Work Sharp 3000 - what am I doing wrong?

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Forum topic by jtm posted 09-26-2014 07:35 AM 1229 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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230 posts in 1810 days

09-26-2014 07:35 AM

So I have a Work Sharp 3000, and I’ve been using it to sharpen my chisels. Keep in mind that I have very limited experience with sharpening in general. I’ve always flattened the back with some sandpaper and MDF, and honed the bevel with one of those $15 honing jigs. It worked reasonably well, but I’ve only ever used cheap chisels from Harbor Freight.

Well I wanted to step it up a bit, so I bought the Stanley Sweetheart set of 4. They seemed reasonably sharp out of the box, but not quite as sharp as freshly honed Harbor Freight chisels. I decided to sharpen them with the Work Sharp.

It has been my experience that the WS3K removes a ton of metal in a short amount of time. When I try to flatten the back, it leaves a very defined swirl on the back of the chisel. If you run your hand over it, you can feel the bump.

I know a lot of people say that you only need to flatten a n inch or so on the back, but doesn’t that groove bother you? It seems like you would never be able to get a flat reference for paring or fine chisel work. Is this just the way it is? I only did a tiny bit on my 1” Sweetheart, and decided to hold off. I really don’t want to ruin a $100 set of chisels.

The other thing is, how can you tell when it’s really sharp? I’ve never actually felt a scary sharp chisel (16000 grit or so), so I really have nothing to compare it to when I sharpen mine. If I try to shave my arm hairs, it pulls a little before removing them. I certainly would prefer a razor if I had to shave, so my instinct tells me that it isn’t that sharp.

The worksharp seems to get overwhelmingly positive reviews, so I must be doing something wrong.


4 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile


17715 posts in 3180 days

#1 posted 09-26-2014 12:01 PM

Ive noticed the same thing using my worksharp on chisels, a defined circular groove on the back. I stopped flattening the backs on the lower grits using the WS and went back to sandpaper on glass. Considering that you typically only have to flatten the backs once its not that big of a deal to me. As far as how sharp is sharp, try adding a leather strop to the end of your routine. It will take you from tugging hair to clean cutting with no pull. It sounds like youre very close to “sharp”.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View Robert Brown's profile

Robert Brown

151 posts in 2865 days

#2 posted 09-26-2014 01:29 PM

I had the swirl problem too. It chewed a lot of the chisel fast. I made two ugly chisels before I figured I couldn’t do it like the pros. The solution was to get the add on table they sell. Just level the table to the sandpaper on the disk. I just leveled it one time, forgot which grit. I rehab old planes and chisels. I lay the blade on the table with anywhere from a quarter to one inch on the sandpaper. Then work it up through the grits. The result is a reflective surface with no groove.

After the back is done then I use a honing jig (Veritas Mk. II). I don’t sharpen from the bottom.

If you don’t want to spend money on the table, Stumpy Nubs came up with an idea of building something with MDF.

View runswithscissors's profile


2872 posts in 2199 days

#3 posted 09-26-2014 07:47 PM

I think very few people shave with chisels nowadays.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View mramseyISU's profile


553 posts in 1719 days

#4 posted 09-26-2014 07:55 PM

I’ve stopped sharpening from the bottom with mine and only use the glass plate and sharpen on the top of mine. I don’t think mine is sqaure to the bottom for some reason and my chisels and plane irons end up crooked.

-- Trust me I'm an engineer.

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