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Worksharp 3000

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  • Worksharp 3000

    The only thing I dislike more than sanding is sharpening. This means I have a pile of dull chisels and planes that never work right when I need them. My chisels all have the factory edge on them and they tend to get abused. I chose the 3000 model over the 2000 model after reading all the glowing reviews of the 3000. I also watched a video review of the 2000 on lumberjocks.com. So, on with my first tool review...

    The box came via ups ground and was pretty dinged up. I opened the outer box and took out the product package and was relieved to see the punctures did not penetrate the inner box. The grinder was packaged really well and to hit the unit you would have to penetrate the shell by about 3 inches.

    In the box were 2 tempered glass wheels, 1 slotted wheel, Several discs of varying grit sandpaper, manual, and DVD. There were at least 2 of every kind of PSA disc.

    The manual is very clear and to the point on how to setup the machine. Clean the glass using Isopropyl Alcohol or paint thinner. I followed a tip I found online and used my 1/2" extension as a guide to align the PSA backed discs. This will help you tremendously. Any bubbles you can't roll out with your veneer or laminate roller, must be punctured with a pin and rolled out. If not, your chisel or plane iron will catch and that will be the end of the disc. Using the extension as a guide, I was able to get the 120, 400, and 1000 grit loaded onto the glass wheels without problems. The 3600 got a bubble that needed the pin treatment.

    I decided on a 1/2" Craftsman chisel that had been particularly abused as a test subject. Starting with the 120 grit facing up, I flattened the back. The chisel will get hot fairly quickly once you get it mostly flat. Keep some water nearby for cooling. This step took about 5 minutes.

    On to the bevel. The tool has preset bevels at 20, 25, 30, and 35 degrees. I chose 25 degrees as my primary bevel and started with the 120 grit paper. This part of the operation will take the longest. I don't know what my original bevel was, but it was not 25 degrees. I used a sharpie on the edge so I could see my progress. Grinding the primary bevel creates a lot of tiny iron filings and it flings them everywhere. To limit this mess, I put a couple ceramic magnets inside the rear sharpening port. They caught a good deal of the filings. To pick up the rest, I just moved the magnets still in the plastic across the bench. This whole operation took about 10 minutes.

    Once I had reground the primary bevel, I moved on through the 400, 1000, and 3600 grit discs. Going through all the wheels after the initial 120grit took only about 5 minutes. After the 3600 disc, I could shave hair off my arm with the chisel. No tool has ever been that sharp in my shop!

    I also purchased the honing abrasive kit and leather honing wheel as accessories.
    The abrasive kit came with another 3600 grit and a 6000 grit disc. I applied the 6000 grit disc to the underside of the new wheel and tried that one first. The result was a mirror like shine on the bevel.
    The leather honing wheel came with another glass wheel that has a leather disc applied to one side. It also has a small pouch of petroleum jelley and a stick of green honing compound. I then loaded up the leather disc with the jelly and then charged it with compound as the directions indicate. To use the leather wheel you must have the leather facing up and freehand the blade. I must need to practice this a bit more as I only succeeded in messing up my shine from the 6000 grit disc.

    Further on in the manual it tells you how to add a microbevel to your chisel. This means you only have to resharpen the microbevel instead of the whole primary bevel of the chisels when they get dull. I reset my bevel gauge to the 30 degree preset and used the 1000 grit wheel to establish a microbevel. I then finished up with the 6000 grit wheel.

    Good points:
    • Much faster than using stones
    • Fast!
    • Preset bevel stops
    • Easy to use
    • Fairly quiet
    • Very little vibration

    Bad Points:
    • Messy. Filings go everywhere. Needs a built in magnet or someting.
    • Limited to 2" blades or less.
    • Discs from Worksharp are rather expensive
    • Discs clog up quickly if you are sharpening several things. Requires the rubber disc cleaner fairly often.


    In conclusion, I am pretty happy with my purchase. I feel it is worth the $199 I paid, but if you can find it on saleeven better. At this point I can't recommend the leather honing kit but I would spend my money on another glass wheel and the honing abrasive kit.

    The pictures are kind of dark but show what I started with and where it ended up. Thanks

    Mike

    PS. The pic with the shaving is from my block plane. I have never been able to get a shaving that thin before.






    • herb fellows
      #10
      herb fellows commented
      Editing a comment
      new info

      Great review and I concur, my experience is very similar.
      The 3 inch attachment is now available as a retro fit for those of us who bought the 'older' model 6 month ago:-(.

      Hartville had (not sure if that's has) it for 69.95 and they threw in a $20 glass wheel with it, always nice to have another so you don't have to change grits too much. Amazon wants $84 with no glass wheel.

      You can certainly buy outside supplies (sandpaper) so you can cut your costs considerably there.

      Also, I would like to say i've had reason to contact them and the customer service is first rate. They are a small company and they take things personally, and these days, that's almost invaluable.

    • leehljp
      #11
      leehljp commented
      Editing a comment
      I am getting the 2000 WS for Christmas! I appreciate your review of the 3000. I was back in the States for a quick trip when you did this review and somehow missed it.

      I would prefer the 3000 but when I called the company and checked on the weight and shipping to Japan, either through them or from Amazon to my daughter in the states and to here - all shipping was going to be at least $100.00 for around 21 - 22 lbs. (extra disks ordered)

      The 2000 can be shipped for about $50/$60, so I am having my daughter send it.

      I really need a fine controlled method of sharpening my tools, especially lathe tools. I have access to sheets of PSA paper in the 2000 - 4000 grit here so, I will be able to do some fine honing too.

      Thanks again for the review.

    • mpc
      #12
      mpc commented
      Editing a comment
      Add me to the satisifed WorkSharp 3000 owners. I picked mine up at Rockler a couple days ago, using a few coupons. I also purchased the wide blade add-on attachment.

      Overall, my opinion & experience with the WS3000 mirrors Mike's original post so I won't say much about the basic unit. The only difference: mine doesn't seem to make as big a mess; I tested mine using some chisels and old/rusted plane irons (swap meet specials) on my coffee table while listening to a NASCAR race. With a garage towel to protect the table, the mess was contained to the unit itself (plan on vacuuming it out after removing the sanding wheels) and the towel. You do need to use the abrasive cleaner stick fairly often too.

      One of the adjustments allows you to tweak the angle of the blade holder to get perfectly square cutting edges (relative to the side of the blade); the instruction manual claims this is pre-set at the factory. Mine was nowhere near close. You'll need a screwdriver and a scrap/sacrificial blade to tune this. It takes a while to adjust... and it chews up a lot of blade metal. Next time I'm going to use a 1 1/2" wide, 1/8th inch thick piece of scrap hardwood!

      I also bought the wide blade gizmo that attaches to the top of the unit. It's not as well done as the basic WS3000 unfortunately. The wide blade kit includes:
      * an add-on to the top of the WS3000 to give you a firm, flat surface for the tool holder; this add-on clamps in place of the "freehand" support dowel on the basic WS3000.

      * A tool holder, similar to many other chisel/plane iron holders that roll across some surface. This one is set up with two directions so it can handle long or short blades.

      * A plastic "what's my tool's bevel?" guage. This should have been included with the basic WS3000. It also has little movable pins that you adjust based on the desired blade angle, they become the stops to help you insert the blade into the holder properly.

      All in all, a nice, simple setup - and rather similar to the Veritas sharpening jig that I also have/use and like.

      From all appearances, the add-on plate should work fine - it has little setscrews for adjusting it to be perfectly flat relative to the sanding wheel, etc... but mine sits a little high relative to the wheel. The leading edge of the plate overlaps the plastic next to the glass sanding wheel so there's no way for the plate to end up even with the top of the wheel... you can adjust it to be parallel to but not co-planar with the sanding wheel. That throws off the bevel angle unfortunately and is my one gripe. Otherwise, it works. Unless I'm doing something wrong? I tried seating it several times... no difference.

      By the way, as Mike's original posted noted, the packaging of this thing will allow it to survive a lot of shipping abuse. The box is huge compared to the unit! In fact, when you first pull the WS3000 out, it looks like a toy it's so small relative to the box. The box has an internal box with the wheels stored on-edge and spaced fairly far apart from each other. A shipper would have to work hard to bust either glass wheel.

      mpc

      edit: added note about setting the angle of the blade guide assembly.
      Last edited by mpc; 11-04-2008, 11:46 PM.
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