Carving Knives

Guidelines shown below are for Included Angles ().


Green wood carving can have a lower included angle () than dry wood carving.


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 Grind Profile Notes
Chip Carving Knife 20º
Concave or Slightly Convex Could be as low as to 15º or 16º included angle, especially on softer woods. The Scandi grind can be "grabby" on the wood when slicing into it. The micro-bevel grind does not cut as cleanly.
General Carving Knife 20º
(see below) Could be up to 25º included angle.
Sloyd Knife 25º
(see below) Can go smaller or greater, depending on need. The convex grind is


Notes & Comments
Grind Profiles (exaggerated)

Scandi grind - This bevel shape does provide a good guide to stabilize the cutting action, however it is so long that it may be difficult to pull out of the cut (i.e., for stop cuts).

If you use this grind, then decrease the value for .

Grind with micro-bevel - 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 large enough bevel for anchoring the cut; however if the bevel on the micro-bevel is long enough, it is quite usable. Also, this grind shape allows for great flexibility. (Additional notes are also available on a different web page for Micro / Secondary Bevels.)

Concave grind - This is the grind achieved when using round grindstones (e.g., on a Tormek), though the concavity is quite small, especially on such a small grinding surface width.

Some carvers do not like to use concave grinds : they do find that a microbevel can be added to the concave grind (as above), and that works quite well.

Convex grind - This grind is not recommended for the general carving knife; however it is recommended by some for chip carving. It does allow for great flexibility; however it does not provide adequate anchoring for the cutting action.


  • The shape of the grind used 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. One of the key ones for this topic is below.

    • If you want to get truly sharp, Dr. Vadim Kraichuk with KnifeGrinders has a really good method and has adapted the Tormek system to these wheels. The KnifeGrinder method is one that is proven, and has great tools to assist with making it easy.


    • 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 scanning electron microscope (SEM) images to the right 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


Tormek is a copyrighted logo of Tormek AB. Its presentation on this site is used to help the user quickly understand when specific Tormek tools, jigs, or setting are being used. For specific information regarding Tormek AB, or its products, please refer to the www.Tormek.com.


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 SharpeningHandbook@Gmail.com.