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I remember seeing one of these systems demonstrated at a Woodcraft store a few years ago. I was impressed — which is, after all, the whole point of a good demonstration — at the time, but have not heard much about it since (it’s still available from Woodcraft online). The Razor Sharp system has two compressed paper wheels. The silicon-carbide coated wheel is used, with a conditioning wax for lubrication and heat control, to create a burr or wire edge. Then the slotted wheel is used, with jewelers’ rouge, to remove the burrs and polish the edge. The manufacturer claims Razor Sharp can sharpen any knife (circular blades, curved blades, reverse curved blades, serrated blades, wavy blades, and straight edges) in addition to axes, chisels, draw knives, gouges, head knives, lathe tools, leather punches, needles, planer blades, scissors, v-tools, “and more.” They also unconditionally guarantee the system. The 6″ Deluxe kit (two 6″ dia. wheels 3/4″ thick with 5/8″ arbor and 1/2″ bushing, grit pack, and instructions) costs around $44 (at Oso Grande Knives and Woodcraft).

Have any Toolmongers used the Razor System? What did you think?

Razor Sharp Edgemaking System [Manufacturer’s Site]

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13 Responses to Razor Sharp Edgemaking System

  1. PutnamEco says:

    The best edge I ever saw on a knife came from some one who sharpened on paper wheels, a taxidermist. The bevel had been polished to a mirror finish, made my knife which I sharpen on a whetstone, look like something somebody dragged down the street.

  2. Robbie B says:

    Sean talks about setting up his sharpening station in the Tooltalk podcast #36. I believe he used a similar kit. It motivated me to buy the kit, but I haven’t set it up yet. Laziness is a terrible disease!

  3. shopmonger says:

    Sharpening is key to good tools. but there are many ways to do it, and to do it well. this is a great suggestion and i have a similar setup….


  4. Lee says:

    I have these wheels, set up on a HF 6″ buffer. Among many other sharpening successes, used it to put a hair-shaving edge on an old machete. Also recommended the set to a friend, who has been very happy with his sharpening results using them.

  5. aaron says:

    do you sharpen your tools on these freehand or use a jig to fix the angle?

  6. Lee says:

    There’s no reason you couldn’t use a jig. However, this system seems to be primarily for honing an edge, not major reshaping. That said, I have sharpened wood chisels hair-shaving sharp with the wheels, but it was a bit difficult to maintain a bevel that looked like a completely “textbook”. Knives with curvature are pretty easy to hone free-hand, and still look “right” when done. But either way, the end result is SHARP, in not much time.

  7. aaron says:

    cool. i’ve always wondered about that – especially applied to things like chisels and plane blades where you kind of want a flat, even edge.

  8. aaron says:

    as you say, for final honing only – the edge should be shaped with a jig if flatness is needed.

  9. Forde says:

    Picked this set up about 3 or 4 years ago at a Wood Show – put an amazing edge on a knife but may be a little difficult to maintain the proper angle on a plane iron or large chisel unless you rig up some sort of holder/support to maintain the proper angle. But for free-handing a knife – can’t be beat!

  10. kyle says:

    this is also avalible from Lee Valley.

  11. Julian says:

    Looks like Mdf in the pics. For those that have them, are they similar in feel and texture to mdf?

    If so, might be a simple project to make a couple on the bandsaw…

  12. @Julian:

    If you make you own out of MDF, I would be careful how fast you spin them. Wouldn’t want it to fly apart on you. Grinding and polishing wheels are designed to spin fast I wonder how well MDF would stand up to 4000 rpm plus.

  13. Joe says:

    I sculpt and carve wood, and used this system (actually compressed paper wheels with wood glue and grit for sharpening, and plain to buff out) in the 80’s. Quite effective means to achieve great edges, until one gets as old as I am. Jigs to control tool handle butts work with the system for both flats and gouges, if made carefully, but I highly recommend spending a few bucks and getting a work sharp 3000 or belt sharpening system. This IS NOT a plug for the WS, but any slow turning wheel made to accept any grit from 80 to rouge is a dream way to go. Just my side of a sharpening system selection. Keep your “bark side up”.

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