15° or 20°?

 

How to choose the grinding angle when using the HORL® 2 or the HORL® 2 Pro

What is the difference between the two grinding angles of 15° and 20°?

The grinding angle has an influence on the sharpness of your knife as well as how long it will stay sharp. According to the quality and shape of the blade, the following applies: the smaller the angle, the sharper your knife will be. In general, you can sharpen all kitchen knives and all qualities with the stable 20° angle, because it achieves a very good basic sharpness. But, some knives have special steel compositions and qualities that allow them to be sharpened even finer with the 15° angle.

Extra fine 15° grinding angle for filigree sharpness

  • results in a thin edge, whit less resistance while cutting
  • ideal for knives for fine cutting work, e.g.: sushi, sashimi
  • razor sharp results
  • demands a sensible usage to avoid outbursts
  • less durable sharpness due to brittle steels

Ideal for:
fine blades, Damascus knives, Asian kitchen knives, particularly hard steels with a high carbon content

All-round 20° grinding angle for robust sharpness

  • results in a stable, easy care blade
  • ideal for general tasks in the kitchen 
  • good sharpness in less time 
  • long lasting sharpness
  • slightly less sharpness compared to the 15° angle

Ideal for: 
European kitchen knives, hard or soft steel, stainless and rust-resistant steels, universal blades with a large spine, very dull knives, outdoor knives

How do I choose which grinding angle is best suited for my knife?

Manufacturer’s information

Manufacturers usually recommend the angle that is best for sharpening your knife. For most knives, it is recommended to sharpen with an angle between 15° and 20°. If the recommendation differs by a few degrees, an approximation of the angle is not a problem.

Shape of the blade

The blade’s geometry will give you indications for choosing the right grinding angle. The golden rule: filigree blades will achieve a fine sharpness with the 15° angle, universal blades with a robust spine will achieve a stable sharpness with the 20° angle.

Condition of the knife

If you have not sharpened your knife for a while, a little patience will be needed. If the grinding process takes longer than 10 to 15 minutes, we recommend using the 20° grinding angle. In extremely difficult cases or very dull knives, we recommend the coarse diamond surface which will remove even more material.

How can I check if this is the right angle for my knife? 

The marker pen method in the video will help you find out if the 15° angle is suited to your knife and whether the knife has learned the new angle. Furthermore, you can see and check the sharpening process. To do this, draw a thin line with a marker pen along the blade, so that you get a line on both sides of the cutting edge. Grind your knife for a few minutes with the 15° angle. The knife is suitable if the marker pen line has disappeared. However, if the line is still visible after a few minutes of grinding, we recommend changing to the 20° angle. If you have the feeling that the knife gets dull quickly with usage, it is possible that the steel is too hard or too soft for the 15° angle. In this case, we recommend that you sharpen your knife with the 20° angle. 

We are a family of innovation pioneers with 25+ years of experience in knife sharpening based at the foot of the Black Forest.