Knife Maintenance Month: Sharpening with the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition

Brought to you by Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpeners

When we interviewed Dexter Ewing, Field Editor for BLADE Magazine and owner of Winston-Salem Knife Sharpening back in October, we learned that his business was built around the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener. “It totally changed my sense of what ‘sharp’ is,” Ewing told us. With an endorsement like that we wanted to try it for ourselves.

Like any sharpening system, the Ken Onion Edition takes a bit of patience, practice, and know how. If you’re in the habit of ignoring or even tossing out instruction manuals, don’t do it this time. The sharpener comes with a set of indispensable visual instructions and an accompanying DVD that will guide you through the steps, get you to the results you want, and help you avoid mishaps.

The Ken Onion Edition features adjustable edge guides to set angles from 15 degrees to 30 degrees in precise one degree increments. There’s nothing uglier than an uneven edge and one of the major advantages of the Ken Onion Edition over stone based sharpening systems is the consistency.

Still, the user has a lot of discretion like setting the speed of the machine and deciding which one of the five abrasive belts (from extremely coarse to extremely fine) to start with. This is where paying close attention to the instructions will pay dividends.

After some practice on a couple cheap kitchen knives, it didn’t take long to build confidence and move on to more expensive kitchen knives, a few fixed blades, and a couple small folders. Once you have the process mastered, you can get a knife hair shaving sharp and put a mirror finish on an edge in less than 10 minutes.

Blade Grinding Attachment
If you’re an aspiring knife maker, modder, sharpening pro, or even just a hobbyist, the addition of the Work Sharp Blade Grinding Attachment will make grinding, regrinding, or re-profiling a blade and other materials a reality. The accessory transforms the Work Sharp Ken Onion from just a sharpener to a belt grinder capable of almost as many tasks as you can dream up. The Blade Grinding Attachment makes the machine instantly fun to use and it’s stress free as long as you start out practicing on knives that you don’t really care about.

Freehand sharpening with the Blade Grinding Attachment is still relatively easy because like with the edge guide you can set the angles of the belt. We were able to repair a tip that rolled on a Spyderco Delica in less than a minute and the knife is back to working as good as new.

If you’ve been looking for a knife sharpening solution that you can rely on to quickly get and keep your tools as sharp as they can be, the Ken Onion Edition is a great option. The Blade Grinding Attachment is a must have for any Ken Onion Edition owner simply because it opens the door to a new world of possibilities at a small fraction of the price of a dedicated belt grinder.

The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener and Blade Grinding Attachment are available directly from Work Sharp, at outdoor retailers, or from leading knife dealers.