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Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

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  • Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    I am looking into getting a bench grinder but am also considering one of the Work Sharp machines. The primary use will be for chisels and plane irons and occasional lawn mower blade sharpening. Does anyone have any input on one of these options compared to another? Both would be good machines to have in the shop and being new to these not sure which direction to go in.

    For the bench grinder I am looking at a Craftsman 8" varibale speed or possibly a Delta (not as easy to find locally - not looking to purchse this online). As for the Work Sharp machine I was looking at the more expensive one, seems a little more versatile.

  • #2
    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

    a number of years ago I bought a Delta Sharpening Center

    some what the same Idea as the work sharp,
    I had a few bench grinders, but for the wood working tools I have found this a nice tool to have, I have sharpened planer knives, jointer knives, chisels and other on it, and reserve it for sharpening only, the white wheel is to fine for heavy removal of stock,

    I would want a bench grinder as well, possibly if it was just the wood shop the sharpening center would do and a 4" grinder for the occasional other things one would get into,

    but I have a few 6 bench grinders for various wheels, and I have a buffing station for "honing" I use a polishing compound on the buffing wheel and after bringing things to a sharp point one can put a razor edge on them with the buffer,

    I have a grinder with the normal coarse and fine wheels and wire brush etc,

    for planer or jointer knives I think you need some thing like the work sharp or the delta sharpening center and some type of guide system for accuracy,
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    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
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    • #3
      Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

      Thanks BHD, will give a closer look at the Delta.

      This is turning out to be a tough decision, think I need some more info.

      The only method I know to sharpen tools is to use water stones along with a bench grinder (from a video on the finewoodworking.com site). My concern here is dishing the water stones and having to flatten the surface. I know its not hard but can be time consuming and I have some old hand and wrist injuries that might make this process of sharpening tools and flattening stones somewhat uncomfortable. These injuries really come out whenever I sand.

      With the work sharp system or delta sharpening center do they handle all aspects of sharpening? In other words would water stones still be needed. From what I can tell the answer would be no (at least for the work sharp system, dont much about the delta machine).

      I am a complete novice when it comes to sharpening tools so I am looking for something as easy and fool proof as possible.

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      • #4
        Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

        Paper wheels?

        On the bladeforums there is a guy who has had a huge amount of luck with this system. Sharpening high-quality kitchen knives in about 2 minutes. All you need is a cheap bench grinder, 20$ at yard sales, flea markets, etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

          IMO you still need the water stones (4000 and 8000) to get a sharp chisel or plane blade. Sharp is a relative term and has different meanings to different people. To me sharp on a lawn mover blade is achieved with a file but sharp on a plane blade is achieved after stropping on leather impregnated with 0.5 micron chromium oxide particles (after the 4000 and 8000 water stones of course). With your injury you would do well with the delta type sharpener to shape the edge then finish with the stones creating a micro bevel. Consider this as a helper. A diamond plate will quickly flatten water stones. There is also an alternative to stones using sandpaper and float glass, research "scary sharp" method

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          • #6
            Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

            I am not exactly sure of the what the video shows,

            and I have used Oil stones for the most part, I have got a few diamond stones (plastic blocks with diamond grit) for some of the sharpening needs I have, and part of that is so I do not have to "flatten" the stones as they do not wear in the same way,

            before I got the delta system, I did most all of the sharpening by hand, on wet/oil stones,
            but when it came to my planer or jointer, I had no good way of working with them,

            the delta was a reasonable good choice, the guide could be a little longer for 12+ blades,

            the delta has the water drip which I think is necessary to keep the edge cool even tho the speed is slow, and I try to keep it reserved just for sharpening,

            OK I had always had a hard time "honing" a tool to what I thought was necessary or satisfactory for use,

            I bought stones and other and worked and worked on trying to prefect the edge, and could get good but not great, (even tried a leather belt, but at that time did not understand the belt was to be a carrier not he sharpening device)

            then I ordered a tool (I think from woodcraft was the company) and in the price one could have the cutting edge "honed" for a few dollars more, I said well I will be able to see what what they did, I get it and it is polished by a buffer.

            and what I came to a conclusion to was, that yes one can work and "hone" and edge by going finer and finer grits with oil/water stones,

            but (some may say this is a short cut) and it may be, but I got looking into polishing metal and sharpening straight edge razors, and what I discovered was there was the use of polishing compounds, the compound would be put on the leather stop and the razor was sharpened on the strop, the leather was a carrier and the compound was the agent of sharpening or polishing

            then I saw an add on some more compounds and buffer wheels, (so I had this old head
            that I picked up out of the junkyard as a kid and brought it home and had a old washing machine motor on it, and tried the buffer wheel and compound on that wheel, sharpened it up to good by oil stone and buffed it for a few seconds and had a mirror finish on the edge in seconds, did the front and the back side of the chisel and was amazed at the results, what I had tried to achieve in hours of honing was done in seconds by the buffer wheel,

            my decision on the delta sharing center was for the planer and the jointer blades, as they had the guide system

            I do not know if the work sharp system is better or not, I do not think it was an options when I bought mine, so to say go delta or work sharp I can not advise or give an opinion,

            but for the most part I have found that if a tool is not abused and need the edge rebuilt, that the honing via buffer wheel is most of the time all I need.


            I have used this buffing compound, http://www.woodcraft.com/product.asp...&FamilyID=3112

            video on the work sharp,
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N9UTcXX61Q
            it has some major features that look nice and has some ideas that could be useful, even tho the delta has guides it is not as fool proof as the work sharp from the video below, (the delta is Basicly a power water stone),

            here is Basicly how I use the buffing wheel, rub a little compound on the wheel and buff and it will sharpen the "hone" on it in few seconds
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hh-3B_PbZw

            this page is similar to my process, http://www.woodcarvers.com/sharpening.htm but I guess I am lazy and use the "power" hone or strop, method,
            Last edited by BHD; 07-08-2009, 09:27 AM.
            Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
            attributed to Samuel Johnson
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

              The buffing system will not form the chisel you will need to shape and form the cutting edge on a grinder, stone or other before honing, on the buffer wheel,

              but do not go back to the grinder unless you have damaged the edge, and need to reform it,
              and the buffing wheel I have been using is a little softer than what is in the video, (the harder one may be better such as in the video), the buffer I use is similar to the one in the video ,
              Last edited by BHD; 07-08-2009, 09:33 AM.
              Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
              attributed to Samuel Johnson
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                If you have a good bench vise and an angle grinder you can sharpen lawn mower blades using the angle grinder. If you take the blade off of your lawn mower frequently a good file with the blade held in a vise does a nice job sharpening it. Yes, it is slow but you don't have to worry about heat problems.

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                • #9
                  Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                  I have a Sear Bench Grinder and rarely use it. I sharpen my lawnmower blades with a Dremel (free hand not the lawn mower attachment). I think the bench grinder takes off way too much material. Think less is better when it comes to sharpening. I have used an angle grinder and fine grit disc with good results. I have an Oregon professional chainsaw grinder and I have learned it takes very little in the way of grinding to acheive a great edge. People tend to overdo it when it comes to sharpening things and you end up shortening the life of whatever you are sharpening. Stay away from bench grinders unless you intend on removing a lot of metal.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                    With the work sharp system or delta sharpening center do they handle all aspects of sharpening? In other words would water stones still be needed.
                    sorry I missed this part of the question,

                    Yes and NO is the answer, yes in the aspect that they look to be basic all round tools,

                    I could take the delta unit and sharpen 90% of the tools and needs of the wood shop, (with the buffing wheel, about 97%) which I have separate and would prefer it on a separate machine,

                    but there would be times I would still pull out a oil stone or a specialty sharpener, such as diamond or silicon carbide for sharping things other than tool steel, such as to touch up a router bit,

                    IN the metal shop I use a bench grinder for about 90% of the sharping needs there, drill bits and so on, but there are times I have to do some thing different for some precision tools such as mill bits and use a silicon carbide wheel for carbide tipped lath bits and so on,

                    for mower blades usually a 4" grinder,

                    to sharpen saw blades I use a modified bench grinder, with a special holder (steel saws not tipped ones), the carbide tipped take a special precision jig),
                    the chain saws I use a special chain saw grinder,

                    as tools get specialized many times the tools to sharpen them do to,

                    so I do not think you will ever find the tool to do it all, but for basic wood shop sharping the work sharp would probably do most of what you want, (the delta is basically a power wet stone) the advantage of the work sharp is one should be able to watch your edge your sharping not with the delta unit,(as there is not any see through aspect of it)
                    but I would think that the abrasive would not be that long lasting with the work sharp, as it can't be much more than sand paper.

                    before I got the delta sharpener, I used my belt sander most of the time, and it works really fairly well,

                    the delta will not do over 13" planer blades, that would then take most likely a specialty sharpener, or a new guide set up,

                    I do not know if the work sharp will do planer and jointer blades or not,
                    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                    attributed to Samuel Johnson
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                      As usual on this Forum, some great responses. If this was available when I was growing up, I would have saved a lot of time and money. Just one more thing to add and please don't be offended, consider safety when using any machine. Some of these sharpening systems appear harmless but spinning discs removing metal must be used with caution and respect. Wear eye protection and no loose clothing. Best of luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                        I agree, great responses. Thanks!

                        At this point I think I am leaning towards the work sharp 3000. It almost seems fool proof and for me thats a big plus. I am very new to sharpening hand tools and am still a little lost about some terms, methods and what a sharp tool actually is. I would like try several methods but would require a decent outflow of cash.

                        Thanks again for all the great responses, lots of stuff to think about.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                          Get the honing pad for the Worksharp. It works great. I have both the Worksharp and a Delta bench grinder. The Delta does great for the lawnmower blade, whereas the Worksharp is just a little too small for that purpose. It can be done, but it takes a bit of practice to get it right.

                          I tried and tried and tried to get my hand planer blades sharp on waterstones and other hand-sharpening tools. I could never achieve the flatness and proper bevel I wanted. With the Worksharp, I now have chisels that gleam and planer blades that are flat where they need to be and properly beveled. I find that some turning tools are easier to do on the bench grinder, but even they can be done well on the Worksharp. Make sure you have a thing of mineral spirits around to change pads on the Worksharp. The glue that sticks the pads to the glass backers is REALLY strong and you need to clean it all off the glass before you stick another pad on. Mineral spirits works the best on getting that stuff off.

                          If you can only get one or the other, the Worksharp is a great tool to have. I got that first, then got the bench grinder as a Christmas present.
                          I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                            I ended up getting the Work Sharp 3000. I havent had a chance to give it a good work out yet but I think I am really going to like it. For those of you that own one what grits do you use to from start to finish? Should I bother with the course or fine abrasive kits? I do plan to get the leather honing pad.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Bench Grinder vs Work Sharp

                              This seems to be one of those "One method works for me, and another method works for you" scenarios. A few years back I was looking for a way to keep my wood chisels and planer blades sharpened. I looked at the Delta unit and the Worksharp unit and just couldn't decide on either one. I happened to meet an older woodworker gentleman at one of those specialty stores during a trip to the Atlanta area and we got into the conversation about sharpening woodcutting tools and keeping them sharp. He told me that if you were going to put good money in tools to stay away from those "electrified" things and sharpen your tools only by hand. He told me something my Granddad had said years ago also, never let the tools get too dull before sharpening. His method was similar to the "scary-sharp" method. He used a piece of granite, laying wet really fine emery cloth on it, using a sharpening jig and hone until you could see the angle you wanted. Then, go to the water stones, using successive grits to get that super-clean sharp edge. I got a piece of granite from a cabinet shop, the piece they cut out for the sink in a counter-top, then they even cut it smaller for me when they found out what I was going to do with it. I have found that if I take the time to sit down with my fifteen or so chisels and nine plane blades and just keep them sharp they are easier to sharpen vs. letting one get dull, and they are always ready to use. Just my opinion, Thanks, David

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