Pros: Effectiveness, Overall Quality, Ease of Use
Cubic Boron Nitride Rods great addition to sharpening kit
Spyderco's CBN rods match up very well with their Diamond sharpening rods, which I have used for quite awhile. Both are used mostly with moderate re-sharpening (not touch-ups), taking out nicks or edge chips, and making bevels even. (I use bench diamond stones for any initial reprofiling.) As with the diamond stones, first usage feels a little rougher/coarser grit than after a few uses. The CBN rods have settled into a slightly finer grit/finish than the diamond rods--barely noticeable, though. These CBN rods are especially helpful with harder "supersteels" like Maxamet, S110V, and ZDP-189, saving lots of sharpening time initially before moving onto the Spyderco medium rods. Pay heed to the cautions about not applying too much pressure on your sharpening passes. That will NOT speed up sharpening, but will speed up dislodging the CBN particles from their bond with the rods, hastening wearing out the rods. (same caution applies to all bonded rods/plates of course.) This is more notable for the edges of the rods, but I use only the flats probably 99% of the time with bonded rods. I would not use these rods for sharpening Spyderedge/serrated edge blades--too aggressive. But then I rarely use the Sharpmaker for serrated eges anyway; usually full-round and half-round slipstones of the appropriate radii. At this point I couldn't say which I would prefer between CBN vs diamond rods for the Sharpmaker. Results seem equally good with both. We'll see how they hold up and compare after a year.