Designed for the chef who doesn’t use a whetstone, the McGowan Diamondstone Electric Knife Sharpener works well enough that you shouldn’t run your knives through it for that daily touch-up. Use a honing steel for the everyday maintenance, because if you like this fast cutting diamond-grit machine too much, you’ll soon run out of steel.
Sharpening knives on a stone isn’t a job everyone enjoys. It’s right on the cusp of that precise work that jangles nerves and makes some people grit their teeth. If you’re the sort who learned to work with dull knives or a long succession of cheap ones, a machine like the McGowan Diamondstone Sharpener can be a great help in the kitchen. The McGowan offers quick rejuvenation of old blades without allowing much to go wrong.
The rules are simple: Turn the machine on with the convenient rocker switch, place the blade in the slot, and pull it through with a straight, steady movement. Don’t use downward pressure, and don’t press the blade to either side. The most common problem with a sharpener like this is dipping the handle of the knife and dragging the sharp edge over the machine’s housing. That dulls the sharp knife on the way out, so pay attention and don’t blame the machine.
There will always be a short piece of unsharpened blade near the bolster which the wheels can’t quite reach, and sharpening the curve of a blade all the way to the tip can be tricky — but in general, the system works very well. The diamond grit wheels set the blade to the angle that’s factory standard for American and European knives, but it’s too wide for Japanese knives. The motor is certainly strong enough to handle the work, and the long-lasting diamond grit cutting wheels raise the warranty on this machine to three full years. That’s a lot of sharp knives.
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