Outdoor & Pocket Knives

Outdoor & Pocket Knives get used to do work. The guidance below is based on such use. If you are sharpening for collection, other angles should be considered, based on the desired outcome. If you are sharpening the blade for activities like filleting fish, sharpen the knife as if it were for the kitchen.

Guidelines shown below are for Included Angles (α).
The Bevel Angle (β) is sometimes called “degrees per side”.

The shape of the grind you give the blade should be based on the knife's use and your own experience. Additional notes are available for grind profiles and micro bevels.

CB's USB Projection Calculator is recommended for calculating setup for Tormek knife jigs. (The simpler Projection Calculator is also still available. This one is web-based and does not require Excel.)

General Guidelines
Blade Type Blade Thickness α Micro Bevel Notes Recommended
Tormek Jigs

Drop Point Blade

Double Edge Blade

up to
23° - 24°

This is a very common blade shape.

When sharpening a Swiss Army Knife (or knives with similar blades), no micro bevel is added. This is due to the blade's overall thickness being thinner (roughly 0.063" / 1.6mm).

Morakniv knives are shipped with a Scandi Grind and a micro bevel. The resulting cutting edge angle is 35° - 45°. The micro bevel is 0.05 - 0.5 mm wide. This is done to make the edge less fragile and enable better edge retention.



1.6mm -
23° - 24°
2° - 5°
3° - 5°

Wharncliffe Blade

(any) 40° - 45°
This is a blade often used for scraping actions. Thusly, it is sharpened to a higher angle, and no micro bevel is added.

Sheep's Foot Blade

(any) 30°
0° - 5°
This blade is sharpened to a greater angle. This is to allow for its use on tougher materials.

If the sharpener wants to add a micro bevel, an additional 2°-5° should be sufficient.

(This is sometimes called a “Spey Point Blade”.)

Use same α angle for both setting the apex angle, and for edge-leading honing (up to 8,000 grit).

Deburring Guidelines
Type 1st Deburring 2d Deburring Notes
Angle Grit size Angle Grit size
Harder steels -0.1° to -0.3°
3 to 6
3° to 6°
0.25 to 0.5
Edge Angle Stropping - for steels which are brittle, have high hardness, are high carbon or carbide steels.
Softer steels
3 to 6
0.4° to 2°
High Angle Stropping - for steels which are tough or ductile, have low hardness or low carbon, or are fine carbide.

Grit size measured in µm (aka, microns)

Notes & Comments

More Information

Videos & Presentations

Published Articles

  • Research Articles, Other Information, and some Final Thoughts. Some key ones for this topic are 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.

    • Dr. Vadim Kraichuk posted a great analysis titled, "Edge Stability in Butcher’s and Kitchen Knives as a Function of Edge Angle and Initial Sharpness" on the BESS EXchange.

    • Click on either image for bigger size.
      Images courtesy Todd Simpson
      via Dr. Vadim Kraichuk of KnifeGrinders
    • Polished or "toothy" bevel? An article by Larrin, "How Chipping of Edges Happens at a Microscopic Level" (on Knife Steel Nerds), debunks the idea of coarse edges due to the increased propensity for chipping and faster dulling of the blade. As noted by Dr. Vadim Kraichuk, "Meat plants are well aware that knives with coarse edges worsen product presentation and increase operators' fatigue and repetitive strain injuries. On the contrary, polished edges improve product quality through higher value cuts and increase throughput.".

    • 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.

Web Sites

  • Jigs, Fixtures, & Modifications. One of the key ones for this topic is below.

    • Jan Švancara posted a design for using a knife sharpening platform in 2015 on the Tormek Forum. This is certainly worth reading, and there are also pictures of this in the jigs section.

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.