Last year, we bought a Cubikook Chef' Sharpener CS-T01 to test out. Now that it’s undergone over a year’s worth of use, we picked up a new one to compare and see how ours held up.
This model works smoothly and never caused a problem, but nor was there anything exceptional about it. So imagine our surprise when we got our hands on other sharpeners and put them all to the test, and then immediately realized how much we’ve been taking this one for granted.
Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener CS-T01: The Specs
Item weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 8.3 x 1.8 x 2.2 inches
Sharpening angle: 20 degrees
Bevel type: Dual bevel
Levels of Sharpening: Coarse, Medium, Fine
Versatility: Designed for Regular Blades
The Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener sharpens at a 20-degree dual-bevel angle on all of its three stages. This is the most common angle for Western knives.
It works great on straight-edge double bevel knives of small and medium sizes: use it on your chef’s knife, utility and parer. Some santoku and nakiri knives have the right sort of bevel for it too. In short, this device is made for the blades that you use most often.
The ceramic rods may be helpful if you need to straighten the edge of a serrated bread knife, though it doesn’t do much beyond that.
You will find it awkward to sharpen large, heavy knives with this compact device. Big cleavers or 12-inch chef’s knives look and feel a bit cumbersome in the sharpening slots.
Theoretically, the Cubikook can repair major damage on a blade if you spend enough time on it. However, that will wear it out more quickly. Plus, sharpening will take much longer. Similar to other pull-throughs, its design is geared more towards regular maintenance.
Did we mention the ceramic rods in the Fine stage can replace your honing steel? They serve the same edge-straightening purpose, so with the Cubikook, you can save on the steel (as long as your knives have 20-degree bevels).
Sharpness: Above Average
The Cubikook does a fine job of bringing life to a dull blade. It has a slot with diamond rods that shape and straighten the edge, one with tungsten bars that remove burrs, and one with ceramic rods for honing.
In our sharpness test, it took 15 seconds on each slot to transform a useless dull knife into a reasonable tool capable of cutting through an apple in one go or a fresh lemon with 3 - 4 draws.
To cut through a lemon with one draw, it took the sharpener a total of 70 seconds (1 minute 10 seconds) on stages 2 and 3. A few swipes more and it can cut through a raw chicken breast with skin on, though it takes several draws since the skin is slippery.
The Sharpening Time in Our Tests
|Level||1. Tofu||2. Scallion||3. Celery||4. Carrot||5. Apple||6. Lemon||7. Ripe tomato||8. Raw chicken breast with skin||9. Raw beef tendon|
|Time||2 secs||8 secs||20 secs||20 secs||45 secs||95 secs||95 secs||2 minutes*||-|
*The knife could cut through raw chicken breasts with skin with 2 - 3 draws, after 2 minutes or more of sharpening.
While effective, it also removes less material than single-stage sharpeners, such as the Sunrise Pro or Kitchen IQ. This is thanks to the diamond rods in the first stage which help straighten and prepare the edge for the tungsten “peeler” stage.
The Cubikook creates a smooth edge, comparable to the Kitchellence and much better than many single-stage and even the multi-stage versions like Smith’s 50264 or Chef’s Choice ProntoPro. Its working section is placed low and fastened tightly to the base. That helps distribute pressure evenly against the edge regardless of how much force is applied.
Note that our test knife never reached Level 9 (capable of cutting through a beef tendon in one go). This was true regardless of how much time we sharpened it with the Cubikook. To be fair, the knife wasn’t at that level when it was brand new either.
Our conclusion is that the Cubikook won’t make your knife sharper than it was out of the box, which a quality electric device like the Work Sharp Ken Onion or a nice set of stones may be capable of.
Of course, it’s up to you to decide if you want that level of sharpness bad enough to commit to those more impressive devices. Most casual home cooks will find the Cubikook more than sufficient.
Long story short: The Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener will prepare your knives for most kitchen cutting tasks in less than 2 minutes. However, it won’t turn your chef’s knife into a scalpel.
Safety: Best of Its Kind
When it comes to pull-through sharpeners, safety is defined by the unit’s stability. In this regard, the Cubikook stands shoulder to shoulder with the Chef’s Choice ProntoPro and beats the others we tested by leaps and bounds. The two performed better than all others on both a clean countertop and a slippery surface.
The Cubikook is the one with the lowest center of gravity, with its working section placed directly on its flat base. The two silicone pads underneath further aid in keeping it in place. It didn’t wobble or slip even when we deliberately applied more pressure than is usually necessary.
If you have weakened or relatively shaky hands, this is hands-down your best option for sharpening knives.
Ease of Use: Straightforward, No Learning Curve
With one single working angle and the coarseness printed at each slot, the Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener is intuitive. Swipe through the slots until the knife is sharp — you really can’t go wrong with it. The slot labels are only embossed on one side, suggesting a right-handed orientation, but it functions just as well for southpaws. You just need to remember the slot order.
The instructions are simple and are printed right on the box, which saves some paper.
We like that the sharpening slots are thin and the U-shape cutouts that frame them sit far below where the rods meet, and thus stay out of the blade’s path. We could pull a whole knife through quickly, with pressure, even with the tip downward, without ever cutting into the plastic.
While this design seems basic, it’s not to be underestimated.
Many manual sharpeners — even the popular Chef’s Choice and Wamery models — missed this critical design aspect. They have thick U-shaped slots that stay only a few millimeters below the contact point of the sharpening discs or rods. You have to reduce pressure or stop the knife as soon as its tip is through the slot; otherwise, it will cut into the frame. We tend to think a “quick and easy” solution should be easy to use even on the knife’s tip.
Durability: Ceramic Rod Loosen After One Year
We’ve noticed that one of the ceramic honing bars on the Cubikook loosened over time and can now rotate on their axes. That may offer more fresh surface area than do the Smith’s fixed rods, but it also presents a problem: if the rods become too loose, they won’t give enough resistance to have an impact on the knife edge. If they’re too tight, one spot wears out quickly and its effectiveness will wane.
The former is what happened to our old Cubikook. After more than a year, one of the ceramic rods has become loose and is not doing much. The other two stages are working just fine, though, to their credit.
All the other components of the Cubikook will probably last a lifetime. Its body is lean and solid, and doesn’t look like it’ll ever come apart.
The working section is technically detachable, though it requires some effort. We thought it’d be nice if we could buy replacements for that part once it’s worn out, but to our disappointment, Cubikook doesn’t sell them.
Storage: Easy Peasy
At roughly the size of a corncob, the Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener barely takes any space in a drawer. Or, alternatively, you can hang it by the handle from a wall mount so it’s always within reach. You can even leave it on the countertop and still have room for everything else.
The sharpener itself is made of highly corrosion-resistant materials. However, the steel dust that builds up on rods and blades after many sharpenings may develop rust over time or with high moisture. It hasn’t happened to the ones we have, but there’s still a possibility.
To maximize its lifespan, clean the Cubikook’s working section with a soft, dry toothbrush after every use, then leave it in a cool, dry place.
The Verdict: Should You Buy the Cubikook Sharpener?
The Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener is a much better device than its price suggests. It’s safe, handy, effortless to use, dependable, and offers a sharpness level that’s suitable for most kitchen tasks.
Buy It If
- Your goal is regular maintenance on ordinary kitchen knives
- You want to sharpen quickly so you can focus on the cooking
- Most of your knives are of Western/German style (double beveled, with an 18-degree angle or larger)
- Long, tedious sharpening sessions aren’t your cup of tea
- You’re clumsy or have shaky hands
- Convenience is important
- Affordability is a plus
Anyone can use the Cubikook and will find it useful, but there are circumstances when you should consider other sharpening options.
Not Your Best Choice If
- The task is heavy-duty sharpening
- You want surgically sharp knives with shiny edges
- Your knives are single-beveled
- Most of your blades are Japanese style
- You need to repair large chips, dents, bends, or major damage other than the normal wear and tear
We hope this Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener CS-T01 review has been useful to you. Write to us if you have questions regarding the device or to share your unique experience with us!
Anh Ngo has been writing and editing at Healthy Kitchen 101 since 2018. She tests and reviews a wide variety of kitchen tools and appliances, including knives, knife sharpeners, water filters, and juicing machines. Her feline assistant, meanwhile, is responsible for product box and packaging inspections at the lab.