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If You Can Dull It, This Will Sharpen It: Work Sharp Mk.2 Review

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 Review(Photo/Josh Kirchner)
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Knife sharpening just got exponentially easier. The Mk.2 from Work Sharp is cutting the learning curve when it comes to sharpening knives and tools.

Knife sharpening has come a long way. I believe I was about 10 years old when I started trying to sharpen knives. My first was one of those old Swiss Army knives, and I felt like a million bucks having one.

Back then, I’d use a brick to try and sharpen that bad boy up. It definitely did more damage than good. But give me a break; I was a kid.

Since then, some 25 years later, I’ve graduated from my brick to a neat tool called the Mk.2 from Work Sharp Tools. It has made things more effortless than ever. It can do everything from keeping knives sharp in the kitchen to readying hunting knives for the field.

Simply put, it’s a giant leap in effectiveness and efficiency from my trusty old brick.

In short: The Mk.2 from Work Sharp ($100) is the perfect solution for the beginner/amateur getting their knives and tools sharpened like a pro.

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 Review

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)


The Mk.2 is the result of 10 years of customer feedback concerning the highly successful Work Sharp Original. Work Sharp listened and delivered.

This little powerhouse of a tool is an electric belt sharpener made to sharpen every knife and tool you own. Whether it’s hunting knives, kitchen knives, axes, serrated blades, scissors, or even pruners, the Mk.2 from Work Sharp can handle it like a champ.

Not only that, the user-friendly design offers an identically repeatable process for sharpening your knives and tools. Let me explain.

Each sharpener comes with three different grit belts: a green P80 Grit (coarse), a red P220 Grit (medium), and a purple 6000 Grit (fine). Along with those, there are two different angle guides, a 20-degree and a 25-degree. You’ll also find a 65-degree scissor guide included.

Getting the right degree for your bevel angle is essential for quality and successful sharpening. This system ensures your pitches are spot-on.

The 33.6 ounces of weight helps make for a sturdy sharpener once in use. This unit operates off of a 120VAC / 0.14 amp and comes with a 3-year warranty.


Mk.2 Belt Grits

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - belts
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

From coarse to fine, the three belt grits will get the dullest of blades back up and running.

Use the more coarse grit to completely reshape a blade or revitalize that old axe of yours.

Use the finer grits to hone up that kitchen knife, or simply put the finishing touches on a bigger sharpening job. And due to the bend/flex between the belts and the spring system they sit on, it conforms to any blade angle and any shape.

Rotating Cassette

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - Rotating Cassette
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

On the surface, the Mk.2 looks like it’s just made for use on a bench, where you’d bring the blade to the tool. While it does excel in that environment, it also allows one to bring the Mk.2 to the blade with its rotating cassette (forward and back).

Remove the bevel guide, and this is the perfect solution for honing up that axe or hatchet that you may have secured in a vice.

Dual Speeds

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - Dual Speed
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

This is a power tool, which can be a little intimidating when thinking about bringing your precious blade to it. That’s especially true if you’re newer to sharpening.

After all, it is a grinder that can and will remove material from your blade. Work Sharp’s solution to this apprehension is dual speed settings. They allow the user to set the speed lower if they’re newer or higher if they’re more confident.

This increases comfort, and comfort increases confidence in sharpening.

Bevel Angle and Front Edge Guides

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - Bevel Angle and Front Edge Guides
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

Work Sharp included several different bevel angle guides to ensure you never veer off course. This takes the guesswork out when sharpening and adds to the repeatability of the whole system.

On their bevel angle guides, there is also a leather lining to keep your blade in pristine condition as it slides through. You’ll never lose your footing with the front edge guide through this process. It keeps your blade on track all the way to the tip.

Both of these guides are totally removable if you so choose.

My Experience

The arrival of the Mk.2 was something I was almost giddy about. I had such a great experience with the Work Sharp Ken Onion and was incredibly eager to bask in the improvements that were made.

Right out of the box, I could tell that Work Sharp streamlined the machine a bit. It was slightly smaller than the previous version but still felt like it had the sturdy legs needed for my sharpening tasks.

I also appreciated how much more user-friendly it was. For instance, the two bevel guides have labels notating what angles are best for what knives. The belts are also way easier to install and remove.

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - Testing
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

I got the Mk.2 just in time after returning from a successful hunt. My knife needed a serious touchup after some rigorous fieldwork. As expected, this machine returned it to hair-splitting sharpness in less than 5 minutes.

I like how there’s some give on the belt when sharpening to both provide a little forgiveness and conform to the blade. And I love how the front edge guide is closer to the belt. This was something that I’d previously get hung up on when sharpening down towards the choil of a knife.

The dual-speed option is fantastic as well. I no longer have to try and memorize how much to push the trigger down to get the right speed. All in all, I’m super happy with the Mk.2. It has certainly solved many of the issues I’ve seen with other sharpeners.

What’s Wrong?

While I’m pleased with how this unit works, I noticed a few drawbacks.

First, it’s very easy to remove too much material from your knife if you’re not careful. Once that material is gone, it’s gone forever. A common mistake is rolling the tip of the blade off the end of the belt while it’s still spinning. Doing so will round your blade tip. I accidentally made this mistake early on and have the knives to prove it.

Instead, you need to turn the machine off while the tip is still on the belt. That’s a big issue that requires some education and practice.

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - Review
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

Second, while the bevel angle guide is absolutely helpful, it seems like a step backward from the Ken Onion version I used for years. On the Mk.2, there are only two bevel angle options: 20 and 25 degrees.

The Ken Onion has four: 15, 20, 25, and 30 degrees. You can choose not to use a bevel angle guide at all, but doing so takes away from the consistency and repeatability that makes this system stand out.

Final Thoughts

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Mk.2 - Conclusion
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

Work Sharp Tools has laid out a system here that anyone can use. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert on sharpening. The brand put high performance in reach of anyone that can physically operate the Mk.2 ($100). It’s fast, easy, and, most importantly, repeatable for the user.

So if you’re looking for a good all-around sharpener that can take care of dang near anything with a blade, the Mk.2 from Work Sharp Tools deserves your attention. Even with its drawbacks, I’m sure glad it caught my eye.

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How to Sharpen a Knife: Work Sharp Shares Tips

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