Work Sharp vs. Wet Grinder?

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Forum topic by gtbuzz posted 02-09-2014 07:46 PM 4659 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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427 posts in 2404 days

02-09-2014 07:46 PM

I’ve been looking into a new sharpening system and I’ve about decided on either the Work Sharp WS3000 or the Grizzly T10010ANV wet grinder (Tormek is out of my price range). Both of them look like they’ll run me just south of $200 before I add in any jigs. Figure after adding all the different jigs I would need, either one would be in the ballpark of $400-$500, still half the price of the Tormek. Not sure which one would be the best setup for me though.

Most of my sharpening is going to be for plane blades, chisels and turning tools. It would be nice to be able to sharpen my jointer knives as well, but it’s not really a must-have, especially if any jig is going to cost me over $150. At that price, it would be cheaper just to keep several sets of knives on hand and send unused ones out for sharpening.

I’d also like to have only one setup for sharpening. Currently, I’ve got a bench grinder that I use with Wolverine jigs to sharpen my turning tools. That method works fine, but if I can get away with just the Work Sharp or Grizzly wet grinder, that would be preferred as I don’t want to take up additional space. I currently use the bench grinder for the plane blades and chisels as well, but it’s just not working out all that well.

I’ve seen Stumpy Nubs’s videos on the Work Sharp mods and they look very compelling. It also looks like a more convenient method than having to deal with a wet grinder, but I’ve found very little info about how well it works for lathe tools (I also see that the Tormek jigs can be made compatible with the Work Sharp). My concerns about the wet grinder are mostly if it’s going to make a mess and if I have to constantly refill with water, I may be less inclined to sharpen as often as I should.

Anyone have any suggestions regarding the two?

10 replies so far

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2146 days

#1 posted 02-09-2014 08:40 PM

I love my Work Sharp 3000, but if you turn things regularly, I would go for the wet grinder. The strength of the Work Sharp is for chisel and plane blades. I make do, but don’t do a ton of turning.

I’ve added a couple glass plates ($20 each), and really recommend buying some 6” diamond plates off eBay in various grits ($10-15) instead of sticky-backed sandpaper if you go for the WS. Apart from that, I use the port mostly for initial grinding, but free-hand the blades on top of the disc now (using Paul Sellers convex bevel technique), so I don’t really need any real jigs.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

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JAY Made

202 posts in 2008 days

#2 posted 02-09-2014 08:41 PM

I have the grizzly and I love it

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

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Fred Hargis

4949 posts in 2456 days

#3 posted 02-09-2014 08:52 PM

What shampeon said is the way I see it. I have the Wolverine, the WS3000, and a Tormek (bought used off e-bay). I really like the WS, but probably not for turning tools. I like the Wolverine and slow speed dry grinder, but I get a much better edge with my Tormek (and it takes a lot longer). I think if you have the Wolverine, go for the WS and keep using the Wolverine for your turning tools. One thing I haven’t tried is the WS bar that allows the use of Tormek jigs; that might be an option for you.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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186 posts in 1738 days

#4 posted 02-09-2014 08:53 PM

I recently got a worksharp for 50 quid…about a 100 bucks, I guess. It works very well on larger blades but my 1/4” chisel ate a disk. It’s hard to keep the small blades flat enough. I have access to a tormek where I work and even with the hollow grind, I suspect it makes better edges on everything. Still, my kitchen knives are wicked sharp.

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

18685 posts in 2531 days

#5 posted 02-09-2014 08:58 PM

I don’t do much turning. All my plane and chisel sharpening is done with a bench grinder and oil stone. I’d be interested to know what you mean by its not working well. For the plane and chisels, I think its the best.

I have the grizzly and I find it very slow. I only use it when I have to grind a lot on a rehab. I clamp it down and walk away.

If the bench grinder works well for your turning tools, I’d figure out a better way for the planes and chisels using the grinder.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10245 posts in 3611 days

#6 posted 02-09-2014 10:01 PM

I would recommend stones for the straight things. I use
the Burns system which requires 2 diamond and a fine
water stone plus a guide. Because of how the system works
I can bear down without gouging the water stone and
it does not dish the stone either.

I use a Makita wet grinder for planer blades and while
I’m at it I sharpen other things. It does make a mess.

In terms of the sandpaper systems, I see people complaining
about the ongoing paper costs. This would be an annoyance
to me as well.

Lee Valley has some clever hard felt buffing wheels and
strops to mount on grinders for polishing curved tools with
jeweler’s rouge.

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3540 days

#7 posted 02-09-2014 10:06 PM

I’m happy with my work sharp,but there are many ways to sharpen.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View gtbuzz's profile


427 posts in 2404 days

#8 posted 02-10-2014 05:19 AM

Thanks to all for the replies, its definitely given me more to think about (for better or worse, I’m not sure yet :) ).

To be honest, I’m leaning towards the Work Sharp right now, mainly because it seems to be a little less of a hassle than a wet grinder, although I could be way off base about that. I hadn’t really considered this as an option when I first looked at it a few years ago because there didn’t seem to be a good solution for lathe tools, but the ability to use the Tormek jigs seem to be a pretty decent solution. There just doesn’t seem to be any very many reviews of this method yet. Admittedly, I don’t sharpen my skews and gouges as often as most people would as I use them as complimentary tools to Easy Wood tools. I still like using them though so they still need to be taken care of.

With a wet grinder I think my hesitation revolves around the potential maintenance. How often does it have to be filled? Can I just top it off as needed or do I have to empty it and let it dry after every turning session? Additionally, what happens when temperatures drop during the winter? In my shop its not likely to freeze but its still a concern, and I would rather keep as far away from water as possible if its 40 degrees in the shop. With this Grizzly specifically, can anyone comment to how much water would is spewed when its in use?

Keeping the bench grinder + Wolverine setup along side a Work Sharp is technically an option, but in reality I would like to avoid it since it takes up additional space and I’m limited there. That’s the one major thing the Grizzly has going for it in that I know I wont need the bench grinder afterwards.

What I don’t like about my current dry grinder setup has a lot to do with that its not technically a low speed grinder, so I haven’t really be careful about not overheating the tools. Could also be the crappy wheels on it too.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10245 posts in 3611 days

#9 posted 02-10-2014 05:41 AM

The Makita has a horizontal wheel face. You don’t use the
edge of the wheel. It can sharpen planer blades up to 16”
wide. It takes a lot of water. I sometimes use the reservoir
but often I hold a sponge in one hand and just squeeze
on a lot of water as I go. It helps prevent glazing but does
throw the water out like a pottery wheel.

I dry the wheel between uses. If you leave a waterstone wet
it can get mildew. They can also crack if frozen wet.

View mahdee's profile


3870 posts in 1731 days

#10 posted 02-10-2014 12:46 PM

I made a simple jig to sharpen both my thickness plane and joiner blade. It works very well. A block of 2×6 with 2 two cuts on it at an angle so when I insert the knives into it, the knife face sit flat. I use my diamond block and simply run it back and forth to sharpen the blades.


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