Work Sharp

Work Sharp - Ken Onion Edition

 If you carry a knife, of any type, then you need a good knife sharpener. The people over at Work Sharp Outdoor have supplied me with just that. Welcome the Ken Onion edition knife and tool sharpener. I talked with them at the Blade show West and they kindly sent this out for review.

 The Work Shop Ken Onion Edition (WSKOE) is an electric sharpener. To sum it’s looks up, it resembles a handheld angle grinder. On the side is the belt/knife guide area, this is where all the magic happens. Then there is a handle with a trigger system. Then up front is the motor assembly. One can use this sharpener by holding it, but setting it down on a bench or table works best. The belt/sharpening assembly can also be rotated around to different angles by a spring loaded push button release.

 This little handy sharpener comes with everything you need. The excellent instructions give you an idea of what belt/belts to use for each task ,along with what angle might work best. The WSKOE comes with 5 belts. Basically they range from extra course to extra-extra fine. The extra course belt is basically for shaping metal. I used it to reshape a knife that the tip had broken off. It made fast work of it. The extra-extra fine belt is more of a polishing belt, used to give a mirror like edge. It is also super easy to change the belts. Just push up on the spring loaded tensioner, pop the belt off and slide a different one on. I may have tried polishing some fire control parts with it also, of which it worked quite well.

   To further enhance the sharpening abilities, the WSKOE has even more features. The trigger system uses variable speed and can be locked in whatever speed one wishes. There is also an edge guide that folds out for use with longer knife blades. I used the edge guide for big kitchen knives and hunting knives. Also on the belt head is an angle adjustable guide. This guide keeps the angle of the sharpening blade somewhat controlled. It is adjustable from 15-30 degrees. As mentioned earlier, the whole belt sharpening system can be rotated. I didn’t use this feature, but I can see where it would be useful for sharpening my lawnmower blade, or just general grinding on something larger.

 This sharpener works. I must have sharpened almost every knife we own, including kitchen knives. It is very quick once you get the hang of it. I only found one thing I didn’t like about it. The blade angle rest takes some getting use to. When you are sharpening the knife, you rest the cheek of the knife on the angle guide and pull the knife through. If you put too much pressure on the angle guide, you can overtake the spring and get a sharper angle. After a little use, this wasn’t a problem. Also when using the angle guide, the guide ends before the tip of the knife is guided in. This meant that I had to freehand the sharpening of the tip. Not a big deal, in fact I did take the angle guide off and sharpen some knives freehand, which also worked well.

 I really don’t even know how I sharpened knives the old way. I was actually looking for things to sharpen. The WSKOE does use a standard 110-120V wall plug in, so it isn’t cordless. Replacement belts are easily found, a couple of local sportsman stores have them. Other sharpening adapters are also available through Work Sharp Outdoors.

 The Ken Onion edition sharpener is top notch. Some might say it’s a little pricey at $130, but if you want sharp knives, it might not be. There is a small learning curve, but once mastered you will have sharp knives forever. Go check out Work Sharp Outdoors, they make all kinds of knife sharpening tool.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:

Powered Knife Sharpener

Target Market:

Anyone who wants a fast knife sharpener

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 15-30 degree edge angle

  • 5 belts from 120-6000 grit

  • ¾” wide belts

  • Variable speed (1200-2800 SFM)

  • Speed lock

  • Adjustable head

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?


What others are saying?:

⅘ stars on Amazon

Great little sharpener. Beautiful convex edges. Tape the sides of your blades to avoid scratches.

I really like the Ken Onion Work Sharp. I purchased it because I wanted to try convex edges on my knives without the risk of ruining them while learning to do it freehand. My first attempt on the Work Sharp involved a brand new Ontario Knives Rat-1, an inexpensive, well-made knife with a pretty AUS-8 satin finished blade. In just a few minutes, I was able to produce a razor-sharp, beautifully mirrored edge. I also produced a LOT of UGLY scratches on that pretty AUS-8 satin finish because the metal particles that come off the edge during sharpening build up on the angle guides. When you pull the knife through as instructed, you get scratches. I honestly don't mind if my knives get banged up during use but I just can't see defacing them during sharpening. It's just not necessary. A quick search of Blade Forums confirmed others have experienced the same problem, especially with highly polished finishes. After reading a bit further, I decided to use painters tape on a different knife to protect the blade. Problem solved, a perfectly sharp convex edge in minutes and not a scratch to be seen. Other sharpeners like the Apex Edge Pro actually suggest this method. It would have been nice if the Work Sharp folks had done the same. Despite that issue, if you want to try convex edges, (they really are better), the Work Sharp is a great little machine at a fair price. I highly suggest reading the instructions carefully and taping the sides of your blades. Cheers and thanks for taking the time to read my review.

Link to other reviews:

The Truth About Knives

Price point:

MSRP = $129.95

Retail = $129.95 on Amazon

I need it now! Availability:

Work Sharp or Amazon

Our Rating:


  • Quickly sharpens knives

  • Adjustable grinding angle

  • Mirror cutting edge

  • Edge guide


  • Angle guide

  • Learning curve

Score: 8.5 Great


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