Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System

As you sweep the blade forward the 'stone' follows your movement

As you sweep the blade forward the 'stone' follows your movement - Credit: Archant

The editor tests a new sharpening system from the USA

Throughout my life, I’ve struggled to sharpen knives as well as I’d like. I’ve tried just about every stone, rod and pull-through I’ve ever seen and they all lack one thing, and that’s my personal talent. You see, if they require my hand to hold the perfect angle as I push the blade, I can guarantee that they won’t work. I like systems that fix the angle, allowing me simply to supply the power to create the friction. Work Sharp has a good reputation for making kit that works, so when Casstrom, the UK importer, offered to send me one of their new systems, I said, ‘yes please’.

It’s a kind of hybrid in my eyes, being somewhere between a flat-bed system and a guided one. The centre section has a carriage that accepts the ‘stones’, which are actually steel plates with the abrasive or polishing compounds bonded to them. They’re held in place with a magnet and are easy to swap. The system comes with a coarse and a fine stone as standard, plus there’s an upgrade kit that offers extra coarse, extra fine, and a leather strop if you’d like to expand the capability.

Correct angle

At each end there’s a guide of either 17 or 20 degrees that help you set the angle you want to achieve. As you push the blade, the stone is free to pivot along its length, matching the curvature of your blade as it travels. However, it can be locked for straight-edged tools.

The guide gets you started, but once you’re moving it’s up to you to maintain the angle, so you need to concentrate. The manufacturer has a good video explaining how to do this. As with most sharpening systems, you work from the coarse stones through to the finest, and then take out the carriage and replace it with one that holds a ceramic stone. This can rotate to reveal a smooth portion, a serrated section and grooves for sharpening fishing hooks. It has two further ceramic rods that fit into the concave sections of serrated knives, so it really is versatile.

The base unit is very sturdy, reasonably heavy, and sits still on the bench through the grip of its soft rubber feet so there’s no need to hold on to it. This leaves both hands free to work the knife. This is a comprehensive kit that can sharpen almost any edged tool you have around the house.

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RRP £54.95

Upgrade kit £37.95

Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System