It is now retired, mainly was used for my kitchen knives, and light sharpening, or touchups for other, harder blades. One of the most definite pros and strong points of the Sharpmaker system, is its ability to sharpen the serrated blades. Not all types of serrations, but still, it's a plus. Sadly, for any serious sharpening job, it is too slow. The problem with the original version of the Sharpmaker was that the stock version ships with two sets of ceramic rods, gray, a.k.a. medium and white, a.k.a. fine. Medium being 800 grit and fine being 1200. Having 800 grit as a primary grinding stone, is rather cruel joke. Most of the beginners who buy Sharpmaker, have no clue about sharpening, first place. More than obvious, that those folks have their knives dull, way beyond dull for 800 grit stone. Now, add those two factors together. You get frustrated sharpening newbie, who honestly is trying to sharpen his knife, and even if he gets the movement right, which isn't easy from the first time, or even from the first 10 times, still, the results of all grinding are nowhere to be seen, or felt.
It does take time to use Sharpmaker properly. The video that comes with it, makes sharpening with 204 look very easy, and later a lot of folks simply get frustrated, when they don't get the results desired fast and easy. The good news is that Spyderco has already released diamond stones(220 grit) for the Sharpmaker. I've used them for around 2 years, before I've ditched Sharpmaker altogether. Not because it didn't work though. Just, I got more efficient and skilled in freehand sharpening and sandpaper/mousepad method or benchstones do it for me. Anyway, if you are used to Sharpmaker, then diamond stones are worth it. Otherwise, there is no way you can do any serious reprofiling with the standard ceramic stones that come with it. Diamonds greatly reduce time required for metal removal, though produce real rough edge. And as usual with diamond stones, be delicate, no hard pressure, or else you'll loose diamonds ;).
Last updated - 09/01/11