Work Sharp WS3000
The Work Sharp WS3000 delivers
the goods for the lowest price. It’s a clever piece of
engineering: on this machine, you can lap, grind, and
hone most chisels, plane irons and carving tools. There
is a width limit, however. The built-in tool rest (Photo
2) only accommodates blades up to 2 in. wide (the size
of a No. 4 or No. 5 plane blade). It’s possible to freehand
grind and hone wider blades on top of the
machine, but this requires skill and practice.
The Work Sharp spins its 6-in. dia. discs at 580 rpm.
That’s much slower than a grinder, but you must still
guard against overheating an edge.
This machine does a pretty good job lapping the
back of a tool (Photo 1). You’ll get the back plenty
smooth, but it is a challenge to make it absolutely flat
because you’re placing it on a spinning surface.
Grinding and honing the bevel requires a novel technique
(Photo 2). To avoid overheating, Work Sharp recommends
that you quickly plunge and withdraw the
tool so it contacts the abrasive for less than one second
at a time. This works OK, but you should check for overheating
once in a while and quench the tool as needed.
Forming two bevels is the most efficient way to make
a sharp edge with the Work Sharp. On a chisel, for
example, you should use coarse paper to grind the
entire bevel, down to the tip, at 25 degrees. When you
switch to fine paper, you should bump down the tool
rest one notch to 30 degrees to make a microbevel. In
general, it’s easy to sharpen chisels up to 1 in. wide.
Larger chisels and plane irons require more finesse,
primarily because of the disc’s small diameter.
The Work Sharp comes with a big bonus: a slotted
wheel for sharpening carving tools (Photo 3). If you ink
your tool’s bevel, you can easily see where the sandpaper
is cutting. This helps you to maintain a consistent,
A wide range of abrasives are available, from 80-grit
ceramic oxide for hogging off large amounts of metal
to super-fine 6000 grit aluminum oxide for putting on
a final polish.
The Work Sharp WS2000 is a simpler version
of the WS3000. Its tool rest is fixed at 25 degrees (you
can’t use a two-bevel sharpening method) and can only
handle tools up to 1-5/8 in. wide (the size of a standard
block-plane blade). The machine comes with only one
wheel, which is slotted, and standard and slotted abrasives.
Click any image to view a larger version.
1. The Work Sharp’s discs have sandpaper adhered to
both sides. To prepare a blade for sharpening, flatten
and smooth its back on the disc’s top side.
2. Sharpen the blade’s bevel by sliding the tool up
against the bottom of the disc. The tool rest tilts to
four angles: 20-, 25-, 30- and 35-degrees.
3. Carving tools are easy to sharpen freehand using a
slotted disc (see inset) and slotted sandpaper. Holding
a tool under the machine, you can see its bevel
through the spinning disc.