WS Ken Onion

Discussion in 'Maintenance, Tinkering & Embellishment' started by Tundraman, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. Tundraman


    Sep 29, 2018
    Just pulled the trigger on one of these and should be getting it today or tomm. I have seen a lot of videos on youtube about these and was wondering if I could get some tips from owners. I purchased this mainly for our kitchen knives. Although I do have a couple in my collection.that need more than what I can do with my stones. Bought the leather belt also. I don't expect to get a razor the first few tries and am definately getting out all our crappy knives first. Just wanting advice on what to expect and what I should know as a newbie.
  2. woodysone

    woodysone Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Go slow.;)
  3. kvaughn

    kvaughn Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Watch it or you'll end up with recurve blades you don't want.--KV
    Bill3152 likes this.
  4. bgentry


    Aug 3, 2009
    If you use the guides:

    1. You can't see the blade all that well. So make sure you are not spending a lot of time on one area, like the heel. Or it will get ground way too much. That's what people were saying about about creating a recurve when you don't want to.
    2. Grit gets trapped in between the guide and the blade. This will scratch your blades. Tape them up with painter's tape if you want to prevent this.
    3. Watch the angle on the tip. Or just watch the tip period. You can round off the tip pretty easily if you pull past it. Stop right *at* the tip and it should get nice and sharp.
    4. The belt moves up on one side and down on the other. This will have some small effect on your blade profile. Watch for it and be aware.
    5. Start on slow speed. I would say speed 3 is a good place to start (3 clicks up from the lowest speed). As you get better, turn up the speed if you want.

    If you take the guide off and do it freehand, some of this goes away. Some doesn't. You still need to pay attention; it's a power tool grinding metal.

    Good luck!

    Tundraman likes this.
  5. Bill3152


    Nov 27, 2018
    I have one. I don't use it .Kinda got talked into it by a pal that has one. He told me AFTER I bought it that I should get the blade grinding attachment($70 or so I think) and that he uses that. Which is basically a belt sander of which I had one already. It does scratch the knives for sure. And the belts don't last all that long. Having said that it works. Oh and thumbstuds don't fit!
    Tundraman likes this.
  6. Tundraman


    Sep 29, 2018
    Thanks guys! I guess I realize why they seem to start pulling the blade almost before they start the belt in those videos. I can easily understand that now, where you would grind that area more before pulling the blade. I am a bit worried about the tips because it seems you are completely off the guide as you approach it. Guess that is part of where the practice comes in. And also attempting to get the angles close to what are already on some of them. Im hoping those angles on the chart are close. Have a spot that needs cleaned on a sturdy desk and will start this weekend.
  7. Pendexter


    Aug 20, 2018
    Here's a couple of things I've picked up:

    * My understanding is that the little Worksharp motor does not like to be run slow. It increases the lifespan of the WS to run it as close to full speed as you can.

    * If you are running the belt fast, you need to move the knife along the belt pretty quickly. Minimum 1" per second. So if you have a 3" blade, it should take you 3 seconds to go from heel to tip.

    * It's very easy to put in a recurve at the heel. It takes practices to not do it. As soon as your blade touches the belt you need to keep it moving.

    * It's very easy to dull the tip. I've done it on multiple knives. The instructions say to lift the knife when the tip is halfway across the belt. Never run the tip across the entire belt.
    It takes practice.

    * I don't know if there is consensus on this point I'm about to make, so take it or leave it: If you're not careful, you can ruin the heat treatment on the blade. Try not to let it get warm to the touch. I typically have a bowl with ice water while I sharpen to keep the temps down. Not sure if it's necessary though...

    * Get a couple of junk knives to practice on. I went to my 20cv griptilian right away, and messed up the tip and needed to get the blade replaced. I'd have no problem sharpening it with the WS now, but I've sharpened at least 50 knives in the last year.

    * I like the KO Worksharp, but only after I modified it to my liking. Other posters have already mentioned that the blade guides suck. I wholeheartedly agree. I am also pretty tight on my knife budget, so didn't want to buy the blade grinding attachment.

    Here's what I did to make it more like the grinding attachment.


    Have fun, it's really exciting to get your first mirrored edge.

    Edit: One more...

    * To make sure that you are actually sharpening the bevel, use the sharpie trick. Mark the bevel with the sharpie, and adjust the angle until you are able to remove most of the sharpie mark with a single pass. That will tell you if your angle is too low or high.
  8. stitchawl


    Jul 26, 2008
    I love mine. Plug it in, sharpen 6 kitchen knives. Put it away. 20 minutes.
    Yes, it removes more metal than a stone. Yes, the blades get scratched. So what? Kitchen knives are tools. Even the very best of them. They are tools to be used, not young virgins to be kept isolated awaiting some fate. The scratches don't affect their usefulness. The edges do, and the Ken Onion WS puts on a razor edge quickly and easily. Follow the directions, practice first on an old beater. It will take you a good 5 minutes to master the device... 10 minutes if you are clumsy. From then on, it's no magic. It's just tool maintenance, pure and simple.

  9. Rey HRH

    Rey HRH

    Oct 6, 2014
    Go straight to the blade grinder attachment. Seriously.
    I concur with running at a high speed as oppose to low.
    Then go slowly and with light pressure; let the belt do the work.
    I agree that knives often are malformed or thicker near the heel. Use the marker trick to confirm you're taking steel off evenly. If it is thick, be prepared to spend time. Remember, let the belt do the work.
    Tips are touchy. You can either break it off or get burn marks on the tip. I just barely slide it to the tip. I use a 20x loupe.
    Stay at your coarsest grit until the blade is sharp. The finer grits is just to refine the bevel . As you go to smoother grits, use lighter and lighter pressure.
    Haffner likes this.
  10. Haffner


    Feb 13, 2007

Share This Page