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Monday, 04 March 2024 06:50

TSPROF Pioneer Featured

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TSProf is a Russian brand that got its start back in 2010. Thier goal was to make comprehensive sharpening available to all by using only the best, safest and most sustainable materials. The company produces the sharpening systems in Izhevsk, and it's known for its defense, engineering and metallurgy industries. TSProf wanted to reflect the craftsmanship that Izhevsky was famous for. All the parts of their sharpeners are CNC machined with extremely tight tolerances, while all final assembly and inspection is done the old-fashioned way.

Today we're taking a look at the company's latest model, the Pioneer. It's the most compact and lightweight system TSProf has made, coming in at 1.4kg (3.08 lbs). TSProf's models share similarities but you can see that each model fits a niche, some are better for some things than others. The Pioneer is meant to be extremely compact and have the ability to fold down and be disassembled with ease. That's a cool feature, because the company's other models can dominate a tabletop like the K03.


The Pioneer comes packed in a Styrofoam tray with everything laid out nice and neat. Unpacking wasn't too bad; I do feel the foam is a little on the brittle side. I think storage is cool option for the system but don't know if putting it back in its box repeatedly is going to work. Assembly was fairly quick even with the instructions being in Russian. Thankfully Google Translate made short work of things that I had questions on. There wasn't too many parts and wrenches were included. I do think it was nice for TSProf to include some extra screws, particularly stone holder set screws. I don't see a person losing one of these but it's always nice to have extras of those hard-to-find items.


The Pioneer assembled is a nice looking system, and really light thanks to being milled from a single aircraft aluminum (7075T6) billet. I like the black and chrome look, there's something very industrial presentation wise. To use the system its suggested to clamp it to a table. Some of the company's other models are so heavy they don't need one, it's a trade off with being so light and compact. Rather than clamping we are going another route, I've got a heavy metal stand that's made for the K03 model. This stand works with the Pioneer and will make it extremely stable during use without the need for a clamp. The base plate of the Pioneer bolts right down to the heavy base with two screws. This base is no joke and probably weighs 10 pounds (4.53 kg). With the base installed the Pioneer won't be going anywhere, and it's great that disassembly is super easy.

Alright, with everything fully assembled let's get to sharpening. The Pioneer comes with a diamond plate set that includes:

F150 – roughing
F220 – edge profiling
F400 – main sharpening
F600 – pre-finishing
F1000 –finishing

This set should tackle everything from reprofiling, fixing edge damage, and touching up those less than sharp edges. These plates are metal bonded, they are not as good as some of the company's high-end offerings but excellent for someone getting aquatinted with the system. The system is designed for larger knives, I would say 4 inches and up. When I got the system, I realized it could handle my fixed blades and kitchen knives fine, but the clamps would not come together enough for those smaller blades. I saw pictures of small blades being clamped off center with both clamps. This will work in a pinch but might create some uneven bevels due to the clamps not being in the center of the system. With all fixed sharpening systems like this, there is some variance in angle from side to side but it's fractions of a degree. A way to combat this is to add on an adapter that TSProf sells called an "L" bracket. When installed it allows you to put your clamps closer together and bridge that gap. They sell out rather quickly and are rarely in stock as a result, they seem to be a popular accessory. I was able to snag a pair of these coveted brackets, as well as having a backup. My backup arrived before the official bracket, there's a gentleman who 3D prints an adapter which functions similar to the milled brackets. These are made of carbon fiber reinforced PLA and are plenty strong as a result. I got in touch with Jon at PrintSharpCo and he was happy to help out.


First, I sharpened some kitchen knives, seeing that it's very ideal for the system without any upgrades. The Pioneer can handle blades up to 9.9 inch (250mm) and .20 inches thick (5mm), this should handle just about anything you want to throw at it. Clamping is done via the two clamps, and they can be moved out or towards the center to provide a stable foundation for your knife. I like that they use thumb screws instead of Allen, it makes moving them convenient. Tightening the clamps however is done via an Allen head bolt. This is to keep things low profile, so the stone doesn't rub when sharpening.

The Pioneer can do anywhere from 12 to 26 degrees per side, I think 20 should be good enough for kitchen use. I've got an Axicube from TSProf to help me find the angle I need to set. I tried using the K03 setting on the cube but ended up using the regular angle finder setting (mode 2) instead. The Pioneer has a steel platform on which to calibrate your Axicube, works like a charm. I zero out the cube and move it to top of the stone holder to see where I'm at. To adjust my angle, I need to raise or lower the angle of the stone arm, this is done via a thumb screw in the back of the Pioneer. I wish there was a finer method of tuning your angle, but it works well enough. I must say I really like the Axicube, it's super compact and rechargeable to boot. I've been using a generic one from Amazon on my KME and Edge Pro, as where the Axicube was designed for sharpening.


The 5 abrasive plates included made short work of setting my angle and polishing/minimizing the scratch pattern. The Pioneer has a universal holder that will handle what could be called the standard for stones sizes which is 6 inches (160 mm). You can use smaller stones like those from the KME by moving the stone holder further down the guide rod, but I think smaller stones would do this system an injustice. I like that I can throw any kind of abrasive in the Pioneer, and it'll work. The wooden ball on the end of the arm is comfortable to hold and I don't feel it should be any bigger. Honestly, it's a nice touch with all the milled aluminum, it offsets what might otherwise feel cold and industrial. Movement is smooth and the stop collar helps keep me from completely pulling the stone arm out by accident. Two small issues I have, and they are small ones, are the parking hook and the stone holder. With all this aluminum surely, we would have something better than a plastic parking hook. Yes, it works, but it always feels loose, and I have to move it to the back end of the stone arm to get it to stay where it's supposed to. I would love to see a hook of some kind to park the arm on rather than this plastic prong thing they have going on. As for the stone holder, the part near the ball is free spinning and when changing plates, I have to reorientate that part so I can change plates. Maybe it's fine and I'm not ambidextrous enough, after all it works.



What makes this system a true joy to use is the precise turning mechanism. Compared to the competition this mechanism is pure machined art. There's a lever that's just behind the mechanism and you push it to unlock and rotate the mechanism. Letting go reapplies that tension and keeps things from rotating on you. With something like the KME you simply flip the system over with a turn, breaking that tension. I find I like the lock on the Pioneer better. There's no accidental turning if your tension isn't set right and somehow the whole things feels very intuitive when sharpening. In a nutshell absolutely beautiful mechanism and it's the crowning jewel of the whole kit.


The clamps are milled as opposed to stamped or formed from a mold. This probably increases the cost of production but as a tradeoff increases strength of the clamps. I used the standard clamps that come with the Pioneer, and there's a ton of others available to fit just about every need. I used the included Allen key to tighten the clamps; I think getting one in a screwdriver fashion will make things a little easier for me. To sharpen a smaller knife, I used both the L brackets from TSProf and the before mentioned 3D printed adapter from PrintshopCo. The L brackets work beautifully and allow both clamps to be dead center of the turning mechanism. They're milled just like the clamps and feel like they're part of this whole system rather than an add on. Putting them on wasn't a hassle and I didn't feel I need any instructions. Using them I didn't feel any play or wiggle in them, surely with things being at a 90-degree angle there might be. But things worked and I was able to hold something as small as my Rive Recon without difficulty. I tried the PrintSharpCo's carbon fiber adapter to see how that compares to the TSProf counterpart. Everything is printed with very tight tolerances, and I had to push to snap it into place. The black is really striking against the aluminum of the Pioneer and goes with the look. With this adapter I'm able to get the forks about a 1/4 of an inch from touching. Whether touching or not, with either adapter the clamps are centered and make attaching and sharpening a smaller knife easy.




The Pioneer has seriously impressed me and until something else better comes along this is it. I'm nothing but a hobbyist who loves knives and tools. The Pioneer is aimed at folks like me and a lot of other people in the community. It's not perfect, but what system is? They all come with their pros and cons. It does a great job, and the extra goodies like the stand and the L brackets make this thing very capable. I think what blows me away the most is the precision and attention to detail. I absolutely love (and that should be underlined) American made sharpeners, but this thing is next level. If you're looking to up your game and are looking for a system that's going to cover just about everything in your collection, check out the TSProf Pioneer.

If you're looking to get PrintSharpCo's bracket, be sure to look him up on Etsy. He has a bracket for the Pioneer as well as a few other TSProf models.

David Bowen

As Co Founder of Multitool.org David has been a multitool enthusaist since the 90's.  David has always been fascinated with the design inginuity and uselfulness of multitools.

David is always looking forward to what's new in the industry and how the humble multitool continues to evolve as it radically changes and improves the lives of users.

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