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Thread: Work Sharp - Sharpener - Comments ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Alpharetta GA ( Metro Atlanta)

    Work Sharp - Sharpener - Comments ?

    I am very frustrated with trying to sharpen with water stones.

    I looked at this video on WOOD Magazine for Work Sharp and it really looks good. Also 3 positive comments on the Rockler site.

    The work Sharp is $199. The Lee Valley motorized sharpener is $350

    I know LV quality, but the demo is very compelling for Work Sharp.

    What do y'all think ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Baltimore, Mary land


    Believe it or not, I use sandpaper. I clamp a piece to my table saw cast iron top and sand in one direction, while keeping pressure on the chisel. I hold the chisel so that the blade flat on the paper. I found that simply clamping the paper on the opposite edge is enough to hold it while you work.

    I start with 80 grit, move to 100, 220, 360 Wet/dry, 1000 wet/dry and then 2000 wet/dry. When I get to 2000 grit, I usually spray the paper with WD-40 to create a slurry for polishing. I don't know if that is a good Idea, but I have had no bad things come of it.. I recently purchased a leather strop and green chrome oxide compound to add that final edge, but I haven't tried it yet.

    I read about this in an article, but I cannot remember which magazine. I know that Fine Woodworking has an article about it on their website, but you have to subscribe to the web content before you can get it.

    The reason I chose this method is simple. There are so many different ways of sharpening something and I didn't know which one to go with. so after reading an article about sand paper sharpening I knew I could do this method with much success, its almost full proof. The Idea works with odd shaped tools as well, like lathe turning tools, because you simple turn the tool as you push it across the paper.

    Every time I tried grinding a chisel I ended up burning the tool.. Using sand paper makes the burning impossible, because you do not get that much heat from it.

    I have had very good results with this.


    I just watched the video and is seems like a very good sharpening system... It also uses sandpaper... hmmm...
    Last edited by George Blevins; 04-16-2007 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Posted before watching video lnk...
    George Blevins

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Trinity County - 160 miles north of San Francisco. Redwood forest.

    Smile Work Sharp

    Fine Woodworking magazine did a comparison of motorized sharpening systems. It was a 2006 issue.

    I own the Veritas machine. It is expensive, but after I burned through $35 in sandpaper trying to flatten the soles of my handplanes (and getting nowhere), I needed help.I also have a history of failing with stones to get my wife's kitchen knives sharp. If I were good with the scary sharp method or with stones, I'd be happy. But I'm not.

    The Veritas MK is fast. Less than 90 seconds to take a plane blade or chisel to a perfect edge. I think all the various machines have that advantage. The LapSharp comes to mind. If you're not in a hurry, start watching eBay for a used machine --- even a Tormek. A big part of your long-range costs with any device are the consumable abrasives. The Veritas uses auto body shop disks.

    Gary Curtis -- northern California

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Hi there.

    Sharpening tools is a tricky job, and the more you do it the better will be your technique no matter which it is.
    I haven't seen the video, so I can't give an opinion about it.
    A couple of years ago I shifted from oil stones to water stones, and I must say that the sharpness of my tools improved, most problably because I was able to get the proper grit sizes, getting sharpening stones (oil or water) and some proper advice is getting difficult here.

    I've also tried once the so called "Scary sharp" system and I got a round bevel on the chisel I tried. Reason? First time trial I guess, it works fine for other people so.

    If one gets a proper edge and bevel, maintaining it is a matter of a couple of minutes before starting to work.

    My advice: don't let your edge get too blunt, it is easier to "refresh" it with a few strokes on the finest stone than having to go down to rougher grits or even to a grinder.
    The best technique and stone is the one that works for you. If you are happy with it why change?

    My five cents.
    Best regards,

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lake City, Florida
    Bartee , Like many, I struggled with hand sharpening and never got it right. I have a plastic box full of almost every jig available ... still never got right. I finally broke down and bought a Tormek and took a 3 hour class at Woodcraft on how to use it.

    The initial cost does hurt, but the immediate results took the pain away very quickly. My tools are SHARP, I touch them up often (it only takes a minute), and they stay sharp.

    Tony, BCE '75

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Alpharetta GA ( Metro Atlanta)

    I agree with the consumables cost. Looking at the cost of paper for the Work Sharp vs the Veritas, it could add up.

    I trust Lee Valley. I know they build and standby their equipment.

    So I will just wait and see.

    Great comments by all.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    i think a fellow is better off finding somebody who can sharpen and have them teach you how .....once you know how to sharpen you can sharpen with stones,sandpaper or a grinder......only after you can "freehand" an edge should you consider training wheels.....otherwise it`s likely you`ll be stuck using the same set of training wheels for all your edge tools...tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I have to agree with Tod on this one.

    Why the fixation to throw money at the problem (this is not an attack on any one person, especially Bartee) I see it on every forum I've ever been at, buy this buy that new fangled jig etc.

    Do these things work? Certainly some of them so, and well, but do you need to put out the mega bucks to get a sharp edge?

    No way.

    I have a flat (enough) granite tile that is about 14" square, I use the scary sharp system on this, it really works on things like flattening the sole of a plane, or the backs of a badly worn chisel. I also have waterstones, and like Toni says, they work really well, and I like working with water, more than oil, as the clean up is easy

    I also made myself a power strop, after Tod suggested it, it works very well, and I get a great hair shaving edge from this.

    Learn to sharpen by hand, I know it is not easy, at first, but nothing worthwhile ever is

    Now if you have the funds and the inclination to buy a motorized system, please do, I'm sure it will work well, and give you a great edge.

    Bartee, if you get a system, we expect a full write up and pictures

    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    The Heart of Dixie
    Just have to chime in. I am frugal and hate spending money on things I can do cheaper. Just seems like a waste to me. If I were you and had the water stones I would follow Todd's advice and find out what I'm doing wrong. We know water stones can work. Nothing personal but you must be doing something wrong. Save the money you would spend on something else and find out what your doing wrong.

    Like others I started out with the scary sharp. Using a cheap jig and the sandpaper I could get hair shaving edges on my chisels fairly easy. It did take me a while to get the hang of it. My results were less than great to start with.

    I recently switched to the Makita knife sharpener. I did that so I could do my own planner and jointer blades. But it took some effort to learn to use! I didn't turn it on and get perfect hair shaving chisels. I notice that while Tony likes his Tormek, even he took a class to learn to use it.

    I say what you have will work just fine, you just need to learn what your doing wrong. Buying a book or taking a class is much less expensive than buying a sharpening system that you may still not be happy with.

    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.

    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  10. #10
    The general critisism of the worksharp system is manufacturer tolerances. Apparently it's not unusual for the disc to wobble. I think this would be unfavorable with woodworking tools. As for consumables, they say that it uses any adhesive backed abrasive you want. I use water stones and the veritas guide:

    I was getting a true edge immediately. I use the same guide with the scary sharp method with excellent results.

    As for the power sharpeners, it looks like you get what you pay for. If you want a premium edge, your best bet comes with a premium machine. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I would toss ANOTHER 200 bucks to see. So, Tormek, Lapsharp and Veritas. I'd get a GOOD guide and the scary sharp method and then an 8000 waterstone. I say "I'd get," because that's what I do and it works. I've never tried one of the motorized sharpeners, though I have coveted both the Veritas and the Tormek.


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