When I think about places where innovation could have a massive impact, I don’t think about rolling knife sharpeners. I think that there are enough knife sharpeners out there that if none of them seem right for you, you probably shouldn’t sharpen a knife.
Well, I was wrong.
Earlier this year, I started seeing more and more rolling knife sharpeners. In their most basic form, rolling knife sharpeners are a magnetic block that you stick your knife to. Then there’s a barrel that you roll past the knife to sharpen the edge. Pretty simple. Pretty weird.
But I had people reaching out to me to ask me if these things were just a gimmick. And I totally thought they were. Then Work Sharp sent me its new Rolling Knife Sharpener, and there I was — wrong again.
So, let’s get down to brass tacks.
I love Work Sharp products. I think they make some of the best and most effective knife sharpeners on the planet. Any knife I have had to sharpen in the last 5 years has been sharpened by either the Guided Field Sharpener, the Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener, or, most recently, its Professional Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener. I did have a run-in with one of its power sharpeners, which will go unnamed to protect the innocent, and quickly realized those things aren’t for me.
But, this Rolling Sharpener. This dog and pony show of a knife sharpener. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I just wasn’t feeling the vibe.
Then I used it.
And now I want to sing its praises from the rooftops.
In short: The Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener will sharpen all of your knives with little effort. In fact, you could probably get your favorite blades dialed in while daydreaming.
What’s in the Box
- Safe and ergonomic rolling sharpener
- Magnetic angle block with four sharpening angles: 15 deg., 17 deg., 20 deg., and 25 deg.
- Three sharpening abrasive discs: 600 & 320 grit diamond and fine
- Cost $150
- Warranty 3 years
- The overall quality of the build
- Ease of use
- The variety of knives it can sharpen
Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener Review
Design & Features
The Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener consists of a safe and ergonomic rolling sharpener to which you attach the abrasive sharpening discs. The design keeps your hand away from the blade edge. The discs magnetically attach to it so the user can easily swap them.
The second piece of the unit is a weighted block that has a different angle (15 degrees, 17 degrees, 20 degrees, and 25 degrees) on each side. All four sides are significantly magnetic to hold your knife in place. This piece also functions as a holder for the abrasive discs you aren’t using.
In regard to what kind of knives the Rolling Knife Sharpener will sharpen, fret not — you can sharpen anything that’s not serrated. I’ll interject here and say that this is one of the best kitchen knife sharpeners I have ever used. I think that’s where the Rolling Knife Sharpener really shines, but I am getting ahead of myself.
When the Rolling Knife Sharpener arrived, I still wasn’t convinced this was going to be my kind of thing. I let it sit on the counter for a few days (knowing it wasn’t going to launch for a couple of weeks) while I amassed a mixed bag of knives to sharpen with it.
Like all Work Sharp tools, the unit is made to exceed your expectations. Both the angle block and the sharpener are weighted and well made. It’s also really well thought out. This is showcased on the angle block, which has rubber covering the magnets so as not to chip or scratch your blade.
Being that these two bits are the bulk of the unit, I can tell you now, that unless it bursts into flames or calls you bad names, it’s worth the $150. I’ll also add that I don’t see the abrasive discs losing their potency any time soon. You’ll be able to order a set of replacement discs through Work Sharp if they do.
On the Bench
With the ability to sharpen a variety of knives, as long as they’re not serrated, I wanted to make sure I gave the Rolling Knife Sharpener a run for its money. In the end, after I sharpened nearly a dozen knives, in less than half an hour, I put the unit back in the box — and you would have never known I used it. The one exception was the white, fine grit disc, which showed some signs of use and abuse that did not compromise the effectiveness of the disc.
The rolling sharpener is smooth. I used it on my butcher block counter, which is flat but a little beat up, and there were zero issues. The angle block magnets are insane! Even with a 10-inch kitchen knife, I didn’t have any issues where the pressure of the rolling sharpener pushed it off the angle block.
The unit is not without fault, but that’s not its fault — it’s mine — and it’ll be yours, too. There’s an old saying: “Let the tool do the work,” and that’s the truth here. There is no need to use any brute force to get results with the Rolling Knife Sharpener. Just mate the angled block with your knife up to the rolling sharpener and roll away.
What Not to Sharpen
I’ve peppered in the statement that the Rolling Knife Sharpener isn’t made for serrated knives, but it should be said that this sharpener isn’t the right choice for a knife with a damaged edge, either. It’s probably not the right choice for a knife that’s never had a finished edge, either. This sharpener is ideal for routine maintenance on EDC knives and kitchen knives.
This isn’t to say that you couldn’t turn the primary grind on a brand-new knife into an edge or even figure out a way to eliminate a chip. But you risk damaging the unit or prematurely wearing out the abrasive discs — let alone the fact that it wouldn’t be an easy task to accomplish.
Mind the Grind!
There’s a reason that there are four different angles on the angle block. It’s because different types of knives have different angles to their grind. It’s important that you stick to that angle, or get as close to it as possible, so that you don’t ruin the edge.
If you were to sharpen a folding knife, which is usually ground at 20 degrees, at 17 degrees, you’re going to ruin the factory edge and spend a long time fixing it with the Rolling Knife Sharpener, if you can.
Here’s a quick guide regarding what angle you should use depending on what knife you’re sharpening. This can be found in the instructions for the sharpener as well:
- 15 deg.: Santuko knives and most Eastern cutlery
- 17 deg.: General kitchen knives
- 20 deg.: Folding knives, pocket knives
- 25 deg.: Fixed-blade knives, outdoor and tactical knives
If you are unsure of what category your knife falls in, or want to be certain what the factory grind angle is, contact the knife manufacturer. Some knife companies will even put that information in with their knife description. Always do your homework.
When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong. I can’t speak for the other rolling sharpeners out there, but the Work Sharp Rolling Knife Sharpener is the bee’s knees. Sure, $150 is a bit of an investment. But when it’s an investment for something you’ve already invested in (your knives), I think you’ll find that from the way it’s built, to its ease of use, it’s worth every dollar.
I think the fact that the Rolling Kife Sharpener can be used with a wide variety of knives has a lot of appeal to it. Especially when you consider there is virtually no setup needed to change between knives.
Overall, I would recommend this knife sharpener for anyone, from someone looking to keep their kitchen and EDC knives sharp, to a prep cook in a restaurant, to someone sharpening knives professionally. It’s very universal and I don’t see it breaking down unless you throw it against a brick wall.
With so many knife sharpeners out there, it can be daunting to pick which one is right for you. But if you’re looking for something universal and easy to use, the Work Sharp Rolling Knife sharpener is far from being a gimmick.