New Era Knife Sharpener
“Can you sharpen this for me?" You get the picture—your spouse impatiently holds up a dull kitchen knife. Dinner hangs in the balance. Surely, with all that equipment in your shop, you can sharpen one measly knife. But it’s not that easy, is it? Well, it would be with the Knife & Tool Sharpener from Work Sharp Tools.
The KTS is basically a mini-strip sander with a couple of interchangeable angle jigs. It’s very easy to use—and fast. You just install a coarse, medium or fine sanding belt, snap on the 40° or 50° jig, turn on the machine, and draw the knife through one of the jig’s notches, alternating left and right sides of the blade. The coarse belt (80 grit) removes nicks pretty fast; the medium belt (220 grit) makes a knife “tomato sharp"—sharp enough for most uses; the fine belt (6000 grit) hones an edge as sharp as a razor. That’s no exaggeration. We were able to slit a piece of notebook paper with all of our freshly sharpened knives, and that’s a tough test to pass.
The KTS can also do much more. It sharpens pocket knives and hunting knives. It can handle scissors, using a 60° notch. It can renew serrated knives (if they are beveled on one side and flat on the other side). And it can put a new edge on lawn mower blades, pruners, shears and other bypass cutting tools, using the tool freehand, without a jig.
What about woodworking tools? We were so pleased with the job the KTS did on our kitchen knives that we couldn’t resist experimenting on some shop tools. It did a great job on a chip carving knife, a marking knife, a Sloyd knife and a utility knife. The KTS isn’t designed for chisels and plane blades, though. The KTS can make them sharp, but it’s very hard to maintain a straight edge. However, you can freehand a curved blade, like the iron for a scrub plane, by removing the guide jig.
The manufacturer says that you can expect to re-sharpen up to 50 knives with a set of 3 belts. By that time, you probably won’t get asked anymore—you’ll volunteer. Using a machine that works this well is a real pleasure.
Work Sharp Tools, worksharptools.com, 800-597-6170, Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener, $69.95; Knife & Tool Sharpener Replacement Belt Kit (two belts of each grit), $9.95.