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Work Sharp, flawed?

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Aldebaran, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    I do not have a Work Sharp of any type. I have sharpened knives free hand and with a Normark sharpener. So please take my opinion as just that, an opinion.

    What seems to be important to many people is the actual angle of the cutting edge. Most seem to agree that around 20° per side seems to be good as an average. This means a 40° overall angle. Some people prefer 15°/30°. These are absolute angles.

    The primary grind of knives have a bearing on what is the best angle IMHO, as does steel type and heat treatment.

    There are many knife sharpener designs on the market. Some are very crude and some very sophisticated. Many choices and many claims.

    The one that interested me to investigate a bit more is the Work Sharp brand. This is used by
    Cedric & Ada Gear and Outdoors youtube channel to sharpen his knives for knife steel composition cut durability testing. I initially thought he should be commended for using something that was repeatable and not subject to personal skill. I think now the opposite.

    The way the Work Sharp works seems flawed. The sharpening on one side the grinding belt is moving in one direction against the edge. On the other side it is moving the other way. I am not sure this is a great idea.

    The other problem is that the angle guides hold the knife at a constant angle, but at the angle of the primary grind. This can be almost anything! This means that a low sabre grind will have a very obtuse edge if sharpened on the Work Sharp. A wide bladed full flat grind knife will have a more acute edge. Different styles of blind grinds will have very different absolute sharpened edges!

    This basically invalidates the steel composition tests that Cedric & Ada Gear and Outdoors has done on his youtube channel. There might be some correlation, but not much. It also means, to me, that the Work Sharp machines are not worth considering.

    What do you think?
  2. Mo2


    Apr 8, 2016
    I don't think your right about his testing, but do wish he switches over to v grind. Heck it would probably be cheaper than having to buy belts all the time. And are those belts are idea for cutting high carbide steel? He's shown that s110v, m4, vanadis 4 all get much longer edge retention with his tormek or v grind in some cases.

    In any case, you can ask Peter at Cedric ada the very questions on his fb or Instagram. He's great to talk with on these types of questions.
  3. RLDubbya

    RLDubbya HMFIC Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 21, 2016
    Go ahead and take this the wrong way, but I think that you have committed a fatal flaw in your thought process: you are making claims about a thing which exists in physical reality when you have no firsthand experience of that thing in reality. That is not a comment about you as a person; that is a comment about a thought process which happens to be put forward by you. You should not take the comment personally.

    I own a WSKO + Blade Grinding Attachment. The belt runs in one direction. There are two shelves: one on the back of the machine for general grinding of objects, and an alignment shelf on the front of the machine that you set the blade on to get a feel for a reference level, before moving the knife up between two idlers that provide some tension to the belt, but nothing is directly backing the belt at that location. Perhaps your YouTube hero does not use the BGA; I don't know, as I have not watched his videos, so I won't make any claim about his methodology, hypothetical or actual. However, I have used the methodology I outlined here, and it in fact works fine. When I first got my WSKO setup, I sharpened one practice knife, and the second knife I sharpened was my Spyderco Nirvana, and within 15 minutes it went from dull to shaving+ sharp, with a mirror edge.

    As I've written quite a number of times, get the BGA for the WSKO - you basically have a small belt grinder then.

    I do like the WSKO; however, I am saving up to get a 2x72" belt grinder instead. I want to have more horsepower, and greater durability.
  4. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    Ummmmm, I see the images, I see the angles, I see how the guides hold the angle of the knife. The guides hold the angle according to the primary grind, no? Please show me how I am wrong.

    My youtube hero? WTF are you smoking? I have no heroes, wow, idiotic statement. So you accuse me of not understanding something because I did not experience it, but you state an opinion based on not watching any videos from the person I referenced? Yeah right...........

    Thank you for your completely useless and baseless opinion on something you own. You provided insults and nothing worth reading.
  5. Rat Finkenstein

    Rat Finkenstein Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2005
    Get the blade grinder attachment and your hypothetical worry will not apply
  6. RLDubbya

    RLDubbya HMFIC Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 21, 2016
    Ah, yes, somebody else from the land of Reading Comprehension. I'd wager you also know the difference between YouTube and reality. Well done, sir. Indeed, well done. It really is that simple; get the bga add-on and enjoy a good book when you have completed sharpening.
    ScooterG likes this.
  7. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 27, 2004

    RLDubbya is essentially right... it's hard to even reply to a post that starts with... I don't have one... here's why it sucks. You've already made up your mind... and basically are just "picking a fight", for lack of a better term. There's already videos, posts, etc. that show it does work... so what can be added to, that you won't respond like you just did... (from you 2nd post)... "I see the images, I see the angles, I see how the guides hold the angle", etc. I see people flying a plane... doesn't make me a pilot. ;)

    So, what's left to say? There's plenty of examples out there to show it does work... will one more person saying it does, suddenly change your mind? The next step would be to get your hands on one (maybe you can find one in your area to try... although, without a bit of experience, I doubt it will show you much).

    But to answer some of your questions anyway.... 1)... sharpening in two different directions, doesn't affect the results, you can actually use that to your advantage... and 2) like any guided sharpener, you make adjustments for the grind of the knife... the guides provide consistency... not necessarily accuracy, if that makes sense.

    It's a good sharpener... but like any other tool... gotta learn how to use it. :thumbsup:
  8. Jason B.

    Jason B. KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 13, 2007
    I like the worksharp, it messes up lots of knives that I get to fix. So, I would like to thank worksharp for the influx of business over the past several years.
    jpm2, SV-97, Mo2 and 2 others like this.
  9. awestib


    Dec 29, 2008
    That's it. It needs the right tool in the right hands.
  10. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Basic Member Basic Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    Haha... good one. (Of course, you’ll never know about the knives you don’t get... because the owners sharpen it themselves)... ;)
    Jason B. likes this.
  11. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    If someone can read things like "I am not sure", "I think" and come to the conclusion that I am sure of opinion, then who has the reading comprehension problem?

    So I have invalid concerns about the workshop, they can't be valid because I have never touched one, but a solution is suggested to correct the problem I am imagining? Based on this suggestion to get the blade grinder there is a problem with the basic/standard guides holding the knife at the primary grind angle, or not. Nobody has answered but instead have taken some BS superior attitude and been insulting.

    When did I say that Work Sharp doesn't sharpen knives? You guys love straw man arguments. At least cbwx34 provided an answer of a sort. "the guides provide consistency... not necessarily accuracy, if that makes sense." That is what I thought from what I could see.
  12. banksy


    Oct 21, 2009
    Two people have already explained to you that the BGA is the way to go because 1. No need for guides and 2. the belt moves in the same direction both sides.
    There are other advantages too.
    I'll add a third recommendation for the BGA.
  13. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    Yes, three recommendations on getting the BGA, to correct a problem that I am imagining and have no right to see unless I own a Work Sharp, and that confirms my concern that the original simple guides do not provide reliable sharpening angles. How is this so difficult for you people to answer? So everyone here agrees that the Work Sharp without the BGA does not do angles correctly, but won't say so.
  14. Rat Finkenstein

    Rat Finkenstein Gold Member Gold Member

    May 18, 2005
    I was not worried about the angles, because any dolt can hold a knife more or less vertically, I chose the BGA because it is superior. People get fine results with the stock sharpener too. Not liking it is fine, even if the reasons are all in your head. Plenty of sharpening systems around.
  15. ahoward2k


    Sep 20, 2017
    I have the ken onion, andI have observed the same issues as op. I just got a new professional grade sharpener to open up a sharpening business so the work sharp is getting sold.
    Aldebaran likes this.
  16. Ironbut

    Ironbut Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 1, 2016
    I've used Japanese water stones to get working edges on my expensive wood working chisels, hand plane irons, knives, axes, etc for about 50 years, with excellent results. Last year I bought a KO Work Sharp with the blade grinding attachment. It's a real time saver. I use it for everything from my expensive knives to brush hooks & blades for the lawn tractor.

    If you don't have a good knowledge of blade sharpening to begin with, the only thing any power sharpener will do for you is screw up an edge faster than doing it by hand.
  17. banksy


    Oct 21, 2009
    I was simply responding to the conclusion you drew; that "the WS machines are not worth considering. What do you think?"

    Well I think that the WS machines are very much worth considering. Some folk like the guides, some don't. I don't but I do like the WSKO with the BGA.

    Sorry if it's not the answer you were looking for, but it seems like you had already made your mind up anyway.
  18. Aldebaran


    Sep 18, 2004
    I think the confusion is that I asked about the angles being not correct because of the guides use the primary grind as their reference rather than an absolute reference of the center line of the blade. I explained how I saw this as a problem and asked for opinions. Almost nobody addressed the issue and either became insulting and condescending and attacked that I said "It also means, to me, that the Work Sharp machines are not worth considering." This sentence was just one part of the whole post but some seem to have fixated on this like it was my whole point or question. The whole post was the premise that I used in saying that.

    I am looking for an answer about the angles not being held correctly, and if this is the case then recommendations to buy something else would be not an answer. If the premise that angles are being held correctly is wrong, then say so. Don't tell me to buy more stuff or something else as proof that I wrong. It is completely illogical.

    If I had already made up my mind about buying one, why would I ask if I am wrong about how I see the design?
  19. Ted Helmus

    Ted Helmus

    Aug 21, 2017
    I really like the Work Sharp, but what you say about the grind angles makes sense. I have wondered about the primary grind angles affecting the edge degree myself. If you are worried about this problem and don't want to buy any extra attachments, just take off the guides and do it free handed. It might take some practice, but if you are worried about the guides it is worth it.
    willc likes this.
  20. SunnyRidge


    Mar 4, 2016
    OP is correct that to calculate actual sharpening angle you need to sum up [blade primary grind angle] with [WS guide angle].

    You can use Grind Angle Calculator to calculate blade primary grind angle. Just measure A, B and C on your knife with caliper.

    Here is illustration how to calculate actual angle
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
    Aldebaran likes this.

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