Earlier this year, the Work Sharp Sharpening System hit the market with a giant splash. Honored at woodworking shows and showered with glowing reviews, the Work Sharp quickly became a contender for the wonder-tool of the year. Often described as a hybrid between more expensive motorized wet sharpeners, such as the time-honored Tormek Sharpening System, and the Luddite-endorsed “Scary Sharp” system, the Work Sharp promised to revolutionize the way that people look at keeping an edge on their chisels, plane iron and gouges.
The Work Sharp system does have a lot of conceptual appeal. First of all, it’s an air-cooled dry system, meaning that there’s no water tank to maintain or clean up after. The practically foolproof angled sharpening port for straight-edged tools looks like a breeze to use, and the tool’s “edge vision” capability, which allows you to see the underside of curved cutting edges while they’re being sharpened is just plain cool. The price – at around $200 for the WS3000 and $100 for the slightly less elaborate WS2000 – is another major component of the Work Sharp’s appeal, and makes it the most affordable motorized system worth considering.
But as most of us know, truly revolutionary woodworking tools are few and far between, and the initial hype isn’t always the best basis for a decision to buy. Much more reliable are the reports from woodworkers who’ve spent their hard-earned cash and actually used the item. So now that it’s been around for a while, what are people saying about the Work Sharp? Here’s a sample from our customer reviews:
"Right out of the box, this is an excellent product. The documentation is extremely user-friendly and comprehensive. It is very easy to set up and the results are immediately impressive. No learning curve required. For those of us who find other methods of sharpening labor intensive and inconsistent at best, this is a truly a wonderful solution. The "see through" system enables a clean and efficient method for handling woodcarving chisels and gouges resulting in the best honed tools I've ever used. I recommend that new tools (even those pre-sharpened by the manufacturer) also be exposed to the Work Sharp."
Fred A. Behr, from Fredericksburg, TX
"This is by far the easiest sharpener I have ever used! Set up is fast and easy, and the quality of the tool is excellent!"
Joe Melvin, from Tigard, OR
"Excellent results. The see through system makes sharpening easy and accurate. Cannot be used to hone knife edges, since the motor rotates only one way, but it works great for gouges and chisels, plane blades, etc. Smooth running motor and nice flat glass wheels give very good results."
Donald R. Faulkenburry, from Anchorage, AK
"I purchased this sharpener after using water stones for a number of years. This tool did a remarkable job on my chisels and plane blades under 2 inches. What would have taken me several hours to do on the stones took a fraction of the time with this sharpening system. The results were outstanding. My chisels and plane blades are now in much better shape and sharper than ever before."
Mark Anderson, from Kerrville, TX
"WOW! Fast simple and versatile. I love this sharpener."
Eric Engstrom, from Greenville, PA
"Basically this is the next best thing since sliced bread. I have always found sharpening my chisels to be labor intensive and have had difficulty, even with a guide, getting them truly sharp. Not any more. I honed the entire set to razor sharpness without any problem on the first try. It made me really appreciate how nice it is to work with sharp tools when I mortised for some hinges after sharpening the chisels…"
Samuel, from Bryan, KY