Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Work Sharp Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
This isn't going to be a review in my standard style. I've been putting off this review for about 2 months, and I'm not really sure why, but I figure an informal ("unprofessional," I guess) review will make this easier. 

I have several knives which have thwarted my attempts to sharpen them for many years (one of which for over a decade). I've tried many different sharpening systems, and none of them really satisfied me. When my friend Oddball, who is the knife guy among my friends, recommended the Work Sharp Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener system to me I figured it couldn't come with a better endorsement. 



I don't hate it; I just don't love it, and that bothers me

Before you get the wrong idea, let me reassure that this system does work... for pocket knives or smaller. Heck, it even returned my Derma-Safe folding knife to a razor's edge, thanks to its ability to sharpen to an angle as narrow as 15°. And if your knife has a tanto tip, this system will handle that easily. 

It just doesn't work very well on blades much beefier than a Mora Clipper, mainly because the vise which holds the knife in place has a triangular cutout (to accommodate the slim spine of most pocket knives, I assume) and all of the "outdoorsy" fixed-blade knives I've seen have a much thicker spine with definite right angles. As you might assume, a robust rectangular spine doesn't fit well in a triangular vise. 

There's also the fact that the vise holds the knife in place via a non-locking thumbwheel, so a knife with any appreciable weight will not be held securely. 

Also also, the jig which holds the sharpening abrasive actually obscures my view of the edge as it's being sharpened. This is such a well-known issue that pretty much any Google or YouTube recommends that the first thing you do is get a mirror and put it right up against the base so that you can see the blade in its reflection. This is a valid solution to the problem, but the fact that I have to fix a known problem to make my sharpener work properly bothers me on a visceral level. 

Also also also, given that the abrasive jig travels on a guide rod means that there is a limit to how high (edge to spine) my knife can be. For example, I can't sharpen parts of my Cold Steel kukri machete all in one go; I have to sharpen pieces, then unclamp and move the blade. 

All of this is really annoying, and if it weren't for the fact that it works so very well on my smaller knives I'd have sent it back for a refund. I can't hate it, because it does its job... so long as I have a mirror, and my blade isn't too long and/or too thick and/or too heavy. 

Personally, I'd give it a solid "C" rating. It's A+ at sharpening pocket knives, but anywhere from a D to an F for larger knives. 

Next week, I'll talk about what I ended up getting which actually did sort out my problems with uncooperative knives. (Hint: it's a power tool.)

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