I’ve been a big fan of the WorkSharp WS3000 sharpening machine since it was introduced some years ago. Invented by Darex LLC, the same company that makes the Drill Doctor bit sharpeners, the WorkSharp unit is by far the fastest, most precise, cleanest, and most economical sharpening machine I’ve used, and the company just keeps making it better with new attachments. Now they’ve come out with an attachment that not only expands the versatility of the machine’s own features, but also allows it to use attachments from other popular sharpening rigs.
What it is
Before we go into the new attachment, it’s worth taking a minute to talk about the WorkSharp WS3000 by itself. This compact unit uses pressure sensitive abrasives on tempered glass disks to precisely sharpen common woodworking tools without the need for messy water or oil lubricants. The basic kit comes with two two-sided glass disks, so you can mount different grit abrasive on all sides, giving you four grits to work with in a standard sharpening regimen.
For chisels up to 2 inches wide, there is an adjustable angle platform with a built-in heat sink to sharpen bevels quickly and precisely on the bottom side of the disk. You can work on the flat backs of chisels on the top of the disk. For tools such as turning gouges, you can use the included Edge Vision slotted plastic disk with matching slotted abrasive paper that allows you to actually see through the disk while it is turning. That way you can see exactly what you are doing as you sharpen the edge of a gouge from underneath the disk.
New this year is a tool bar attachment that provides extra options for both freehand sharpening and use of jigs. You can use it to sharpen freehanded on top of the disk or on the underside. The sturdy tool bar assembly attaches to existing accessory mounts on the machine. A micro-adjusting elevation wheel makes it possible to achieve just about any angle you’d need.
But the best part about the new attachment is it accepts the jigs from Tormek and JET sharpening machines. That greatly expands the versatility. For those who have previously used these jigs on their native vertical wet wheels, using them on the WorkSharp takes just a little getting used to. For example, to sharpen a gouge on the horizontal WorkSharp disk requires pointing the gouge handle up in the air instead of holding it low. But it takes no time at all to get used to the change and the precisely repeatable results are worth it.
At less than $200 for the WS3000 unit and about another $50 for the tool bar attachment, the WorkSharp system is still very cost effective. I haven’t used anything else regularly for sharpening for a very long time. For more information, visit www.worksharptools.com.
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