Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (2022)

The secret how to sharpen a knife are the following three things: A consistent knife sharpening angle during the process on a stone. Followed by a diamond or ceramic rod. And finished with a strop.

I just sharpened some of my knives, so I recalled and updated this post. Sharpening knives can be kind of like therapy (grin).

See below for specific manufacturer bevel angles:

quick-jump to sections:

1. Maintaining consistent angle with sharpening stone

3. Stropping to a razor edge

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart

Consistent Angle

Maintain Consistent Sharpening Angle

It’s all about the proper sharpening angle (degrees) and keeping it the same / consistent during the process.

Do you know the proper sharpening angle for your knife?

Knives have varying bevel angles. It depends on the manufacturer and model type.

Common Sharpening Angles (degrees per side)

Pocket Knives – 20
Hunting Knives – 22
Euro/American Kitchen Knives – 20
Asian Edge Kitchen Knives – 16
Fillet Knives – 16
Tactical Knives – 23
Custom Knives – Varies by Designer

(jump to specific manufacturer recommendations below)

One quick-and-easy way to restore a sharp cutting edge is to use an adjustable knife sharpener. Simply select the same angle as your knife edge.

It’s an alternative to having a fixed angle or guided knife sharpener. Among the different types and techniques of sharpening, I also have (and use) the following ‘quick’ sharpener from Smith’s.

Smith’s 50264 Adjustable
(view on amzn)

(Video) How to find the sharpening angle on ANY knife with ANY sharpening method!

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (1)

The best of the best? If money is no object, here’s what I consider to be possibly the best knife sharpener system. The Wicked Edge Pro system.

Wicked Edge Pro Pack 1
(view on amzn)

Short video about it:

Knife Sharpening Abrasives

Types of sharpening abrasive materials include Diamond, Carbides, Ceramics, Arkansas Stones, and Synthetics. Each have their own unique characteristics and sharpening capabilities:

Diamond Sharpener

Because diamonds are the hardest substance known to man, diamond abrasive knife sharpeners are fast, durable, and very effective.

They are very aggressive and remove metal quickly.

Premium diamond sharpening surfaces are characterized by a (interrupted) surface that collects and hold the metal filings that ordinarily build-up.

This allows sharpening with or without honing solution. Excellent for use on very hard tools or stainless steel.

Diamond stones always remain flat, as opposed to Natural Arkansas and Synthetic stones which wear down with use. They come in multiple grits.

Carbide Sharpener

Carbide is very aggressive and removes metal quickly.

It’s great for quickly restoring a good working edge in 3 or 4 strokes.

Ceramic Sharpener

Unlike other sharpening abrasives, Ceramic removes very little metal.

It’s excellent for finishing and maintaining a sharp edge.

Ceramic (and ceramic sharpening rods) come in various grits, colors, and shapes.

Arkansas Sharpening Stones

Arkansas stones are genuine silica “novaculite,” indigenous to Arkansas.

They remove the least amount of metal while polishing your edge to razor sharpness.

No other knife sharpener can perform both these tasks simultaneously. They are the best abrasive for honing and polishing an edge to razor sharpness and are known as “the world’s finest finishing stone.”

Synthetic Knife Sharpeners

Man-made stone; great for quick edge setting as well as final finishing. They also come in multiple grits, colors, or shapes.

(Video) PERFECTLY sharp knifes! 3D PRINTED sharpening tool 🍴

Manufacturer Recommendations

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart (data from manufacturers)

Wondering what angle to sharpen your knife? It’s best to check with the manufacturer. Here’s a chart with sharpening angles from a number of various manufacturers.

(degrees per side):

Chef’s knife:

Global – 17
Shun – 16
Wusthof – 14
Zwilling Henckel / Cronidur – 12.5
All other Zwilling Henckel – 15

Serrated Knife:

All Brands – Manual Sharpening; Serrated Slot ONLY

Santoku Knife:

Global – 17
Shun – 16
Wusthof – 11
Zwilling Henckel / Cronidur – 12.5
All other Zwilling Henckel – 15

Paring Knife:

Global – 17
Shun – 16
Wusthof – 14
Zwilling Henckel / Cronidur – 12.5
All other Zwilling Henckel – 15

Utility knife:

Global – 17
Shun – 16
Wusthof – 14
Zwilling Henckel / Cronidur – 12.5
All other Zwilling Henckel – 15

Boning Knife:

Global – 17
Shun – 16
Wusthof – 18
Zwilling Henckel / Cronidur – 12.5
All other Zwilling Henckel – 15

Everyday Pocket Knives/Multi-Tools:

Al Mar – 20
Benchmade – 18-20
Blade-Tech – 20-22
Boker USA – 20-22
Buck – 13-16
Camillus – 23
Case – 19-22
Cold Steel – 23-25
Columbia River (CRKT) – 17-22.5(depending on designer)
KA-BAR – Listed on their website on a per knife basis, but generally 15 degrees per side
Kershaw – 20-22
Knives of Alaska – 18-20
Outdoor Edge – 20
SOG knife sharpening angle – 22 for flat grinds; 18-20 for hollow grinds
Spyderco – 20
Victorinox – 15-20
Winchester – Suggest using Smith’s recommended angle for knife type

Hunting/Outdoor – Fixed Blade:

Al Mar – 20
Benchmade – 18-20
Blade-Tech – 20-22
Boker USA – 20-22
Buck – 13-16
Camillus – 23
Case – 19-22
Cold Steel – 23-25
Columbia River (CRKT) – 17-22.5(depending on designer)
KA-BAR – Listed on their website on a per knife basis, but generally 20 degrees per side
Kershaw – 20-22
Knives of Alaska – 18-20
Outdoor Edge – 20
SOG – 22 for flat grinds; 18-20 for hollow grinds
Spyderco – 20
Winchester – Suggest using Smith’s recommended angle for knife type

Hunting knives / Folders:

Al Mar – 20
Benchmade – 18-20
Blade-Tech – 20-22
Boker USA – 20-22
Buck – 13-16
Camillus – 23
Case – 19-22
Cold Steel – 23-25
Columbia River (CRKT) – 17-22.5(depending on designer)
KA-BAR – Listed on their website on a per knife basis, but generally 15 degrees per side
Kershaw – 20-22
Knives of Alaska – 18-20
Outdoor Edge – 20
SOG – 22 for flat grinds; 18-20 for hollow grinds
Spyderco – 20
Winchester – Suggest using Smith’s recommended angle for knife type

Fillet Knives:

All Brands – 15-16

Tactical Knives:

Al Mar – 20
Benchmade – 18-20
Blade-Tech – 20-22
Boker USA – 20-22
Buck – 13-16
Camillus – 23
Case – 19-22
Cold Steel – 23-25
Columbia River (CRKT) – 17-22.5(depending on designer)
KA-BAR – Listed on their website on a per knife basis, but generally 15 degrees per side
Kershaw – 20-22
Mil-Tac – Generally 25 for Folders and 30 for Fixed Blades
SOG – 22 for flat grinds; 18-20 for hollow grinds
Spyderco – 20
Surefire – 28

Custom Knives:

A.G. Russell – 15
Chris Reeves – 18-20
William Henry – 17-22

List source: Smith’s

I also like the Lansky QuadSharp with its convenient form-factor.

Lansky QuadSharp QSHARP
(amzn)

(Video) How to sharpen your knife RAZOR SHARP!!! --- The Ruixin Pro RX-008

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (2)

Sharpening Rods

Diamond & Ceramic Rods

A knife sharpening rod works great due to the fact that every blade has a different degree of bevel or angle.

The rod allows you to let the edge guide you, while keeping the rest of the knife away from the sharpening device.

A diamond rod is for a knife blade with serious damage or very dulled blade.

The ceramic rod is for “freshening up” a dull-ish blade. I keep one on my bench as well as in the kitchen and field pack.

I use the following knife sharpening rods:

Lansky Diamond Carbide Rod
(view on amzn)

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (3)

Ceramic Rod

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (4)

Ceramic Rod with handle

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (5)

Strop

Sharpening a knife to razor edge with a Strop

This is the process in “how to sharpen a knife” where you can get your knife RAZOR SHARP!

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (6)

High Quality Leather Strop
(view on amzn)

This is the last step in the process of sharpening knives.

Stropping is a motion which pulls the cutting edge away from a substrate.

The direction of stropping strokes:

Drag the edge backwards over the strop. In other words, it’s a “trailing stroke” by pulling the knife edge rather than “leading strokes” (as you would with a stone or rod).

Use a light touch and maintain the angle of the knife edge.

Alternate sides with each stroke.

(Video) Knife Sharpening Angle Guide for 1x30 Belt Sander - Guides AWAY from Belt

Use Stropping Compound to further enhance results:

Extra Fine Buffing Compound
(view on amzn)

How to Sharpen a Pocket Knife by Hand

The basic technique to sharpen kitchen knives and a pocket knife is the same as the steps listed above!

Here’s a basic method to sharpen a knife! It works!

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (7)

Sharpening my pocket knife:

The portable knife sharpener shown in the picture is one that I often use.

It has microscopic diamonds embedded in each of the two sides (one side is finer grit than the other).

Double Sided Diafold
(view on amzn)

Sharpening Technique:

Hold the knife against the sharpening stone at the same angle as the sharpened edge itself. Then push it forward across the sharpening tool while maintaining that same angle.

After sliding the knife across the stone, don’t slide it back up against the stone… Lift the knife and start over from the top of the knife sharpener and slide it down across its surface again.

More specifically, you should sweep the knife such that you are contacting the entire surface of the blade in one arcing motion down the sharpening tool (therefore sharpening evenly). The longer the blade, the more dramatic the sweep, so as to get the entire blade in one smooth motion.

You will get into a steady rhythm while practicing. Apply light to moderate pressure.

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (8)

Maintain The Angle

The key when sharpening by hand (without a jig) is to hold and maintain the knife blade at the proper angle.

To determine that angle, it may help to first rest the knife on the edge of the stone. Look closely at the blade’s sharpened edge. Then adjust the knife’s angle until you see that the sharpened edge sits ‘flat’ against the knife sharpener tool’s surface.

Once you’ve visualized the proper angle, just go with it…

Without getting into the various differences in proper angle, suffice it to say that ‘typically’ that angle is somewhere around 20-degrees.

So one trick is to first hold the knife at a 45-degree angle against the sharpening tool (easy to visualize) and then adjust the knife to half that angle, which will be close to what you want.

Knife Sharpening Angle Chart From Manufacturers | Tools & How-to (9)

[ Read: Your Favorite Small Pocket Knife ]

(Video) How To Use The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener - Video User's Guide

FAQs

How do I know what angle to sharpen my knife? ›

How do I know if my knife is 15 or 20 degree? ›

The best way to tell is by asking the manufacturer of the knife. As a general guide, European/American knives manufactured before 2010 have 20 degree edges while Asian style knives have 15 degree edges. However, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb.

How do you use a knife angle guide? ›

Whetstone Sharpening Angle Guide - YouTube

What are the 3 settings on the knife sharpener? ›

Professional Chef Kitchen Three Stage Knife Sharpener for Fine ...

How are knives sharpened at the factory? ›

Straight- edge knives are honed and Double-D® edges receive a fresh edge on a grinding wheel. Knives then move to high speed buffing where the burr is removed, taking the knife edge from sharp to super sharp. Knives are then carefully cleaned and repackaged for their trip back to the customer.

How do you make an angle guide? ›

How To Make An Angle Cutting Guide - YouTube

What is the last thing you must do after sharpening a knife? ›

You'll know to stop sharpening your knife when you feel the burr on both sides of the blade. The last step in sharpening is to remove the burr. This is done by simply repeating the same steps, only this time with less pressure.

Can I sharpen a 20 degree knife to 15 degrees? ›

Thus, if you change their angle from 20 degrees to 15, they will require more frequent sharpening. (Japanese knives are made from a harder, more brittle steel that holds a narrower edge for longer.) What's more, you will inevitably end up removing a considerable amount of metal from your knife over time.

What happens if you sharpen a knife at the wrong angle? ›

Sharpening Angle Too High

Sharpening at too high of an angle concentrates all of your effort right at the cutting edge. It is possible to create a cutting angle that is impractically steep and feels dull. Essentially, if you are working at too high of an angle, you may be blunting your edge.

What is the best knife edge angle? ›

In fact, a 20 degrees angle is often considered the best sharing point for most knives. It is our experience that kitchen knives sharpened to 17 to 20 degrees cut very well and are still durable. For pocket or outdoor knives, a 20 degree angle would be on the low side of ideal.

Do knife angle guides work? ›

Why I Don't use Sharpening Angle Guides - YouTube

What is the best angle for kitchen knives? ›

Sharpening your knives at a 15 to 20 degree angle will provide the best results when preparing food. This angle makes the blade edge sharp enough to provide a clean cut through foods whilst retaining durability through constant use.

How do professionals sharpen knives? ›

Most of the knives are sharpened with my two main methods; the WickedEdge system or the Tormek, but there are exceptions even to these two methods. For most knives, I use the Tormek slow wet grinding sharpening system. The wheel on this system only rotates at 90 rpm. I use two Tormek machines in my process.

How do you use a three stage knife sharpener? ›

3 Stage Knife Sharpener Review (A Cut Above Cutlery) - YouTube

What are the two slots on a knife sharpener? ›

Most manual sharpeners have at least two slots- a coarse grit slot and a smoother slot.

How do you find a 20 degree angle? ›

Finding Your Angle Using Folded Paper - YouTube

What angle do you hone a knife at? ›

A 20 degree angle is the most common angle to sharpen a knife.

Do you sharpen both sides of a knife? ›

When you sharpen a knife, sharpen each side to the same degree by holding the knife at a consistent angle against the stone. Don't confuse this angle with the angle at which the two sides of the blade meet, which is called the included angle.

What is the last thing you must do after sharpening a knife? ›

You'll know to stop sharpening your knife when you feel the burr on both sides of the blade. The last step in sharpening is to remove the burr. This is done by simply repeating the same steps, only this time with less pressure.

Videos

1. What is Edge Angle? How to tell What Angle your knife is sharpened to? Workshop Ep. 9
(Work Sharp Tools)
2. Beginners Guide To Real Knife Sharpening
(Joshua Weissman)
3. Looking At Sharpening From Different Angles...
(Alex)
4. How to Sharpen an Axe (Its Easy)
(Home Built Workshop)
5. Ruixin Pro RX-008 Knife Sharpener The Best Sharpener I've Used
(Steve Jordan)
6. How to Use The Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener - User's Guide: How to Sharpen a Knife
(Work Sharp Tools)

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