Work Sharp knife sharpener

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Old 11-16-17, 08:46 AM
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Work Sharp knife sharpener

Wondering if anyone has any experience and/or opinions on Work Sharp knife sharpeners. I do wood and metal working, welding, etc., and consider myself pretty able in a number of areas, but have to confess that I have never managed to put a satisfactory edge on knives. I've sat in the shop any number of evenings with a stone, think I've gotten what I want, cut something tough a few days later and it's not quite there. So I have looked around a few times for a "cheater", and am leaning toward the Ken Onion edition of this sharpener, but don't know of anyone who has used one. And I have seen other sharpeners out there, but this seems like a more reasonable price, assuming it works. Otherwise I just need to create some more time with a stone.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 09:02 AM
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They work OK, will get knifes sharp but the edges don't hold up well. The down side is they really grind away the blade fast if your not careful or use them too often. Get a good set of sharpening stones and practice alot, you will get it eventually.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 10:12 AM
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Forgot to add, a good sharpening steel is a must to keep the blades touched up. The steel won't wear on the blades like stones or other sharpeners yet get the edge back where it should be quickly.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 10:43 AM
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... and practice alot, you will get it eventually.
I know, have shared this advice with any number of others in regard to any number of topics over the years, but have been telling myself this since I was first taught to sharpen a knife 50-some years ago and I still don't get the results I think I should. I do have and use good stones and steels, I don't buy cheap knives, and it's not that I can't sharpen them, in fact they have always come out better than when I started, but often not as sharp as I think they should be, so thinking that it's just one of those things that I don't have a good knack for.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 11:01 AM
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How are you testing the sharpness of the knife? I was told to hold your thumb at a 45 degree angle & place the edge of the knife on your fingernail. If it slides off, it's not sharp. If it stays, it's good. Has anyone else heard that?


I still see the old brown knife sharpening truck, occasionally. I don't know what they charge these days.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 12:16 PM
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I have a Work Sharp and i like it. As Ron53 says, it is a belt grinder so it does grind metal away, so you need to be a bit careful.

I am like you... i have tried several sharpening systems and just can't quite get the edge i'd like. The Work Sharp gets a nice edge on my knives, if you do it right. Don't grind too much, and don't grind all the way to the tip of the blade. You can round off the tip pretty quickly if you're not careful. One clear advantage to the Work Sharp is sharpening tools and "big stuff" like lawn mower blades. In the past i used my bench grinder to sharpen my mower blades and the WS is much better.

I have the standard WS. If you want to do bigger stuff like garden tools, mower blades and axes, i'd get the Ken Onion - it has a wider belt.

I've also used a Chef's Choice for kitchen knives... works pretty good... doesn't take as much material off the blade... limited to knives only...
 
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Old 11-16-17, 01:02 PM
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Thanks guys. Yes, one of the concerns I had in mind was removing too much material, but that only makes sense, so would have to watch it. As far as "testing", I usually look them over good when I'm done, even use a magnifying glass on occasion, for any irregularities along the cutting surface, grab a scrap piece of 1x6 or whatever, whittle off a slice, and call it good. But the real test in my opinion is using them. And like I said, they always come out better than when I started, but it sometimes seems that the edge is gone in a few days. But I do use a knife a lot, not as a screwdriver or to pry with, but string, tape, cardboard, rope, plastic banding, rubber or plastic hose, etc., and some of those things are better suited to a utility blade so maybe that's part of the problem. Another thing that came to mind, Ron, after you mentioned steels, which I do use at the completion of sharpening, is maybe to hit them with that after a hard day and maybe keep the edge going a bit longer. I don't have any knives that are nicked up, so that's not the problem, but, come to think of it, you always see a good chef with a steel nearby, and they use them regularly to hold the edge, so maybe that's what I need to start doing, rather than saving it until I'm ready to totally sharpen a knife. Guess we'll see. Thought this might be something to get for the wife to give me for Christmas, and still might, but will have to decide.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 01:17 PM
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Interesting reading here...Sharpening Made Easy: A primer on knife sharpening - Chapter 1 Don't know if he mentioned that machine or not. Nice info about testing and other systems though.
 
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Old 11-16-17, 01:22 PM
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Just don't get a diamond hone by mistake, all you want is the steel to straighten the edge a bit. Watch how often a butcher uses a steel when doing a whole carcass. Seems like every 10 slices and his blade gets a stroke or two. I knew a guy who was a butcher and he basically had 4 tools. A thin curved "boning"(?) knife, a much larger slicing knife, a cleaver, and a steel. Right edge, on the right tool, for the right job I say. If I could only convince "her" to stop using my Shun prep knives as all purpose kitchen knives.....
 
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Old 11-16-17, 02:05 PM
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About a year ago I got a Lansky knife sharpening setup as a gift. I used it a few times and got so-so results. Someone mentioned the diamond stones for the Lansky, and I tried them. It works great! My smaller knives are the sharpest they've ever been. Longer knives
don't work well with this system, but I'd recommend this system for any blade up to about 8" long. Steve
 
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Old 11-16-17, 06:37 PM
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steels, maybe after a hard day and maybe keep the edge going a bit longer.
I run all my blades across a steel before each use, it doesn't harm them and you will find that you actually don't need to "sharpen" them as often.
 
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Old 11-17-17, 09:00 AM
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If you feel you've got a good straight sharp edge but it's just not razor sharp--try a strop. I would spend the time on my knives, chisels & hand plane irons till the bevel was like a mirror but it still wouldn't catch my thumbnail, or shave hair. I then tried rubbing some green jeweler's rouge on a barber's strop I bought at a flea market, drag the bevel backwards across the leather and bingo! it's now "scary sharp". I also have a small piece of wood--about 3x6"--with a piece of rough-out leather glued to it that's charged with the green rouge. It's handier than the long strop for most smaller tools, and fits in my pocket for touch-ups.
I credit an old salesman at Woodcraft for introducing me to this idea.

For cutlery I'm happy with the Chef's Choice and regular use of a steel.
 
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Old 11-18-17, 09:15 AM
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I got one last year to sharpen my kitchen knives that were no longer cutting it. A few minutes, 1-2, with each knife was all I needed to get them back were they should be. I saw the material that was removed and it was fine dust. It would take quite a while to remove significant material.
 
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