Has anyone tried this? It seems vastly easier than using a stone and sounds effective. It's from the long egullet article that was quoted earlier in this thread. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?...nd-sharpening/
The Mousepad Trick Do you have an old mouse pad? Is there an auto supply store nearby? You can make a superb sharpening system for about $5. Go to your nearest auto supply store and get some 600 grit sandpaper. Mylar-backed wet/dry sandpaper works best. This is the stuff used to sand automotive paint between coats. Get the self-stick kind. If they have higher grits, get a couple of sheets of those, too, 1200 grit is generally the next step up. Go nuts. It’s cheap. Stick the sandpaper to the mouse pad and trim the edges. This is your new sharpening system. If you have both 600 and 1200 grit, apply one to each side of the mousepad. Make sure you have a work surface you don’t mind scratching up. If you have a double-sided mousepad sharpener, you don’t want to work on your kitchen counter or dining room table. Your spouse will kill you. This system requires a stropping motion when sharpening, using an edge-trailing stroke. That means that unlike other sharpening methods you don’t lead with the edge, you lead with the spine. Image an old barbershop with the barber stropping his razor, stroking away from the edge. That’s the idea. To establish your angle, lay the knife flat on the pad, edge toward you. Lift the spine slightly while pulling lightly toward you. Continue lifting until the edge bites into the sandpaper. That’s your stropping angle. Press down lightly and stroke the knife away from you, spine first, moving from heel to tip. When you reach the end STOP and lift the knife straight up off the sandpaper. Don’t roll it off or lift the spine further or you’ll mess up the edge you’re creating. Turn the knife over and stroke back the other way with the edge away from you, pulling the spine toward you at the same angle as the previous stroke. The really cool thing is that the mouse pad is soft enough that it conforms to the angle of the knife edge. As long as you’re pretty close you’ll be fine. This will give you an amazing edge in a fairly short amount of time. If you want to polish it up, use the higher grit sandpaper on the other side of the mouse pad. Because the mousepad is soft, it deforms lightly around the edge of the knife and gives you a slightly convex bevel. As we’ve discussed, a convex edge has many advantages but can be difficult to achieve without a belt sander. This is one way to create or maintain a convex edge without serious power tools.
I've got an older Messermeister knife that I received once as a gift but never ever use. I thought it was crap because the edge disappeared very quickly, but it was before I knew anything about anything, I wasn't honing, etc. It's probably a decent enough knife but since I never have used it it seems like a good guinea pig for this little experiment. Thoughts?