Another warm welcome is due: this one to Darex, LLC - who owns & runs an international tool and abrasives company that us knife knuts know as WorkSharp. They are well known for the WorkSharp line, and have really started to shine with the WorkSharp Ken Onion Edition (WSKO) and the Blade Grinding Attachment (BGA).
They have decided to sponsor me, and the WSKO + BGA is the first kit they are donating to the cause.
Essentially a small, portable, enthusiast-sized powered belt grinder, the WSKO is also a guided system: in short, a belt is put on, the proper angle is selected, and the knife is pulled through one slot, then another slot. The number of times depends on how fast you pull, the speed the WSKO is running, and how badly off your blade has gotten. Each slot does one side of the blade.
As with any system, you start off coarse, and get progressively finer. As with any powered system, there are a couple caveats: you can go too fast, and generate too much heat, ruining the temper of the bevel; you can also use too much pressure, which generates too much heat as well as destroying belts; and if you don't pay attention, costly mistakes can ensue.
Angles can be set from 15 to 30 degrees per side; since the system is guided, everything is easily repeatable. Easily repeatable means consistent sharpening of your knives.
Adding the optional BGA does a couple things: it increases the length of the belt, thereby giving you more abrasive per belt, and allows the knife edge to cool off a bit longer. It also changes the system from guided to freehand, which could be a huge plus when you are ready for it - and as a freehand system, you have complete visibility and much more open workspace for your knives than the stock system. It gives you a wider spread of angles as well: 10-35 degrees per side, in 1 degree increments.
There are more features the BGA adds, but this is neither a tutorial nor a review, so I'm only going to say one final thing: this is the powered system I use, and I'm quite pleased with the results.
The other kit is their manual Guided Sharpening System (GSS) with optional Upgrades. Essentially, the GSS gives the sharpener a way to set up the system to guide every aspect of sharpening, using a technology called the Pivot Response System. The system utilizes small bench stones, and the upgrade kit adds in some additional stones.
The system is unique among guided systems, in that you can easily disable the guided feature, and use the stones freehand.
Finally, they are donating a variety of swag: shirts, hats, mugs.
For more information about WorkSharp, please check out their website.