What is the best sharpening system

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Forum topic by ezgnann posted 12-27-2013 08:08 PM 2530 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2200 days

12-27-2013 08:08 PM

I am considering upgrading from my Lansky and wet stones to a powered sharpening system. I mainly would need to sharpen picket knives, chisels, kitchen knives, and planes. Tormek, Grizzly, Worksharp, Sorby, modified bench grinder, etc. all look to do the same job, but what do you find is the best system for sharpening? I want some advise from fellow crafters that are using them!

-- Woodworking is cheaper than psychotherapy and better for me than whiskey

12 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4580 posts in 3537 days

#1 posted 12-27-2013 08:31 PM

I have had a Makita wet system for years. Don’t know why this system is overlooked ‘cause it has served me well for ALL sharpening (except some lathe tools).
I can remember when it was the go-to system at Highland Woodworking.
Stupid simple, and accurate as you need.


View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 1615 days

#2 posted 12-27-2013 08:44 PM

I’ve got a team of three trained monkeys and one gorilla that do all my sharpening. They use an oilstone, a slow speed grinder – sometimes with a wolverine jig – some waterstones, my surface grinder, a large diamond stone, a pile of slips and cones, sandpaper on glass, a veritas jig for holding the angle, and a worksharp WS3000. Whatever floats their boat that day is what they play with. Before I got the trained monkeys I had a team of octopi and starfish that did my sharpening for me. They had the Delta Sharpening Center, the Grizzly knockoff of the Tormek, an even bigger pile of oil and waterstones, diamond files, a big 10” grinder, a smaller 6” grinder, a leather strop, a big wooden spindle they’d turned on the lathe with various shapes on the edge and some rouge impregnated into the MDF. They even used a belt sander every now and then. They were good guys, but they tried to go union so I let them go and went with the monkeys.

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View brtech's profile


961 posts in 2499 days

#3 posted 12-27-2013 09:11 PM

I think you need to tell us what kind of budget seems reasonable to you. If you can easily afford a Tormek with all the accessories for the edges you want to sharpen, then go for it.

If you would rather trade your time for your dollars, scary sharp (sandpaper on glass or granite) is the best.

The “masters” seem to be freehand sharpening on diamond plates

A Worksharp is in between, I have a 3000, purchased dirt cheap or I probably wouldn’t have bought it. It’s kind of a motorized scary sharp system, using a motor driven glass wheel with sandpaper.

View waho6o9's profile (online now)


7558 posts in 2154 days

#4 posted 12-27-2013 09:17 PM

Tormek 7 with all the attachments will sharpen anything.

View Loren's profile


8534 posts in 3225 days

#5 posted 12-27-2013 09:40 PM

The “best” is hard to assess.

Budget is one factor, speed of getting ready to sharpen
is another, mess is a factor, and how much time it
takes to do the actual sharpening is another.

I have a Makita I get out when I have a lot of honing to do,
but it is messy and it takes a while to get the stone saturated
with water.

For everyday sharpening I use the Burns system and a white
grinding wheel on a $40 bench grinder. I sharpened
freehand on water stones for years, which has the
advantage allowing one to spread wear over the stone
so they don’t need flattening as often. The drawback
is when freehanding on water stones, it’s pretty easy to
take a divot out of a finishing stone. The Burns system
is divot proof and since the honing guide does not run on
the stone it is possible to use the whole surface.

A pair of 3×8” coarse and fine EZE-Lap stones will set
you back about $80 and an 8000 grit water stone is
about another $80. One can accomplish back bevels
with the system, which are otherwise difficult to get
right. I don’t use them very often but they will solve
some particular problems that come up when using
hand planes.

Some people are using diamond stones and finishing
with a strop these days.

View ezgnann's profile


30 posts in 2200 days

#6 posted 12-29-2013 04:38 AM

Thanks for the informAtion. My budget has not been determined because I am still researching.

Belt sanding versus wheel sanding- what are you thought?

-- Woodworking is cheaper than psychotherapy and better for me than whiskey

View lepelerin's profile


482 posts in 1902 days

#7 posted 12-29-2013 05:46 PM

Best sharpening system is practice with one you like and stick with it. DMT and a good stone will save you a lot of money and you won’t have to constantly buy sandpaper for your motorized device. my 2 cents.
How much sharpening do you do?

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JAY Made

197 posts in 1621 days

#8 posted 12-29-2013 08:28 PM

I have the grizzly t10010anv I absolutely love it, my knives chisels, and plane irons have never been sharper. The Tormek jigs work on the grizzly. Got mine from Grizzly on ebay for $159.

-- We all should push ourselves to learn new skills.

View Sanderguy777's profile


158 posts in 779 days

#9 posted 02-12-2015 09:04 AM

I have a 1×30” Harbor Freight sander with a 6000 grit belt fro Klingspor. I can take nice shavings after I’m done with that.

I have been thinking about the Grizzly but until now I didn’t know I could use the Tormek jigs with it. Guess what I’m getting….

View OSU55's profile


1210 posts in 1566 days

#10 posted 02-12-2015 12:51 PM

Depends on what you are sharpening. Here’s what I use:

Rough grinding bevels for plane blades, chisels, lathe tools – 6” bench grinder with a friable wheel, Tormek BGM-100 tool rest, Tormek jigs. Thin O1 Stanley plane blades are done on the Grizzly wet grinder.

Honing – Lathe tools a Grizzly wet grinder with Tormek jigs; Plane blades and chisels – diamond stones, lapping film, shop made jigs see here

The Grizzly wet grinder stone (and from what I’ve read the same is true for the Tormek stones) doesn’t like the harder tool steels like A2 and HSS. My thick A2 and HSS plane blades take forever on the Grizzly, but the bench grinder does them quickly. The Grizzly stone does fine with the small 2nd bevel I use for HSS lathe tools, and the Tormek gouge jig is great – any shape of grind desired and very repeatable. I end up doing a lot of stuff around the shop with the wet grinder because it is slow and controllable. I can’t think of any reason to spend the $ for a Tormek. I already had the 6” bench grinder, if I had to get one it would be 8” slow speed.

View Kentucky's profile


10 posts in 779 days

#11 posted 02-12-2015 09:45 PM

Best is what works for you best..I have a full set of DMT dia sharp plates for high alloy steels (like cpm3v) and I have waterstones for everything else..Also have two different belt grinders we occasionally sharpen on or at least set the bevels on in the shop..I prefer free hand..It just takes practice,practice and then more practice..

View DrDirt's profile


4208 posts in 3319 days

#12 posted 02-12-2015 10:56 PM

Not intended to sound snarky.

But the best one is the one you will use.

Tons of methods to get tools sharp, and they all work well.

Some are more messy and a PITA… so we put off sharpening.
To me regardless what stunning mirror sharp finish it might give, that isn’t the Best, if I ‘avoid it’ until things are unbearably dull.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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