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on February 24, 2016
Bought this to bring back the life to our kitchen knives and touch up our pocketknives. The instructions are extremely easy, this is possibly why people are making mistakes and feel they can just gloss over them. I would say there are 3 sets of instructions on how you can sharpen a blade; I prefer the ones located on the cardboard table. This system has already paid for itself since my husband and I did not need to buy new kitchen knives and or take them in on occasion. The construction is very solid and can turn the most novice knife sharpener into a pro if judging the blade edge. If you want to have razor sharp knifes on a moments notice this will exceed your expectations. Only thing I warn is yes the old saying is correct “A dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one”. However, I would add a razor sharp blade is not as forgiving as a sharpened blade. After sharpening with this system be very careful your knives, they will be scary (in a pleasant way) sharp; more so than from the factory!

Some tips below I've picked up that have helped me sharpen my blades quick, precise and without mishap:

1. Tape the Blade Up: I place some masking tape on then peel it carefully over the edge to cut a silhouette 1x per side. I peel off then place it aside then with both silhouettes I place them back on just revealing the blade where is will make contact with the belt. This protects the blade while learning efficiently without having to fatting up the knife with tape.

2. Practice With a Cheap Knife: The real skill is when to let go of the trigger so that is does not grind more on the tip of the blade than the recommended "1 inch per second" and following the contour of the knife edge while maintaining proper contact with the belt.

3. It Can Make a Mess: After sharpening 8 or so blades I noticed my dining table (live in an studio so no man cave garage here) covered in shavings and whatnot. I later noticed it was all to the right of the sharpener. So I placed it to the left of my kitchen sink after making sure there was no water and whatnot on my counter. This made most of the shavings fall in the sink making for easy cleanup.

4. Wear Eye Protection: I noticed (thankfully while wearing eye pro) that left grind shoots debris shoots straight up in your face if you're like me watching closely if the knife is properly being inserted and pulled. It would really suck to get that in your eyes and looking back after sharpening 14+ knives. I also wished I had a face mask for the first marathon since you will be looking and making excuses to sharpen every blade in the house to make it pass the paper test.

5. Master the Marathon: I noticed that the main difference between say a kitchen knife and pocket knife is the angle since they both use the same main 3 belt grits (coarse, medium and fine). If I’m going to have a sharpening marathon I separate my kitchen and pocket knifes yet use the same belts instead changing the belts per group of knives. The only thing I change is the angle degree. This helps speed up the process instead of changing everything out for each pile or worse per knife.

6. Check For Crooked Burrs While Keeping Count: I’ve noticed the best way to ruin your edge is losing count or what side went in last, thus causing an annoying crooked burr. My method is the right side is “odd” numbers while the left is “even” to help with remembering where to start. I count to the total number of strokes ie if it calls for 10 I count to 20 total. This also means I go to right to left until I reach 10 which would be 5 per side and good time to check for burrs. Then 10 more starting at 11 so the “right” side of the system. With this method I have yet to notice burrs ever occurring thus speeding through the process precisely.

Thank you I hope this helped, I wouldn’t have spent the time to write this if I didn’t feel this Worksharp didn’t impress me as it did.
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on February 20, 2014
The Worksharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion edition...For 7 months I debated w/ myself over and over about "biting the bullet" and getting a power tool to help me sharpen knives more efficently.

Im almost 48, and since age 12 I have used my grandfathers' tried and true stone & ceramic methods to put a razors' edge on a cutting tool.

And the old methods WORK. Period.

But I cant see quite as well as I used to, and if you get off count sharpening and stropping, it causes big problems that you have to be able to SEE the edge to correct.

I swore up, down, and sideways never to "go powered".

But w/ the WSKTS systems, my edges seem to true up faster...way faster. I chose the WSKTS-KO because of the options it has available over the standard... My personal favorite?? A slow speed mechanism that keeps me from skrewing up a good blade. I can watch the process as it unfolds.

Slow on the WorkShap systems is still "jack-rabbits' ass on fire!" fast compared to almost any hand sharpening rigup.

I particularly like the medium and fine "white surface" belts. They sharpen and hone like Spyderco ceramics, and still leave the door wide open for me to finish by hand w/ leather strops. They have a "gunmetal" lookin' deposit as you use them, just like a ceramic rod. You can clean them w/ a white gum eraser on slow speed too, or the standard cleaning "stick" widely available for belt abrasives.

The angle adjustment guide is a stroke of genius. If the weight of the knife is all the pressure you use, the blade can easily be "leaned back" and hovered past the belt and the sharpness you seek comes faster. Now, "leaned back" sounds like a relaxed term. Thats' the idea. Set the knife into the sharpener, and REST it on the angle guide, using JUST enough pressure to keep it sliding against the guide.

The tool motor in and of itself has more than enough power to handle almost any job, if you use the right belts in succesion and TAKE YOUR TIME. This is a great tool for beginners, and a Godsend for experienced sharpeners, but it doesn't possess the power of an angle or bench grinder

Remember that sharpening isn't a race, and if you don't feed your family doing it, its far better to proceed SLOWLY and watch what youre doing. Pay Attention. Don't crank this baby to max on your Sebenza, and then give this tool a bad review if you are foolish enuf to do that.

You can and WILL RUIN a very expensive knife in a heartbeat!!

Read the directions. Watch Youtube. Call Worksharp, ask questions. Read the directions again. Find some old user knives to practice on. NEVER drag the tip of any knife blade more than 1/2 way off the belt. Start w/ tool OFF, set blade into the angle guide, and using the weight of the blade, and GENTLE guidance, manuver the blade toward the tip, following the shape of the blade. If you are using the "crossbar" blade guide, DO NOT press the knife edge into it, that will dull your knife, defeating the purpose. This IS NOT a bench grinder you just turn on, and leave it that way 'till you finish. Its rated for 1hr. before you need to let it cool completely off.

Then when you get good, and I mean good enough to feel that edge and say "Damn!, now that's freakin' sharp!", THEN its time to "Dress up your babies for school".

In less than 45 minutes, you can turn a butter knife into a razor w/ the WSTKS-KO, and you can bleed easier than you think.

Keep the tool clean and free from sharpening residues as much as possible w/ a dry bristle brush, air compressor nozzle etc.

The coarser belts will produce loads of fragments that can gum up the sharpening guide, cassette workings etc. This produces scratches on surfaces you don't want them on. Use masking tape if necessary to stop that from occuring. Put the masking tape in a single layer on the guide "sliderpads" too, if you can, stop and clean often.

I sharpened a RUSTY old HC steel butcher's knife, started w/ the coarsest belt I could find, established a "working edge", and went from there. That rustbucket Old Hickory will now SHAVE hair.

Tnere was rust and metal frags/sanding matl. all over that cassete. KEEP it squeaky clean.

If you think that this tool can be mastered in 5 mins. w/ no practice etc. you will need to take your knives to a professional edgemaker!! All belted abrasive tools need time/patience to get good, but it'll be less time than with stones!! The "medium grit" belt is normally used for sharpening a well-cared for blade on occasion as needed, the fine grit for semi-regular honing, where you want something more aggressive than a steel, but less than attempting to adjust a primary grind to facilitate sharpness.

EDIT: 2/24/14 I used the 6k purple belt to polish away the tiny imperfections from the back of my Spyderco H1 Salt Pacific, and now it shaves hair! Make sure you polish AWAY FROM the edge if you do that...or you'll cut the belt! Also, if you have a combo edge knife, each portion of the edge must be sharpened INDEPENDENTLY. Sharpen the plain edge parts as normally done and then follow the directions for sharpening the serrated parts the way you would a fully serrated blade.

Tantos must be VERY carefully done, because the flat portion on the nose needs to be treated as if it is a seperate small blade, otherwise you will ruin your knife. My suggestion is the Spyderco TSM for these, unless youre REALLY good on the WSKTS-KO.

I will update this review as I go along, but as for now, this is a "TD Essential Sharpening Gizmo List" chart-topper. Highly recommended.

Edit 6/19/15

Still well satisfied----just keeps getting better!....I'm thinking about snagging the Wskts field kit to complete the lineup!.....May consider a 1 by 30 too. Everything comes full circle.
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on May 16, 2015
Buy it buy it buy it!!!! What more can I say, this machine is awesome. Aslong as you FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS you will get great results.keep the edge perpendicular to the belt and stop the tip in the middle of the belt and kill the power you won't get rounded tips.also place the knife in position before turning it on, otherwise you'll end up making you knife a recurve.

I've sharpened 4 knives so far with excellent hair popping results. The edge it puts on also has excellent edge retention.
I've been beating on my bk2 trying to dull it and it's still cutting and slicing like never before.
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on October 17, 2013
I have used every knife sharpening method available. From cheap carbide sharpeners to Japanese waterstones to expensive fixed angle sharpeners. This unit from Work Sharp is has made all those obsolete. I am talking about the Ken Onion Edition. Last year, I bought the original model Works Sharp model and it was good but had some shortcomings. All those shortcomings have been resolved with the Ken Onion Edition. The secret to using this or any belt sander is to start and stop the power with the knife on the belt. And NEVER let the heel or tip go more than half way across the belt. Anyone who complains about rounded tips hasn't learned this. And it is explained very well in the instructions. Also, I ordered several additional 3/4 x 12 inch belts in varying grits from Econaway Abrasives (I don't work for them) so I am set for years. If you are looking for the perfect gift for a hunter, fisherman, or knife enthusiast, then this is it!
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on September 13, 2017
This is easily one of the best purchases I've made. Work Sharp WSKTS-KO has put the sharpest edges on my knives that I've ever had. Over the years I've purchased Norton sharpening stones from 200 to 8000 grits, a kitchen sharpening machine, and a hand held manual sharpener. A master sharpener would argue the stones are the best and while this is indeed the case, the amount of time, maintenance of the stones much less the knife, and the propensity for error for anyone who is a novice to intermediate user is greatly outweighed by this work sharp device.

It's said having a sharp knife completely alters the way you experience cooking in your kitchen. After sharpening my knives I couldn't agree with this statement anymore. It's like you've taken a pill and experienced a whole different reality. Perhaps I'm being overexcited but for someone who has struggled to get their knives "hair popping" sharp this device is the answer to years of frustration and (in hindsight) seems like wasted time. If your obsessed with sharp and not a master Japanese sword maker buy this device!
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on September 14, 2017
I've been collecting knives for a long time and finally found the perfect sharpener. I've used Lansky and the "nice" kitchen knife sharpeners in the past that work very well. This works better if you're in need of multiple-sharpening angles across multiple-knife styles. Haven't tried tools yet but my pocket, camping and kitchen knives are all razor sharp. Gets the perfect angle, with patience and practice, for the task of the knife being sharpened. Follow the instructions. Very happy with my purchase after a dozen knives sharpened and still plenty of belt-wear left for more than a dozen more. Follow the instructions and prepare to use the angle-guides as a reference point since you'll need to manually adjust your pulling technique for the proper sharpening-angle between shorter vs. longer knives as well as knives with a re-curve design. Great sharpener for those serious enough to take the time to put a great edge on all knives. Did I say follow the instructions? Great info in the manual by Ken Onion so read it already. Buy it!
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on September 25, 2017
Mine was used but works very well. Get new belts as any use will load these up with steel dust. This is a seriously right-handed design so I turn it around backward with the handle away so I can draw a knife through with my LEFT hand. If you do this with a long knife keep your right wrist away! No injury here but this will make things scary sharp fast. READ the directions!!! Use care to be accurate but this version with variable speed is way better than the model without that feature. Belts can be carefully cleaned with water or a damp rag but it will shorten their life as they will start to throw threads from the side. Use a dry brush to clean the machine so you don't put fine black dust around the kitchen counter or a tablecloth. Belts are not free so do not feel you need to sharpen all the knives in the neighborhood for free but you will like using this thing. MUCH better than grinding wheels in can openers. Very handy on serated blades, too.
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on January 26, 2015
I have mixed feelings about this tool.

For function I give it 3 stars. It really does a good job of putting a very sharp edge on you knife in very little time. My kitchen and hunting knives have never been this sharp all at the same time. With this tool, any knife in the house is going to be sharp any time I grab it. So why not 5 stars? The guide system gets in the way making it difficult to sharpen most knives clear back to the heel/plunge line of the blade. Small blades like pocket knives are a real pain.

It loses another star for the cost/availability of abrasive belts. On the third blade I went to sharpen, I cut the extra fine belt that comes with the sharpener nearly in half. So, I went to Cabela's to get a pack of the extra fine belts and a pack of the fine belts as those will be the belts you use the most once the initial sharpening is done and the edge is set on all your blades. Nothing doing! You can only get the belts for the KO Edition in the five belt variety pack in stores. So if you only go through two grits, too bad you have to buy all five! And they are $18 a pack compared to $10 a pack for the original Work Sharp. It seems that Work Sharp is trying to make their money on consumables rather than tools!

After I looked at Cabela's I checked the WS web site where I found that I could order individual belts. But the fine belts are $4 each and the extra fine are $2 each and shipping costs $6. So if I get 5 of each, that's 36$... back to $18 for five belts.

I emailed back and forth with Brian at Work Sharp to find out if they planned on making packs of individual grits available at stores and he said they are planning on it, but the Ken onion has been in production for over a year now and they're still not on the market.

So if you are looking for a sharpening tool that works quickly and provides a very sharp edge, the Ken Onion Edition does that very well. But Work Sharp should consider a complete redesign of the blade guide because that thing sucks. And the cost of ownership of this thing is out of sight compared to other knife sharpening systems. To put the belt cost into perspective, at $18 for for the 5 belt assortment, that means that each belt costs $3.60 and they are nothing but a loops of cloth backed sandpaper - they don't last for years. To replace a hone in my Lanskey set, it costs me about $8 and they DO last for years.

And finally, for my $36 in belt costs, I'll be getting 23 belts from Micro-Surface rather than 10 from Works Sharp.
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on October 14, 2017
Maybe you are like me, and just got to the point where the nice Wusthof knives have been so boogered up that some extreme measure had to be taken. In order to cut, the angles have to be restore with successively finer grits. Sounds simple enough, but it’s not. The Work Sharp does a brilliant job of sharpening knives. The day after I restored the knives, several household members had sliced various portions of hands and fingers...blood and bandaids all around. The knives were so dull they had been carelessly using safety blades. You know the feeling...try to slice a fresh croissant and the knife just mashes it...now it’s slices clean.
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on February 24, 2016
I've tried plenty of other knife sharpening solutions over the years. This one has them all beat. Fast, easy. Follow the instructions and use a bit of common sense and you will never have to lug your knives to the market to be sharpened ever again. I've only had this a few days so no comment on the life of the belts, but considering the number of pocket and kitchen knives I've already restored to glory, this thing has paid for itself.

Start slow, work your way to the finer belts as you go. For the love of god, read the instructions, watch the youtube videos, and you will be just fine. For kitchen knives I find that the X22 and X4 are all you really need. As for the one star reviews, they almost deterred me but the prime membership got me to roll the dice. I'm glad I did. Anyone who has trouble using this is either doing it drunk or not paying attention. It's really very easy to use and get great results.
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