Single Bevel Knife Edge: Uses, Sharpness & Durability

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Have you ever wondered why some knives look SO different from others? Well, it all comes down to something called a bevel.

A bevel is the angle of the blade’s edge. Single-bevel knives are made with a single-sided edge, meaning only one side of the blade is sharpened. This means the blade’s edge has only one sharp angle, so the grind of the blade is a continuous incline. 

Let’s look at what a single bevel blade is, how this type of knife differs from the double bevel, and how the single edge blade performs.

Single Bevel Knife Edge- Uses, Sharpness & Durability

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What does single bevel mean?

If you take a close look at a knife, you’ll notice a slight angle on either one or both sides that runs down to the edge.

This is the bevel, and it’s the part of the knife that’s been ground to form the edge.

Single-bevel knives, also called single-edged blades, have only one side of the blade sharpened. This means that the other side is flat and unsharpened. 

If there’s a bevel on both sides, then it’s a double bevel knife. If there’s only one, then it’s a single bevel knife. 

The single bevel blade is usually used in Japanese and Asian cuisine as it allows for precision cuts which can be difficult to achieve with double-bevel knives.

Usually, Western knives have a double bevel blade which means both sides of the blade are sharpened and symmetrical. 

Single bevel blades have the angle of the sharpened side determined by its design, which results in a sharper and more precise cutting edge.

What is a single bevel knife?

A single bevel knife is essentially a kind of knife with one distinct angle on the edge.

Instead of two grinds like most knives, the grounding on one side of the blade is a single continuous incline/angle. 

So basically, a single bevel means the blade is only sharpened on one side or one edge. 

Since it has the same geometry as a wood chisel, this knife also goes by the moniker “chisel grind.”

The bevel angle of a single bevel knife is typically between 15 and 20 degrees, and it can be either left- or right-handed. 

  • Single-bevel knives are super sharp, but also super delicate. 
  • They won’t last as long as double-bevel knives, and need more frequent sharpening. 
  • Plus, they’re more likely to chip and break than their double-bevel counterparts. 

A cook who uses their right hand will use a right-hand bevel knife, while a chef who uses their left hand would use the reverse.

This type of knife is typically used in Japanese and Asian cuisine as it allows for greater precision when cutting. 

Single bevel blades offer a unique style that many chefs prefer over double-bevel knives.

Single bevel knives require more maintenance than double bevel knives, as the single sharp side can become dull faster. 

To maintain their performance and durability, they are typically made with high-quality materials like Aogami Super steel or VG10 steel.

Single bevel knives come in various shapes and sizes, from small paring knives to larger slicing knives and even gyuto chef’s knives.

They are known for cutting through dense and tough ingredients with ease and can be used to create thin and precise cuts. 

Additionally, the single bevel edge creates a beautiful pattern when slicing certain ingredients like fish or sushi rolls.

Single bevel knives require special sharpening techniques since only one side of the blade is sharpened. This makes them harder to sharpen than double bevel knives.

However, with the right tools and techniques, you can maintain its sharp edge for a long time.

Generally, a single bevel knife is sharpened using a Japanese whetstone to achieve a razor-sharp edge.

All in all, single-bevel knives offer a unique look and performance that many chefs find desirable.

They require more maintenance than double bevel knives but can create precision cuts that are difficult to achieve with other types of knives.

Learn more about the art of sharpening Japanese knives here (full user guide)

Anatomy of single bevel blade

An authentic Japanese single bevel blade has 3 parts:

1. Shinogi surface

The shinogi surface on a single bevel knife blade is a flat, angled surface that runs from the blade’s spine to the edge, just like on a traditional Japanese sword blade.

The flat surface allows the knife to have a narrow blade angle.

2. Urasuki

The back of the blade’s concave surface, known as the urasuki, generates an air pocket when cutting through food. 

This makes the surface smoother and reduces drag, enabling you to make quicker, better cuts. 

Moreover, it helps keep food from adhering to the knife. The air pocket that the urasuki formed during cutting is seen in the photograph below. 

The urasuki and shinogi work together to enable the blade to cut food with very little damage to the surface and cells, preserving the texture and flavor.

3. Uraoshi

The uraoshi is the rim that surrounds the urasuki and is thin and flat. Its function is to increase the blade’s strength at its otherwise weak edges.

What angle is Japanese single bevel?

Japanese single bevel knives have a unique sharpening angle that sets them apart from other knives. 

The edge angle on the flat side of the blade is zero, and the other side is hollow ground. 

This means that when sharpening, you only need to sharpen the spine and cutting edge, not the whole blade surface. 

The angle for a Japanese single bevel knife is between 10-15 degrees, which is much lower than the 30-40 degree angle for a standard chef’s knife. 

This lower angle gives the blade a much sharper edge, so it’s important to be careful when sharpening.

What’s the difference between a single and double bevel knife?

The main difference between a single bevel knife and a double bevel knife is the way the blade is sharpened.

A single bevel knife, also known as a “chisel grind” or “one-sided” blade, is sharpened only on one side of the blade, typically the right side for right-handed users or the left side for left-handed users.

The opposite side of the blade is typically flat or slightly concave. 

Single bevel knives are commonly used in Japanese cuisine, particularly for precision tasks like slicing sashimi or making sushi.

A double bevel knife, also known as a “V-grind” or “two-sided” blade, is sharpened on both sides of the blade, creating a V-shaped edge. 

This is the most common type of knife blade, and it is used in a wide range of applications, from general kitchen tasks like chopping and slicing to more specialized tasks like filleting fish or carving meat.

The choice between a single bevel and double bevel knife largely depends on personal preference and the specific task at hand. 

Single bevel knives are favored by some professional chefs for their precision and clean cuts, but they can be more difficult to maintain and require a specific sharpening technique. 

Double bevel knives are generally more versatile and easier to sharpen, making them a popular choice for home cooks and professionals alike.

What is single bevel knife used for?

Each real chef, culinary expert, or knife aficionado needs single bevel knives.

The characteristics of the single bevel knife lend itself to certain uses that no other kind of knife can handle.

Here are a few of the most typical applications for a single-bevel knife:

  • Slicing: A single bevel knife is capable of thin slicing with accuracy. Food can be cut through without being crushed or torn apart thanks to the knife’s constant incline/angle.
  • Dicing: A single bevel knife is ideal for dicing fruits and vegetables because of its thinness and precision. The dice themselves are neat and exact, and the blade’s curve makes sure that every piece is uniform.
  • Chopping: A single bevel knife’s excellent cleanliness makes it ideal for mincing herbs and slicing meat into thin strips. You will always get the most out of your goods thanks to the blade’s curve.
  • Sashimi: The single bevel knife’s ability to thinly slice makes it ideal for slicing fish for sashimi. The uraoshi prevents the fish from clinging to the knife, and the blade’s tilt guarantees clean, accurate cuts.
  • Sushi preparation: Sushi rolls can be cut with a single bevel knife, just like sashimi. Due to the knife’s characteristics, it is an absolute necessity for every serious sushi enthusiast and excels at handling raw fish.

What’s the history of single bevel blade?

The single bevel knife’s history is somewhat obscure. Most people think it came from Japan.

We are aware that some of the most renowned chefs and culinary experts in the world have been using this kind of knife for generations.

The tradition of the single-bevel knife comes from the sword-making tradition in Japan.

The centuries-old practice of crafting swords has been passed down through generations and evolved into the modern kitchen knife. 

Single bevel knives are the perfect tool for precise, delicate cuts and are often used in sushi making.

Japanese knives have historically had a single bevel and the same grind with three main components: the shinogi surface, the urasuki, and the uraoshi. 

Japan didn’t start producing double beveled knives until the latter half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, when they started assimilating western culture.

The Japanese have persisted in producing stunning, razor-sharp, and cleverly crafted single-edged knives that increase any chef’s efficiency when slicing and dicing food.

What angle should you sharpen a single bevel knife?

When sharpening a single bevel knife, you should aim for an angle between 15-17 degrees. 

This will give you a very sharp edge, perfect for cutting delicate ingredients like fish, seafood, meat, and vegetables. 

Plus, since there’s only one bevel, it takes less time to sharpen.

However, it does take some practice to master the technique, especially when using a whetstone.

Looking for a good quality whetstone? I’ve reviewed the 6 best Japanese whetstones here

Tips for sharpening a single bevel knife

In our Japanese knife sharpening guide, we’ll teach you have to sharpen a single-edged knife but here are a few short tips:

  • Take your time and practice to get the perfect angle.
  • Get two whetstones, one coarse and one smooth.
  • Start with the beveled side of the blade. Make smooth sweeps along the whetstone, releasing your pressure on the backward sweep.
  • To make sure you’re treating the steel evenly, it might help to color the beveled part of the blade.
  • Don’t rush the process – it takes time to get it right.
  • Be gentle and patient – single bevel knives are delicate.
  • Have fun with it – sharpening your knife can be a great way to relax.

What makes a single bevel knife special?

A single bevel blade is extremely sharp and that’s what makes it very special. 

Single-bevel knives are sharpened on only one side, giving them an incredibly thin and sharp edge.

The edge angle of single-bevel knives ranges between 10-17°, but most are between 12-15°.

Single bevel knives are special because they can create precise and complex cuts that would not be possible with double-beveled knives.

The sharpened angle of the single bevel creates a sharp and precise cutting edge, perfect for making delicate cuts like those found in sushi rolls or paper-thin slices of meat.

Single bevel blades are also much lighter than double bevel knives and require special sharpening techniques that can help maintain their sharp edge for a longer period of time.

Lastly, the unique look and performance of single bevel knives make them desirable for many chefs as they can offer a level of precision and performance that is difficult to achieve with other types of knives.

Who uses single bevel knives?

Single bevel knives are usually used by professionals, such as chefs, who need to make precise cuts. 

They can be used to make thin slices of vegetables, for example, or to make intricate designs in food.

Single bevel knives are often used by professional chefs and home cooks who appreciate the precision they offer. 

They are especially useful in Japanese and Asian cuisine, where delicate cuts such as paper-thin slices and intricate shapes need to be done with precision.

For the art of Japanese food cutting like mukimono, a single bevel knife is the only choice.

Is single bevel better?

Single bevel is definitely the way to go if you’re looking for precision and accuracy. 

Its superior sharpness makes it the perfect choice for intricate slicing, dicing, and cuts.

Plus, it’s easier to make seamless, unbroken cuts with a single bevel knife than a double beveled blade. 

So if you’re looking for a tool that will give you the perfect cut every time, single bevel is the way to go.

Single bevel knives offer increased precision and a sharp cutting edge, making them preferable to many chefs. 

However, double-bevel blades are more versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. 

Why are Japanese knives single edge?

Japanese knives are single-edged for a few reasons. 

Firstly, it creates an incredibly sharp cutting edge that makes slicing and dicing a breeze. 

Secondly, the single edge makes it easier to sharpen and maintain the blade, so you can keep it sharp for longer. 

Lastly, the slightly concave shape of the blade allows for more delicate culinary work, like finely chopping herbs and vegetables.

In short, single-edged Japanese knives are the perfect tool for any kitchen!

What is the point of a single bevel knife?

A single bevel knife is an ultimate tool for anyone who wants to get the job done right. It’s the perfect knife for those who want to take their slicing and dicing to the next level. 

With its single sharp angle, it can produce a super-fine edge that’s perfect for precision cutting.

Whether you’re slicing delicate fish, seafood, meat, or vegetables, a single bevel knife will give you the perfect cut every time. 

Plus, it’s easy to sharpen and maintain, so you can keep it in top condition for years to come.

So, if you’re looking for a knife that can do it all, a single-bevel knife is the way to go.

Are single bevel knives right handed?

Are single bevel knives only for right-handed folks? Well, the short answer is yes. 

These traditional Japanese knives are designed for right-handed users, so if you’re a lefty, you may want to look elsewhere. 

But don’t worry, there are plenty of other knives out there that will suit your needs!

And the truth is that lefties can use single-edge knives too, although it’s a bit harder.

So, why are single bevel knives only for righties? It’s all about the perfect edge.

These knives are crafted to have a single continuous angle on the edge, which is why they’re so highly regarded by chefs and knife enthusiasts. 

This angle is designed to be held in the right hand, so lefties are out of luck.

But don’t worry, there are plenty of other knives out there that will suit your needs!

I have a list of the best Japanese knives for the left-handed here, from gyotu to nakiri

Can left-handed people use single bevel knives?

Generally, single-bevel knives are recommended for right handed users because the angle of the sharpened side is determined by its design.

However, there are some left-handed single bevel knives on the market for those lefties out there.

Yes, left-handed people can use single bevel knives.

The blade angle of the knife is determined by the user’s grip and pressure exerted when cutting, so the orientation of the blade is not an issue.

However, left-handed people may find it more comfortable to use an ambidextrous knife as it can be used with either hand.

Additionally, some companies make knives specifically designed for left-handed users that feature a different blade shape and grind on the left side of the knife.

This is helpful for left-handed users who are looking for increased comfort and precision when using single bevel knives.

Do you sharpen both sides of a single bevel knife?

Nope, you don’t sharpen both sides of a single bevel knife. That’s the beauty of it! 

Single bevel knives are sharpened on one side only, which makes it easier to create a much smaller, and thus sharper, angle. 

This is why they’re so popular in Japanese cooking – they’re super sharp and require less effort to maintain. 

So, if you’re looking for a knife that’s sharp and easy to sharpen, a single bevel knife is the way to go.


Single bevel knives are a centuries-old tradition in Japanese culture and have become popular among professional chefs and home cooks alike.

They offer a level of precision and sharpness that is difficult to achieve with other types of knives.

The single bevel blade is only sharpened on one side and this gives it better precision.

Left-handed users may find it more comfortable to use an ambidextrous knife or one specifically designed for left-handed users.

Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the type of tasks a user requires from their knife.

Regardless, single bevel knives are an excellent choice for those looking for precision and efficiency in their cutting tasks.

If you want to get the angle of your single bevel Japanese knife exactly right when sharpening, consider buying a sharpening jig (review here)

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.