Work Sharp Blade Grinder and Tool Grinding Attachments for the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener

At the end of 2014 I reviewed the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener. The company was very nice and shipped me out the Blade Grinder and Tool Grinding Attachments to test shortly after that. I wanted to wanted until after winter and into spring so I would be able to get a good use out of the tool grinder so I would have a enough time behind the sharpener to write a fair review.

The Tool Grinder/Sharpener

The tool grinder is designed for exactly what it sounds like. To grind tools and sharpen the cutting edge. I use three tools for all of my outdoor cutting yard work. a chainsaw, pruners and loppers. I don’t care much for use of an axe or hand saw unless I am just wanting to get some exercise in because the chainsaw makes quick work of any large projects. for my pruners and loppers however I dull them pretty fast. In my workshop I have a vise that I can secure either in and in just a few short passes I can be back to work with sharp tools.

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This tool grinder attachment was the easiest of the kit I own (tool grinder, blade grinder and the Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener) to get the edge I wanted since you are not looking for a razor edge on your gardening tools.

Growing up in the BSA we were always doing conservation projects that required us to fell trees. I would always have to spend 30 minutes getting my two axes ready for work before we starting felling trees. I wish I had this sharpener back then so I could always have the best axe heads. Before I would have to sit with the metal file and work on the edge and this would have made quick work of that. 

The Blade Grinder

I have not really liked this for sharping my knives. While out at a show in Vegas I saw Benchmade using the Blade Grinding Attachment with razor precision.  I have found I am better at getting a good blade with just the base Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener than I am with the blade grinder. I know that you can get a better edge on the grinder but I haven’t been able to achieve it yet.

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The Box

Work Sharp as far as I have seen only sells a “gear bag” for storing your sharpener and attachments. I do not like soft bags to store my tools in because I  prefer to be able to stack boxes on my shelves in the workshop. While over at my local home improvement store I found a Husky 16-Inch Rugged Hand Tool Box with Metal Latch. the box measurements of 8.8” W x 15.4” L x 8.2” in height. This box is perfect! It cost $15 online but $10 in the store.

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Overall thoughts

The  Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener is a great tool to have at your disposal for keeping your everyday knives at the sharpest they can be. If you are someone who does your own yard work and the tool grinder is invaluable. You always run a higher risk of hurting yourself or others when working with dull blades and edges on tools.

The blade grinder is something I am hoping to master in the next few times but until then I always have the main Ken Onion Edition sharpener.

(Attachments sold separately! Requires Ken Onion Edition Knife & Tool Sharpener WSKTS-KO)

A Gentlemen’s review of Apple’s iPods, iPhones and Mac computers

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Intro into Apple

Growing up I living in a PC household. I remember my first PC was my folks old Windows 95 when they got their new Windows 98. I did my homework on that computer and I loved it. I had all kinds of cool games and I grew up thinking PC was where it was at. In my teens I bought my first apple product after my Microsoft Zune bit the dust 2 weeks after purchase. I am happy to say I have only purchased 2 iPods and both are still running.

My life before the iPhone

In the spring of 2010 I bought my first smart phone, the Apple iPhone 3GS. I tend to spend upwards of a few months weighing the pros and cons of spending any large chunk of change. In January 2010 my contract was up and I wasn’t sure if I really needed the iPhone or if it was just a toy. I spent a week visiting my Grandfather who is an Apple nut like myself. I read every article I could find in his stacks of Macworld magazines.

At that time I was using my folks laptop to check emails on my trip, which would have been easier had I owned a smart phone. I even got to play around with my great uncles iPhone while he was visiting. This was when I got the green light in my head to go out and buy one.

Apple Care and other protections

When I buy an iPhone I get the $99 Apple Care plan and then I immediately head over to my local electronics store and buy a Zagg screen cover.   What is the point of spending that much on a device you carry everywhere if you have no plans on protecting it?

To this day I can tell you I have had my 3GS replaced twice and my 4S replaced 3 times (my 6 is less than a month old). I live about 10 minutes from an apple store which makes it quick and easy to get a phone fixed or to just go and check out the latest products.

My father who is the only android user in the family had a problem with his S4. It took about 2 weeks for it to get replaced by mail and cost him more on top of the protection plan he had with his carrier.

While upgrading to the iPhone 6 at my bulk foods club the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted the protection plan they offered. He tried to tell me how it was better so I started asking him questions from past complications I have experienced with my phone. I asked how long it would take to get a new phone or if they would even warranty it. After 10 minutes he looked at me and told me that he has to try to sell their protection plan. I know from experience the Apple care is better protection for me.

My Home Office Set Up

Screens from left to right

Envision Professional series 19” LCD (Windows)
iMac 27” (2014) with 16GB RAM and 1TB Fusion HHD/SSD, 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz Intel Nvidia GeForce GT 755m 1GB GDDR5
Dell 17” LCD (Windows)
Hisense 50″ K610 Series Smart TV (connected to the PC and Mac for screen sharing as well as cable)

On the Desk

UBL iPod dock
Seagate 2TB External HHD (Windows)
Seagate 2TB External HHD (Mac)
Sony STR-DH130 2-Channel Hi-Fi Receiver (TV, Mac, PC, UBL)

Windows

Acer Aspire X3400 8GB RAM and 2TB internal HHD
Windows 7 Home Premium

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As you might have figured it can be confusing at times which mouse or keyboard you need for the project you are working on or trying to get the PC mouse to drag something from the iMac on to the PC. I have found that after a few months with the split of the Windows monitors that my brain didn’t really see the iMac in the middle as part of the mouse movement anymore.

Why iMac?

This is the second iMac I have owned (the first being a Mid 2007 24” iMac w/ Yosemite, 4GB RAM and 500GB HHD). I received the first one as a gift from my grandfather in 2013 when I was starting my process of looking at Macs. This was a great way to get into the Mac world and see what I was missing, without having to drop $1800 on a new iMac.

I have been working on videos for my other company and I needed a better way of making quality videos than my old windows movie maker. When working with any amount of footage the more CPU speed and ram and hard drive space the better.

I am able to produce better quality videos in a shorter and less frustrating amount of time using the the Mac and the PC side by side. I like to think of my Mac as my creative computer and my PC as my work computer.  This is not to say Mac is not great for work. However, I spend most of my time writing blog post on my Windows Live Writer to upload to my websites. I use my Mac for the “pretty stuff”. I have CS5 Photoshop and a number of other programs that help me edit video and pictures with ease. I have the more boring Word docs on my PC.

Are Apple Products Worth the Cost?

I get asked that question a lot since I use them. I will share with you what I tell most people.

For me? YES! I love that I can backup my phone and know that if I drop my phone and it breaks that I haven’t lost everything. I love the fact that I can get a replacement for my product if it is broken that day and all it takes is an appointment to the local Apple store.

I love that if I am having problems with any of my devices, Apple Care or not, I can get help 24/7. But the biggest reason I think they are worth the money is that they are like a car, if you take care of them they will last you a good long time.   Out of the box, they are simple and I like the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it simple, stupid).

Final Thoughts

I am an Apple user and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hisense 50" K610 Series Smart TV Review

Hisense 50 K610 Series Smart TV Review

Introduction

I found this 50” Hisense Smart TV in a black Friday ad in 2013. I had been looking at a new TV for a few months before buying this one as my old CRT had started to die. I am the kind of guy who loves new tech but if I don’t need to replace something I do my best not to and save a few dollars.

The TV is for my home office where I spend most of my time. so I typically watch TV there. I have a nice size office but the layout of the room does not leave many choices for viewable wall space from the desk. While researching TVs I looked at everything from a 32” up 55”. I decided I wanted something larger and could fit this 50″ Hisense in the open wall space.

Specs & Features

Hisense 50K610GW Series Smart TV

Diagonal Screen Size: 50 inches
Type: LCD, LED
Pixel Refresh Rate Speed: 120Hz
Native Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
HDMI Ports: 4
Video Interfaces: Component, Composite, HDMI, USB, VGA
Networking Options: Ethernet, Wi-Fi
3D: No
Web Streaming Services: Yes
Height: 25.9 inches
Width: 44 inches
Depth: 2.3 inches
Weight: 55 lbs
Average Contrast Ratio: 6359:1
Average Black Level: 0.0603 cd/m^2
Peak Brightness: 383.46 cd/m^2
Average Power Consumption: 105 watts

Price

The MSRP is $628.00 but I picked this up for $350 during the holidays.

Web Apps

I run more than one computer on my desk and I normally have either music or a YouTube video playing in the background as I work. When I am rendering or gaming my computers are not able to keep up with another video playing on my screen so I switch over to the YouTube app on my TV and I am able to watch full HD videos.

When I do some video editing for my other work I like to be able to check the quality of the video on different size screens and see how the video came out.

Video Interfaces

Since my computers are set up to run multiple screens, I have a VGA cable that is connected to both the TV and the computer. This allows me to view the projects I am working on with a large screen.

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Overall Thoughts

While 4K and 5K TVs are the big thing right now I don’t have a need to see every pore on my new anchors face. This 50” Hisense Smart TV is the perfect size for my needs. I like the fact that I am able to use hulu, youtube, netflix, and all the other apps on this TV. I mainly just use it for my normal cable viewing. The TV is slow to respond at times but overall I like the TV and I would say if you are in the market for a new 50” this is worth looking into.

Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener Review

For Christmas last year I went out and got myself the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener (Without tool sharpener). I didn’t really spend much time trying it out for the first few months. It seemed complicated and I was being lazy with my semi-dull knives. It wasn’t until a friend who is in the Army came to visit, that I really took it out and started learning how easy it really is to get a razor edge.

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Introduction

I have been on the hunt for a razor edge on my knives since I was old enough to learn how to sharpen knives. I have stick sharpeners, block sharpeners, diamond sharpeners, kitchen and utility sharpeners. I have so many sharpeners that I have a shoe box full of them and I am still finding ones from my youth. In my early teens I destroyed a few of my cheap knives by trying to sharpen them with a rotary tool and a metal grinding bit, all in search for the elusive razor edge.

First Impressions of the Ken Onion Edition

At first I wasn’t impressed with the edge I was getting with this Work Sharp sharpener. It was sharp but I really didn’t feel I was getting my moneys’ worth from this Work Sharp sharpener. The kit comes with a DVD that walks you through the steps. I just wasn’t impressed because the knife wasn’t all that sharp. I figured this wasn’t a dummies guide to sharp knives and that it really took a long time to learn how to get the edge you were looking for.

My First Sharp Knife

After working with the sharpener for a few hours I figured something out. My knives had been to hell and back. I have been “sharpening” them for years on different stones and angles and I had made a mess of my blades.

I needed to start fresh and re-profile the blades to the correct angle (as per the angle and belt guide in the book). I took my P120 extra coarse belt (this is a step I took on my own without guidance from the book as they do not talk about doing this) and redefined the edges on all of my blades. This was the first and most important step I have found to the perfect blade.

You need to start clean and have all the nicks and divots in the blade removed. Once I had done that, I followed the user guide and lo and behold I had a razor edge on my 10 year old EDC (EveryDay Carry) knife.

I have noticed that the knifes that have been re-profiled last a little bit longer between each sharpening now. I can see how re-profiling is not a one step method. It may take many sharpening’s before it is a super sharp leather cutting blade.

My $10 Razor Knife

There was a deal on some website offering these folding half serrated knives for $10. I picked up one for each of my family. I wanted them to have an inexpensive knife they could carry without worrying about losing an expensive one.

For those of you who do not feel the need to carry one on you, I recommend trying it out for 1 or 2 weeks. Count how times you find yourself using it.

When I opened the package with the 4 knives I wanted to see how sharp they were. I tried to shave some arm hair and found I couldn’t even cut warm butter.

I wanted to put this Work Sharp sharpener to the test and see if I could find a real edge on the knife or see if I had just bought myself 4 knife shaped paper weights. I went to my first step of re-profiling the edge. I quickly got a razor sharp edge on this knife and now I have been carrying it for about 3 months.

The Belts

The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener comes with 5 belts:

Belts
(1) P120 Extra Coarse Grit Norton Ceramic Belt,
(1) X65 Coarse Grit Norton Norax 65 Micron Belt
(1) X22 Medium Grit Norton Norax 22 Micron Belt,
(1) X4 Fine Grit Norton Norax 4 Micron Belt
(1) 6000 Extra Fine Grit SiC Micro Mesh

The “X” belts are the ones you will use the most. They are meant for every blade with the exception of serrated, gut and bread knives which you use the 6000 Belt on.

I have noticed that after about 40 knife sharpens the belts are starting to wear. The book says “Belt discoloration is not an indicator of wear. Engineered belts expose new abrasive as they break down. Used belts may take extra strokes but will continue to remove material. These belts will keep going longer than you think. Keep using them as long as they cut.” [Found in the Ken Onion Edition User Guide]

Final Thoughts

I have found my razor edge!

Once I took the the time to sit down and read the book and started practicing, the easier it was to put a nice edge on my knives. Work Sharp does not have a hard box for this $150 sharpen which I think would have been better.

I keep mine in the original box it came in with all the belts and book. I think if it had a carrying case, like that of most drills, it would really add to the life of this sharpener.  I have had a few friends come over with knives to have me sharpen for them. I have taught all of them how to do it themselves so they can take my Work Sharp home and sharpen all the knives they have at home.

Porter Cable 20V Lithium Ion Drill 2014 Review

I purchased this drill at the beginning of 2014 because all of 5 my Milwaukee 18V Lithium ion batteries had started to reach the end of their life span. I needed a good drill for some home remodeling projects and just normal honey do list items around the house.

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Introduction

Over the years I have owned five different cordless 18 volt drills. I have learned that about the time that all my batteries for that model drill, start to reach the end of their life cycle it’s time to shop. There is always a newer drill that is smaller, lighter and has better torque for a cheaper price than it is to replace my old drills’ batteries. I was lucky when I found this Porter Cable Drill on a deal-a-day site for a much better price than I had found anywhere else.

Specs & Features

· Voltage: 20

· Battery Type: Lithium Ion

· Max Power: 330 UWO

· Clutch Settings: 23

· Chuck Size: 1/2″ ”

· Tool Weight: 3.5 lbs

· Length: 7 3/4”

· Height (w/battery): 9”

· High performance motor delivers 330 Unit Watts Out

· 2 Speed gear box (0-400/0-1,600) delivers the power needed to complete large and small applications

· Metal ratcheting chuck minimizes bits slipping in chuck

· Battery gauge displays charge remaining in the battery

· LED light brightens dark work areas

· The compact size and light weight  allows tool to work in tight areas and minimizes user fatigue

· 20V Max Lithium Ion batteries with 1.5 amp/hour cells delivers more power and runtime in a smaller package

Size

This is the smallest, yet most powerful drill, I have owned as of yet. My last drill from chuck to back came in at about 11” which makes this drill noticeably smaller. The battery even come in at under 2” which is an inch and a half shorter than my last drill.

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Power

After about one year of use, the drill still has a very strong battery. I have on occasion drained the battery and had to switch over to my Milwaukee to finish the job. It is a simple remedy to just buy another battery, I just haven’t got around to it .

Torque and Speed

This drill has a lot of torque. If you are new to higher quality cordless tools it is important to remember that these are work tools and not just a cordless screwdriver. One of the ways to find out how much torque I have to drive a 3/8” lag bolt into a piece of hardwood like oak. If I can snap the head off I know that I have to watch what I am doing more carefully.

This drill has two speeds as most current construction drills have. You generally need to drop the speed down to “1” if you are using it as a screwdriver because it will easily strip out the screw head.

Weight

The biggest difference I like from a fatigue standpoint, is that the Porter Cable 20v battery is one pound less than my 18v Milwaukee battery . Any reduction in weight without losing any power is a major benefit.

Grip and controls

The grip size is perfect for my size medium hands and there is still room for larger hands. The grip is rubber so you are sure to keep a grip even with sweaty hands. The forward and backwards controls are in perfect reach for my thumb and index fingers to quickly change the direction. Your speed or torque switch is mounted on the top of the drill like most other drills and is very easy to switch when you need more speed or more torque.

This drill comes with two magnets on top to store extra screws while you are working on a project.

Charger

The charger is very easy to use. The only complaint or concern I have is the power cord. It reminds me of the power cord on the “no name” throw away drills that are given to people who don’t use power tools but feel like they should own one. The wire for the cord is either a 18 or 20 gauge wire with thin insulation so one needs to be careful when using it.

Final thoughts

Overall I am very happy with this drill. I would have liked to have had a second battery but for the price it isn’t a problem. If you are used to the older cordless drills you will like the way this drill handles. The battery life is very long considering how lightweight it is.

 

Howard Leight Impact Sport E-Earmuffs review

I had planned to just review the Howard Leight*1 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs but plans changed.

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Customer Care

A few months back I got in contact with Howard Leight about getting some earmuffs to review for shooting but what I didn’t know at the time was that I was going to review the company as well. When I contacted the company, instead of my normal getting bounced around and transferred five times until I talked with the right person, I talked with ONE person. I had the pleasure of talking with Customer Care Rep Laraine from Howard Leight.

Empowered Reps

Normally I have to talk with someone in marketing or another division who handles media requests such as this one. With Howard Leight, I only worked with the customer care rep who the company has empowered to be able help the customer not like a number of other large (non-firearm) corporations.  Most companies keep sending you to the next tier up because all the first tier customer care rep can do is ask you if you have turned the product on and off.

I am not going to get on my soap box and talk about that because I really want to just talk about Howard Leight and how I had such a pleasant experience with them.

skip to Earmuff Review

I called Howard Leight and spoke with Laraine about getting the earmuffs and she was more than willing to help me out with this not just because I am a blogger but because Howard Leight seems to only employ customer care reps who CARE. I know this to be a fact because in the few times I did have to call the company and ask for Laraine I would always be greeted by one the of reps who would try to help me in any way they could before I would ask to speak with Laraine.

Consistency

I have contacted Howard Leight a couple of times since my first contact and have spoken to different customer care reps who were just as helpful and knowledgeable as Laraine.

Lifetime Customer

Howard Leight makes great ear protection but they have also made me a lifetime customer because of how they work with the customer.

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Specs: Impact® SportFolding

  • Sleek, extremely low profile earcup design allows for full clearance of firearm stock
  • Automatic 4 hour shut-off increases battery life
  • AUX jack connects to MP3 players and scanners
  • Automatically shuts off loud impulse noise to a safe 82dB while amplifying conversation and range commands
  • Convenient folding design for easy storage
  • One single power and volume control knob
  • Air Flow Control™ technology
  • Black leatherette headband with sporty hunter green earcups
  • Water resistant
  • Easy access to the external battery compartment
  • 2 AAA batteries included

Source: The Howard Leight website

Impact Sport E-Earmuff Review

For a number of years now I have used the surefire earplugs or my good old non-electronic over the head earmuffs because both offer me what I need for shooting.

The surefire plugs are great if I am going to be just shooting and minimal talking on the range and when I have a rifle stock glued to my face.

My  non-electronic over the head earmuffs offer me noise dampening but they are quick to slide off if I need to make a video or hear what the crew is saying, they are overly bulky and you hear every tap of the buttstock to your earmuff.

Adjustable Volume

The Howard Leight electronic earmuffs give me the best of both worlds. I can adjust the volume when I need to listen or almost turn the sound off when I am firing on the line with the three .30-06 rifles going off. The muffs are low profile so the overly bulkiness is minimized to the point it is comfortable to run and shoot with a rifle or to sit on the bench and shoot long distances.

Long Battery Life

We have been using the muffs for about 5 months now and haven’t had to change the batteries yet.

Increased Range Communication

I like the fact that I can adjust the volume easily when I am shooting from the bench and we have other shooters near us.  The spotter and shooter can almost whisper to each other adjustments without having to listen to everyone on the range. I can also turn the volume all the way up and hear the crew from a distance without anyone having to scream commands.

Overall Thoughts:

The earmuffs will run about $50 but for the safety of your hearing and still being able to hear what is going on around you,  they are well worth the investment.

*1 Howard Leight is owned by Honeywell, An American multinational conglomerate company that produces a variety of commercial and consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments.
Source: Honeywell’s Wiki page

Amazon Prime Reviewed

First I will say that I am an affiliate of Amazon however this is NOT a paid review and Amazon had no knowledge that I planned on reviewing them.

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l like to buy things and get it as quick as possible. Waiting for whatever I bought bugs the living hell out of me! When I have a product I am review for a company I have to have the tracking codes to stalk that package until the moment it is in my hands… yes I know I have a problem and no I don’t need counseling! I like being this way.

In 2012 I was offered an upgrade on my Amazon account to the prime for a 90 day trial. I opted in and found the free 2 day shipping on all Amazon Prime items for sale which I liked, but really only bought 1 thing in that time frame and it was near the end so I didn’t get a good look at what Prime was.

After my 90 days were up I noticed I still had Prime. What I had forgotten was that when I opted in that I had to actually opt out at the end of 90 days. When I saw the automatic payment for the next year ($79 for 12 months) I was mad at first that I had been suckered into this program. I was going to call them and ask for a refund and so on and so on but I cooled off and thought “what the hell, let’s keep this keep for a year and see how worth it, it truly is.”

SPOILER ALERT! It is worth the $79 for a year.

I’m behind the times and don’t really care about Netflix or other streaming programs because I have always had cable and so why pay for more TV than you can watch? Amazon Prime offers Unlimited Instant Videos which I do watch a few movies that come on when I am bored working hard on my other websites but other than that I don’t use it. I don’t read books off my tablet so the e-reader book rental. My sister has her own Amazon Prime account for her kindle and uses it almost exclusively for shows and books. But I gotta tell you, I do LOVE the shipping part.

In the past year I have bought everything from hard drives to flash lights to birthday gifts for friends using Amazon Prime because I never have to pay for shipping and I know that I can get the product in a timely manner and I am going to find what I want and it won’t be sold out like a black Friday event in a store.

Typically if I order something on a Saturday the order says it will be delivered on Wednesday but I have found that has never been the case and that I will get it on Monday or Tuesday (your results may vary)

And while we are on the subject of shipping, may I just say that I don’t get it. If you don’t have to pay premium dollars for a retail space and someone to stand around and offer me crappy service all day long, why not pass those savings on to the online shopper by offering free shipping any way? I promise that more people would buy online if shipping was included. Just look at cyber Monday sales when most retailers offer free shipping…..ok, off my soap box.

My renewal is coming up shortly and you can be guaranteed that it will be renewed and I will be enjoying another year of Amazon Prime and free 2 day shipping, streaming fun and maybe some free books now and then.

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