

Lansky Warranty Center
10 Aqua Lane, Tonawanda, NY 14150 U.S.A

Click here to download a PDF version.

In the box

The Lansky Deluxe 5-stone box contains the following items:

  • Plastic storage case
  • Knife clamp with angle selector
  • Five guide rods
  • Honing oil
  • Five sharpening stones:
    • Black, 70 grit, extra coarse
    • Red, 120 grit, coarse
    • Green, 280 grit, medium
    • Blue, 600 grit, fine
    • Yellow, 1000 grit, ultra fine
  • Extra honing stone wingnut
  • Extra front screw for clamp

Note:I received the 35 year anniversary edition Lansky. There are slight cosmetic differences, but what I review and what you buy are the same thing.

Only standard honing stones

The Deluxe 5-stone kit doesn’t come with half-round or triangle honing stones, used for sharpening serrated blades.

It comes with five flat honing stones. You can only use it for sharpening smooth edged blades.

How to use

It’s easy to use the Lansky. Follow along, but…

Before you start

Before using the Lansky, know the following:

  • The Lansky doesn’t do well on long blade. There’s a big difference in sharpening angle from one end of the edge to the other.
    • This doesn’t bother me, but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • Oil the honing stones before and during use.
    • The Lansky Deluxe kit comes with honing oil. If you run out, use mineral oil (medicinal liquid paraffin).
  • The sharpening angle is a guideline. It’s not perfect. The blade’s width and length determine the actual angle.
  • When you sharpen a knife for the first time, mark the Lansky’s position on the knife, while it’s clamped. The next time you sharpen the knife, you won’t have to worry about having to create a new edge from scratch.
  • Tighten the clamp screw with a pair of pliers. Your fingers won’t do a good enough job.
  • Tighten the honing stone rod extensions with a pair of pliers, else they keep coming loose.
  • It’s a dirty job. Have something handy to clean your hands with.
  • Wear gloves if you don’t like cutting your hands.

Follow these steps

Follow these steps to sharpen a knife with the Lansky Deluxe

  1. Attach the guide rods to the honing stones.
    • Use a pair of pliers. If the guide rod isn’t tight, it moves around, causing mild frustration.
  2. Make sure the knife clamp bolts are loose.
  3. Slide the knife into the knife clamp slot.
    • If the blade’s wide, don’t use the slot. Seat the knife against the Phillips screw.
  4. Tighten the Phillips screw.
  5. Tighten the red screw.
    • Use a pair of pliers to tighten it.
  6. Drip oil onto the honing stones. Rub it into the stones with your finger.
    • The oil keeps the stones lubricated AND keeps them from clogging.
  7. Start with the 70 grit stone (if the cutting edge is in a bad condition), working your way up to the 1000 grit.
    • The 70 grit is the roughest stone. If the blade isn’t too bad, you can start with a smoother stone.
  8. Slide the guide rod into one of the Lansky’s angle slots.
  9. Lay the honing stone on the blade’s edge.
  10. Applying pressure, push the stone up and sideways, towards the clamp’s centre. Cover one to two inches.
  11. Once the edge is sharp, remove the honing stone and guide rod.
  12. Flip the whole thing over.
  13. On the other side, slide the guide rod into one of the Lansky’s angle slots.
  14. Lay the honing stone on the blade’s edge.
  15. Applying pressure, push the stone up and sideways, towards the clamp’s centre. Cover one to two inches.
  16. When you’re finished with the last honing stone, loosen the screws and remove the knife.
  17. Wash the knife and start cutting.

Sharpening angles

The Lansky has four sharpening angles:

  • 17 degrees
    • Recommended for razor blades, fillet knives and similar tools.
  • 20 degrees
    • Recommended for kitchen cutlery and slicing knives.
  • 25 degrees
    • Recommended for hunting and outdoor knives.
  • 30 degrees
    • Recommended for cardboard, wire and carpet cutting knives, and other heavy duty blades.

Inaccurate sharpening angles

The Lansky’s angles aren’t accurate. Two factors determine the sharpening angle. These are:

  • The blade’s width.
  • The blade’s placement inside the knife clamp.

I’m no mathematician, but let me explain the hypotenuse concept as best I can.

The Lansky, with the honing stone and guide rod in place and resting on the knife, creates a triangle. They call one side of that triangle, the one represented by the honing stone, the hypotenuse.

The hypotenuse is the longest side of a right-angled triangle, opposite the right angle.

On the Lansky, the hypotenuse is the length from the knife’s edge to the edge of the hole through which you stick the honing stone extension.

The true sharpening angle is determined by the blade's width
The true sharpening angle is determined by the blade’s width.

The further you move the edge, or the wider the blade, the longer the hypotenuse becomes. This changes the sharpening angle.

To further complicate things, the Lansky struggles to accommodate a long blade. There’s a big difference between the honing angle closest to the knife clamp, and the honing angle at the point farthest from the clamp. This shows best on longer blades.

But you won’t mind these shortcomings once you see the difference a sharp blade makes.

True sharpening angles

To determine the Lansky’s true sharpening angles, I measured two knives while they were clamped in the Lansky. One’s a steak knife, the other a chef’s knife.

Note: These calculations aren’t rock solid. I don’t have digital measuring equipment. I own a standard vernier caliper and ruler. The purpose of this exercise is to show you the difference between angles a small distance makes, not to give you exact scientific data.

The chef's knife and steak knife I used for measuring the Lansky's true sharpening angles
The chef’s knife and steak knife I used for measuring the Lansky’s true sharpening angles.

Here are the specs…

Specs for a chef's knife and steak knife, for the purpose of working out the sharpening angle. Metric and Imperial.
 Chef's knife (metric)Chef's knife (Imperial)Steak knife (metric)Steak knife (Imperial)
Blade's width (at widest point)41.4mm1.63 inches21mm0.83 inches
Cutting edge length188mm7.40 inches115mm4.53 inches
Hypotenuse - 17 degrees - shortest angle132.5mm5,22 inches112.5mm4.43 inches
Hypotenuse - 17 degrees - longest angle190mm7.48 inches139mm5.47 inches
Hypotenuse - 20 degrees - shortest angle134mm5.28 inches114mm4.49 inches
Hypotenuse - 20 degrees - longest angle191mm7.52 inches140mm5.51 inches
Hypotenuse - 25 degrees - shortest angle135.8mm5.35 inches115.8mm4.56 inches
Hypotenuse - 25 degrees - longest angle193mm7.60 inches141.5mm5.57 inches
Hypotenuse - 30 degrees - shortest angle138mm5.43 inches118.8mm4.67 inches
Hypotenuse - 30 degrees - longest angle194mm7.64 inches144mm5.67 inches
Longest right angle length188mm7.40 inches136.4mm5.37 inches
Shortest right angle length130.8mm5.15 inches110mm4,33 inches
Blade cutting edge lengths
Blade cutting edge lengths.

Note: Do not clamp your knives as I did in the pictures below. I did it to make a point, not for sharpening.

Chef's knife shortest right angle distance
Chef’s knife shortest right angle distance.
Steak knife shortest right angle distance
Steak knife shortest right angle distance.
Chef's knife longest right angle distance
Chef’s knife longest right angle distance.
Steak knife longest right angle distance
Steak knife longest right angle distance.
Blade widths at widest points
Blade widths at widest points.

Here are the sharpening angles for these knives, based on the specs above.

True sharpening angles for a steak knife and chef's knife, when using the Lansky Deluxe.
Lansky angle slotChef's knife sharpening angleSteak knife sharpening angle
17 degrees - shortest distance18.38 degrees24.2 degrees
17 degrees - longest distance16.64 degrees22.2 degrees
20 degrees - shortest distance25.09 degrees30.45 degrees
20 degrees - longest distance20.34 degrees26.04 degrees
25 degrees - shortest distance31.19 degrees36.42 degrees
25 degrees - longest distance26.14 degrees30.86 degrees
30 degrees - shortest distance37.18 degrees44.38 degrees
30 degrees - longest distance28.57 degrees37.4 degrees

Sharpening at the right angle depends on more than the markings on the Lansky.

Yet, this does not make the Lansky a bad tool. It’s close enough. The knives I sharpened at these angles work well.

Sharpening grit

The Lansky Deluxe comes with five stones:

  • 70 grit
    • Extra coarse
    • Black handle
  • 120 grit
    • Coarse
    • Red handle
  • 280 grit
    • Medium
    • Green handle
  • 600 grit
    • Fine
    • Blue handle
  • 1000 grit
    • Ultra fine
    • Yellow handle

Use the coarsest stone (70 grit) for rough edges. Use the finest stone (1000 grit) for finishing an edge.

Sharpening

For this post I sharpened 16 blades. These are my findings.

Steak knife

We own a set of cheap Shogun steak knives. The Lansky is perfect for this type of blade.

I started with the 70 grit, although I could have started with a finer grit. These knives aren’t too dull.

I opted for the Lansky’s 20 degree angle.

How long it took

It took 34 minutes to sharpen the steak knife. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 70 grit – 15 minutes
  • 120 grit – 6 minutes
  • 280 grit – 3 minutes
  • 600 grit – 5 minutes
  • 1000 grit – 5 minutes

Chef’s knife

I found a monstrous chef’s knife in the kitchen, which took longer to sharpen than the axe head. This was surprising.

I started with the 70 grit and used the Lansky’s 20 degree angle.

How long it took

It took 85 minutes to sharpen the chef’s knife. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 70 grit – 76 minutes
  • 120 grit – 3 minutes
  • 280 grit – 2 minutes
  • 600 grit – 2 minutes
  • 1000 grit – 2 minutes

Meat cleaver

This was an easy operation. The Lansky did a fine job of sharpening the cleaver’s edge.

The meat cleaver’s blade doesn’t have much curve. The straighter the edge, the better the Lansky works.

How long it took

It took 26 minutes to sharpen the meat cleaver. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 70 grit – 18 minutes
  • 120 grit – 2 minutes
  • 280 grit – 2 minutes
  • 600 grit – 2 minutes
  • 1000 grit – 2 minutes

Pair of scissors

I had to stretch my imagination for this one. The Lansky is not made for sharpening scissors. I managed to do it only by using a vice grip to secure the scissors to the Lansky.

The scissor’s blade protruded far beyond the Lansky clamp. I had to hold a finger to the blade while honing, to cut vibration.

How long it took

It took about ten minutes.

Axe head

Of course you can sharpen an axe head with the Lansky 5-stone Deluxe. It takes imagination, but it’s doable.

You’ll need something to secure the Lansky’s two parts to the axe head with. I used a vice grip, but cable ties should work too.

The axe’s cutting edge had an original angle in the 20 degree range. It was too sharp. I changed it to 25 degrees. You could increase it to 30 degrees and give it a compound bevel.

I did not prep the axe with a grinder or sanding belt. I took to it with the 70 grit honing stone.

How long it took

It took 72 minutes to sharpen the axe head. The edge was in a bad state, so I made the 70 grit stone sweat. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 70 grit – 55 minutes
  • 120 grit – 6 minutes
  • 280 grit – 5 minutes
  • 600 grit – 2 minutes
  • 1000 grit – 4 minutes

Serrated blade

The Lansky Deluxe 5-stone doesn’t come with a honing stone for serrated blades. If you want to sharpen serrated blades, take a look at these Lansky sharpening stones…

Medium hone

A medium grit triangle hone for serrated blades.

Fine hone

A fine grit triangle hone for serrated blades.

Chisel

Like with the axe, it takes imagination to sharpen a chisel.

I secured the Lansky clamp to a 20mm chisel with a vice grip and sharpened it to 30 degrees. I opted for a single bevel, but you could give it a double bevel, with 25- and 30 degree angles.

I did not prepare the chisel beforehand. I only used the Lansky.

How long it took

It took 355 minutes (yes, 5.9 hours) to sharpen the chisel. The edge was in a bad state, so the 70 grit stone worked overtime.

This was a murderous undertaking. It took a Shawshank Redemption and some Community episodes to get me through the tedium.

I would not recommend using the Lansky for heavy-duty chisel sharpening. Start with a bench grinder.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 70 grit – 225 minutes
  • 120 grit – 88 minutes
  • 280 grit – 32 minutes
  • 600 grit – 5 minutes
  • 1000 grit – 5 minutes

Multi tool

I own a Leatherman Micra and Gerber mini multi tool. I sharpened the blades of these tools.

Don’t buy a Gerber mini multi tool, by the way. The built-in pair of pliers is weak.

How long it took

It took ten to 15 minutes to sharpen each of these blades. It was a breeze, since the blades are small.

Apologies for the blurry pics. I was impatient. Wanted to get the article finished and delivered to your door.

Cutting tests

I made a video showing the difference a sharp blade makes in cutting various items.

I used only two steak knives and two chef’s knives. One of each was blunt. I sharpened the other two with the Lansky.

My sincere apologies to videographers everywhere, for the terrible video. I hope to improve upon my video making skills.

How long does a blade stay sharp?

I can’t answer this. A blade’s toughness is based on the type of material it’s made from and the type of treatment it received.

If your knife is made from the wrong metal and / or they messed up the heat treatment, it won’t stay sharp. You’ll spend more time on sharpening than you should.

Blade care tips

Tips to keep your blade in good condition:

  • Hang your kitchen knives. Don’t smash them into a drawer where the blades come into contact with each other.
  • Sheath your knife or axe.
  • Keep your blades lubricated. Not kitchen knives. You don’t want your meat to taste like oil.
    • Use a mineral oil for kitchen knives if you must lubricate.
  • Don’t wash your knives in a dishwashing machine. If you do, make sure it doesn’t make contact with anything that could hurt the blades.

Is the honing oil food safe?

I asked Lansky about this and they sent me a safety data sheet. Click here to download a PDF version of it.

According to the safety data sheet, the honing oil is a “Highly Refined Petroleum Base Oil”.

The SDS contains the following general precautionary statements:

  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Read label before use.
  • Wash skin thoroughly after handling.
  • IF SWALLOWED: Rinse mouth. Do NOT induce vomiting.
  • IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.
  • Get medical advice/attention if you feel unwell.

Come to think of it, I once swallowed a mouthful of hydraulic oil. Aside from the disgusting taste, it caused me no harm. But I’m not condoning your drinking of oil. Don’t do it.

The best type of oil

If you want a food safe oil, get mineral oil. You can buy a pure food grade mineral oil in large quantities. It’s not expensive.

Visit Amazon and search for Sanco mineral oil.

Technical specs

Technical specs for the Lansky Deluxe. Metric and Imperial.
PartDimensions (metric)Weight (metric)Dimensions (Imperial)Weight (Imperial)
ClampWidth - 25.5mm
Thickness (thickest point) - 6.35mm
Height (base to tip) - 94mm
Depth (base to end of foot) - 57mm
37gWidth - 1 inches
Thickness (thickest point) - 0.25 inches
Height (base to tip) - 3.7 inches
Depth (base to end of foot) - 2.24 inches
1.3 oz
Front screw (star)Length - 17mm
Largest diameter - 8.9mm
Smallest diameter - 4.8mm
2gLength - 0.67 inches
Largest diameter - 0.35 inches
Smallest diameter - 0.19 inches
0.07 oz
Guide rodLength (longest) - 191mm
Length (shortest) - 26mm
Diameter - 3.15mm
12.4gLength (longest) - 7.52 inches
Length (shortest) - 1.02 inches
Diameter - 0.12 inches
0.44 oz
Guide rod locking screwLength - 21.4mm
Largest diameter - 14.3mm
Smallest diameter - 4.8mm
2.4gLength - 0.84 inches
Largest diameter - 0.56 inches
Smallest diameter - 0.19 inches
0.08 oz
Honing stone (excluding guide rod locking screw)Width - 15.3mm
Length - 121mm
Height - 21mm
~40gWidth - 0.6 inches
Length - 4.76 inches
Height - 0.83 inches
~1.41 oz
Nubbed locking screwLength - 21.5mm
Largest diameter - 27mm
Smallest diameter - 4.7mm
3gLength - 0.85 inches
Largest diameter - 1.06 inches
Smallest diameter - 0.18 inches
0.11 oz
BoxWidth - 109mm
Length - 215mm (without hook tag)
Height - 40.5mm
Empty - 145g
Loaded - 529g
Width - 4,29 inches
Length - 8.46 inches (without hook tag)
Height - 1.59 inches
Empty - 5,11 oz
Loaded - 18.66 oz
Oil bottleLength - 79mm
Body diameter - 30.5mm
Head diameter - 25mm
40gLength - 3.11 inches
Body diameter - 1.2 inches
Head diameter - 0.98 inches
1.41 oz

Alternative sharpener?

My go-to knife sharpener is the Warthog V-Sharp Classic 2. It can’t sharpen serrated blades, but it’s easier to use and quicker on smooth edges, than the Lansky.

Final thoughts

I love the Lansky. It gives you a well sharpened edge at a great price. If you compare the cost of a Lansky to the cost of sending your blades away, the Lansky wins by a landslide.

Is a sharp edge important for cutting?

You could plod along with a dull knife, but once you sharpen your blade with a Lansky, blunt won’t do.

The Lansky isn’t perfect, but the few niggles are negligible, especially considering the price.

Sources:

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