Olly Writes

Woodwork, writing, walks, DIY and more!

Work Sharp Wide Blade Attachment

Sharpening a wide blade.

A few weeks back, during one of their 10% sales, I took the plunge and ordered the Wide Blade Attachment from Rutlands for the Work Sharp 3000. Originally, I said I would try to come up with my own solution to spending another £60 but, at the time, this purchase kind of made sense…

Open the packaging and you’ll find a honing guide, a setting gauge for common honing angles and a platform which is adjustable for height. This is so that you can level it to be parallel with the top surface of the abrasive disc (you remove the toolrest from the top of the machine and it bolts in to the same slots). Most other honing guides work along similar principles, where the guide must be seated on a surface parallel to the sharpening medium (otherwise, you’re angles will be off by a couple of degrees or more).

£60-worth of kit.

Remove the toolrest and it bolts in place.

[Note the extra slots around the outer edges – does these suggest they have other jigs in mind for the future???]

Then, use the screws to level it to the abrasive.

Now, the honing guide itself is well made and seems to be reliable. As is the setting gauge, which is easy to adjust and delivers accurate results – you set it up as you would with one of several other honing guides, including the Veritas MkII. This guide is only suited to holding chisels and wide plane irons parallel, giving you a 90° grind. So, it’s not up to holding skew chisels at any other angle where as, with the Veritas at least, you can buy an optional add-on for honing skew chisels. Also, the clamping pressure here is applied on to the side or ‘edge’ of the iron. On the Veritas guide, the clamp locks down on to the face of the tool, meaning you should be able to skew a chisel to the approximate angle, without the aid of a guide for accuracy and repeatability.

Honing Guide and the Setting Gauge.

This next photo (below) shows how the Veritas guide can also be used on the Work Sharp 3000. If only they sold these platforms individually, with the guides available as an optional part of the package…

Veritas MkII Honing Guide

While I still believe I could’ve saved myself some money here, the fact remains that this “attachment” works very well indeed. Both wide blades from my Stanley Bailey planes (no.4½ and no.6) have been in need of attention for too long. These were, of course, purchased second-hand. For a long time, the edges had been neglected as I couldn’t seem to do anything except burn them on my former, cheap high-speed grinder! Again, no such trouble with the Work Sharp 3000 and, beginning with some cheap 60g aluminium oxide discs, it didn’t take long to restore the chipped edges to a super sharp, knife like finish.

I should explain a little on my use of red AlOx discs, here…

These were suggested to me by someone who read and commented on my initial review of the Work Sharp 3000. For initial fast removal of badly worn edges, they are fine and, with a pack of ten costing less than £4 on Amazon.co.uk, they were good enough to be treated as ‘disposable‘ (they don’t hold their edge as long as silicon carbide discs, or better quality AlOx…). They should last me long enough until I can find a UK supplier of better quality coarse abrasives at a more affordable price than the sets currently offered by Rutlands. I should also point out that these discs do produce sparks, unlike the standard Work Sharp abrasives.

These discs also have a self-adhesive backing, which is slightly different to the PSA (pressure-sensitive adhesive) backings of the Norton abrasives. Basically, they’re much harder to remove and, once you get them off, they may no longer be in a state that could be classed as ‘re-usable’! Therefore, I made up a couple of extra MDF discs, trimming them with a bearing-guided router cutter. These were then given a coat of wax, which makes removal of the AlOx discs so much easier and they do peel off easily in one piece! I used 12mm MR MDF, which actually measures close to 13mm thick and, with a single AlOx disc on one side, that is significantly thicker than the standard glass discs. In fact, I’ve found that I can’t tighten the knob with two abrasive discs attached; meaning that I’m restricted to working either above or below with these. Or, I have to stop the machine and flip the disc over, each time I want to flatten the back face of an iron, say. You may find that regular MDF is much closer to 12mm thick (if not slightly less). Or, you may even find that 9mm discs are sufficient. After all, this step is only for the coarse, initial grinding. You could step back up to the glass discs later with 120g PSA abrasives for any further refinement.

Trimming the MDF discs.

I would’ve purchase some of the 80g silicon carbide discs from CSM Abrasives by now; but for the minimum order quantity of twenty-five! If several people were interested in buying the spares off me though, I would then consider placing an order…

That’s about all I have to say on the Work Sharp 3000, for now. I still can’t really fault the system. It gives excellent results with ease, accuracy and efficiency. No sparks and the bare minimal of mess. If you don’t already have a decent enough honing guide then, the Wide Blade Attachment kit probably represents very good value for you. There’s no reason you couldn’t also use it on ordinary bench stones or other sharpening medium (like the Scary Sharpening system).

If you have any questions or would like to know more about any of this, please leave a message or get in touch.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

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4 responses to “Work Sharp Wide Blade Attachment

  1. Bongo 13/12/2010 at 17:12

    Hi Olly,
    Thanks for sharing..
    Just wondered, you still using this system? Is the wide guide any use for planer knives (looks like 200mm would be too much for it without some kind of sliding mechanism )?
    Cheers, B.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 14/12/2010 at 17:20

      Hi Bongo,

      Oh, yes – I now reach for my WorkSharp whenever a tool needs a touch up. I still have a decent set of Norton oil stones and even an “ultra fine” ceramic stone from Spydecro but, for its ease of use and efficiency, the WS3000 continues to take precedent in my workshop! 😎

      Each disc is only 150mm in diameter so, I can’t realistically imagine it is capable of “happily” grinding anything wider than 4in… You’d also need your jig to project further away from the tool rest (over the disc) so that you were utilising the widest area on the abrasive’s surface, if you see what I mean… 😉

      Veritas do a Jointer Blade Sharpener for honing knives up to 8in long on a sheet of float glass or similar, if that’s of any use to you. Available from Axminster, here.

      I suppose it is possible, in theory. You’d obviously need to build your own jig and to the correct tolerances – the most important thing when sharpening a set of planer knives is to remove an equal amount of material from each knife. The very last thing you want is an unbalanced cutter block in your workshop!! 😕

      I tend to get mine done professionally, when the knives need a thorough re-grinding, as opposed to a light honing to restore a dull edge. But, since the last company I used have gone bust, I’ve not yet tried another saw doctor, as much as I keep meaning to… There are jigs you can make to hone them yourself – but, as I say; this won’t remove any of the knicks, etc. and there is scope for error.

      I occasionally use Steve Maskery’s jig, here.

      Hope this helps.

      Olly.

  2. Dane 22/01/2011 at 12:40

    Considered getting the knife sharpening attachment? Looks interesting. I was going to get an EdgePro, but this thing looks like it does the lot.

    • Olly Parry-Jones 22/01/2011 at 16:18

      Yes, it does look interesting and has only just become available in the UK. I think that something similar has been available for the 2000 model also for a while now.

      The only knives I own either have disposable blades or, I just don’t use or need to sharpen them enough to warrant a purchase like this, at the moment.

      Maybe one day… I do love these WorkSharp add-ons and gadgets! 😀

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