Understanding What Grit To Use When Sharpening Carving Tools

When carving, one of the most important thing is ensuring that before starting any project, you have sharp tools that you are going to use. Some tools will need more sharpening depending on the state they are in and that’s where you will need the knowledge of knowing the best grit to use.

Before understanding what grit to use when sharpening carving tools, you first need to know what is grit. Grit is the coarseness or smoothness of whatever sharpening tool you are using whether whetstone or a powered sharpening tool.

What Grit To Use When sharpening Carving Tools

The state of a tool determines the type of grit to use. There are 3 categories of sharpening stones namely; coarse stones which are less than #1000, medium grit that is #1000-#3000, and finishing grit that is #4000-#8000.

Less Than #1000 Grit

This class of grit is barely used when sharpening carving tools unless your tool is damaged. But what wood can really damage your tools that much unless you are carving metal.

In this class, the grit is very coarse and you only use it to give your carving tools a new bevel. The grit grinds off chips in the edge when damaged and gives your carving tools a new bevel.

Medium Grit #1000-#3000

The medium grit class is the most used grit when sharpening blunt carving tools. The #1000 of grit brings back the edge of the tool back to life and when used a lot, it will wear out your knife.

However, if you like sharpening regularly or carving teak which dulls your tools faster compared to carving other woods, you can use the #2000 and #3000 because they are less course. You should be aware that this class of grit is mainly used for sharpening other than maintaining your tools.

Finishing Grit #4000-#8000

This class of grit has fine particles compared to the above two classes and this class is where you maintain and finish your tools. In carving, the sharper your tools are, the easier carving will be, but there is a limit.

When sharpening carving tools, I would advise you to stop at #5000. When you use a #8000 grit, the bevel becomes weak unless you are sharpening a knife that will be used in the kitchen to cut vegetables.


Understanding what grit to use when sharpening carving tools is very important because it will save your time and you won’t use the wrong grit to sharpen your tools. For more information about sharpening stones, check out this article.

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