Its most recent entry into the wild world of tabletop knife sharpers, the Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener (PPAKS) is a pro-level upgrade from its Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener (PAKS). The Professional picks up where the standard precision model left off by addressing some of its pain points. It also throws in a few extra bells and whistles that aid in its ease of use. Ultimately, these upgrades and additions create the near-perfect sharpening system you never knew you needed.
Currently, Work Sharp only plans on making 450 of these. They were originally released on May 1, and the demand for them crashed the website.
With the promise of them going back on sale any day now, I am beyond excited to share my thoughts and feelings about what the Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener (PPAKS) can do for you.
In short: Work Sharp’s Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener will make a factory-sharp edge at home. It could quite possibly put a lot of professional knife sharpeners out of work. But it may be overkill for some consumers.
- Metal sharpening frame with continuous angle adjustments (15-30 degrees)
- Stout base for stability while sharpening
- Digital Angle Indicator
- 5 diamond sharpening plates 220-, 320-, 400-, 600-, and 800-grit
- Ceramic honing plate
- Leather strop
- Ceramic serration sharpening rod
- Adjustable, rotatable clamp
- Small knife attachment for sharpening pen knives
- Warranty 3 years
- Robust build
- Ease of use
- Magnetic sharpening plates
- Digital Angle Indicator
- Might be too much for the weekend warrior
- It’s currently out of stock
Review: Work Sharp Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener
Design & Features
The Work Sharp Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener is a professional-grade tabletop knife sharpener. It will sharpen a wide array of knives, be easy to use, and provide precision results in a minimal amount of time.
The PPAKS has a metal frame with a stout plastic base supported by a rubber bottom. This keeps it from walking around your benchtop. The metal frame tilts back to accommodate larger knives and has a continuous angle adjustment from 15 to 30 degrees. A Digital Angle Indicator is included to allow for more precision sharpening.
Additionally, the PPAKS comes with seven easy-to-change, replaceable abrasive plates. These range from 220-grit to a leather strop. They allow you to sharpen, hone, and strop knives ranging from “completely dull” to “quick touch-up.” Included with the system are multiple references to help you decide which grit is best for your situation.
The clamp mechanism can accommodate knives up to 5/32 inches thick and is rotatable. This eliminates the need for you to remove the knife from the clamp to flip it over. It also maintains the angle while grinding on both sides for uniformity.
Having used Work Sharp’s Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener (PAKS) for the last year and sharpened around 50 knives with it, I was blown away by the PPAKS the minute I took it out of the box and set it up.
The PAKS suffers from very little. But it didn’t have a substantial base, so it would walk around the workbench. The robust build of the PPAKS eliminates that by incorporating a much more substantial base. You can even bolt it down if you so desire.
Another upgrade from the PAKS is the ability to tilt the frame back when rotating larger knives. This eliminates the need to pick the unit up while flipping a big knife over to sharpen the other side. And I’m not talking about Bowie knives here, just some of the larger EDC folders that are the norm in the market right now. Being that you have the option to bolt the PPAKS down, this would be impossible — so the tilt is necessary.
The big sexy feature here, however, has to be the Digital Angle Indicator. No, it’s not hard to use the standard angle indicator built into the frame. In fact, in most cases, it suffices. But the addition of the Digital Angle Indicator increases the level of precision to the stratosphere.
There are a lot of situations where I do need to measure down to the tenths to get the perfect edge. Being able to measure down to the hundredths may seem like overkill, but I like to think of it as reassurance.
On the Bench
The PPAKS is both easy to set up and easy to use. Included with this model is a rubberized work mat that serves both as a clean work surface and a reference guide. It breaks out all the parts of the PPAKS as well as an explanation of grind angles, recommended angles based on knife types, blade anatomy, and which sharpening plates to use based on the condition of the knife edge you’re working on.
From box to bench, I had the PPPAKS put together in under ten minutes. That includes the amount of time I spend admiring the build, which doesn’t require any tools. In fact, it doesn’t really even require any instructions, but the instructions included are easy to follow and useful.
I didn’t have any knives on hand that were in dire need of an edge, nor did I have any new knives that needed an edge after the primary grind was finished. But I did have a lot of fun using the ceramic and leather honing and strop plates to get the edge on some knives I have been using and abusing.
I’ve been particularly nasty to my Sniper Bladeworks MAMU. I most recently used it to dig up a blueberry bush in the woods in the rain. After a few swipes with the strops and less than five minutes of work, I was able to return the edge to its original, intimidating, factory-whetted edge.
The MAMU, at 5/32 inches thick in the blade relief on the spine, maxed out the clamp on the PPAKS. However, even in that state, the clamp held on to the knife like Rose held onto that ship door that she wouldn’t let Jack on (you know what I’m talking about).
About 5 years ago, I stood in my workshop looking at 50 knives I needed to sharpen within a week. My original thought was to get the blades — which had never had an edge on them — as sharp as I could by using a combination of Work Sharp’s Ken Onion Edition Knife and Tool Sharpener and then use Lansky Deluxe 5-Stone System to get that skin popping edge. I was able to get the job done, but it nearly killed the Ken Onion sharpener.
There is no doubt in my mind that the PPAKS could have gotten the job done better, easier, and quicker.
It really does pay to have the ability to be precise with angles. Most new knives will fall into one category of angles. EDC knives, for example, usually have a 20- to 25-degree angle, whereas larger Outdoor knives can be 25- to 30-degree.
Being able to hone in on that angle, and maintain it, allows you to keep your knife sharp year after year. But after a while, when your knife is old and tired, you may need to adjust that angle to compensate for blade wear. That’s where the ability to measure down to a tenth or hundredth really shines. Furthermore, based on how easy it is to use, you can mess around with angles on the PPAKS without really screwing the edge up.
If you do, the PPAKS can help you fix it.
Do You Need the PPAKS?
If you’re someone who sharpens knives quite a bit — both personally and professionally — and you enjoy the ease of use and noticeable results with minimal effort — then heck, yes, you do.
But, if you only sharpen a few knives over the course of a year, you should be fine using the standard PAKS. Save yourself $230.
What it all comes down to is convenience and results. With the Professional version, you get better results quicker, more consistently.
Conclusion: Work Sharp Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener
As both a knifemaker and a knife tester, I’ve had the opportunity to use a lot of different knife sharpeners. The PPAKS is the best tabletop knife sharpening system Works Sharp has come out with to date. Taking that one step further, it might be the best tabletop sharper on the market overall.
From its robust build to its ease of use to its effectiveness, the PPAKS checks off all of the boxes. It could be overkill for that person who only sharpens a knife here and there. Not that I would want to dissuade them from the awesome experience of the PPAKS, but they could save a bit of money and pick up the standard PAKS sharpener and end up with the same results, with a little more work.