Work Sharp Knife and Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition – Item of the Day — 17 Comments

  1. I have been looking at one of these. I saw it first on late night TV, and you know how that stuff always looks cool at 2 am. The local hardware store is selling them and for a while they had a demo set up at the gun counter. About every guy that walked by pulled out their EDC knife and tried it out. I may have to get one now.

  2. I’ve owned a Work Sharp sharpener for several years now. And, I love it. One day a month I go through and sharpen all of the knives and scissors in the house. It’s also great for sharpening things like mower blades, shovels, and other outdoor equipment.

  3. I have been using the smaller/cheaper model (Work Sharp WSKTS Knife and Tool Sharpener) for over a year now. I’m liking it a lot, for most of my cutting tools. Work slow and on fine knives so you don’t remove too much or change the cutting angle.

  4. Jack, I’ve. been using the base model for a couple of years now. Most of what I use it for is to sharpen garden tools ( machete, lawn mower blades) but do use them on the wife’s kitchen knives (she really is abusive to them) . No complaints. Works well.

  5. I’ve got one and will be bringing it to the Barter Blanket in October if anyone is interested!

  6. I have the standard version. When I bought it failed very quickly (first 20 minutes of use, the motor died) I contacted the company and they replaced it in short order with another complete kit and let me keep the extra belts. The unit sharpens knives and scissors great. One thing I have not mastered yet is the tip of the knife. I don’t end up with a good pointy tip. It gets rounded off. I should watch the videos probably!

    • As you finish you do have to free hand that last bit of the tip a bit, it takes some practice and some concentration.

  7. This would work best for stamped knives. Forged knives, like the one in the picture, have a bolster. The bolster is the thick metal between the blade and handle. Anyway, on a knife meant to contact the cutting board, like the chef knife in the picture, it will remove metal in front of the bolster. Over time it will remove enough metal so that the bolster contacts the cutting board before the back of the blade so you can’t slice all the way through the food.

    • I don’t think that makes any sense at all given you control what you remove and where you remove it from.

  8. If you put a forged chef knife with a bolster in it and it starts sharpening a fraction of an inch ahead of the bolster, eventually the bolster will click on the cutting board before the back of blade hits in a rocking motion. I think it would work great for stamped knives or any knife that doesn’t need to contact a cutting board like paring, boning, filleting knives, etc. Anyway, I really enjoy your show and great variety of guests you interview. Thanks for your service!

    • Well first again you control where you do or do not start sharpening. You are just not making ANY sense here. I get what you are saying but it doesn’t matter and would apply to ANY method of sharpening.

  9. Yes, it would apply to any method of sharpening. What I was ineffectively trying to say was if you have a prized forged chef knife and are lucky enough to have a competent local sharpener I would pay him the $5, and sharpen ALL of my other knives on this.

    I would also like to thank you for the influence you’ve had on me the last few years. I listened to you talk about soul sucking jobs and the freedom of having your own business. Also, your shows on start up businesses. You helped encourage me to start a, you guessed it,…..a Knife Sharpening business! I’ve been at it about a year and its giving me some income, but not enough to quit my RN job of 30 years. I’m not worried about this little machine hurting my business, I know the world is a big place. I just didn’t want the people in our community thinking one device could do everything. When people bring me bolstered knives to sharpen that have a “reverse bow” from a pull through device I charge extra because it’s not just a sharpening, but a repair with more metal to remove, thus more of my time.

    Thanks for all you do.
    Kevin in central PA.

    • Bit late here but my Ken Onion does an excellent job on my Japanese-made Shun knives (, which are between 60-62 Rockwell depending on the knife. The Ken Onion is the only thing I trust to sharpen them, outside of having the factory sharpen them.

  10. Jack, do you think this tool could be used in a European home, with a different grid voltage (220V @ 50 Hz)? I could’nt find this information on the manufacturer’s web page.

  11. These are nice sharpeners and I would definitely take Jacks suggestion and practice on a cheap knife to start. I made the mistake of using a decent, but still cheap, Spyderco knife one of my first times. The results were a nice rounded tip because I wasn’t practiced on the technique yet.

    Keep in mind this will give you a slight convex to your edge. For most of you knives it won’t matter, I definitely wouldn’t put your higher end knives through one of these.

    For more control I’d really look at the KME sharpener with diamond stones. It’s going to take you at least 5 times longer but you can really dial in your edge angle and sharpness.