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Aftermarket belts for Work Sharp tested today!

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by cramsey3006, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    Ok, I thought that putting this in a new thread would be easier than keeping the intital thread about the Work Sharp going, because this is about the aftermarket belts for the Work Sharp, not the tool itself.

    So a group of us went together and did a bulk buy on 12" belts for the Work Sharp tool. (Thanks Ben!)

    We ordered the following belts:

    MX means micromesh ,AO means aluminum oxide, and WS means Work Sharp factory belts.

    MX 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1200 and AO2400, 4000, and 12,000.

    First thoughts are that the belts are very similar to the belts that Work Sharp provided with the tool. The WS 80 grit and 220 grit belts have different backing than the aftermarket belts do (WS belts are much stiffer), but the WS 6000 grit belt has the same cloth backing as the MX and AO belts.

    The test knife was an old Outdoor Edge Wedge fixed blade in 420J2 steel. It's a beater of a knife that stays on my work bench for whatever I need to cut. Not the highest quality blade, but I figured if I can get a hair popping edge on it, I can do it to any knife.:D

    First, I used the old HF 1x30 with a worn 120 belt to take the edge off. I just ran the edge against the belt lightly a few times until there was NO edge at all.

    I used the 20 degree guide on the Work Sharp with all belts to maintain consistency.

    The WS 220 grit belt is noticeably rougher than the MX 240 is, even though they are similar grits. Even a WS 220 that has done at least 50 sharpenings is rougher, IMO. I wondered if the MX240 would cut as well as the WS 220 does?

    I started with the MX240 (I already know what the WS belts can do). It produced a very nice, clean grind. It took 11 passes on each side to work up a burr. After this, the belt felt much smoother to the touch than an unused MX240 does. It seems to me that the WS 220 belts cuts much faster and will last longer. Time will tell, I suppose.

    I moved to the MX 320 and took 5 passes on each side. The edge was clean and burr free and would shave hair.

    Moving to the MX 400 and 5 passes on each side refined the edge appearance and the ability to shave. It would draw cut newpaper easily. I have never had the knife this sharp before (never put this much effort into it, LOL).

    Moving to the MX 600 and 5 passes on each side further refined the edge appearance and resulted in a near mirror polish to the edge. At this point, it would make hair pop from my arm and push cut newpaper.

    Moving to the MX 800 and 5 passes on each side resulted in a good mirror polish, to the point where I could read news print in the reflection on the edge. Cutting performance increased as well.

    Moving the MX 1200 and 5 passes on each side resulted in a great mirror polished edge with exceptional sharpness. Shaving hair, push cutting newspaper was effortless.

    Progressing through each of the MX belts produced an outstandingly sharp, mirror polished edge.

    It took a total of around 15 minutes to accomplish this, including testing the knife between belts, removing and replacing the guide, and changing/inspecting the belts.

    That's not going to happen with any other hand held sharpener. When you take into account that I went through 6 different grits, it makes the speed even more impressive.

    After I finished with the MX, I switched to the AO belts. The AO 2400 felt noticeably rough compared to the any of the MX 400-1200 belts.

    5 passes per side confirmed this. The AO 2400 removed all of the polish from the edge. Yikes! The blade would still shave and draw cut newspaper though.

    Moving to the AO 4000 belt and 5 passes per side restored a lot of the polish and sharpness, but not all. It would pop hair and push cut newspaper, but not as easily as before.

    Moving to the AO 12000 and 5 passes per side resulted in a polish almost as good as what was accomplished with the MX belts. A few more passes would have restored the edge completely, more than likely.

    As far as I'm concerned, the belts are fabulous. Well worth the minimal investment you make.

    Right now, I definitely like the MX belts better than the AO. They seem to make the edge much keener, IMO, and give it a better polish.

    Do you HAVE to have them? No, not at all. The WS does an outstanding job with just the three grit options offered, 80, 220, and 6000. I get a wickedly sharp edge with just the 220 and 6000 grits, more than able to easily push cut newspaper. The extra belts just allow you to refine the edge even more. Having some options between 220 and 6000 allow you to achieve a better quality edge and a better appearance to it (if that matters to you).
  2. zatch

    zatch Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 6, 2008
    Where did you buy your belts?
  3. zer0sanity


    Oct 16, 2006
    So it seems the grit for the MX and the AO belts are measured differently.

    My question is, is the WS 6000 belt a finer grit than the MX 1200?
  4. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    To my fingers, the 6000 felt smoother in texture. The MX belt coatings are much thicker than the coating on the 6000 though. The MX belts are stiffer than the 6000 due to the thickness of the coating, but not as stiff as the 80 or 220 grit belts are.
  5. hardheart


    Sep 19, 2001
    this is why the 240 was not as rough as the 220, and why the 800 left a mirror polish


    The 1200 MX has an abrasive micron size the same as 8000 mesh (Norton waterstone or DMT diasharp) or 4000 JIS (Japanese waterstones like Naniwa, King, etc) & is finer than the 6000 AO
  6. zatch

    zatch Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 6, 2008
    Thanks for the link!
  7. Work Sharp

    Work Sharp

    Aug 26, 2009
    Nice detailed write up on your belt research cramsey3006.

    Just to let you guys know here is the abrasive mix we provide with the WSKTS:

    - Green P80: CORA abrasive from Germany, by Norton (KF376), AO J wt. cloth backing.
    - Red P220: Ceramic oxide abrasive from Norton (R945) on J wt. poly cloth backing
    - Purple 6000: SiC abrasive from Micro-Mesh on a flexible cloth backing.

    Stay sharp guys.
  8. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    i've basically worn out two each of the 80, 220, and 6000 from workshop. the cloth backed 6000 belts stretch pretty badly after extensive use while the 80 & 220 belts don't. the 6000 belt are easily 1/8 to almost 1/4 inch longer now. the new micro mesh belts are a good bit stiffer than the 6000 belt from ws and i hope they don't stretch as badly. i'd like to have the finer grit belts with a cloth backing like the rougher belts myself.
  9. BladeChemist


    Aug 19, 2010
    Already? Or did you sharpen a bucket full of knives? I'm unclear on how you wore them out in 5 days.
  10. Noctis3880

    Noctis3880 Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 22, 2009
    Thanks for the info folks. Ordered myself some MicroMesh MX belts to go along with the Work Sharp Knife Sharpener I bought. I wonder if they'll ever consider making 15 or 10 degree guides for the more extreme of us who own super thin japanese kitchen knives.
  11. Ben B

    Ben B Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 16, 2006
    Thanks for the information. I think it's cool that you don't try to keep that info proprietary. It will help with our "belt research"
  12. cramsey3006


    Aug 2, 2010
    I've had my WS for a few months now. I was referring to the belts that came with the tool, not the new ones we just bought. :thumbup:
  13. c0ldfire1o25


    Apr 24, 2012

    hi awesome info! i had a quick question about the belts you talked about in this thread. i just ordered some of the MX 240, 320, 400, 600, 800, and 1200 belts and a work sharp. i was wondering how they are the belts holding up and or are you still using them and liking the belts and work sharp?
  14. RWT


    Mar 15, 2011
    Thanks for the info. +1 on the review
    Thanks to WorkSharp for not be hard headed about their belts. I love their product and since these belts look more reasonably priced I will order another WS for the ranch just to have it handy.
  15. ainokea


    Jun 28, 2012
    I just started using the Micro-Mesh 240 mx belts on the WSKTS Knife Sharpener. While sharpening an 8" chef's knife, and after 6 passes on each side, the belt snapped and broke at the adhesive joint. I figured it was a freak one time thing until I used another belt to sharpen an 8" carving knife, after 7 passes the same thing happened. So far 4- 240 MX belts have snapped. Very Dissapointing.

    I've used the 400 MX, 800 MX and the 1200 MX, no snapping. I'll be calling Micro-Mesh tomorrow to return the forty 240MX belts I have in exchange for the 6000 grit Regular belts.
  16. ainokea


    Jun 28, 2012
    Verify Before You Trust!:thumbup:

    I have the MX 240, 5 belts snapped at the adhesive seam in the processing of sharpening. Not Cool:mad: The MX 400, 800, 1200 no problems. I'm returning the 240 back to Micro-Mesh and exchange them for the 6000 regular belts.
  17. JSMcustoms


    Feb 2, 2012
    These are 1/2"X12" belts correct?
  18. Brisket


    Aug 2, 2009
    I went in with a buddy for a bulk order of the Micro-Mesh MX belt in the same grits over a year ago and have not had any break. I experience much the same results reported here except for, of course, those with the MX 240. As happy as I was with the MX grit progression and the belts in general I was impressed just how efficient the Work Sharp performed with the 3 included belts. I found that the WS 6000 belt wears out quickly using a 3 step or 2 step progression as I expected with such a large jump but the worn belt provides a fairly good substrate for chromium oxide. I considered making a leather belt for the WS, but I abandoned the idea after considered how thin it would need to be and how the spring loaded tensioner would promote stretching. A felt belt, however, would be fun to experiment with.

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