Article - March 9, 2008
The sand paper clogs too quickly, even on the coarser grits (the grits with the lowest numbers). They have to be cleaned constantly with the rubber cleaner to be effective. The coarsest grit provided isn’t coarse enough for even moderate metal removal. It is great for light metal removal, honing, and finishing to a near mirrored surface; but if you are looking to flatten the back of a wide blade that is fresh out of the box, or damaged, you will need to buy a coarser grit (100 grit) to start with.
The sticky backed sand paper is prone to air bubbles which is a leading cause of sand paper blow out. This at least can be corrected by using a needle to open a passage for the air to escape through the paper. This is a huge issue especially for the finer grits. The only positive angle stops are at 20, 25, 30, and 35. This is good for basic sharpening, but you are unable to get that 1 to 2 degree micro-bevel that I have been spoiled into getting with other devices. You can get a very decent 5 degree micro-bevel on the first three angles by setting it up a 5 degree notch though.
The ring that surrounds the spinning disc is made out of aluminum. This means that it is not conductive to magnets. It would be of great help to be about to attach magnets to the ring to attract some of the metal dust that is flung off the disc. The metal dust is an issue. With the WS3000 it is flung everywhere. One of the best and worst things about water stones is the water/slurry that is made during the sharpening process traps the metal “filings” or dust that is made, bonus for them; but the negative side of the coin is that it is sloppy and a wet mess afterwards.
With the top rest that can be used, that can also be mounted under the disc for free-hand sharpening, there is no angle indicator. Ok, I hear the “but that is what free hand sharpening is all about.” Well that is fine, but there are many times during my sharpening experience that the iron is pulled or jerked to the side. This throws off consistent sharpening. It would be good if they provided at least a registration plate to slide on to the tool rest, like a wide tight fitting washer that could be used to make sure the blade was perpendicular to the disc while sharpening, if it was desired. Another slight issue is that unless you are going free hand you are limited to a 2″ blade. That means that any plane blades over that and you are hosed, this includes #4 1/2, #5 1/2, and up. But look toward the bottom for a trick to over come this short coming.
For the plus side of things: You can basically use any 6″ PSA disc (PSA is the sticky backed type) on the system. As long as, of course, you punch a 3/4″ hole in the dead center. And you can get those at any hardware store, but it is generally not possible to find the higher 1000+ grit variety. So for those you are going to have to go to WorkSharp; or MAYBE a higher end auto parts/painting place or the Internet or maybe make your own. A great thing because, again, you can get 100 grit discs for the more hard core metal removal if you really toast a blade. Another one for the plus side is that sharpening gouges is great. The view-thru wheel is wonderful for irregular shaped blades that you need to watch as you grind. Although you still need to deal with the free-handed idea that you can’t set a stable angle without some practice, the tool rest can be mounted on the bottom to help with any blade. This is where this system shines. With stones and every other sharpening system I have used, outside of MDF and a molded contour with embedded diamond paste, this is the only system that truly allows you to effectively manage the shape and angle of the edge. By being able to actually look through the wheel you are able to hone an edge without wondering if I am bluing the edge or grinding it past the point of effectiveness. The aluminum flat tool rest for chisels acts as a decent heat sync. The registration guide can also be moved further to the left than is what is documented. This does make it possible to sharpen blades beyond the 2″ limit with proper registration but since the blade is off the aluminum heat sync backing you must be careful not to blue the edge.
Although I have pointed out some nit-picky details that I would like to see upgraded or at least optional, I like the unit as a whole. It is a great starter sharpening center for any turner, chisel or plane jockey, or gouge monkey that isn’t going to count on it to sharpen jointer blades or need hollow bevels. But it is just not the end all be all, and people shouldn’t look at it like it is. No sharpening set up is. They all have their own negatives and positives. I wouldn’t toss my 120 grit small grinding stone on my Delta sharpener, it is great for hollowed bevels. I wouldn’t toss my stones either, they are outstanding with my Veritas MK II guide for accurate angles and micro-bevels of 1 and 2 degrees.
|Work Sharp Ã¢â??Â¢ WS3000 Tool Sharpener
This special package includes an additional slotted wheel. $19.99 Value! Air-cooled, dry sharpening system eliminates the mess of a wet system.