User Review: Work Sharp 3000 Sharpening Machine

by David Zerby

I've been interested in woodworking for most of my 56 years. I was fortunate that my neighbor Harry taught me as much as I could absorb about woodworking, starting with the basics, ranging from keeping my shop clean and organized, to how to keep my cutting tools sharp. He taught me that if you take good care of your tools, they will take care of you. He showed me the best way that he knew at the time to sharpen every tool, and as my wife and friends can attest, I became known for my wickedly sharp tools and knives.

Then recently I heard about the Work Sharp 3000, a motorized sharpener that was new on the market. I purchased one just to see how good it really was.

I thought maybe it could save me some time by eliminating the grunt work whenever I needed to reshape the edge on my relatives' cutlery, after which I assumed I would hone the edge by hand. Boy was I wrong. After just a few passes with the 120 grit abrasive, the edges where back to actually being edges. After a few hits on the 400 grit, things were looking even better. After a quick bump on the 1000 grit, the results were every bit as good as I'm accustomed to getting when honing using the traditional methods I learned from Harry.

Then finally after a few final polishing passes with the 3600 grit abrasive, I became thoroughly convinced. The Work Sharp 3000 basically accomplished in a matter of minutes what would have probably taken me a few hours to do the old fashioned way.

The system for adjusting the position of chisels, with a built-in lapping area and adjustable skew angle, is simple to use and does the job well. A preset angle stop lets you select 20, 25, 30, or 35 degrees depending upon the needs of the tool. You also have the option of putting a micro-bevel on your tool. You can also use the Work Sharp 3000 freehand. This took me a little while to get used to.

I like the way the manufacturer addressed the potential problem of heat build-up, first by gearing down the motor to allow it to run more slowly, and by also including a heat sink as well.

The slotted wheels are a very nice touch, allowing you to see directly where you are grinding on your tool. I would suggest to anyone purchasing the system to invest in enough extra wheels, (slotted and tempered glass) so that you can have access to all your different grits without having to take them off the wheels to change them out. Once you take them off the wheel, I really don't think they would work as well when you put them back on.

The top tool handle I feel is a tad shorter than I would like, but that's just my opinion. The available accessories include extra tempered-glass wheels and slotted wheels, a leather honing wheel, a coarse abrasive kit (80, 120, 220, 400 grit), a fine abrasive kit (400 and 1000 grit) and a micro-mesh honing kit (3600 and 6000 grit). You could also use standard 6 inch PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) discs if you wanted to use other grits.

The standard Work Sharp 3000 kit includes the 110V motorized machine, two tempered glass wheels, one slotted wheel, assorted grits of pressure sensitive adhesive sandpaper, a crepe stick for cleaning the abrasives, one top knob and tool rest, along with the instruction book.

With its precision repeatabilty and the speed with which you can sharpen your tools (and your relatives' tools), I think the Work Sharp 3000 is a very good investment. It makes sharpening so easy even a caveman could do it!

(Does anybody want to buy my old sharpening stones?)

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