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WSKO-Imitation....

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by cbwx34, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    Ran across this today...



    ... does have a couple of interesting features... cordless, and floating platens.

    (Let the imitation/clone/patent wars begin!). :rolleyes:
     
    brasileiro likes this.
  2. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Guess it was only a matter of time.
     
  3. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    Interesting.

    Does it use the same size belts as the workshop? Their website doesn't specify what size belt it is. If so, would make it much more versatile, as there are aftermarket belts for both the regular WS and WSKO.

    I notice that the video doesnt actually show them sharpening a knife..

    Edit: Found this other video as well:

     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
  4. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    No idea... I don’t think it’s even been released yet.

    Here’s a sharpening video FWIW...



    ... (still looks more like a commercial, not an instruction video).

    Mostly just thought the “floating platens” were interesting. Don’t know if it actually works or not. (Battery powered would be nice too).
     
    F308gt4 likes this.
  5. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    Thanks!

    A couple places online say its in stock (Bass pro, Sportman's warehouse). I'm tempted to order one, but I'd like to find out for sure what size belt it uses. The WS uses 1/2" by 12", and the KO edition uses 3/4" by 12". If the belts were compatible with one of the WS sharpeners, I'd go ahead and pull the trigger. But for now, Smiths doesnt specify size, or grit for that matter (what grits are their Fine, Medium and Coarse belts?).
     
  6. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    New info:

    The bass pro shop allows you to ask questions about the product. Someone asked the belt size, and the reply was "Thank you for choosing Bass Pro Shops. Per the manufacturer, the belt measurements are: ½” x 12”.". So, it looks like it should be able to use the standard WS belts.

    I went ahead and ordered via Bass Pro. I don't really need this, but it sounds intriguing. Hopefully will get it next week and will report back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
    willc likes this.
  7. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    They had one at the local Cabela's... so now have the grit info...

    [​IMG]

    After setting one up on the demo table :D... they now have a demo model. I sharpened a knife on it. Some observations...

    • Sort of a cross between the 1st generation and 2nd generation WorkSharp models, but would compare it to the 1st generation. Seems decent enough quality-wise.
    • The little "bar guide" on the front of the machine doesn't rotate out of the way like the WS model does... so it may get in the way of some knives. You can pull the entire guide off (but then you lose the angle guides if that matters to you). It is a better guide than the 1st gen. WS.
    • The "floating platens" (my term) seem to work on keeping the belt from wrapping around the tip.
    • Couldn't find any info on the battery (how long it lasts, how long to charge, etc).
    • The pull thru slot to deburr the knife didn't work that well. Not sure if the angles weren't matching or why, but could feel a burr after using it.
      • I would look at getting one of the 6K UltraFine belts from WorkSharp, think that works better.
    I would have to spend more time with one, but looking at it next to the 1st gen. WorkSharp, I think the Smith's might be a better value, primarily because of the better angle guide and "floating platens". (Wouldn't take it over the 2nd gen. WS though).

    That's my quick "in-store" review. :cool:

    Edit: Actually found the battery info on their website....

     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
    F308gt4 likes this.
  8. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    Thanks! Very helpful info.

    I'm still waiting for mine to arrive.

    I was wondering if the guide would get in the way, and it sounds like it probably will, especially with smaller pocket knives. Not sure how much it will matter, as my understanding is that once you figure out the angles, you can just use the machine without the guides.

    I was planning on ordering the ultra-fine belts I've seen on amazon (and possibly also the leather belt)- I figure most of the time that's what I'd use since I tend to keep my knives in pretty good shape.

    One other thing I'm wondering about is whether you can fit a 3/4" belt on it. From the video's it looks like there is a bit of space. I wonder if it would work?

    15 minutes is not the greatest runtime if you have a lot of knives to sharpen (unlikely to be an issue for me)- Do you happen to know if you can just keep it plugged to run continuously?

    I'm looking forward to receiving it. If worse comes to worst, I can always return it and get a worksharp...
     
  9. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    I don't think you can use a 3/4" belt. The bottom pulleys had a lip on them to hold the 1/2" belt on. Can't say for sure though.

    I actually tried to run it plugged in... it does not run while charging. 15 min. doesn't seem long, but keep in mind it runs intermittently (no continuous "on")... so should do quite a few knives between charges.
     
    F308gt4 likes this.
  10. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    Damn, why do companies do this??? It would be nice to have the option of battery power and also use it while its plugged in. You are probably right about being able to do a few knives between charges, but it just seems so archaic to not run while charging. The ads say it uses a lithium battery, not the old school NiMH batteries, so being able to do both shouldn't be an issue.
     
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  11. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    F308gt4 and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  12. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    This surprises me in no way, and the following rant will fill you in as to why...

    I worked at a Cabela's for a little while back before I started my business. Corporate dictated EVERYTHING and practically overlooked knives. Their staff training modules had bad information in them, and that information was sparse compared to the modules they had on things like optics. Their choices of what the store got for stock made no sense, and there was no way to make suggestions on better model selection for the local market. There was also an incident that led to me ultimately quitting. Near Christmas the store was sent a bunch of Kershaw Leeks as a "hot buy" item, where they'd get limited stock of an item and blow it out at super low prices to tempt people into the store. Nowhere in the ad copy with the fliers they mailed out did it say that they were factory seconds, nor were any of the employees (including the section manager) told, but due to my prior years in the industry I recognized the "XXXX" mark lasered on the blades. Sure enough, the bulk of them had burnt tips, some had stripped screws, and others had faulty assist mechanisms. The fact that seconds don't have a warranty is critical information that the customer has to be made aware of, and it struck me as incredibly unethical for corporate not to have made the grade of those knives abundantly clear to both customers and staff. The crew I worked with there were all great, but the way that the suits dictated things left a bad taste in my mouth.
     
    chiral.grolim, F308gt4 and danbot like this.
  13. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    Gotta say... I find this part a bit odd. I've bought a number of Kershaw "factory seconds" over the years... and have never had an issue with any of them. o_O
     
  14. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Well, don't know what to tell ya'--that's how it was. When I noticed that they were seconds I checked each and every one of them. Most of them had burnt tips (which makes sense--the Leek has a very fine tip that's easy to burn) and there were something like 3x each with stripped frame screws and 2x with sluggish spring assists that didn't get better even with pivot adjustment. The fact that they were seconds wasn't the issue, though--it was the fact that corporate didn't inform the employees or customers. If a customer made the knowing decision to buy them as a factory second, that'd be totally fine because they'd have the opportunity to judge for themselves whether or not the flaw was worth the price of admission to them. They were selling them really cheap, at something like $25, so the price was fair. It was the seemingly deliberate omission of important consumer info that was the problem, and that was wholly on Cabela's shoulders.
     
    F308gt4 likes this.
  15. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    I'm sure you saw what you wrote... I'm just wondering if there's more to the story (that you probably wouldn't know). Kershaw's factory seconds are sold at their annual warehouse sale, and my understanding (from their website) is that's the only outlet... they're not sold anywhere else, and mainly to individuals, not large companies. I can see "bad grinds" or something like that being a 2nd... but not stripped screws, burned tips, etc. Makes me think that they might have got their hands somehow on knives that shouldn't have been sold at all?

    At any rate, you're right about them not informing the buyer what they were actually getting... not a good deal.
     
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  16. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    It struck me as an extremely unethical thing to do, and I quit soon after. Things like that really rub me the wrong way--ethics are everything.
     
    chiral.grolim and danbot like this.
  17. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    My smiths sharpener was delivered today, so I ran home for lunch to test it out.

    First impression- its smaller than I expected, which is a good thing. I don't have a worksharp to compare it to, but the size is convenient when it comes to storage. The instruction manual is pretty limited. Doesn't even really say anything about charging, just notes the charging hole... It came charged up, which is good, so I was able to try it. I also plugged it in and can confirm what cbwx34 wrote above that it does not work when plugged in :(

    I had only the included belts. I ordered some finer grit belts (800 to 5000) from Amazon, but they won't be here until Monday. So I installed the included fine grit (600) belt to try it out. For my test, I used a cheap harbor freight folding knife and I sliced it up several times against a rock to dull the blade before sharpening.

    Issue: the sharpened edge of the knife blade goes all the way to the end of the blade, and the knife has thumb studs. Which means that there is a cm or so of blade at the back that does not get sharpened when using the guides, because the thumb studs prevent the knife from going all they way to the belt. Not an issue for all knives, but would be for some. You can get around it by removing the blade guides, but that means you are freehanding it on the belts. I imagine that may be an issue for some beginners. I believe you would have the same issue with the worksharp.

    Just looking at some of my other knives, I don't think I would have this problem with my Spyderco delica's or enduras, , but would have the issue with my benchmade mini-grip. It just depend on the knife, how far back the edge of the blade goes, and whether or not it has thumb studs. Like I said earlier, removing the guide will allow you to free hand sharpen against the belt so that you can sharpen the entire blade.

    That said, a few passes on each side, and a few passes on my leather strop and I was able to get the cheap harbor freight knife to easily cut hairs on my arm. Not bad. But, it did remove a decent amount of metal, IMO. Part of that could be user error, and maybe also the grit of the belt I was using. I imagine (hope) that I would remove less metal with the 5000 grit, and as I also get used to the sharpener.

    So that's it. I had to get back to the office, so will have to do more testing tonight. It seems pretty OK, but I don't know how often I would really use it. I generally keep my knives in pretty sharp condition, and don't let them get too dull. I do touch ups on my Sharpmaker usually. I've also been trying some freehand with an Artic Fox double sided field stone. I can see this sharpener being useful for really dull knives, but for me that probably means it will get limited use. I'm thinking about possibly returning it, but on the other hand, I suppose it could come in handy for the occasional use. I think after more testing I will have a better handle on it.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2017 at 4:24 PM
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  18. Ratman79

    Ratman79

    Jan 5, 2016
    I knew there would eventually be a "poor man's WSKO." :D:rolleyes:
     
  19. F308gt4

    F308gt4

    51
    Mar 20, 2017
    I left work early and got to play some more. A few more observations:

    Battery: There is a light that comes on when you plug it in. I assumed that it would come off when the thing is charged. I was wrong. It was plugged in for over an hour and a half, and the red light never went off. So, no way of knowing if its fully charged, and there is no way that I can determine to find out how much battery you have left. Also, it doesn't look like the battery is replaceable without taking apart the sharpener. Overall, I think this is pretty unacceptable for a device that is new for 2017. I would expect that for something that came out 10 years ago, but seriously, when it comes to battery, this thing is way behind the times. There should be some sort of battery level indicator, and it would be very nice for the battery to be user replaceable for a device that should presumably last you a long time.

    That being said, it works really well as a sharpener. I dulled my harbor freight knife again against a rock. Made sure it was really dull. And, in no time, with the 600 grit belt, it was hair shaving sharp. My technique improved a little as well, so the edge looked better than my first attempt.

    I found an old cleaver in the kitchen and decided to see how well it would do to re-profile it to 20 degrees/side. I decided to experiment and start with the 600 grit belt just for the heck of it. Well, on such a thick blade, it really wasn't enough. I made a ton of passes, but eventually the battery went dead (I think the belt may be almost gone as well, as it feels pretty smooth now). So, I plugged it in again. I waited about a half an hour, and started with the coarse belt. Boom, right away, got a nice big bur, and went on to do a few passes on each side. Then switched to the medium belt. A few more passes, and the blade was looking really good, but the damn battery went out. So now it's plugged in again. The knife is pretty sharp, but I could have gotten it better if it wasn't for the battery dying on me.

    While I'm happy with how the sharpener actually works, I think the battery is a big downer. I may try to play with the sharpener some more, but I am really leaning towards returning it. I think the lack of battery features really makes it a bit of a deal breaker. If I decide I really want a belt sharpener, maybe I'll just spring for the WSKO. It's not battery powered, but at least you know it will always work when you need it.
     
  20. cbwx34

    cbwx34 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 27, 2004
    I agree... I thought being battery operated would be a 'plus'... but doesn't look like it was well thought out. Guess you'll have to go with their website that an hour charges it up? (Did it actually even last 15 min.?)
     
    F308gt4 likes this.

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