Best angle to sharpen SRK?

Aug 17, 1999
I just picked up a used Cold Steel SRK that does not appear to have been sharpened. The angle appears to be 30 degrees or more. I have a Lansky and was wondering if 25 degrees would be better. I was under the impression the makers usually use the best angle for a particular knife. I'm fairly new to the technical side of knives and would appreciate any help. Thanks

I use 20 or 25. Start with 25, should work well, does for me. Maybe one of the experts like Joe Talmadge or someone might know more about this, for this particular knife...
What ever it is, its too much. I took mine down to somewhere between 22 and 25 and it cuts much better as a result.

Factories do not always sharpen to the smallest angle compatible with the rest of the knife's geometry, steels, etc. Some of this also depends on application.
I whittled mine in at 20 for the initial re-sharpening (and this was a bitch to do) and now all I use is a flat diamond to re-touch. I've found that on most 'wilderness' fixed blades, after you get the initial angle right, throw the fancy sharpeners away and use what you have with you. At least that works for me.

Randall's Adventure & Training

I have a couple a CS recon tanto and a master hunter. I believe I read in some CS literature that the angle used was 23 degrees for one or the other or both of my knives. I use the Lansky sharpening system and have found 25 degrees works fine. The edge goes on pretty easily and holds up pretty well.
The factory edge on my SRK was sturdy but not too sharp. I filed it back about 3/16th", probably 25 or so degrees. Works well for general utility, skinning (moose, etc. Great steel too.
I found the original angle way too big, the thing just doesn't cut. So I started reprofiling the edge, but as Jeff mentioned it can take quite a while. I eventually lost patience, stuck the thing in a vice, and ground the edge down with a file. That left little dings on the finish, but now I have an SRK that cuts well. Carbon V is pretty dang tough -- even with the much thinner edge, I can chop without fear of damage.

Anyway, in answer to the question you asked, 25 degrees would be better than the initial edge. But doing that on a lansky, you're going to discover one of the disadvantages of working with those doodads -- can't get enough elbow grease to remove a lot of metal quickly!

They're right! I use my Lansky diamond with the extra course cutter for the initial edge, and that part takes the longest. But be patient, and also, you don't really need to use a lot of elbow grease. Its a good project when you have a ball game on radio to listen to, so you can keep an eye on your work. I just sharpened a commerative k-bar w/carbon steel blade the other day at 20-degree angle, and is it sharp. My wife can tell I've been sharpening knives by my missing patches of hair on my front legs, and she gives me a bad time about it.
Thanks to everyone for your help. I love this forum and I'm glad to be a part of it. I can already tell it's going to cost me big bucks.