Work Scary Sharp

A tool that is blunt is worthless.  A blunt chisel is no better than a screwdriver where it comes to slicing timber. So keeping workshop tools sharp is a critical step.  There are many different methods for achieving a sharp tool, from the Scary Sharp (using increasing sandpaper grits), water stones, oil stones, grinders, diamond etc etc etc.

There is also a lot of overlap in many of the methods.  If you take a grinder, then genetically combine it with a Japanese waterstone, you get a Tormek T7.

Take a sharpening jig (such as the Veritas), then add your choice (and any combination of) sandpaper, oil stone, waterstone, diamond.

What about if you tried combining a grinder with sandpaper, and a sharpening jig?

You’d end up with the Work Sharp.

The Work Sharp has at its primary principle the Scary Sharp technique – using abrasive paper and working through the grits to achieve a mirror finish (and that means SHARP!)

The sandpaper is mounted to a circular disk of plate glass, and that in turn is spun, so the abrasive is bought to the tool, rather than the other way around (when hand-sharpening with a jig).  The tool is held in a static jig, and with an interesting twist, this is below the disk, rather than above.


There are two disks, and each has a different grit on it, so it is quick and easy to change through the 4 grits available.

Having the disk run horizontally is quite an asset, especially where it comes to flattening the back of the chisel.  And with the wide chisel addon, you have an opportunity to marry together a hand sharpening technique with a machine one, by using a Veritas Mk II directly on the Work Sharp.

There is no need to flatten the surface – a major benefit of the system, however the downside is you are using an abrasive surface that will need more regular replacement.

I gave it a quick try with a couple of really cheap chisels I have, and without much work, and next to no setup, achieved mirror surfaces front and back.

This was only a very quick play with this unit – a brief intro – I will get into it more when I find some extra time (will try to get a video to demo the process too).

At the moment, there are still about 3 of these available at Carbatec Melbourne, on special for $499 (normally $675) (not including the wide blade jig seen in the photos above, which is the flat metal shelf to the left of the sanding disk).  Being able to use the Veritas on the Work Sharp is interesting, but certainly not critical to the tool’s primary sharpening method.  Even without it, you can still sharpen a blade up to 2″ (50mm) wide.

More to come on this tool shortly!

%d bloggers like this: