Sharpening Handbook - Carving Knives Because sharp enough
... usually is not.

Guidelines shown below are for Included Angles (⍺).

CB's USB Projection Calculator is recommended for calculating setup for Tormek knife jigs. (The simpler Projection Calculator is also still available.)

General Guidelines
Type Notes
Carving Knife 20º
Could be up to 25º included angle.
Sloyd Knife 25º
Can go smaller or greater, depending on need.

Notes & Comments
Information regarding Grindstones

Image courtesy of CB

Some carvers do not like to use a carving knife with concave grinds. They have reported that honing the knife on flat stones (or the side of the SJ wheel) works best. The image to the left shows an exaggerated view of this beside a Scandi grind and a micro bevel grind.

Many carvers do not like to use a carving knife with a micro bevel grind. Their argument is that it does not give them a bevel for anchoring the cut. That is a call best made by the individual carver, based on their own experience.

Online Calculators that can be used for sharpening knives.

Research Articles, Other Information, and some Final Thoughts.

Click on either image for bigger size.
Images courtesy Todd Simpson via Dr. Vadim Kraichuk of KnifeGrinders

It is a common, but quite bad, practice of drawing the newly sharpened knife edge through a piece of wood or some other media to “rip off” the remnants of the burr. When this is done, the ripped off metal builds up on the front of the slice, and you then drag the rest of the edge through this crud. This crud, together with breaking off of ledges of material along the edge, will roughen the edge and worsen sharpness.

The following scanning electron microscope (SEM) images show the burr on a knife in the 1st image, that was then “ripped off” by cutting cross-grain into a piece of redwood in the 2nd image – loss of the sharp edge is obvious.

Key take-away from these photos : don't skip the honing step.

Good videos showing techniques and the use of the Tormek Knife Jigs : SVM-45, SVM-100 (no longer sold), SVM-140, and SVM-00:

Edge Geometry by Hewn and Hone
Jeff Farris - Knife Sharpening with Tormek
Steve Bottorff - Using Tormek Knife Jigs
Tormek Knife Jig SVM-45
Tormek Long Knife Jig SVM-140
Tormek Small Knife Holder SVM-00
Tormek AngleMaster WM-200
Herman Trivilino showing the use of a platform jig
Knife Grinders showing sharpening of knives with convex curves
Knife Grinders showing sharpening of knives with concave curves
Knife Grinders showing how to mounting the pin pivot collar on your knife jig

Pin Pivot Jig

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About this site
Remember : The goal of sharpening is to produce sharp tools, and these tools can injure you if mishandled. Safety measures should be followed to protect yourself and those in your shop. Be sure to read and follow all instructions from the manufacturer, and and utilize proper safety equipment. Never consume alcohol or anything that could impair your judgement before sharpening tools, or using sharp tools. Comments can be sent via eMail to me at