Learning to sharpen chisels, plane irons, kitchen knives, scissors and even chainsaw chains is not terribly difficult. With some practice, it can be accomplished freehand, using an assortment of simple files or whetstones.
However, a segment of the population takes sharpening very seriously, nerding out over the specific angle of sharpening and a high level of precision. To meet their demands, there is an industry's worth of elaborate sharpening jigs. I thought the woodworking market yielded the craziest jigs, but this Iki Ruixin Pro knife sharpening rig, aimed at chefs, takes the cake.
It can accommodate a variety of blade styles.
Like many jigs, it seems quite cumbersome to set up (it even involves using a level app on a smartphone). But once in place, it's easy to see how it scratches the itch for the anal-retentive sharpener:
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Is it better than sharpening freehand? It's a matter of opinion. Sometimes the folks who use this type of stuff are more interested in the ritual, i.e. achieving perfect sharpness is just as valid a goal as actually cooking or woodworking with the newly-sharpened tool. The manufacturers of sharpening jigs understand this well, and are happy to meet that market's needs.
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