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Review of the WorkSharp WS3000

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Review by WayneC posted 2226 days ago 6950 views 1 time favorited 39 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Review of the WorkSharp WS3000 Review of the WorkSharp WS3000 Review of the WorkSharp WS3000 Click the pictures to enlarge them

Originally posted in my blog.

I have been looking for a sharpener for a while and came close to coughing up $250 for the Jet clone of the Tormak when the woodworking show was in town last month. I had also seen the Work Sharp on the web. Dan Like had seen one in action and given it his endorsement. There is a video of it on thier web site if your interested in seeing it in action. Wood Magazine has a review of it as well as a video of it in action. On the worksharp web site there is a tutorial document that describes the machine in detail. It is worth the read if your considering buying a unit.

Two weeks ago when I was on my way home from the bay area I stopped in a Rockler store that is along the way an they had a demo model on the shelf. They did not have any in stock. This week I went to the bay area again. I dropped into Rockler and checked to see if they had any in stock. Unfortunately they did not have any, but said that they were expecting some. I put my name on the list (They have been selling lots of them) and dropped back in the next day on my way home.

They did have one for me and I purchased it along with a leather hone and a tool guide used for lathe and carving tools.

Worksharp - New in Box

The unit and all of its parts were very well packaged. The package contained the following items:

  • The Sharpening Machine
  • Users Guild
  • Assorted Abrasive Disks
  • 2 Tempered Glass Wheels
  • Slotted Wheel
  • Tool Guide
  • Crepe Stick

Tool and components

The machine itself is very solid and well made. It has a 1/5 hp motor and rotates at 580 RPM.

Machine

The abrasives are adhesive backed. You mount them on each side of the glass plates. This gives you 4 different grits (120, 400, 1000, and 3600) that you can use to hone your tools. They sell a 6000 grit abrasive as an add-on. I will probably purchase some next time I pass by Rockler and try it out. The next part was probably the most difficult part of the entire operation. Getting my finger nail under the plastic backing and it was not really that difficult. You clean the plates with alcohol and then you mount the abrasives on the glass. Basically you bend them into a U shape and match up the center hole.

Tempered Glass Wheels

Glass Wheel with Course Grit mounted

It was easy to mount all of the abrasives. The only tough part was the 3600 grit plate. I got some bubbles and had to pierce them and roll them out with a dowel. To mount them in the machine they go on a center post with a hand tightened knob. Changeing wheels is a very quick process. You can get any of the grits installed in seconds. I like this feature quite a bit.

The machine is now ready for sharpening.
Ready for Work

The first step in the process is to flatten the back of the blade. I started with an old Stanley plane blade and the course wheel. You flatten the back by placing the heel of the blade against the wheel and dropping the blade down onto the wheel. You sharpen a bit and then raise the blade off the wheel to manage the temperature. I immediately felt comfortable with the tool and did not have any trouble with the operation. I quickly moved through the grits and very quickly had the back flattened and polished to a mirror finish. I have been using water stones and this feature alone makes the machine worth owning. Also, when you are using the tool, you can feel the temperature of the blade. It is easy to tell if it is getting warm in any way.

I’m not sure how well you will be able to see these pictures, but they are of the back as I moved through the various grits.

After course grit
After Medium Grit
After Fine
After Honing

The next step is to hone the bevel. The machine has a unique guide on the side of the machine that is used to grind the bevel. It has a set of stops that allow you to set the angle of the blade. The stops are at 20, 25, 30, and 35 degrees. They are easy to set. The guide also has an abrasive strip on it that is used to remove the burr. There is a small window above the switch that indicates the bevel angle setting.

Side

Basically, you take the blade and set it in the guide and push the blade against the wheel. You hold the blade against the wheel for 1-2 seconds and pull it down into the guide a minimum of 1”. This removes any burr on the back side. After a trying it a few times, it was easy to get a feel for it.

Blade in guide

You progress through all 4 grits and end up with a nice sharp blade.

Before
Course
Medium
Hone

The users manual indicated that you can use the guide to create a micro-bevel and it does have a skew adjustment. Cambers could be created free hand using the tool guide or you could go back to waterstones. The guide is limited to 2” in width, which means that larger plane irons cannot be honed using the guide. This eliminates planes such as the 4 1/2, 5 1/2 and 6-8. You can still flaten the back on these blades and also could hone them free hand on top of the machine.

I also purchased the leather honing wheel. You first coat it with mineral oil to help the wheel take the combound.

Honing wheel

I also purchased a tool guide accessory for use with carving and lathe tools. I have not tried it yet.

Tool Guide

Here it is mounted on the side. It can also be mounted on top where the other tool guide is located.

Tool guide mounted

I sharpened the plane blade for my #3. This blade has an 1892 patent date on it and the back had some irregular wear. I could not imagine how long it would have take me to flatten the back using water stones. Even with this, it took me less than twenty minute start to finish to sharpen the blade. This included flattening the back (the majority of the time), re-establishing a primary bevel and taking it through all grits. I also needed to tune the chipbreaker. I found the tool extreamly useful for this operation. I was able to have fine control of the material being taken off and got great results. I tuned both the surface that mates with the plane blade and smoothed out the face of the chipbreaker. Here is a picture of the results.

Results

Hopefully they will come out with an 8” model that will allow for the larger plane blades to be sharpened in the guide system.

I rated it 4 stars because of the blade limitation.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov




View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12249 posts in 2695 days



39 comments so far

View Grumpy's profile

Grumpy

19313 posts in 2448 days


#1 posted 2226 days ago

Looks like a handy accessory Wayne.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2834 days


#2 posted 2226 days ago

dO YOU THINK IT’S POSSIBLE TO MODIFY IT TO TAKE A LARGER BLADE?

View Tony's profile

Tony

978 posts in 2628 days


#3 posted 2226 days ago

I agree it looks like pretty fast tool for sharpening small flat blades. How are you going to sharpen your jointer and planer blades. I would also like to know how you can sharpen your curved tools on this machine – that would be interesting.

The Tormek still wins hands down for me at the moment – but I am open to conversion

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi)

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2366 days


#4 posted 2226 days ago

looks like a nice tool. been thinking of getting one but i too don’t like how it has the limitation in blade size. thanks for the post.

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Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2555 days


#5 posted 2226 days ago

I keep seeing one of these at my local tool dealer…everytime I go in there it whispers…”buy me, buy me”. Great review…now I have some positive info on it, thanks Wayne.

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12249 posts in 2695 days


#6 posted 2226 days ago

Tony

I think Tormak or Jet wins hands down for long blades such as jointer/planer blades or kitchen knives for that matter. Curved tools can be done free hand from above using the guide or from below using the see through sharpener. But I think that the Tormak would be more flexable and controlled. Especially with all of the Jigs available.

I think the main benefit of this tool is for chisels, and plane blades that are below 2”. From a plane perspective this covers every thing except the wider bench planes 4 1/2, 5 1/2, 6, 7, 8.

I really like the ability of the tool to flatten the back of blades. Especially on wide blades (the 2” limit does not apply here) where it is much more efficient to do this on the Worksharp compared to sandpaper or on a stone. From my perspective this the most time consuming part of sharpening. Once you get the back flat and polished, grinding a bevel and honing is easy and quick with pretty much any method you would use.

Obi,

They are supposed to be coming out with a jig that can be used from above that will get past the 2” limitation. I bet they would sell a ton of them if they actually release them.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2246 days


#7 posted 2226 days ago

great review. good info. its nice to read an objective review on this, as I’ve been looking at it for quite some time, but you can’t really judge it by all the fanboy advertisements this unit is getting lately.

it does look like an awesome easy to use dummy proof sharpener for smaller chisels and planes, but the size limitation keeps it at that boundary.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View FloridaUFGator's profile

FloridaUFGator

39 posts in 2611 days


#8 posted 2226 days ago

I don’t see blade size as a limitation. I easily sharpened my #7 blade on this by hand with no issue. Simply rest the blade on the bar and eyeball the angle. Once you have it in place you simple rock the blade up and down. You get the angle close enough and the blade is super sharp when done. I am getting see-through savings from my jointer plane after sharpening. Its a low cost, low risk investment. I wouldn’t say it is a replacement for the Tormek or the Jet. I believe those hit a different audience (people who use hand tools extensively and sharpen frequently). However, if you occasionally need to sharpen a chisel or hand plane this is a superb system. You could use this system with greater frequency but I believe you would burn through a lot of sandpaper (which isn’t cheap) and would ultimately work up to the cost of the JET and maybe the Tormek.

-- ...and remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses - Norm Abram

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

207 posts in 2570 days


#9 posted 2225 days ago

Had one for a while and think it is great. Yes wider blsdes can be done on the top and it works well. A good buy.

-- WOOD/DON (...one has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2419 days


#10 posted 2225 days ago

This is a nice review, Wayne. I have one of these and until I started using it could only get a marginally sharp edge on my chisels and plane irons. But now I can get an edge sharp enough to shave with. I consider it money well spent.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View stanley2's profile

stanley2

305 posts in 2393 days


#11 posted 2225 days ago

Wayne – thanks for the review. I just finished sharpening about 30 carving tools and chisels on a borrowed Worksharp and have recommended that our club buy one for use by members for a small fee. The reason for this recommendation was that once the tools are properly beveled and sharpened you can easily hone with a buffing wheel over a long period of time without going back to the Worksharp. I really liked the see-through disc for sharpening the gouges.

-- Phil in British Columbia

View Doug S.'s profile

Doug S.

295 posts in 2305 days


#12 posted 2225 days ago

Wayne
Is that tool guide accesory something new? I wasn’t aware they had anything other than the wheels/paper yet for extras. Would it be possible to do 2+” blades on that with the guide mounted up top and the blade clamped on? I keep doing the wide ones the old-fashioned way on glass or a granite slab. I dont much like the idea of trying to free hand them up top and doing a consistent angle from grit to grit. It sure would be nice to speed the sharpening on those too.
Other than that little pecadillo, the machine is a great timesaver and works extremely well, especially considering the relatively low price.

-- Use the fence Luke

View king's profile

king

71 posts in 2545 days


#13 posted 2222 days ago

I have one like it alot,good luck with yours good review.

-- franklinalbert@sbcglobal.net

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TedM

2002 posts in 2330 days


#14 posted 2214 days ago

Great review, thanks!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit http://www.woodworkersguide.com and sign up for my project updates!

View JerryS's profile

JerryS

219 posts in 2208 days


#15 posted 2208 days ago

Excellent review , I found it very helpful . Please post back when you get to use the Guide for carving and lathe tools . I would be interested in reading what you think about it . Thanks again !

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