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 20°
Concave or Slightly Convex Could be as low as to 15° or 16° 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 20°
(see below) Could be up to 25° included angle.
Sloyd Knife 22 - 25°
(see below) Can go smaller or greater, depending on need. The convex grind is preferred by some as it gives a radius from which to adjust the angle of attack. Others say differently. You will need to identify which you prefer.

Some versions of this knife, more common with those which are hand-made, do not have the same angle on each side. This means the Bevel Angle () may not be 50% of the Included Angle ().

It is advisable to use a Sharpie marker to ensure you are grinding the same angle as was delivered. Once you have achieved the angle that matches the grind, record it onto a label attached to the knife. This will enable you to repeat the grind easier next time.


Notes & Comments
  • The shape of the grind used is a call best made by the tool's use, based on your own experience. Additional notes are available on separate web pages for:

  • A great general reference is the U.S. War Department's TM 9-867 Maintenance and Care of Hand Tools.

  • 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
Tormek Live Sharpening Class - Part 4 - Carving Knife & Carving Tools

Wolfgang and Sèbastian from Tormek go through the sharpening of carving knives and various carving tools such as v-tools, carving gouges and short wood chisels.

The commentary that starts at 10:40 about setup of the Tormek SVM-00 Small Knife Holder Jig are excellent.

Around 24:00, there is a discussion on sharpening hook knives (with the grind on the outside edge). Sharpening the inside edge must be done by hand, or using the method advocated in The Complete Guide to Sharpening (1996) by Leonard Lee.

Tormek Live Sharpening Class - Part 1. Knife sharpening

Wolfgang and Sèbastian from Tormek talk about different techniques for knife sharpening.

Tormek Live Sharpening Class - Part 9 - Sharpen a flat bevel with Tormek MB-100 on a diamond wheel

In this episode we learn how to use the Tormek MB-100 Multi Base to sharpen a completely flat bevel ▼, on the side of Tormek's diamond wheels DC-250, DF-250 and DE-250. For some tools, such as 🎻 luthier knives,🔪 Kiridashi knives, v-tools, chip carving knives and Japanese plane irons, a completely flat surface on the bevel is preferred over a slightly concave, which you get when you sharpen on the rounded part of the grinding wheel. For some people this is more of a personal preference.

Regardless of what might be the reason to want a flat bevel, Sèbastian and Wolfgang show how to achieve it with your Tormek wet sharpening system, They will also touch upon the differences between the different types of bevels.

Tormek Live Sharpening Class - Part 10. Advanced knife sharpening

Wolfgang and Sèbastian from Tormek talk about advanced techniques for knife sharpening.

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 common Tormek mistakes in knife sharpening
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.