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Wednesday, 29 May 2024 03:39

Work Sharp Precision Adjust Elite Featured

Written by

There are many things to consider when looking to purchase a sharpening system: price, ease of use, support, and warranty, to mention a few. When doing your research, one company seems to stand out time and time again: Work Sharp. Work Sharp is well known in the industry, offering many different products to keep things sharp.

Before I get into my review, I'd like to provide a little history lesson. Work Sharp used to be owned by a parent company named Darex. The company was founded in 1973 in Beecher, Illinois. The first three initials of the DAREX name represent three generations of the Bernard family: David, Arthur, and Richard Bernard. David and his father Richard founded Darex. His grandfather Arthur Bernard, who earlier founded the Bernard Welding Company, also contributed to Darex. In 1978, Darex relocated to Ashland, Oregon. In 2012, Matthew Bernard became the fourth-generation family owner of the company. In 2020, Darex Industrial was sold, and the company rebranded to Work Sharp, now completely focused on the consumer market.

The company has been in the abrasives industry for a long time. People all over the world rely on Work Sharp to keep their knives and other gear sharp, whether at home or in the field. A popular tool in the Work Sharp lineup is the Precision Adjust. The Adjust comes in three configurations: the base model called the Adjust, the Adjust Elite, and the Professional. Today, we're checking out the company's Elite model.

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The Elite comes in a nice zipper storage case, great for keeping it safe as well as making it travel easy. Assembling the system is easy, even without reading the included instructions. There are three parts to the system, not including the abrasives: the base, clamp, and sharpening chassis. The chassis snaps into the base, and your clamp magnetically attaches to the front of the chassis. The whole system is very lightweight, impossibly so. It goes to show that something doesn't have to be heavy to invoke a sense of quality.

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The base has rubber feet that do a great job of keeping the system from moving around during use. The chassis's angle guide is labeled clearly, with measurements every ten degrees on the left and incremental adjustments on the right. Adjusting your angle is done via the knob at the top of the Precision Adjust. Movement is fluid, making it effortless to dial in exact measurements. Attaching your Tri-Brasive is done by guiding the steel elbow into the center of the angle guide. This connection is magnetic and makes setup and teardown a breeze.

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 The Tri-Brasives included with the Elite are 220, 320, 400, 600, 800, ceramic, and a strop. They're separated into three Tri-Brasive handles, keeping rougher grits separated from the polishing and de-burring. With other systems, each abrasive is separate, making for multiple abrasives that attach to a single arm. With the Precision Adjust, three are affixed to the arm and rotate around it. This makes changing abrasives as easy as turning to the next one. It's a neat trick and makes progressing through your grits easy.

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 The knife clamp, what Work Sharp calls the V-Block, is attached to the chassis via a set of magnets on the base. When installing the clamp, make sure the Adjust's rotating mechanism (where the clamp is attached) has the white marking facing up. This marking indicates which direction the knife needs to be clamped in, which is handle facing right. This is important because when rotating the knife during the sharpening process, you want the blade to be at your center of axis. The clamp itself comes with a paper piece, save this because it keeps the rubber pads from sticking together when the Adjust is in storage. Opening the clamp is done via a dial in the center of the clamp.

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I find the clamp to be well designed but with some limitations. Clamping knives is very easy; the dial allows you to really put pressure on the blade, ensuring it doesn't move. I also appreciate those rubber pads because I don't have to put masking tape to prevent scratches. The limitation is due to the depth of the jaws themselves. Work Sharp has a notch at the base of the jaws, which prevents the spine of the knife from being pushed back any further. I understand this is a design feature meant to keep things stable. I think the cutout makes for a stabilizer because it cradles the spine when you've got the knife clamped in. The Precision Adjust has a clamp that's shallow compared to the competition. This lack of depth makes positioning some blades difficult, whether it's thickness or shape related. It's a small difference and shouldn't affect most knives people carry or use. Rotating the clamp is done via a button in the rear of the chassis. Pressing the button releases the lock on the clamp, allowing rotation. My Adjust seems to have become stiff and hard to move over the last few sharpenings. Pushing the button and rotating seems to be more effort than I would expect. It does loosen up some after a few rotations. Maybe a lubricant is necessary to keep things running smoothly.

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 I love the abrasive holders; having three to an arm versus the traditional method is very helpful. It makes changing grits as easy as twisting to the next abrasive. There's a very positive click and some friction when moving them. This ensures the move is deliberate, preventing any movement during use. The hand guide on top of the abrasive holders is super comfortable and different from the ball on the end of the handle. I thought this might make me a little heavy-handed, but this hasn't been the case. Changing arms is as simple as changing grits; the magnetic system is well thought out. The abrasives themselves work well and made short work of whatever knife I was working on. Progressing through the grits and finishing with the strop produces edges that are polished and push cut easily. The system can handle angles from 15-30°, which should take care of most people's needs. I had some questions regarding the replacement of the abrasives, like if I had to change out the whole arm since they all seem connected. Work Sharp sells replacements, which are very affordable compared to traditional diamond abrasives. They're attached via an adhesive, and changing them out is easy.

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If I could sum up the Precision Adjust Elite in one word it would be, effortless. Work Sharp has put a lot of thought into designing the system to put the customer experience at the forefront. So many things just work, and I applaud them for changing what I would call norms in the industry. The system produces excellent results, time and time again. What's even better is the Precision Adjust comes in three packages, ranging from beginner to expert. You can even take the base model and buy the parts to make it an Elite System. There are so many good things I can say about the system, including its affordability. If you're looking to purchase a sharpening system that delivers results and is friendly to new users as well as veterans, the Work Sharp Precision Adjust Elite is the perfect system.

David Bowen

As Co Founder of Multitool.org David has been a multitool enthusaist since the 90's.  David has always been fascinated with the design inginuity and uselfulness of multitools.

David is always looking forward to what's new in the industry and how the humble multitool continues to evolve as it radically changes and improves the lives of users.

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