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mdpatterson
09-13-2013, 05:49
I was brave enough to hit up the gun show last weekend, and had my knife sharpened by a guy selling a small electric tool called the Work Sharp knife and tool sharpener: http://www.worksharptools.com/

I've watched/read and tried to absorb as much as I could from all the tips Mr. Harsey has given free of charge, but even calling myself a novice in this area would be a stretch.

I was amazed at how sharp this guy got my EDC beat up blade in a very short amount of time. He did say there was a collaboration with Ken Onion and this machine, but didn't give much more info than that. Looking at the website, I now see.

My question to all the knife makers here is a very simple one, what are your thoughts on this machine for a person like myself. I know it is nothing compared to what you guys use, and could probably get the same or better results with no machine at all, but I don't share that skill set. They describe it as anyone can use it and get the same results, but that's where I'm a skeptic. The machine obviously works (I can shave with this blade), but was it the machine that worked or the user behind the machine that made it work?

Price point isn't bad, but wanted to get some actual opinions from you guys that do this for a living or even as a hobby. Worst case scenario, I bring all my knives that need sharpening to the show once or twice a year as he does the sharpening for free :D.

Thanks in advance for all opinions,

Mike

Irishsquid
09-13-2013, 07:52
I still sharpen all my knives with stone, steel, and a strop. I can shave with any of them, and I don't have to spend much time to keep 'em just about perfect...

As for the machine, I've never used one, but just from looking at it, it doesn't look like there will be a lot of user input...appears to be all guided. The downside there is you don't have the flexibility in honing angle that a stone gives you. On the surface, it looks like it should give a good edge without a lot of time or expertise needed. It won't give a perfect edge, but in order to do that, you have to put in a lot of practice.

My only worry with any kind of grinder for sharpening is the effect of the heat on the temper of the blade...I'm just barely starting to learn about blacksmithing/bladesmithing, but I would think that heat can't be a good thing...

mdpatterson
09-13-2013, 08:39
Thank you. I wish I had the skill to use simple tools and get it done, but I have managed to screw up a blade worse than it started using a simple pull through Benchmade tool. If I had the time to practice more, maybe I could eventually get it, but I don't. If this machine does the magic it says it does, it is definitely for me. If it requires the user to be fairly skilled already, it's not going to serve much purpose for my needs.

Again, I appreciate all the input I can get and thanks in advance to all who respond.

Mike

longrange1947
09-13-2013, 10:19
The worksharp is mainly for sharpening dinged chisels, plane blades, etc. final honing is done on stone, though I use diamond plates (lazy). I would not use the worksharp on a good knife as it will take it down really fast. It is designed to reform bevels on wood working tools, lathe and caarving tools, etc.

As far a skill in sharpening, it is nothing but time spent to build that skill. I have a bunch of chisels, plane irons, and gouges that I can let you practice on. :D

Leozinho
09-13-2013, 23:12
The worksharp is mainly for sharpening dinged chisels, plane blades, etc. final honing is done on stone, though I use diamond plates (lazy). I would not use the worksharp on a good knife as it will take it down really fast. It is designed to reform bevels on wood working tools, lathe and caarving tools, etc.

As far a skill in sharpening, it is nothing but time spent to build that skill. I have a bunch of chisels, plane irons, and gouges that I can let you practice on. :D

There are at least two different types of Worksharp sharpeners. I think the OP is talking about the one that's basically a mini-belt grinder, not the one to sharpen chisel grinds.

OP -look into convex grinds, as that's what you are creating with the Worksharp. Personally I'd buy the $40 Harbor Freight 1x42 (I think that's the length.) I'm on my fone or I'd provide a link. You can get a wide range of grits andleather belts for it. Knifemaker Jerry Hossom has a tutorial on convex sharpening on a 1x42.

http://www.knifeforums.com/forums/showtopic.php?tid/776367/

mdpatterson
09-14-2013, 01:16
It is basically a small belt grinder with a couple of guides and three different grit types. I appreciate all the input.

Mike

Irishsquid
09-14-2013, 02:45
As a semi-related point of curiosity, can anyone give input on how much effect the heat from grinding may have on the blade's temper?

Edit: nevermind. Every bladesmithing forum I can find says roughly the following:

grinding without a cooling agent (like a water saw but a grinding wheel, either a water trough or spray nozzle) Will -absolutely- and without a doubt destroy any hardenning or specific tempering; making the temper uneven and in some cases taking it out all together.

That's about what I expected, and why I only grind to shape, before hardening and tempering...I just didn't know if my reason was valid, or if it was all in my head.

mdpatterson
09-14-2013, 05:19
I recently had a birthday and guess what showed up at my permanent mailing address (Not where I currently live).......an awesome gift from my uncle :rolleyes:.

Although I don't know exactly what is contained in the box, what I do know is that I am now the owner of 250 knives/swords/who knows what else from Frost Cutlery (Yeah, the same one as seen on TV if you stay up late enough).

This sealed the deal for me on this purchase, as I now have 250 pieces of plastic and scrap metal to practice my sharpening skills on. I will grind the crap out of these blades and see what happens. I'll also still practice using the stones and advice from the knife makers on this forum. Either way, I am willing to spend the money on the machine just for fun now that I have a bunch of items that should be destroyed anyway.

When I'm done, maybe I'll ship them all back to China where they belong and ban my uncle from buying me gifts without first consulting a sane member of my family.

Thanks again for those that replied on this thread and those who sent me pm's,

Mike

DJ Urbanovsky
09-14-2013, 14:03
That is actually an oversimplification. Different steels have different tolerances to heat.



"grinding without a cooling agent (like a water saw but a grinding wheel, either a water trough or spray nozzle) Will -absolutely- and without a doubt destroy any hardenning or specific tempering; making the temper uneven and in some cases taking it out all together. "




Rules of thumb:

1) If you're going to use a powered sharpening system, you do indeed want to keep your blade cool. A bucket of water is fine. But heat is a function of belt speed, belt grit, pressure, and cross section of your workpiece. As an end user, you don't have any control over cross section. With a low end machine, you don't usually have control over speed. You're going to be using a higher grit belt for sharpening. So that really leaves us with one variable that a typical person can control, and that is pressure. Go slow. Go smooth. Go light.

2) Just buy the HF 1x30 and be done with it. You don't need guides, and honestly, if you're going to use a powered sharpening system, you're better off learning to do it freehand. In my eight plus years as a full time maker, I have never ever relied on a guide for sharpening, and I have never wrecked a blade sharpening. Although now I've probably jinxed myself.

3) Do not wear gloves. First, gloves and running machinery are a bad combination - they tend to get caught in moving parts. This will ruin your whole day. Second, gloves will prevent you from feeling what is going on with the steel. What we're focused on here is temperature. When you're sharpening, you're going have one hand gripping the handle of the knife and the other pinching the blade. I usually try to pinch as close to the tip as possible, and as close to the edge as possible (without grinding off parts of my fingers of course). Why? Because this is typically where the blade is thinnest, and where it will most quickly be affected by heat. 130F is right around the max where most humans can comfortably handle a piece of steel. This temp is also far below where the temper in your steel is going to be impacted by heat. If if it's starting to get uncomfortable for you to touch, get it into your quench bucket. Simple. No more wrecked blades.

Bill Harsey
09-14-2013, 20:29
little or big belt grinders take many more times steel off the blade than needed when sharpening depending on the skill of the user and sharpness of belts used.
This is why I hand sharpen a lot.

DJ Urbanovsky
09-15-2013, 13:16
True, true.


little or big belt grinders take many more times steel off the blade than needed when sharpening depending on the skill of the user and sharpness of belts used.
This is why I hand sharpen a lot.

kgoerz
09-15-2013, 14:48
I wouldn't put my knives in that thing. Seems it's for when you have a lot of sharpening like a Chef or Pro Carver might. Besides sharpening knives by hand is fun.

Guymullins
09-15-2013, 15:16
A South African made sharpener gives a great edge and is much easier and quicker to use than my second choice Lansky.
http://www.knifesharpners.co.za
If you pay with dollars, they are worth about ten Rand to the dollar, so , without shipping charges, you would be in for about $35 to $45 for a machine. I dont know whether you would regard that as expensive, but it is well priced here against the imported opposition.

x SF med
09-18-2013, 13:22
I wouldn't put my knives in that thing. ... Besides sharpening knives by hand is fun.

Agree, and I knew you were a good man.

I think a very large Oregon Logger might crush me if I told him I used anything but the Norton and Japanese water stones he recommended. I do use an EZ Lap or other diamond based plate for really damaged blades.

I've had to reshape a few blades because they were used as screwdrivers... I always try to find the original blade curve, bevel and point when repairing.... I only use a file (rarely), diamond (medium grit only), and various stones with food grade mineral oil, honing oil or Simple green as the lifting agent.

Mr. Bill has given me a 'Go' at this station... even for hand recutting ruined wood turning tools my FiL beat up on a grinder... those had to be taken back to clean steel as the temper had been ruined...

Plus, the HH6 requires all kitchen knives to be maintained at 'tomatoes thin as paper' levels...

Glad I check edges with a 15x jewler's loupe...

Damn... I want to not go back to work... so I can sharpen a few knives now...