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Tips for Selecting the Right Bevel Angle

Tips for Selecting the Right Angle To Sharpen Your Knives

Selecting an angle for your knife edge is an important first step in sharpening. It is probably equally as important as selecting a sharpening stone Selecting an angle is probably one of the easiest steps in sharpening, once you know the basics. To make it easy, a 20 degree bevel angle is a good starting point. If properly sharpened, the 20 degree angle will work well for most knives. If you're concerned about getting more performance from your knife you can fine tune the bevel angle to meet the specific needs of your knife.

Sharpness and durability are the two factors when deciding on a sharpening bevel angle. The lower the angle the sharper it becomes, but it also becomes less durable and more prone to chipping. If you seek a very durable edge, a larger angle is preferred because it can withstand more than the thinner edge of a low bevel angle.

Reasons to Use a Lower Angle

You can improve the cutting performance of a knife by sharpening it to a lower angle. A lower angle will tend to cut with less effort. Knives that are cutting softer materials or will not be seeing any hard impacts are good candidates for a lower angle. When we say lower angle, we're generally talking about anything below 20 degrees.

Reasons to Use a Higher Angle

The primary reason to sharpen to a higher angle is durability. The durability of a knife is dependent on primarily 3 factors; the composition of the steel, the heat treating of the steel and angle it is sharpened. With any given knife, we can only control the angle. Any edge can become more durable by sharpening it to a higher angle. If you use your pocket knife to split kindling, a higher angle will help keep the edge from failing. A common edge failure is for the edge to fold over. This failure feels a lot like a burr on the edge. If a sharpened blade fails in this manner, try a higher angle and your edge may stay sharper longer.

The angle you choose is a matter of personal preference. We've developed this chart as a starting point for your knives and other bladed tools. Remember, you can customize the angle to suit the particular needs of how you're using your knife by raising or lowering the angle.

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart

Type of Knife or Tool Recommended Angle
  • Cleaver
  • Machete
    25 - 30 Degrees
    • Hunting Knives
    • Pocket Knives
    • Survival Knives
    • Sport Knives
      22 - 25 Degrees
      • Chef's Knives
      • Kitchen Knives
      • Smaller Knives
      • Boning Knives
      • Carving Knives
        17 - 22 Degrees
        • Fillet Knives
        • Paring Knives
        • Sushi Knives
        • Most Japanese Cutlery
          12 - 17 Degrees
          • Straight Razors
          • Razor Blades
          • X-Acto Knives
            7 to 12 Degrees

            We carry of full line of sharpening stones, guided sharpeners, and sharpening machines. Each of our systems can be used to sharpen knives to the angle of your choice. If you have a question selecting a sharper or have questions on sharpening angles, please contact on of our our sharpening specialists.