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The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening Scandi Grind Knives

The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening Scandi Grind Knives

I’ve spent thousands of hours carving with a variety of Scandi grind knives, using them to make wooden spoons, cups, bowls, and more. Together, we'll dive into the world of Scandi grinds, focusing on the optimal sharpening angles, and using that knowledge in a step-by-step sharpening tutorial.

Scandi grind knives hold a special place in the hearts of outdoor enthusiasts, bushcrafters, and knife aficionados alike. Known for their exceptional wood-cutting capabilities, Scandi grinds are a favorite for anyone who values precision and capability in their cutting tools.

Whether you're a seasoned sharpener or new to the craft, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to keep your Scandi grind knives in top condition.

What is a Scandi Grind?

A Scandi grind, short for Scandinavian grind, features a single, flat bevel that extends from just below the midpoint of the blade to the cutting edge. This unique design eliminates the need for a secondary bevel, making the Scandi grind exceptionally sharp and easy to maintain. Originating from the Scandinavian tradition of woodcraft, this grind is designed to excel in wood cutting and carving tasks, offering unparalleled control and efficiency.

The wide, flat bevel functions similarly to a chisel, giving you a flat surface to reference your cuts. This design makes the knife ideal for woodworking, bushcraft, and outdoor activities, where precision and reliability are paramount.

Pictured: A Morakniv Garberg with a factory grind that includes a micro bevel.

Due to its popularity, some Scandi grinds include a micro bevel. The micro bevel adds durability, making Scandi grinds better all-round knives, but takes them away from their original purpose as fine woodworking tools. A true Scandi grind does not include a micro bevel, but we’ll touch on them a little more, later in the article.

The Ideal Sharpening Angle for Scandi Grinds

The optimal sharpening angle for Scandi grind knives is a topic of much discussion among enthusiasts. Generally, most Scandi grind knives perform best when sharpened at an angle of 12 degrees per side for blades up to 2.5 mm in thickness, and 14 degrees for thicker blades.

This means that Scandi grind knives have a low sharpening angle. This makes them extremely sharp but does mean they can be fragile.

As mentioned, some Scandi grind knives feature a micro bevel, which can range from 17-22 degrees per side. Typically these micro bevels are very small, just 0.05-0.5mm wide. Personally, I don’t like adding a micro-bevel, but I’m using my Scandi grind knives for fine woodworking and have other tools for more hard-use tasks.

How to Sharpen a Scandi Grind Knife: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Due to the size of the bevel, sharpening a Scandi grind knife is simple to do freehand. It is very easy to feel when the bevel is in contact with the sharpening surface. However, the large size also means that quite a lot of material needs to be removed, so make sure you have the appropriate grits.

Coarse stones will remove material quickly and having a good progression of grits will speed up the process.

In this tutorial, I will be using the Sharpening Supplies 8” XL Water Stone Kit Plus, but the techniques will be the same for any bench stones. Here's how to do it:

  1. Preparation: Inspect the blade for any nicks or unevenness along the edge. How dull or damaged the edge is will determine what grit to start on. Since this knife is quite dull, I’ll start with the 220-grit side of the stone. These stones require soaking before use. I also have a spray bottle to keep the surface wet and clear of swarf (metal filings). Secure your sharpening stone on a solid surface with good lighting.

  2. Marking the Bevel: Using a marker, color the bevel of your knife. This visual aid will help you ensure that you're removing steel evenly across the bevel.

  3. Sharpening:. Lay the flat side of the knife onto the stone, then tilt it until the bevel lies flat against the stone's surface. Using moderate pressure, push and pull the knife across the stone, focusing on maintaining the correct angle.

    Start with the straight portion of the blade, moving towards the belly and tip as you progress. To maintain the correct angle through the curve of the tip, you will need to slightly raise the knife handle. Do this by raising your elbow, which keeps your wrist straight. It’s easier to maintain a consistent angle this way.

    You don’t need to sharpen the full length of the bevel with each pass. You can sharpen in sections along the length of the knife. Just make sure you’re spending an equal amount of time on each part of the edge to keep the grind even.

  4. Inspect your bevel: Periodically check the bevel to ensure you're removing the marker evenly. Continue sharpening until you've achieved a consistent finish across the bevel. You know you have sharpened to the edge when you can feel a burr along the full length of the edge.

  5. Flip and Repeat: Flip the knife over and sharpen the other side. I like to switch hands when I flip the knife over, but you can keep using your dominant hand if that’s easier for you. Sharp this side until you have raised a burr again. Try to perform the same number of passes on each side of the knife to maintain even bevels on both sides.

  6. Progress Through the Grits: Sharpening on your coarse stone is what creates a new edge. Finer stones will refine that edge, but switching to fine stones before you’ve properly raised a burr on both sides will just polish the bevel without touching the actual edge. Perform the previous steps properly and these next steps will progress much quicker.

    As you use finer and finer grits, apply less and less pressure on the knife. Once you get to the 3000-grit stone, you might not be able to feel a burr since they can be extremely fine. Instead, inspect the scratch pattern on the bevel and sharpen until you’ve polished away the deeper scratches from the previous grits. Continue to perform the same number of passes on each bevel.

  7. Stropping: For the finest edge, strop your knife on leather with honing paste. Make sure you move the knife across the strop with the edge trailing, otherwise you will cut into the leather.

    Use light pressure and make sure that you don’t roll the knife over the edge when you change directions. I like to spend one minute stropping each bevel and one minute alternating sides. Stropping shouldn’t take too long if you’ve performed your initial sharpening correctly.

  8. Testing Sharpness: Perform a cut test to check the sharpness. A well-sharpened Scandi grind knife should easily slice wood, leaving a fine, smooth finish. If you're using an Edge-on-Up, I like to achieve a score below 150 grams. 

  9. Protect Your Edge: Finally, protect your freshly sharpened blade with a light coating of oil, ensuring it's ready for your next adventure.


A Scandi grind knife is a powerful tool in the hands of those who know how to maintain it. By understanding the ideal sharpening angles and mastering the sharpening process, you can ensure your Scandi grind knives are always in peak condition, ready to handle whatever tasks come their way. Whether you're whittling a spoon or preparing kindling for a fire, a sharp Scandi grind knife is an indispensable companion. Remember, the key to a perfectly sharpened knife lies in patience, practice, and precision. Happy sharpening!