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Work Sharp - WS3000 Wood Tool Sharpener

OK. I have a question for the wood carvers/woodworkers out there. I'm still having problems getting/keeping my carving tolls sharp, especially the gouges. I've tried the stones (Arkansas, water, oil, ceramic, diamond), but still can't seem to get/keep a good edge. I've seen ads for the Work Sharp - WS3000 Wood Tool Sharpener and some of the reviews are pretty positive, but you never know if they're real. Has anyone had any experience with this tool? It's pretty pricey, so I would appreciate advice. Or other sharpening suggestions/advice.

Hi Lamar,

The problem may be with the tools. If you are convinced that you have good tools, then it may be that you are rushing the process or are not getting the shapes right.

I have aWS3000 that I bought about a year ago as part of an estate lot and have used it with some diamond disks, primarily for flattening chisel backs. I know that there are some carvers that swear by them if used with specific fixtures which are expensive within themselves. I don't have those additional fixtures, so I have never tried them for carving tools. I have been sharpening for a while and have developed my own methods for dealing with the specifics for shaping and sharpening the various hundreds of tools in my shop. For the most part, I shape carving tools carefully using a bench grinder and diamond stones, polishing them with a wheel and buffing compound and/or strop. After initial shaping/sharpening, I seldom have to do anything more than using my finest stones (at the worst) and normally just stropping to maintain carving tool edges. Personally, I would not invest in any additional system, WS3000 included, to maintain my tools. I just don't see the advantage considering how little time and effort it takes. My experience is that machinery can often be unnecessarily aggressive, and it is easy to actually cause problems. If I was to go into professional shaping/sharpening of carving tools, I might consider a belt grinder and wheel system but for normal shop use I can't justify the investment. There are a lot of good videos available for a variety of sharpening techniques that don't involve expensive equipment. Remember that master woodcarvers managed to do their work without all of the expensive equipment that so many would tell you is now indispensable.  My advice is watch Mary's videos, practice. practice, practice, and have fun.

skoz and Lamar Holland have reacted to this post.
skozLamar Holland

Thanks for the advice.  I think you're probably right.  I just need to practice more.

I have found that if I sharpen them too much the tip is too weak.  You may need to have a back bevel on the other side of the tip so that the point is not thin/weak? I have a ws3000 as sometimes I have difficulty getting my gouges perfectly flat so that they are sharp but not weak.  I have used it on chisels  mostly. Hope this helps.