A problem common to power sharpeners is that they lack the tactile sensation that experienced knife sharpeners use to tell if their blade’s edge is flat and true against the surface of a honing surface, even in the dark. With a power grinder it’s hard to feel an existing bevel, and that makes it too easy to apply the wrong angle. Mix in the influence of a rapidly moving surface that is designed to grab against metal, and it becomes more than difficult to maintain a precise angle, constant pressure, and consistent draw-speed across a grinding surface unless a blade is securely held in place. Add to all this a motorized grinder’s ability to remove a lot of metal in a hurry, and it’s easy to destroy the esthetic (and resale) value of a fine knife with a single slip.
Knife makers use belt grinders to get their blades shaving-sharp, because a flexible belt more naturally finds the apex of a cutting edge, even around hard-to-sharpen bellies that are so useful for skinning game.
Enter the new multifunction “Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener.” This versatile electric belt grinder can sharpen every tool that should have a cutting edge, from paring knives and machetes to axes—even lawnmower blades and shovels. It enables green beginners to literally apply a forearm-shaving edge to knives big and small on their first try, just by following the instructions.
For experienced honesmen, the Work Sharp tool proved to be a real timesaver; using the included slide-on kitchen and outdoor knife and scissor guides, I sharpened a block of nine kitchen knives to an edge that demanded respect in less than nine minutes. In five minutes the tool, used freehand, put a wood-biting edge on a dulled 3.5-pound Collins axe. Applying the correct angle by drawing a blade through the proper guide as instructed was easy; enabling blades to be drawn through the sharpener quickly and smoothly, as close to foolproof as any power sharpener I’ve used.