Chisel Grind, Which Side Is Correct?

Jan 11, 1999
I recently read something about the bevel for a right handed person should be on the right side of the blade not the left. I think this was in some literature by Wilkens in Germany. Not sure, But I think MadDog said the same on his Facts site.

So, what's going on here?
Is this true?
If it makes a difference, how much difference and why?

Web photos can be confusing. Look at Les Robertson's site. The Hawg neck knife appears with the bevel on the right side of the blade. I thought the image was transposed. Because, if you look at the Hawg folders the bevel appears on the left side. So, which is it?

If the difference is significant, why are so many manufacturers and makers putting the bevel on the wrong side?

Ron Knight

[This message has been edited by RKnight (edited 26 January 1999).]
Answer is, it depends on what you're doing. Assuming you're a right, gardening knives want the bevel on the left side, whereas cooking and utility knives want the bevel on the right side.

Why the right side? Well, imagine you're cutting some celery, and you want to cut it exactly *here*. You put the edge down on the celery. If the bevel is on the left side, it's hard to see where the edge is, exactly (since you're looking from left to right). If the bevel is on the right side, you can see exactly where the edge is. For utility work, it's easier for a righty to lay down the flat part of the blade against a ruler and cut precisely if the grind is on the right side. Right side for utility & cooking for righties.

Tradition says that the knifemaker's mark goes on the left side of the blade. So that's the way knives are photographed, with the blade pointing to the left, so the maker's mark can be seen. If the blade is ground on the right side, then the knife looks uninspiring when photographed that way. If you put the bevel on the "wrong" (left) side, the knife looks really cool photographed that way. That seems to be why Emerson ground the knife on that side. As far as everyone else, they do what Emerson does. I've since seen Emerson claim that his knife is a fighter not a utility knife, so it doesn't matter what side it's ground on, so he chose the left (photogenic) side.

What do I think? I think you shouldn't be looking at a chisel-ground tanto for utility in the first place


I was thinking of all those folders in tactical drag as a weapon.

Thanks for the laugh. I was thinking what you said, eveyone else does what Emerson does, but edited the post.

Ron Knight
Yea, what Fulcrum said.



"No, it's a Vaquero Grande in my pocket, but I am happy to see you!"


Suppose I'm right handed and I'm whittling a stick (cutting away from me) with a Benchmade 970. Because the bevel is on the left side of the blade, the blade has to be oriented with a very steep angle of attack in order to bite into the wood. If the blade were ground on the other side, I could employ a much shallower angle of attack, for thinner, more efficient cuts. Flatter cuts mean more efficient whittling.

Guess what:
I don't own any chisel-ground knives.

Guess why:
I don't like 'em.

David Rock

[This message has been edited by David Rock (edited 26 January 1999).]