Very Sharp, yes. Scary sharp, no, but a nice tool none the less.

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Review by Emeralds posted 01-15-2009 07:07 AM 5075 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Very Sharp, yes. Scary sharp, no, but a nice tool none the less. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m as susceptible to good advertising as the next guy and while Pro-Tool Mfg. makes a nice product, they are masters of marketing. So moving past the hype, here’s my take on the WS2000.

I’ve hand sharpened my chisels and the few planes I own since I started woodworking and the main reason I hadn’t done more work with my hand tools is because I’ve always hated using my limited time maintaining the edges necessary to do precise work. So when I saw an ad clip for the “WorkSharp WS2000” I thought it looked like a good fit for me. The tool is of a simple, straight forward design. The body is constructed of high impact plastic and an aluminum alloy, making it light and I assume pretty rugged.

The WS2000 is a snap to set up and effectively turned the drudgery of basic sharpening into a speedy, painless process. Much of the time spent on hand sharpening is in the set up. While the WS2000 unit doesn’t do away with the need to fine hone your tools, (it will get edges very sharp but WON’T get them scary sharp) it virtually eliminates 80% of the set up time involved allowing you to move through the basic process of sharpening in just a few ( 2 to 3 ) minutes. For many folks this basic process is all that they may ever need making the tool all the more attractive. Even for those individuals who NEED “scary” sharp tools it’s a useful and valuable time saving asset that provides the opportunity to use exactly the right tool for every job by eliminating biggest obstacle and excuse for doing otherwise, the time involved in sharpening,

So, will the Worksharp make every woodworker into a hand tool aficionado? Probably not, but it will save everyone who buys it a lot of time and effort and give them good value for their money and provide a pretty nice edge for their tools to boot.

-- JMP

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143 posts in 4409 days

14 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4668 days

#1 posted 01-15-2009 02:56 PM

Nice review. I tried using sandpaper and stones to put an edge on my chisels and planes but could never get the edge that I wanted until, like you, I got the Worksharp. I did not realize how enjoyable it was to use SHARP handtools until I sharpened them with the Worksharp. To me using it to sharpen tools is an activity that really requires little concentration, similar to mowing the grass. It has become an almost pleasurable shop activity.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View PurpLev's profile


8584 posts in 4495 days

#2 posted 01-15-2009 04:53 PM

Thanks for the review, nice to finally get some ‘not perfect, not the best thing since sliced bread’ detail on this.

here is my take though (and I have considered getting one of those) – I find that having that ‘scary sharp’ edge makes all the difference (for me) compared to ‘just very sharp’, and so if I still have to go and ‘manually’ hone the edges of my blades, it means I have to set the blades in my honing guide, and run them over the fine grits (1000-4000) the setup is quite simple and fast. and in this case – there would be no much difference, and it will not take me much longer to also run the same setup (since the blades are already in the honing jig) over the lower grits (100-600) ...

how high do the WS2000/3000 grits go up to?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4574 days

#3 posted 01-15-2009 05:46 PM

I too agree that this was a very helpful review. I wonder if the 3000 is any better than the 2000?

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 4662 days

#4 posted 01-15-2009 06:01 PM

I have the 3000 and my take on it is about the same as above. I have a couple of minor gripes though.

1. The consumables are fairly expensive. It doesn’t take long to wear out a piece of sandpaper on a rapidly spinning disk.

2. I have not found a way to get the system to make a flat and 90 degree edge on a wide chisel or plane blade. Physics dictates that the closer to the edge of the disk you get the faster the abrasive is travelling making material removal uneven. (more toward the outside and less toward the center of the disk)

That being said, I used it a lot to get all my edge tools up to snuff. Now I just use my waterstones to get the edge scary.

-- Scott - Chico California

View AaronK's profile


1511 posts in 4311 days

#5 posted 01-15-2009 08:21 PM

if you guys are using it to get the edge up to snuff, then using scary sharp or stones to go the rest of the way…. well how much do you really need to use the Worksharp after all? As long as no severe damage has happened, ie during normal use, one the tool looses its edge it doesnt need to be rehoned from the start, just polished up on the higher grits – which you say cant really be handled/achieved on the worksharp.

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4645 days

#6 posted 01-16-2009 04:04 AM

So, the question is, “Is this CUTTING EDGE” technology.

I don’t have one of these but I know 2 people who do. they really like it.

-- making sawdust....

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4915 days

#7 posted 01-16-2009 06:13 AM

This one has been on my short list for a while. I dabble in hand tools, but think that I could get into it a bit more if I was able to maintain them more easily. History indicates I simply won’t take the time needed to dress them up too often. I’ll have to “borrow” one and give it a try.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Karson's profile


35225 posts in 5247 days

#8 posted 01-16-2009 06:28 AM

Here is my sharpening station

I’ve never had to buy anything after the first purchase. The mdf is salvage and I sand it down by turning on the power and holding a sanding block against the face when it really gets dirty (Black for metal polished off)

This week I bought 4 new Dewalt Chisels at a wood show. They were rough. I trued up the back and the cutting edge using a diamond stone. 600 grit and 1200 grit. Using just my hand (no jig) that took all manufacturing scratches off the back and front.

I started with the black polish and worked up to the green (extra fine) (4 disks) no more than 10-15 seconds on each disk with each tool. I was all done in 15 minutes. That’s why I built this tool. Cheap and fast and I use polishing compound to put the shine on the metal.

Just noticed that I’ve got a few scabs on the back of my hand from shaving off hair. The hair just flew in the air when the chisel hit it. It didn’t bend over at all.

I’m happy with my sharpening station.

I also put polishing compound (finest grit) on a maple board and use it to hone the chisel as I’m using it. I also do this to sharpen scalpels for cutting veneer.

Total cost a salvage motor, $15,00 for the Bealle mandrel $20.00 for polishing compound at Grizzly 1 lb bar, and 4 6” disks made out of MDf and 4 bolts and nuts and washers. Thats the cost.

My motor is 3450 rpm but 1725 would work just as well or maybe better.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8584 posts in 4495 days

#9 posted 01-16-2009 06:50 AM

Karson, I LOVE that setup!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View jsheaney's profile


141 posts in 4835 days

#10 posted 01-16-2009 07:59 AM

I have the 3000. My main use for it is for chisels. I think it is ideal for chisels because of the built in jig. You actually sharpen chisels on the bottom of the disc using an adjustable slot or port you shove the chisel into (gently). It’s pretty much like sharpening a pencil and takes about as long. Having said that, I agree with the others. That doesn’t get it sharp enough. I use an 8000 waterstone for the final honing. I have a set of LN chisels. I do a primary bevel at 30 deg. and a secondary bevel at 35 (the WS system only has 5 deg. increments).

With the primary bevel established, I only use the 1000 grit paper for the secondary bevel. Jab the chisel in there once or twice. Then I literally take 2 or 3 swipes on the waterstone and then front and back a couple of times for any burr. That’s it; I’m done. I’ll then use the chisel until it just starts getting not so sharp and I’ll touch it up on the waterstone again. I can usually do this 3 or 4 times before going back to the WS.

That’s what I really like about this system for chisels; it’s really fast. Using it this way, I don’t go through paper too fast. Note that I also use the crepe stick to clean the abrasive fairly often.

I pretty much do the same thing for my small block planes blades; they aren’t much bigger than chisels. However, I can’t use the chisel jig for my 2 1/8” bench plane blades, so I don’t use the WS system for those blades at all.

I do also have a cheap Groz jack plane that I set up as a scrub plane. It has a thin crappy blade that I put a pretty good radius on for hogging material fast. It also is too wide for the chisel port, but the WS has a tool rest on top. I made a jig to hold the blade and put an arc on the front. This is how a put the radius on the blade. It works pretty well for that, too.

I’ll also mention that the WS system comes with a neat way of sharpening turning tools. It has slotted wheels that you can see through. You hold the edge against the bottom of the wheel, which allows you to actually see the edge you are honing. I don’t turn, so I’ve never used it. I don’t know anyone that has either. It seems like a neat idea, though.

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

View Karson's profile


35225 posts in 5247 days

#11 posted 01-16-2009 09:41 PM

Emeralds: How thick are the Ws2000 disks. Could you substute a 1/2” MDF wheel with polishing compound and do it that way.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Emeralds's profile


143 posts in 4409 days

#12 posted 01-17-2009 12:00 AM


THe WS2000 Disks are about 3/8th wide but you certainly could use 1/2” mdf cut to size with polishing compound. That’s an excellent thought and I’ll give it a shot, take a couple of snaps and post them here.

Below I reprinted the comment I posted on your blog as well, just in case someone didn’t make the jump.


That’s a really interesting approach you’ve developed.

Yesterday while playing around with the WS2000, I came up with something similar.

Like you I’m use to using progressively finer grits to hone the edge of my chisels and the two planes I own. The two big advantages of the WS system are: #1 the ease and speed with which the wheels (grits) can be swapped and #2 the built in angle jig.

Yesterday I cut 5” rounds of several grits of paper 150, 240, 400, 600, and 1200, the last two being wet / dry paper. These I attached with spray adhesive to the WS2000 wheels (it comes with two and I bought an abrasive kit that included another one). Although I didn’t need to start from scratch with any of my chisels, I was able to take a several reasonably well dulled tools and get a “scary” sharp edge by running them through the last three grits and then finishing up on my cloth polishing wheel (one side of my grinder) with red (Plexiglas) polishing compound. It took only about five minutes per chisel including wheel changes which the WS2000 really simplifies. Since I did the 1st unit individually not knowing ahead of time what the results would be, I made twice the actual number of wheel changes. From now on I’ll run the entire group through one grit before changing the wheel to the next higher grit.

The bottom line is that I’m now happy that I bought the unit and feel confident that I can get the type of edge I need quickly and very easily.

I do plan on trying out the different compounds you mentioned though. I find the idea of using compound instead of expensive paper quite intriguing and if I can get the same results using inexpensive compounds as opposed to expensive papers, alls the better!


-- JMP

View CaptnA's profile


116 posts in 4659 days

#13 posted 01-19-2009 02:15 PM

good review. thank you for taking the time and being honest. gray does exist lol

I’ve looked into one of these but as mentioned how often do you really need to use it. It can only sharpen so far and most of the people I know that have one finish in some other manner, so this may not be the tool for everyone. I know local groups pool rescources and have one available to members for the times it is called for.

Karson great post. I love to see ingenuity meet necessity and a gret result come through. Especially when you get to keep some $$

-- CaptnA - "When someone hurts you, write it in the sand so the winds of forgiveness will scatter the memory... "

View StumpyNubs's profile


7827 posts in 3647 days

#14 posted 12-31-2011 04:25 PM

Thought you may like to see my video of the Upgrades I made to the Work Sharp including one that allows you to use Tormek jigs AND how to use cheap buffing compound instead of sandpaper instead of diamond wheels and compounds:

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

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