Work Sharp Sharpeners, by Pat Cascio

Two questions, that I receive all the time from readers are: 1.) What is your favorite gun? And, 2.) How do I re-sharpen my knife back to factory sharpness? Of course, the first question is impossible to answer, because there is no single gun that can take care of all my needs. The second question is a bit hard to answer, as well. You have to remember that there are folks in the knife factories who spend their entire day sharpening knives, on a power belt machine, and they sharpen hundreds of knives each day, they have a special talent and a “touch” when it comes to putting an edge on a knife, before it leaves the factory. I’ve personally witnessed these guys sitting there and putting a shaving sharp edge on a knife in less than a minute. Wow!

Many knife companies will re-sharpen your knife for you, if you send it back to them. Most knifemaking companies don’t charge for this service, and some only charge for the return shipping and handling. Still, who wants to be without their favorite knife for a week or two? No me, that’s for sure. And, there are a good number of knife sharpening tools on the market. And there is no “magic” tool, for the most part, that simply allows you to press your knife against the sharpener, and the factory edge is restores instantly. With any tool, it still takes time and practice to get you knife sharp all over again. I try to not allow whatever knife I’m carrying or using, to get overly dull, when that happens, it does take some time and effort, to get the blade back to factory sharpness. It only takes me a few minutes each week, to touch-up a slightly dull knife blade.

Over the years, I’ve tested many different types of devices for putting an edge back on a knife, some work well, some are just “okay” and some only worked if the knife wasn’t very dull. Regardless of what type of knife sharpener I’ve tested, they still require a little bit of skill by the end user. However, there are knife sharpeners that can make your job much easier. Work Sharp Sharpeners recently sent me five of their different sharpeners to test. By the way, these five were just the tools that I tested–they have other sharpeners for other jobs, as well.

First up for testing was their larger “Angle Set” knife sharpener, and this one can do just about anything you want it to do. As the name suggests, this one holds the knife at an angle, or rather you hold the knife in a vertical hold, and simply press the knife down against one side of the inverted angle, and then run the other side of the blade, down the other side of the inverted angle…it looks like an upside-down “V” – whereas, many similar sharpeners are designed to be used as a “V” shape, where you run the blade down the inside of the “V” – and on the Work Sharp Angle Set model, you are running the blade on the outside of the inverted “V” shape. This model has three different grits that allow you to bring an extremely dull knife back to life in short order. You simply rotate to the different sides of the sharpener, starting with the most aggressive grit, and working your way to the least aggressive grit, and you are done. As an aside, the Angle Set was developed in collaboration with world famous custom knife maker, Ken Onion.

The Angle Set comes in its own carrying/storage case, and it takes less than 10-seconds to get it set-up and ready to roll. Knife companies, often use an different “angle” when applying an edge to their knives, so it helps if you know which angle to set up the Angle Set at – it only takes a few seconds to set this up, so you are using the correct angle on the knife, to get it as sharp as possible.  There is also a tapered ceramic rod that comes with this device, and it can be used to re-sharpen serrated knife blades, and if you ever tried to touch-up serrations on a knife, it can be a real stinker. The different angles you can set-up this sharpener are at:  15-degrees, 17.5-degrees, 20-degrees, 22.5-degrees and 25-degrees, and more than likely, whatever knife you want to re-sharpen, will be at one of these angles. I believe this sharpener will last you a lifetime, it is “that” well-made, and best news is that, this sharpener is only $49.95 full-retail.

Work Sharp Knife Sharpener_Next up is the “Pivot Pro” model, and this one just might be my favorite – then again.… The Pivot Pro is a handheld sharpening device, and it is designed to not only sharpen knives, but scissors and axes as well, and best of all, it is simple to use. This is the one to keep on your kitchen counter, or kitchen drawer, and if you find one of your kitchen knives is a bit too dull, you can bring it back to hair-popping sharpness in a minute or two.  You simply place the Pivot Pro on your kitchen counter, or the work bench in your sharp, and hold it by the ergonomically designed handle, and start out with the convex carbide “v” opening, and run your knife blade through it several times, and in no time at all, your knife will be sharp – however, don’t stop there, then run it through the ceramic hone a few times, and your knife will have a super-keen edge on it.

The Pivot Pro also has an additional carbide edge for putting a fine edge on lawn and garden tools. If that’s not enough, you can sharpen scissors, and they have always been a bit tricky to re-sharpen. Lastly, we have a diamond plate that is just perfect for a wide range of sharpening uses, including putting an edge back on an axe or hatchet. This really is the one sharpener you want on your kitchen counter or kitchen drawer, it’ll do it all for you, best news is, full-retail is only $9.95, and I had to check this several times on their website – so much tool, for so little money – no reason not to have several of these around the house and shop.

Next up for testing was the Micro Sharpener, and knife tool. This little hummer is perfect for your bug out bag. I’m sure you’ve heard that a gun can run out of ammo, and you sure don’t want that to happen in a survival situation – but it can happen. But your knife doesn’t need ammo. However, a dull knife is pretty much next to useless, if it gets dull – no doubt about this fact. The Micro Sharpener is designed to not only re-sharpen your knives, but to also help you maintain and repair them.

The knife factories set the tension – the blade tension, on their folding knives, before they are boxed-up and sent out. However, with use, the tension screw can loosen, and your blade will wobble in the handle when it is opened. The Micro Sharpener can take care of that, with the three provided Torx head drivers, that come in #6, #8 and #10 – which should fit just about every screw on a folding knife. The handle scales and pocket clips can also come loose. A minute with the Torx head screwdrivers will tighten any of the loose screws on your folder.

Of course, the Micro Sharpener, will also sharpen your knives – even the big ones. There are two abrasives on this little pocket sharpener, one is a diamond and the other is ceramic, for putting the finishing touches on the blade. I’m not going to whitewash this little tool. It will take you some time to put an edge back on a knife – even if it is a little folder, or a full-sized fixed blade knife. Because of the size of this tool, you can’t “skim” your blade over the abrasives fast, if you do, you might cut yourself. Still, with a little bit of practice, this little tool will keep your knives sharp in the field – you really need to toss it in your bug out bag, too. This one is only $9.95 – a steal of a deal, considering the Torx head drivers that come with it.

Next is the “Pivot” tool, and this one is pretty simple, on one end you have a carbide groove and on the other side, you have a ceramic groove for putting the finishing touches on your blade. It is so simple to operate, just run your knife blade rear to forward in the carbide groove first, and when you have a nice sharp edge on it, you then flip the Pivot over, and run the blade through the ceramic groove a few times, to put that finishing touch on the blade…pretty simple. Well, that’s not enough,  on another edge, you can re-sharpen axe blades, with a little work, and on the other edge, you can re-sharpen your fish hooks. Another dandy device for your backpack or to keep in your glove box. Best news is, this one is only $3.95. Yep, you read that right. There is no reason you can’t own one or two, at this price.

Last up is the “Pivot Plus” tool, and this is another pocket-sized sharpening tool, you can carry in your pants, cargo pants, backpack, bug out bag – just about any place. We have a carbide “v’ groove for initial sharpening, and then follow-up with the ceramic “v” groove to hone the blade super-sharp. On top of that, there is a carbide rod that is tapered, for honing those serrated blades, that you didn’t think you could ever re-sharpen…all easy to use in a neat little package, that retails for a mere $7.95 – hard to not have on or two around the house, campsite or shop.

After using all these tools, it was really hard to decide which one was the “best”. And guess what? I couldn’t really pick a best out of the bunch – I had a favorite or two, though. But for very little money you can purchase all five of these tools, and you will find a use for them where you might need a sharp knife, axe, or scissors. Every one of these tools are well made, and made in America, too. Check out their web site, and they have  videos you can watch – all short videos, that can explain how these little gems work, better than I can explain it in word. Get a couple of them.




8 Comments

  1. Good review Pat. I’m one of those picky ones when it comes to an edge on my blades.
    Having worked at William Henry Knives for over 5 years, I watched and learned.
    Now with everything shut down, I’m having to figure out how to keep that shaving edge on my EDC’s.
    One of these should work great until I get a leather wheel and some polish for my bench grinder. Might be a while…

  2. Thanks Pat, great review. How long do these v-groove sharpeners typically last? Do they wear out or do the steel plates get dull or what makes them quit working I guess is my real question?

    I have one in the kitchen and totally love it. I need to get another one for my shop so it’s handy when my knife is suddenly too dull for a job I’m doing outside.

  3. Good article. One thing I learned early on is that I should not have to sharpen my knife. My Father once handed me a knife and said ‘This is yours. Your job is to keep it sharp so you don’t have to sharpen it’. I’m sure you all get the gist of it.

    As far as tools go, I use Japanese water stones and nothing compares to them. Several grits will do any job including polishing a blade to a mirror finish. It just takes a little time in the workshop and, of course, the considerable expense of high quality stones.

  4. Have been looking for a sharpening system since losing my stones/angle guide. Any experience with set angle sets? Am considering Lansky or similar as I don’t have a good “feel”

  5. Pat, I clicked the link to the website. Checked out the “Pivot Plus”. Nothing was said about sharpening axes or scissors. Please advise me where to find that on the website. As important as sharp knives are, so are scissors.

    Carry on in grace

  6. Most of the fixed angle carbide sharpeners I have used can be flipped over to reveal a new cutting edge.
    Also, use a bit of lube to reduce the friction.
    God is with us!
    Greybeard

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