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On The Edge

Key Features:
  • Air-cooled, dry sharpener
  • Chisel port produces angles of 20, 25, 30 or 35 degrees
  • Five degree micro-bevel setting
  • Three ways to sharpen
  • About $250
  • Pricing as of 2008.
Ask For:
  • WS3000
Learn more about Professional Tool Mfg., LLC:
by Deborah Holmes, Ebricks.com
Sharp tools equal sharp work, but keeping an edge on a set of chisels can be a real chore.

This air-cooled, dry sharpening system takes a lot of the drudgery out of the task.

The Work Sharp WS3000 sharpens new or damaged chisel and plane blades up to 2" wide to precise, consistent bevel angles of 20, 25, 30 or 35 degrees. Once the tools are in good shape, keep them that way with the fast honing of a 5 degree micro bevel.

The adjustable bevel angles are set in the chisel sharpening port of the WS3000 -- no jigs required. You can switch quickly and easily between angles.

The sharpening port can handle tools up to 2 inches wide. Wider tools can be sharpened and edged on top of the grinding wheel. A tool rest makes it easier to hold them in place. The machine also handles carving and lathe tools, scrapers and putty knives.

A 1/5-horsepower motor drives two double-sided tempered glass wheels to which adhesive-backed abrasive disks are attached. Each side of the glass disk can have a different grit, allowing you to quickly change from coarse grinding to honing without any set-up.

Switch to a special slotted wheel when sharpening curved carving and lathing tools. "Edge-Vision" allows you to look through the wheel at the cutting edge of the tools as you're sharpening. The slotted abrasives come in grits from P80 to P1200 so you can coarse grind or hone tools while keeping an eye on their edges.

Heat from grinding can ruin the tempered steel of tools, but the WS3000 solves that problem by routing air flow through the sharpening port. A ceramic oxide lapping abrasive in the chisel port removes burrs while you sharpen. The tempered glass grinding wheels stay true, require no maintenance and make it easy to remove and attach the abrasive disks, according to the manufacturer.

Marketing videos make operation of the machine look easy enough, and hundreds of online reviewers have generally agreed. For the mechanically timid (myself included) an instructional DVD is included.

I asked two of the males in my household to look at this tool. No sexism intended here -- they happen to be the people I know who would be most likely to use the WS3000. My husband thought it looked really cool and would make it much more likely that he'd keep his chisels and planes beveled and sharp. My son, the machinist, thought the WS3000 had some good features, but that he'd prefer to use a bench grinder (which requires you to have both an expensive grinder and the skill to use it).

The WS3000 is available directly from the manufacturer or from merchants for about $250. A lighter duty version with fewer features sells for about $130.

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