|Review by Badabing||posted 01-21-2008 01:07 AM||3248 views||1 time favorited||12 comments|
The WorkSharp WS3000 is a powered sharpening system that uses a horizontal spinning surface. It uses PSA sandpaper on tempered glass disks or slotted wheels as the abrasive surfaces. It has a unique angled port under the disk to set the bevel angle of tools such as chisels and plane blades. There is also a tool rest above the wheel for top surface sharpening. The adjustable port provides the ability to set precise bevel angles with perfect repeatability. The slotted wheel allows the user to actually see the edge that is being sharpened against the bottom surface of the wheel.
Let me first say that I am a total novice when it comes to sharpening. I tried using oil stones and an angle fixture but could not seem to get the hang of it. My results were horrible, probably because I was starting with some very dull blades that needed a lot of material removed before they’d be considered even close to sharp.
I started to look at my options and thought it best to go for a motorized sharpening solution. The WorkSharp 3000 caught my eye immediately. The competition is very expensive when you consider the initial cost and then the price of attachments to sharpen different tools. Even some of the manual methods would cost a lot when you figure in the different grades of stones needed to get the best results. With the WorkSharp, the price is very reasonable for what you get. The unit itself seems well made even though there is a good bit of hard plastic. The included accessories are well thought out and cover most of what the average user will need to use. I’m sure I’ll find the need for some extras but for now it appears fairly complete for chisels and plane irons. The instructions are straight forward and well laid out.
Aside from the motorized sharpener itself, the box includes two 6” tempered glass disks, one slotted wheel, a top tool rest, a crepe stick, and a good assortment of PSA abrasives to get started with. Setup is not very difficult if you follow the instructions. One of the first things you have to do is adhere the PSA abrasives to the tempered glass disks. Each glass disk gets two abrasives; one on each side. First you must clean the glass to ensure the surface is free of any dirt or oils (I used Isopropyl alcohol, commonly called ISA). Next you have to peel the backing off of the abrasive sheets and apply them to the glass disk. This is where it can get a little tricky. Here is a good tip: I had a brainstorm and used a socket wrench extension rod to line up the holes. This made it very easy to align the abrasive with the glass disk.
Another tip is to use a roller of some kind to roll out the air bubbles that may be trapped between the glass and the abrasive. I used a roller top from a glue bottle I had lying around. It is easy to tell when there are no bubbles. By the way, I had no trouble with air bubbles on any of the abrasives (although the 3600 MicroMesh did have a couple but they rolled out easily).
Once it was all setup, I had to test it out. I selected one of my most worn chisels. A 5/8” chisel where the edge was very dull and even rounded over slightly on the back side. I soon realized that it would take way too long to clean up this edge, even using the WorkSharp’s coarsest grit (P120). So I took the chisel over to my bench grinder and squared the edge of the bevel. This took off the rounded over part of the back as well so I had a flat square edge on the end instead of a sharp beveled edge. I then set to work on the WorkSharp and took the chisel’s bevel and back plane through all the grits.
This is where the WorkSharp really shines (literally)! The ability to use progressively finer grits one after the other is a definite advantage over the competition. I lapped the back of the chisel on the top of the wheel with the P120 side up. Then I flipped the wheel over and with the P120 side down, I ground the bevel to 25 degrees in the angled port underneath. I took both sides of the chisel through all the grits in this same way, lapping the back first and then sanding the bevel. I then set the port to 30 degrees and put a micro bevel on the edge as suggested in the directions by a “Master Tip” section they included.
The WorkSharp put a mirror finish on the old chisel and made it as sharp as a scalpel. While it took over 10 minutes to get to this level of sharp, it only takes a fraction of the time to simply maintain an edge like this once you have it on your tools already. In fact, once you get to this point you only have to use the last two grits to keep this edge super sharp and mirror finished.
It works as advertised and is very easy to use. All in all, I am very happy with the WorkSharp. I use it all the time and the convenience is well worth the cost. There’s nothing like getting paper thin shavings from a hand plane every time you use it because you can keep it extremely sharp with very little effort. The WorkSharp is definitely a valuable asset in my shop!
Note: For a more detailed review with additional information and pictures, please see my website here. It includes details about the slotted wheel and curved tools as well as valuable information about customer support!
-- - Joe http://www.joeswoodstuff.ecrater.com