Sharpening Angle

Discussion in 'Traditional Folders and Fixed Blades' started by Viper84, Jan 9, 2021.

  1. Viper84

    Viper84 Patina Artist Platinum Member

    Dec 31, 2020
    What sharpening angle do you put on your traditional pocket knives?

    I typically put 40 degrees inclusive on all of my other knives, but I'm wondering if 30 degrees inclusive is better for the thinner blades you get with traditional pocket knives.
  2. SDknifeguy

    SDknifeguy Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 19, 2020
    I've been wondering the same thing. hope you get some good responses.
  3. CAP55


    Dec 29, 2020
    I don't know why a more acute bevel on a thinner blade would be better, if anything it would make the blade more susceptible to chipping and rolling. You want to leave enough metal in the bevel to support general use; anything from opening the mail, breaking down boxes to cutting tie wraps. I tend to stick with the bevel the manufacturer uses unless I have a specific application in mind, wood carving for example.
  4. Lesknife

    Lesknife Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I put a 15 DPS = 30 inclusive on all my knives. On some of my larger fixed blades that get some rougher usage out camping and light chopping duty I put a 17 dps micro edge just to have a bit stronger edge. If your knife has good heat treatment and is primarily used for slicing/cutting then it should be good for 15 dps.
    Tx308 likes this.
  5. solphilos

    solphilos Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    I also aim for about 30 degrees inclusive on most blades. With multiple blade patterns I like to reserve a blade for rough use so I’ll use a thicker bevel, which usually means just leaving the factory edge alone.
    Getting older, Lesknife and r8shell like this.
  6. r8shell

    r8shell Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Jan 16, 2010
    I usually aim for 15 degrees per side (30 inclusive) but I don't know exactly what angle I'm at when sharpening by hand. As long as it ends up under 20 degrees, I can use the fine rods on my SharpMaker to hone a 40 degree inclusive micro-bevel.
    CelloDan and solphilos like this.
  7. Chui

    Chui Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 10, 2012
    Usually, will mark the cutting edge each side with permanent marker then check out the existing angle on the Sharpmaker........then keep whatever it is going, likely 15 or 20 deg each side

    Often, if it’s a fairly high grade steel, it’ll be 15 each side - my preferable angle for the slicing and cutting I generally do day to day.

    Changing a very high grade edge from 20 to 15deg can be a bit of a chore..!
    CelloDan, Viper84 and solphilos like this.
  8. solphilos

    solphilos Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    This is pretty much what I do with most knives. I’ll check the bevel with the brown stones and if I wish to reprofile to that bevel I’ll rest a diamond stone against the sharpmaker stone and do it that way. One day I’ll invest in the proper sharpmaker stones :rolleyes:
    r8shell and Viper84 like this.
  9. Viper84

    Viper84 Patina Artist Platinum Member

    Dec 31, 2020
    You bring up a good point about the steel type. Since many traditionals use 1095 carbon steel, what sharpening angle is best for that steel type?
  10. solphilos

    solphilos Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    That what I do with particularly thick edges or harder steels that will take too long to do by hand. I’ll use the Work Sharp to knock down the bevel to less than 30 inclusive then onto the sharpmaker for a microbevel. Long live the Sharpmaker :D
    r8shell likes this.
  11. solphilos

    solphilos Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 17, 2009
    With GECs heat treatment I’ve had no issues going down the 15 per side, same with Cases CV. 20 degrees is probably fine for harder use or softer steels, probably a safer bet for general use across a spectrum of steels.
    It really depends on your expected use and how you like your knives to cut.
    Storm 8593, Ramrodmb and Viper84 like this.
  12. Tx308

    Tx308 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 30, 2014
    I have been sharpening on an Edge Pro for several years and kept records of the edge angles put on different knives. For thinner bladed traditionals I have come to use a 15 deg per side 30 deg inclusive. For thicker traditionals I occasionally bump it up to 17.5 per side or 35 inclusive. I started out sharpening most everything to the commonly recommended 20 degrees per side but observed that I had to sharpen more frequently than the ones I tried at 15 per side. The loser angle also allows stropping to be more effective between sharpening at least in my experience. I read a thread here from @Larrin that in his research a blade sharpened thinner will remain sharper longer but I am horrible at digging up older threads, maybe someone else could find it or correct me if mistaken. As a side note 30 inclusive is a great angle for 'modern/super steels.

    All that said the thing I've observed in sharpening is to get past the 'soft' factory edge. After a couple of sharpenings all the knives seem to hold their edge much longer.
    Lesknife, solphilos and Viper84 like this.
  13. After I 'make it my own' with freehand sharpening to my preference, my traditional knives' edges end up somewhere in the 25° - 30° inclusive (12.5° - 15° per side) ballpark. And even then, most are likely in the narrower end of that range. A few of mine might even be narrower than that.

    I generally don't even carry a knife until it's been profiled to something at or below 30° inclusive, at least. I've become spoiled on the effortless cutting afforded by such geometry and I'm not willing to use anything wider than that, anymore. I absolutely DON'T use my knives for anything other than cutting - no prying or screwdriver use at all. So long as I avoid such abuse, my edges hold up just fine and are simple to touch up as needed, thanks again to the narrower edge geometry making resharpening that much easier.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021
  14. afishhunter

    afishhunter Basic Member Basic Member

    Oct 21, 2014
    Pocket knives, hunting/sheath knives, and "kitchen knives": 10 DPS/20 degrees inclusive. That is what I was taught 60 odd years ago, and what a Case sharpening guide from the 1950's or 1960's I have, says to sharpen a knife to.

    The "tactical" 15 DPS "knife edge" hadn't been invented when I learned to sharpen. 15 DPS/30 degrees inclusive was what you put on your axe/hatchet/tomahawk, and maybe your meat cleaver, and/or spear head; not a knife.

    1)Scandi grind is whatever the bevel angle the factory used/uses. I'm not going to try and reprofile to 10DPS, or convert a Scandi grind to a Saber grind by putting a micro bevel on.

    2) My patch knife used when shooting my muzzleloaders is a straight razor. I sharpen it to a razor's 5 to 7 DPS. no micro bevel, unless it came with one. Spine and edge touch the stone, as designed.

    @Tx308 I remember reading that about the more acute angles holding an edge longer, too.
    I think it was in the article linked in his tread though, not in the thread itself .... maybe the "I tested the edge retention of 38 Steels" thread?
    (a sticky now over in General)

    Stropping (or a butcher's/chef's steel) usually restores any rare rolled edge, in my experience.
    I've never had an edge chip.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
  15. CAP55


    Dec 29, 2020
    What the manufacturers say:
    Case: 10-15 DPS
    Buck: 13-16 DPS
    Victorinox: 15-20 DPS

    Case and Buck illustrate their sharpening method using fixed blade hunting knives while Victorinox knives are usually general-purpose knives. I follow their lead when I sharpen, never actually measured a bevel since I don't have a reason to change one and after several decades of sharpening I rely on muscle memory not guides. I have never chipped a blade even on fine Skandi grind carving knives but have had a pocket knife edge roll on occasion.
    afishhunter likes this.
  16. knarfeng

    knarfeng senex morosus moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Jul 30, 2006
    I use the same rules of thumb for Traditionals that I do for my modern knives.
    Steel hardness ~54-56? 40 deg inclusive
    Steel hardness 57 and above? 30 deg inclusive

    Buck runs their steel at ~58-59, so my Buck 300 series knives are sharpened at 30 deg inclusive
    Case and Rough Rider run their steel at ~55-56, so those are sharpened at 40 deg inclusive.
  17. SVTFreak

    SVTFreak Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 8, 2011
    I put mine at 19 dps and then touch up on the sharp maker. I find shallower than that, I tend to get rolls or chips depending on hardness.
  18. lambertiana

    lambertiana Gold Member Gold Member

    Jul 7, 2000
    I usually do around 15dps, but sometimes lower angle for higher Rc blades.
  19. Ernie1980

    Ernie1980 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 19, 2012
    I am not sure of the exact angle since my edges are freehand, but they end up between 15-20. The only thing I do differently on a given knife is the level of finish, which depends on the steel and how I will be using the knife. The thinner stock on most traditionals lends itself to better slicing no matter what the angle of the edge IMO.
    r8shell and Storm 8593 like this.
  20. dantzk8


    Nov 1, 2005
    Somewhere between 20° and 25° inclusive. I sharpen freehand and roughly check the angle value with a gauge. It happens i get some edge rolling but it's for me part of the daily routine to strop the edge on a piece of leather loaded with chromium oxide that i carry. 30° seems big, that's the angle i put on my felling and splitting axes.
    One thing i do, which isn't often mentioned, is to grind the primary bevels on a fine stone at each sharpening. Some passes are enough to preserve the initial cutting ability or eventually to improve it. Even at 10° per side a bevel hasn't to be wide.

    Mr. Chips likes this.

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